Visiting a Newborn in the Hospital

Visiting a newborn baby in the hospital can be very exciting, but also very daunting. There are unspoken rules for visitors when your sister or friend has just given birth and is allowing visitors. It’s perfectly acceptable to be excited to meet the newest addition, but keep in mind it was a grueling process to get there. New parents will certainly be very tired, and the baby will be vulnerable. If you have spoken to the new parents and gotten their approval to visit, follow these guidelines for proper visitor etiquette:

1. Call Ahead!

You may have already scheduled a time with the parents but it’s wise to call beforehand to make sure it’s still a good time. After giving birth, mom and dad will be exhausted and may not be ready for visitors like they originally thought. If you didn’t already plan a time, definitely call in advance to make sure the parents know you’re coming! Under no circumstances should you drop by unannounced. It is a very personal and hectic time for everyone. Also, the hospital likely has rules for visitors that you’ll need to know ahead of time. Further, if you are permitted to visit, don’t bring anyone with you unless the parents ask you to. Certainly don’t bring children as they may get rowdy and carry a lot of unwanted germs.

2. Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize

Babies are extremely vulnerable to germs. The first thing you should do upon entering the hospital room is to wash your hands with warm water and soap. If you are under the weather in any way, wait until you are better before visiting a newborn. Even if you have properly sanitized, don’t expect to hold the baby right away. New parents may be hesitant to let others hold their precious gift, as this is their first time with him/her too. Only if the parents offer to let you hold the baby is it acceptable. Sometimes asking the parents can put them in an awkward situation where they’re afraid to say no.

3. Bring Food

New moms will always be hungry! She has just given birth and has been living off of hospital food or whatever is close by. If you know what the parents like to eat, bring their favorite snack or meal. They will appreciate the gesture and it will give them a boost when welcoming guests.

4. Remain Positive and Upbeat

Avoid any comments that may be misconstrued. New moms are experiencing so many new emotions (and pains!). Congratulate the parents on the beautiful family they have created together. Of course, point out how beautiful their newest addition is. Don’t be afraid to ask mom how she’s feeling, but there’s no need to offer advice. The last thing you should do as a visitor there for support is to question their parenting choices. This is the best time to keep your opinions to yourself and simply support the new parents’ decisions.

Visiting loved ones after they have welcomed a child is a privilege, don’t abuse it. When the new parents are ready for visitors or advice, they will ask. The best thing you can do is send your congratulations and be available when needed.

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