How to organise baby visits and keep yourself and your guests happy
When a newborn arrives, people will want to visit. Grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, friends, colleagues and sometimes even (vague) acquaintances naturally want to come by to see the new arrival. Sometimes, the thought of having so many people over can be a little overwhelming for new parents, though others can’t wait to show off their little mirable; it really differs per family.
What is the best way to deal with this? Are there certain rules of etiquette around baby visits and can you ask your visitors not to take photos?
In this blog, we list a number of tips and advice from parents who have dealt with baby visits before!
Which rules of etiquette are there for visiting a newborn?
Etiquette rules are in place for all kinds of things in life and are unwritten rules that - in general - everyone complies with. The most important premise is that you take each other's feelings into account. There are also etiquette rules regarding baby visits. For example, it is common for those who receive a birth announcement to also be invited for a visit, though this should usually be planned first, instead of just dropping by. Not overstaying your welcome if you do visit is another example, but what should you do if your guests don’t know about or don’t adhere to these kind of etiquette rules?
Be clear on the birth announcement
Since a birth announcement is an invitation to stop by, you can add some instructions to it, to be sure your guests understand your preferences. You can indicate that the baby visit is welcome by appointment only along with how the appointment can be made, for example through your partner or your mother.
Be honest about your preferences in advance
There is nothing wrong with being honest with your visitors beforehand about how you would like their visit to go.
- If you have had a difficult delivery and are not quite ready for visitors yet, this is nothing to apologise for. If your loved ones contact you about planning a visit, simply say that you will let them know when you feel better, or plan the visit for 2 or 3 weeks in the future. If you still don't feel well, just say so.
- You can let people know that the visits are tiring for you and indicate that they should ideally last for around a maximum of half an hour each. This way, your visitors know where they stand and you can indicate that you would like to sleep or have a rest once the time ends. The visitor then knows it is time to go.
- Let your visitors know that they are only allowed to visit if they do not have a cold or are feeling under the weather, and that it is perfectly okay if they cancel for this reason.
- If you are inviting people who have children of their own, but don’t feel up to visits from the children just yet, be honest that this is too much for you right now. Let them know that they are all more than welcome to visit later on, but that you would prefer people to come alone or with their partner for now.
Please wash your hands!
It is very common for visitors to wash their hands before holding the baby. If the visitor does not do this themselves, simply ask! An easy "If you wash your hands, you can hold the baby afterwards if you like!" is perfect. Friendly and clear!
Photos and social media
We’re all a little glued to our phones and social media these days, but many parents would prefer not to have photos of their little one shared on social media unless they choose to do so themselves. Be honest about this with your guests, and be cautious of this if you are a guest.
Can I do anything for you?
You have angels who always ask if they can do anything for you when they come by. Now is the time to take advantage of it. Ask if they might want to bring some simple food or cook a little more the night before and bring a portion for you. Lots of new parents love this and it also saves them a lot of work. You could even add this as a gift tip on your birth announcement!
Be honest about your preferences. There’s no need to feel ashamed, as long as you share your wishes in a friendly and respectful manner. It’s impossible to please everyone, so just make sure your own needs are being met. And don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re feeling too tired or overwhelmed during a visit; your guests will understand.
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