Etiquette when visiting someone postpartum

Don’t! Don’t visit someone who has just had a baby unless you are invited by that person. Don’t assume it‘s ok to visit in the hospital or as soon as they get home. We all know that babies are a sign of new beginnings, of hope, and they make us feel a rush of those heartwarming love hormones. This is not your time, not yet! The excitement for grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends, coworkers, etc is sometimes more than they can bear, but guess what, it’s still not your time! This is a hard pill for some to swallow.

It is important for these new families to bond, settle in, and come up with a comfortable routine. Even in the hospital we have something called the golden hour. This is a time where we leave birthing parents to bond as uninterrupted as possible, with all the time in the world for skin to skin. I will talk more on the extreme importance of skin to skin and it’s amazing benefits for both mom and baby in a later post. As outsiders you may not know if the birth person is struggling with breast or chest feeding issues. Or if the transition from hospital life to home life has been a difficult one. Maybe the physical and mental processes need more space and time from others.

Come when asked! Come when this new family is ready to receive others into their cocoon, into their sacred safe space they have created. This will vary from one family to the next. There will be some who want visitors there day one and others a week or however long later. This is all ok! This is their journey and they may choose how they want to experience it.

What happens when you meet this baby? Please please don’t ask to hold the baby until offered. Really the first thing you should do is ask the birthing person and their partner how THEY are feeling, how THEY are doing. Then inquire about the baby. It’s very easy to be wrapped up in the newness of this little love in front of you. Being a birth parent at times can be lonely and alienating, even with others around. It’s so very important to engage and embrace them regardless if this is their first or sixth baby. Some questions you can ask are simple. What can I do for you? Can we bring you groceries when we come over? Can I do a load of laundry for you while I’m here? Cook you dinner? Vacuum? Do you feel comfortable with me watching the baby so you can sleep or shower? These are the questions that need to be asked before you jump lovingly all over that baby.

Every family unit is different and is going to have separate wants and needs. Remember to respect their space and timelines. Most of all remember it’s not personal!

For new postpartum parents or soon to be parents reading this, it’s ok to set boundaries. Matter of fact it is healthy and necessary! Don’t be persuaded into a situation or conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable. This is your time, your safe space, and your baby. You are not allowed to accept anything less. If someone is upset with your healthy boundaries and decisions, then that is their own discomfort and not yours. Take a breath and remember, you are not at fault for your own boundaries.

Be Well

Sara Posdzich-Lewis CNM

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