22 May 2019

The etiquette of visiting new parents

Over the last fortnight, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been welcoming visitors to meet their new son, Archie.

The first few weeks after a baby is born are a special time, but they can also be exhausting and stressful. So what should you bear in mind when visiting a newborn? We've compiled a few dos and don'ts:

  • DO bring food: whether it’s a packet of biscuits or a lasagne to stick in the freezer, edible provisions will ease some of the burden of shopping, cooking or finding something to serve guests.
  • DON’T bring your own small children, unless they are guaranteed to behave. A grabby toddler, however loved, may become a further source of stress for already-stressed new parents.
  • DO admire the baby’s name – even if it’s Bilberry Meadowsweet. Ditto its looks, however reminiscent of a potato.
  • DON’T visit if you have a heavy cold or other contagious illness.
  • DO help to make tea and wash up.
  • DON’T wear strong fragrance. It’s disconcerting for a parent to find their newborn reeks of Chanel No. 5 after a day of cuddles.
  • DO resist giving advice, unless it is explicitly asked for. However well intended, you risk causing serious offence by correcting a new parent’s way of holding/ feeding/ winding/ dressing their child.
  • DON’T stay too long. New parents may be entertaining a steady stream of visitors, so a policy of short-but-sweet is usually a safe bet.

Any advice we've missed? Share yours in the comments below.


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