Your friend/neighbor/cousin/co-worker just had a baby and you are planning to visit them soon. Do read these tips to visit a newborn for a successful visit. While these etiquette rules apply in general but I have written these tips to visit a newborn with a desi focus!
14 Tips to Visit a Newborn: Desi Edition
1. Give the new parents atleast a month or two before you plan a visit. Send them a message to congratulate and ask them to let you know whenever they are ready for visits. Never call. No time is a good time for a phone call in the first month with a newborn. If you attempt to FaceTime/Skype/VideoChat with a new mom, you are evil!
2. Some new parents arrange a “Sip & See”, others smaller gatherings and some prefer individual visits. When they do invite you to visit, don’t negotiate the time. They have probably arranged this time keeping many things in mind. While it’s an inherent desi trait to be late, please be on time. And if there is anything worse than being late, it’s to arrive before time. Please don’t. The last thing new parents need is a surprise of an early visitor as they are scrambling to remove dirty diapers and dishes from last night.
3. When you arrive politely knock, or text/message that you’re outside. Never ring the door bell. Chances are that the baby just went down for a nap and any noise can/will wake them up.
4. If you have a cold/cough or anything infectious please let the new parents know and reschedule the visit. They will appreciate the gesture. This goes for your little ones too. Any sick child must not visit a new born.
5. Keep your visit short. If possible, take a frozen dinner for the new parents.
6. Keep all comments about the baby’s looks, name, skin tone, eye colour etc to yourself. There is a 100% chance of offending one of the parents if you compare the baby to any one side of the family or parent. Never ask if baby has been circumsized yet or when the parents are getting the head shaved again. Not your business.
7. This is a time to pay attention to the new parents especially the mother. Listen to them, encourage them and give them positive feedback. This is not the time to discuss your own labor horror stories or how your newborn didn’t let you sleep a wink for a year. Keep it positive.
8. Do not share the new baby’s picture on social media without the parent’s consent. Apply the same rule to pictures of the new mother. You had time to dress up at leisure and she probably put herself together in two minutes. It’s not a fair deal. Unless she agrees. Always ask.
9. If the new baby has an older brother or sister, pay special attention to them. Taking presents for the baby is your choice, but please do take something for the big brother/sister. It can be a simple book or a small toy. The book stores have special big sister/brother books. Remember to congratulate them first on becoming a big brother/sister. Sit down with them, read a book, do an activity. The new baby won’t notice that you didn’t hold them in the first five minutes, but an older child will definitely appreciate your attention. Never ask the parents “Ye jealous to nahi ho rahe?” (Is she/he feeling jealous). Children are always listening. Again, keep it positive.
10. If you have been enjoying samosas and other spicy desi delights, wash your hands before holding baby. Actually, please always wash your hands before holding a new born. It’s considerate and the new mother will love you forever.
11. When you hold the baby make sure your hair, clothes or jewelry are not irritating them. Babies have very sensitive skin.
12. Avoid asking questions like “Does she sleep through the night”, “Is ka schedule set hoa” (Does she have a sechedule) etc. You are bound to irritate the new parents who are trying hard already. Instead ask questions about how the parents are doing, if they need any help etc.
13. Never comment on the baby’s gender. Every child is special. Comments such as “Family complete ho gaye”, “Chalo Allah next time baita de ga”, “Hai mein to dua kar rahe the ke Allah tumhein pyari se baite de”, “Chalo ab jaldi se is ke behen le ayo” etc etc are so 1955. Let’s leave them in the past.
14. Clean up as much as you can as you wind up the visit. Avoid long desi goodbyes and keep the visit short and positive.
Have you visited a new born recently? Would you add anything to this list of tips to visit a newborn?