You already know to wash your hands, but there’s plenty more to keep in mind when visiting a friend of family member’s sweet new addition. (And it’s not just about the baby: new parents, particularly if they’re first-timers, are exhausted, overwhelmed, and super appreciative of any extra thought you put into the visit.) Here’s how to ace your quality time with a new family.
Offer to make a supply run
Diapers, wipes, gauze for that belly button—supplies fly off the shelf when you’ve got a newborn, and running errands with a new babe isn’t easy. Before you swing by, shoot a text over saying “Hey, I’m stopping at the store before I come over. What can I get you?” Odds are there’s an item (or two, or five) they’ve just run out of.
Consider grabbing something for mom and dad
Most visitors show up with a baby gift in hand, but new parents deserve some love, too. Whether it’s a gift for the new mom, a bottle of champagne, or a hot dinner, they’ll appreciate the extra thought. (Tip: if you’re bringing a meal over, try packaging it up so there aren’t any dishes to clean or return.)
Be mindful of scheduling
As the new family scrambles to establish their new normal, it helps to be flexible as you time your visit. Be ready to work around nap schedules (the parents and the baby will need these!) and show up right on time. You’ll want to scoot out after a quick visit, too—now isn’t the time to hang around for hours. Finally, don’t forget to cut them some slack if they have to change or cancel plans at the last minute. Babies are on their own schedule.
Get in touch with your inner germaphobe
Feel like you’re coming down with a cough or cold? We can’t stress this one enough: Reschedule your visit. Even if you’re pretty sure it’s nothing, you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to a newborn baby. 100% healthy? Still be sure to wash your hands thoroughly at their home before you touch the baby.
No matter how close you feel to the parents — or how much you love that little baby — ask for permission before attempting to hold the little one. You should also get an ok from mom and dad before taking or posting photos of the baby. Skip planting a smooch on the babe, too, unless you’re sure the parents are comfortable with it.
Be ready to wait it out
New parents may need a few weeks before they’re ready for visitors; they might be waiting for baby to build up some immunity, or they simply need to catch their breath with all the craziness that comes with having a newborn. If you hear a bit of resistance in their voice when you offer to come over, let them know you totally understand and you’d love to stop by—whenever they’re ready.
Help around the house
Ask your hosts if you can wash a few dishes, fold laundry, or wipe down the counters. (Better yet, just start doing it if you see an opportunity.) New parents shouldn’t have to worry about hosting their visitors, and it’s on you to make it clear that you don’t expect this. Even a little bit of help goes a long way in those crazy first days with a new baby.
Don’t comment on parenting choices
It’s a good idea to skip any questions about whether or not the baby is being breastfed, where he or she is sleeping, why the parents dressed their child a certain way…the list could go on forever. The bottom line? There are multiple ways to do this whole parenting thing, and as long as the parents are comfortable with the choices they’re making (and have earned a doctor’s stamp of approval), that’s all that matters.