Being a new parent is a thrilling, scary and exhausting experience. In those first few weeks of your child’s life, they become the local area’s must-see attraction and you end up playing host to a constant stream of visitors. We all know how challenging that can be at times, especially when these well-wishers just don’t seem to get what you are going through and how sleep deprived you actually are. This is why, when the tables are turned and you are the ones visiting a new arrival, it’s your chance to buck that trend.
Here are five things you positively have to do when visiting new parents to help them out and take a little of the weight off their shoulders.
1) Bring Food
You know how difficult it is to deal with a demanding baby, tag team sleep between mum and dad, and attempt to wash and clothe yourself every day. Adding in cooking a nutritious and wholesome meal to the mix is never going to work. This is why a true friend brings round tasty treats that the new parents can stick in the freezer and defrost as and when they are needed.
Left to their own devices, new parents would survive on toast, dry cereal (who has time to get to the shop and replenish the milk) and takeaways. Whilst that might have been a regular Sunday menu when you were a student, it is not a diet that is likely to give exhausted and overwhelmed parents the long-lasting boost they need. When you turn up with seven days’ supply of succulent lasagne, you will be the hero they both need and deserve.
Additionally, bring tea bags. Their supplies will be depleted after hosting a large number of thirsty guests. Make sure they are good tea bags though. Go Yorkshire Tea or go home.
2) Refuse Food
If they have managed to venture into the kitchen and throw something together, do not accept their food. This is for two specific reasons.
Number 1 – as discussed in the first point, it has taken a Herculean effort to create that food. They are only offering it to you to be polite. They need it more than you do. You are not hamstrung by a baby, you can go home and spend an hour dicking about with a risotto if you want to. Allow their creation to nourish them and them alone.
Number 2 – they are sleep deprived, there could be any old rubbish absentmindedly dropped in there. Cinnamon and cat food stew, anyone?
3) Avoid Saying Any of the Following
Do not under any circumstances let any of the following phrases spill out of your mouth. “We had a lie-in this morning”, “can I just wake them up to say hello”, “we’re off to Bali next week”, “are you sure you’re doing that right?”, “ours slept through the night right from birth”, “are you planning number two yet?” and so on and so forth.
4) Muck In
How much you help the new parents around their home depends on how well you know them. But do help out around the house. As a minimum, anybody would be okay with you doing the washing up. If you are only passing acquaintances, probably avoid launching straight into folding their underwear at this juncture.
You could stick the vacuum cleaner around, take the bins out, offer to fix any DIY snags they might have or anything else that is a fairly easy win but which has sunk to the bottom of their to-do list. Running errands is a great help and means they don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole of getting the baby ready to go out, putting them in and then taking them out of the car, having to time a trip to the shops around naps etc.
Ask them if they need any groceries, supplies from the chemist or equipment they might have only just realised will make their lives easier, such as milk warmers and the like.
5) Leave Before You Outstay Your Welcome
This is fairly self explanatory. The new parents will enjoy your visit, but they also want you to shove off (in the nicest possible) after a short to medium period of time. It’s nothing personal, but you are one of a procession of guests and it’s actually quite nice for them to have some time to just the three of you. Whilst sipping cups of gifted Yorkshire Tea of course.
More Rules for Visiting New Parents
Do you have any other advice for things you should do when visiting new parents? Leave them in the Comments.