As much as we all want to meet adorable newborn babies, it’s important to follow certain rules for visiting a newborn baby in the hospital and at home.
Meeting a new baby is an exciting time for everybody.
However, a newborn’s health and safety are always the number one priority.
Plus, the new parents are adjusting to a completely different life, especially if it’s their first baby.
If you’re visiting a newborn baby, make sure to follow these rules to keep the baby and parents safe and happy.
Tips For New Parents
Remember, these rules are not set in stone. This is your baby and your family.
You have to choose what feels right for you at this time.
Some people choose not to allow any visitors for the first few weeks. Others want to see as many people as possible.
You have to choose what works for you and just remember that your baby’s health and safety are the most important things right now.
Tips for Visiting a Newborn in the Hospital
Check with the hospital prior to visiting. Every hospital has special rules in regards to ages of visitors and how many visitors are allowed at a time.
Many hospitals don’t allow children other than siblings of the new babies, so that’s something to consider.
Also, make sure to check with the mama before visiting in the hospital. A lot of women don’t feel very glamorous right after delivering a baby. They may not feel ready for visitors.
It’s always a good idea to check first.
Most Important Rules For Visiting a Newborn Baby
Wash Your Hands Before Touching the Baby
Before you touch the baby it’s so so important to wash your hands.
A lot of new parents choose to keep hand sanitizer nearby so it’s easy to clean up before getting close to the baby.
This will help keep the baby safe from any germs you may be carrying.
Keep Visits Short (Less than 30 minutes)
Newborn babies are only awake for about 60 minutes at a time. During this window, they need to be fed, changed, and stimulated.
In order to prevent having an overtired baby or to skip a feeding, try to keep visits to less than 30 minutes.
The new parents are still adjusting to life with a new baby and may need to take advantage of nap time to rest or get other tasks done.
They appreciate the company, but in small visits.
No Fragrance or Perfume Around The Baby
Perfumes or fragrances are very irritating and drying to a baby’s skin and lungs.
They contain harmful ingredients that can actually enter the bloodstream and cause endocrine disturbances (affect hormones) or lead to cancer.
Newborn babies are still developing their endocrine system, so it’s really important to do all we can to avoid any harmful exposures at this age (Source: Children’s Environmental Health Network).
Scented things to avoid include:
- Scented candles
- Scented lotions
- Room sprays
No Second-Hand Smoke
This one should be a given, but please don’t smoke prior to visiting a new baby. Also, make sure you’re not around anyone who does smoke.
Tobacco smoke lingers on clothing and on skin and can easily transmit to the precious newborn.
Be courteous and try your best not to smoke before visiting.
Don’t Visit If You Might Be Sick
This again is pretty obvious, but your new baby is incredibly vulnerable to any illness. Anybody who may be coming down with illness or was exposed to somebody who might be sick shouldn’t visit.
No Kissing The Baby
It may be so hard to resist, but it’s really important to avoid kissing the baby.
Our lips and saliva can spread multiple viruses and illnesses that are very harmful to babies.
This includes Herpes Simplex 1 (Cold Sores) or RSV (Respiratory Synctital Virus).
Although Cold Sores are just a nuisance in adults, they can actually be deadly to babies (Source: Childrenshospital.org).
Both of these are very harmful to babies and can actually be life-threatening.
So please, try to resist kissing that precious baby.
Never Show Up Announced
The first weeks and even months with a newborn are hectic!
The parents are trying to adjust to a new schedule of sleepless nights and frequent feedings.
You don’t want to interrupt the first nap or a few minutes of alone time.
Always call ahead to see what works best for them.
With all of the changes new parents are going through, cooking a healthy meal is usually pretty low on the list.
Bring a meal that they can reheat later.
Also, you can bring snacks for breastfeeding mamas to quickly grab on the go. There is no hunger like a new breastfeeding mam experiences.
Ask How You Can Help
New parents are sleep deprived and adjusting to a major life change. They may say they don’t need anything, but others might be honest and ask for something simple but helpful.
This simple gesture goes such a long way.
Don’t Expect to Hold The Baby
Every mom is completely different in regards to their comfort with others holding their babies. Babies are so vulnerable to germs and infections taht a lot of moms may not feel comfortable with visitors holding their newborn.
Don’t Bring Other Guests Unless You Ask First
When you’re visiting a new baby, it’s best to go with as few people as possible. Always ask before bringing anyone else, even your own kids.
Many new parents won’t mind if you bring your kids, but everyone feels differently about having kids around the babies.
Always ask and don’t assume.
Focus on the Parents Too
Although it’s so easy to get distracted by the precious newborn, make sure to ask how the parents are doing and how they’re feeling.
Moms are going through hormonal and physical changes after having a baby and need all of the extra support they can get.
You don’t want to wake a sleeping baby or cause too much commotion to the household. Try to keep your voice soft and quiet while you’re around the newborn.
Don’t Forget About Older Siblings
This is so important, especially for younger children. Their lives have changed just as much as mom and dad’s. They went from having all of the attention to themselves to having to share with a new baby.
Don’t forget to pay them special attention while you’re there.
Only Offer Advice If Asked
The world is full of conflicting parenting advice.
Parents have likely already read the parenting books and are trying to see what works for them.
They’re already overwhelmed with all of the information out there, they don’t need any extra advice.
Even if you have multiple kids and you’ve been through their struggles, try your best to keep your advice to yourself.
However, if they ask for advice, by all means go ahead and provide it.
Just try your best to bite your tongue and let them figure it out on their own.
Don’t Leave a Mess
If you come with food or share a cup of coffee, make sure to clean up after yourself. Parents don’t need anything additional to take care of during this transitional time.
Try to clean up what you can before you leave to provide a little extra help and support.
Be a Good Listener
Sometimes we all need a few minutes to vent. Between sleeplessness, crashing hormones, and loss of independence, new moms need as much support as they can get.
Let them know you’re there to listen and lend an ear. Having someone to talk to goes a long way.
If you’re every concerned that a mom isn’t coping as expected or seems overly anxious or depressed, there are things you can do to help.
Read more about postpartum anxiety and depression which are very common.
Tell a White Lie
This is one of the few times in life, it’s better to tell a white lie. If the house is a mess or the mom isn’t looking her best, please don’t tell her you think so.
Tell the mom she’s doing great or she looks fantastic. Even if you don’t think it’s true, give her a little extra support.
Although every family may have different variations of these rules, always focus on the safety and well-being of the baby and the new parents.
Everyone is so excited to have a new baby in their lives and it’s our jobs as a community to keep the baby and the parents safe and happy.
Do you have any other “rules” you recommend?