The 10 Commandments when visiting a new Mum - Stephanie Chapman Photography
The 10 Commandments when visiting a new Mum
In my job as a newborn photographer, I get to visit Mums and their babies in the first three weeks. The session is generally very relaxed and as I’m working I will always chat with Mum & Dad.
During my times, I have heard some lovely thoughtful ideas that friends have done while visiting, but also heard a few horror stories that made me wonder what some people are thinking! So, I thought I’d put together al little list of ideas for all you visiting the new parents and their beautiful new babies.
Thou shalt bring food
Biscuits and cake are of course a lovely thing to bring around. But how about making a lasagne or another tray dish that can be portioned up and popped in the freezer. I’m sure that Mum and Dad will be very grateful of having a night off from cooking or even having to make a decision about what to eat!
Thou shall not expect to be waited on – intact get thyself to the kitchen and make a cuppa for everyone
This one hopefully goes without saying… but I have heard some horror stories here, including a mum of a three-day old baby being expected to host a full Sunday roast for the extended family. Her mother-in-law spent the whole time criticising and the new Mum spent most the time in the kitchen in tears. Not how you would like your daughter, friend, sister, wife to be spending her first week at home.
Thou shalt not stay too long
Be mindful that both Mum & Dad are probably very tired and while they are loving the visit from you, they are also thinking of when Baby is next due a feed, if there are enough items sterilised, where did I put that last muslin I used, and a whole host of other things!
If Mum is breast feeding she also may still be learning to ropes and may not be comfortable getting her boob out in front of guests.
Thou shalt not offer advise (unless asked!)
This one is for the ladies who have done it all before. Yes, the new Mum made be folding the swaddle the wrong way, or Dad may be putting the nappy on back to front. They are doing their best for their precious baby and unless they ask for help, advise or opinions, keep it zipped.
I myself had a lot of ‘advise’ during my pregnancy and the early days of Emily’s life and it can be so disheartening when you think you are doing a great job.
Thou shalt remember you are also there to visit Mum
While the baby is obviously the main reason for the visit (and the associated cuddles), be sure to ask your friend how she is– growing a human and giving birth is a big deal. She may be feeling all sorts of things, and might appreciate the chance to talk and open up without being judged.
Thou shalt check if the new Mum needs any help
Whether it be popping to the shop, putting on a load of washing, or even taking the baby out for a walk while she has a nap or a cuppa. Keep offering help whenever you can. Some women can start to struggle around week 3/4 when all the visitors are gone so keep an eye on her and any signs that things may be sliding. (link to PND guidelines)
Thou shalt entertain Mum and make her smile
But not laugh too much….. stitches are sore 🙂
Thou shalt not take over
Yes, you are there to see the baby, and hopefully get a cuddle, but if Mum doesn’t want baby woken or picked up for cuddles, then please respect this. If you do get to hold baby, even though you may be super confident and comfortable holding an infant, treat the baby as if it is a priceless antique. Some Mums get very uncomfortable if you’re not being super super careful. So err on the side of caution, always support baby with two hands, always support the head and move baby slowly.
Thou shalt tell the new Mum how amazing she is and how great she looks
Yes she may look exhausted and have giant eye bags but she has grown and delivered a human. She has done something amazing and she is allowed to look a little dishevelled. Tell her how amazing she is. Tell her that her skin is glowing and she is fantastic. She may not believe a word, but it doesn’t hurt anyone to say it.
Thou shall not under any circumstances…..
Complain that you are tired. Ever. Never ever.