Northampton Press

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Baby visit

Friday, March 23, 2018 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

Can you please share your advice on the etiquette of visiting a friend’s house after a new baby arrives? I was excited to visit the newborn and I am afraid I made things more stressful. Do you have any “ground rules” for visitors after the baby is born?

Dear Reader,

There are few things in life more heartwarming than meeting a newborn baby for the first time. But for the parents who have just had a baby, there are few things that are more stressful than too much company.

House guests can be draining in the best of times. You should never show up unannounced. Dropping in without warning may not be appreciated by new moms and dads.

It’s such an overwhelming time and sometimes the number of visitors can overwhelm new parents. Remember, you are not the only visitor and it’s tiring for the mother (and the dad, too) to chat with the visitors.

Let the parents know that you would love to meet the baby at their convenience and wait for them to give you the go-ahead. I think the first week or so after a baby’s birth, it should just be immediate family and very close friends for a limited time. You will want to give the new parents some downtime. Be patient and allow the new parents to encourage the visit. Go when it’s convenient for them, not when it’s convenient for you.

Most people assume that holding the baby is part of the deal when visiting a new family, but that should never be the expectation. Let mom (or dad) ask, “Would you like to hold the baby?” Don’t pick up the baby without the parents’ permission.

As a guest, please be mindful of your health. If you have a cold, stay away.

Be sure to wash your hands first if you have been invited to hold the baby. Introducing a newborn to a big dose of germs is the worst thing you can do. Give the new parents peace of mind that when you handle the newborn, you are doing so with the cleanest possible hands.

Never arrive empty-handed. Bring food rather than flowers. It’s difficult for mom and dad to get back into the routine of cooking. Figuring out meals is one of a new mom’s least favorite things to do. Showing up with a casserole is more helpful than you can imagine.

The goal is always to keep it simple and easy. Gift certificates are another good option. Babies need many different things as they grow. A gift certificate gives the new parents some extra cash to buy what he or she may need.

Follow these “simple” ground rules and the new parents will appreciate your visit.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved © 2018 Jacquelyn Youst