A new baby is always a reason for celebration. From the grandparents to the youngest children of the family who now have the responsibility of being brothers and sisters - they all want to catch a glimpse of the cute bundle of joy.
Days seem brighter, happier, and so much more joyful with a baby around. But as aunts and uncles, we must not forget to be considerate towards the parents, especially during the first few days and weeks following the birth. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the excitement, we forget and overstep our boundaries.
To avoid the ire of the parents, here are 9 things not to do when visiting a newborn.
1. Coming over unexpected
It's probably been a tiring few days for the mother, popping out a child and all. While they may be ecstatic and excited to show their baby to the world, it may not yet be the right time, since they're still adjusting to the new routine.
Before dropping by, always give the parents a call. This is so that they can prepare and so that can advise you when's the best time to visit, usually after the baby and parents have had their naps.
2. Coming late
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After setting a schedule with the parents, do come on time. This is to assure that you don't wake the baby, or disrupt their routine for feeding and rest. Most parents prefer scheduled visits when visiting a newborn so that they can attend to and entertain their guests accordingly.
3. Outstaying your welcome
You came, you saw... and it's time to go. As much as you would like to spend hours ogling when visiting a newborn, both mother and child need time to rest and bond. A good rule of thumb would be to stay two to fours hours, or until the next time the baby needs to feed.
4. Giving unsolicited advice
This is a particular pet peeve of first-time parents. Even if you've had 7 children and consider yourself an expert, refrain from giving unsolicited advice. No one likes being told what to do, especially mothers who are excited to discover these things on their own. You may offer advice, but only if they do ask.
You may be thinking, "Of course, who's dumb enough to smoke a cigar in front of a baby?" Lighting up a stick in the same room is an obvious No-No, but it may be a better idea to refrain from smoking all together even before you enter the premises. Third-hand smoke, which clings to your clothes, hair and skin, is very harmful. If you're a smoker who needs to puff, do consider bringing a fresh set of clothes you can change into.
6. Assuming you can touch and carry the baby
As much as you want to pinch those cherubic cheeks, don't assume that you can touch the baby. Always ask the permission of parents first, or wait for them to ask you if you would like to carry the child.
7. Coming over sick
Sure, your fever has subsided and you are feeling a whole lot better than last week, but until you're completely sure that your free from sickness, do not visit the baby. The baby has yet to develop the immunity against ordinary, everyday germs, so being in contact will put the baby at risk.
Do wait and recuperate. You can always schedule a visit in the future.
8. Bringing your toddlers
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Of course, big brother wants to take a peek at the baby, but there may be a better time than now to bring him. The baby needs quiet time, and your toddler, who may get fussy himself, may (unintentionally) disrupt precious time for sleep.
9. Expecting to be waited on
Especially in Asian culture, we've been taught and trained to be the most generous and most hospitable hosts- bringing out the good China for guests, taking extra care in sprucing up the home, serving good food, and entertaining guests until dawn.
However, when it comes to visiting a newborn, do expect that the parents may not be as "energetic" and able when entertaining all of you. They're probably a little tired, having taken on the 24-hour care of their newborn. While they cannot entertain as much, you can still enjoy the time together during the visit.
In addition, do clean up after yourself when you leave. They will love you for it.
Also READ: Your newborn’s first trip out: A guide for parents