You don't know until you become a new parent. Yes, it's all very exciting and yes the family and the friends want to come visit IMMEDIATELY because they all want to cuddle, coo, and gah gah over your baby. For me, having visitors was the last thing on my mind. It's such an intense period of time in your life, the only people you'll want around are the ones that are going to help. My husband and I only allowed my parents and brother to visit us at the hospital and everyone else had to wait until we got home. We needed some time to ourselves, to get acquainted with our new bundle of joy and figure out our new life together. The first 4 weeks were pretty intense, (for us it was about 6 weeks largely due to my c-section recovery), so if you want to meet the new baby, there are a few ground rules to abide by:
1. Bring food - All of a sudden your world goes upside down and you have no time to do anything and that includes cooking. This was probably the thing we found most helpful. BRING FOOD or get some friends together and pay for a food delivery service. My mom cooked meals for us for almost 4 weeks and friends dropped off snacks and food baskets. Also, services like JUST EAT and DOORDASH will become your best friend
2. Don't expect to be entertained - If you are visiting within the first few weeks, you are definitely in the "family and close friends" circle. During your visit, don't expect to be entertained. The house may be in complete disarray, there will be no time to set out a spread of snacks and you probably will not be offered a drink. Take the initiative and ask the parents if they need a glass of water or something. Or better yet, take the baby for 30 mins and let mom sleep or take a shower.
3. Help with some of the light chores - Tidying up the house is another great way to help out new parents. Babies come with a shit load of laundry, we were washing everyday! Also the dishes, they just seem to pile up and even though we got 3 sets of bottles, I felt like all I was doing was washing bottles. I've joked that you can only pick 2 things a day you can do, happy baby + clean house, or clean house + your sanity...you can't have it all. Visitors that come ready to lend a hand, you are welcome to visit any time.
4. Work around the baby's nap and sleep schedule - Everyone wants to come see and spend time around a happy and awake baby. I can tell you from experience as a mother trying to sleep train, nap schedules and bed time routines TRUMP! No visiting during baby's nap times and no waking a sleeping baby.
5. Listen, empathize and offer help with the little things - As a new mom, even though I knew I was able to lean on my husband, family, close friends and even neighbours...I had a difficult time asking. I think because I was simply overwhelmed and too busy to even think about asking. It was a relief that my friends and family all offered to help without me asking. During the first few weeks, there is a lot of alone time with baby, so a simple text or call to "check in" will do wonders. When my neighbours asked if I needed coffee, or even a 30 minute break to take a shower and they'd be glad to look after my baby...my heart just bursted. This made me feel safe and supported which helped me with my anxiety as a new mom.
So there you have it, 5 ways as a visitor you can help out new parents big time. Happy visiting.