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A Guide to Visiting a Mom after Birth

If you're reading this, congratulations! The fact that you took a second to read up on how to be a good house guest means you probably already will be. Here are 4 ways to be a helpful and welcomed guest for the mom in your life.

Bring a meal

Newborns eat constantly. Mama probably doesn’t have time to cook, or is forgetting to eat, especially if she has other kids at home. The last person she is thinking of feeding is herself. Bringing a meal is one of the best things you can do to lighten the load. If you’re not a cook, email a gift card so they can order takeout.

Bonus tips:

  • If you are making a meal, do check in with the family for allergies and preferences.

  • Find out what time you should drop by. DO NOT come over without warning.

  • Offer to leave the meal on the front porch instead of coming inside.

  • Make a meal that can be stored in the freezer

  • Bring paper plates and plastic cutlery to save the parents from doing the dishes

If you’re going to stay longer than a quick “hello”, be helpful

If the family is offering to let you visit for a few hours, please don’t expect to be entertained. Offer to hold the baby while mama showers or takes a nap. Change the baby’s diaper. Start a load of laundry or offer to fold some laundry. Run a load of dishes. Finish putting away the groceries. Organize the meals in the freezer.

If that makes you uncomfortable, bring things that might save the family a last-minute trip to the store in the future: toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, dish soap, diapers, a pack of wipes, infant Tylenol, pacifiers.

I’ll never forget my husband’s friend Michelle, who came to our tiny New York apartment, cooked us a hot dinner, and stayed to do all the dishes and clean up the kitchen.

Don’t forget about the older kids

Adding a new baby to the family is stressful on the older kids, even if they don’t show it. I know you saw that really cute onesie, but a better use of your money might be a gift for the older siblings (I promise, baby probably has plenty of onesies).

If you are stopping by for a visit, help out with the older kids. Set them up with a snack, read them a story, or play with them. Take them out to ice cream, or bring them to the park. I promise, everyone will appreciate the gesture.

For goodness sake, don’t come if you are sick

Do not come anywhere near the family or the baby if you are sick. Even if it’s just a runny nose. If your partner or kids are sick, don’t come inside. Leave the meal on the front porch or Venmo the family money for carryout.

Don’t get your panties ruffled if the family doesn’t want to see you, or they ask you not to hold, touch or kiss the baby.

The two years of the pandemic, coupled with the recent surge of influenza and RSV have left many new parents anxious and protective. Being a good “mom ally” and friend means honoring their boundaries, even if they don’t make sense to you.

Tell me, is there anything you would add to this list?


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