Patience is a virtue

Think about the last 48 hours mum has had – there’s a reason they call it labour! Instead of suggesting a time to come and visit, shoot a text through or make a quick phone call to see when mum might be open to taking visitors.

Nothing is lost either by waiting until mum and the baby get home. This way mum gets the chance to feel more comfortable, settled and in control.

Be flexible

Even if you do arrange a time to meet up, consider that as soon as the baby is born, their sleeping, feeding and changing cycle begins and it is going to be out of sync with mum’s sleeping and waking time. Show your support for mum by being flexible about the time and duration of your visit.

Be prepared

If it’s your first time visiting a new mum, just be aware: there will be breastfeeding, mess, blood, stitches, nappy changes, breast pumping, and lots of visits from hospital staff. Don’t feel unwelcome if mum seems distracted; keep the focus on her and the baby and be mindful of either lending a hand, stepping aside or knowing when it’s time to leave.

Giving gifts

Another reason why it can sometimes be best to wait until arriving home? Anything you give mum and baby has to be transported. While this shouldn’t put you off gift-giving, consider the bulk of your gift.

If you do visit at home (or prior to the birth) consider dropping off some ready-made or freezable food. A new and time-poor mum will be eternally grateful!


Hand sanitisers and wash basins abound in hospitals – make use of them! If you are sick, or have been recently, it’s best to play it on the safe side and stay away until you’ve been back to peak health for at least five days. This holds true, also, if your family, co-workers or even pets have been sick.

Avoid perfumes or colognes too – these can be overpowering for mum, whose hormones are still on a rollercoaster.

Connect with mum’s partner

If mum has a partner present, make a real effort to talk to them and ask them how they’re feeling. Post-natal depression is a phenomenon that affects partners as well as mums, and it’s important to acknowledge their feelings, fears, hopes and anxieties.

Consider leaving younger children at home

Although they are the likeliest to be intensely curious about a new baby (and we love encouraging curiosity in young kids) they can add a dimension of unpredictability to the scene, not to mention grubby fingerprints! Consider mum’s need for calm and hygiene (and low sound levels) and whether you can leave the kids in someone else’s care during the visit.

Be respectful

Mum has just had her world turned upside-down – plus she is either exhausted from labour, or in a dull throbbing pain after being stitched up. Although you might understandably want to share the excitement of the new arrival on Facebook or Instagram (and so might she), ask before tapping away – even if the photos are just for you.

A word to the wise

As well-intentioned as giving advice can be, the sheer volume on offer can be overwhelming for a new mum. Let her seek out any information she needs, and let her discover all the joys of motherhood herself. Make positive observations, ask questions, but – unless she asks for advice – let mum take this opportunity to grow with her child.[No text in field]

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