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What Can You Do to Help New Parents?

Published in Birthing Services, Pediatrics, OB/GYN Services, For the Health of It Author: Kayla Waldoch, BSN RNC-OB, Family Birthing Center Core Charge Nurse, CentraCare Health – St. Cloud Hospital

I often see new parents overwhelmed with visitors. Having the support of family and friends is wonderful but it takes new parents time to adjust to their recent major life change. Rein in your enthusiasm and follow the suggestions below to help ensure that your visits are eagerly anticipated.

10 tips for visiting the new baby

  • Wash your hands when you arrive and before you touch the baby. Do not visit if you are sick or have been around sick people. Make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations especially influenza and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). Don’t kiss the baby.
  • Provide privacy for feedings if the baby is being breastfed. Breastfeeding takes time and practice whether in the hospital or home. Allow the privacy, support and time needed to establish breastfeeding.
  • Grandma holding newborn

    Keep your visits planned, short and helpful.
    Call or text ahead to schedule a time to visit. New parents are learning their baby’s schedule and will likely have a preferred time for visitors.
  • Keep your visit short and helpful. Most new parents are exhausted and may feel obligated to entertain their guest, taking away from valuable rest time.
  • Bring a meal. If you stay to enjoy the meal with them, do the dishes. You also can bring over frozen meals that are easy for the new parents to prepare.
  • Run an errand before coming over. Give the new parents a call prior to your visit and ask if there is anything they need from the store.
  • Do a household chore. Household tasks are often placed on hold once a newborn enters the house. Offer a few chores to the new parents you would be comfortable completing for them.
  • Babysit if they have older children. Offer to take them to the park or your house for a playdate to allow the parents bonding time with the newest addition.
  • Listen and empathize with the new parents. Each parent handles the addition of a newborn differently. Some will want to have adult conversation, some will want to gush over their newborn and others will be too exhausted for conversation.
  • Offer help after the excitement of the new arrival has worn off. Call or text the new parents offering to watch the baby for an afternoon or to drop off food throughout the first year.

CentraCare offers free classes for grandparents and other adult family members who want to learn about the latest changes in infant care, methods of feeding, and home, care and toy safety.