This is a blog I’ve been meaning to write for well over a year, sort of. When I the little dude many friends said “you’re the first person I know with a baby, you should write an etiquette guide on the blog”. And I didn’t because I didn’t want to offend anyone who strayed from the guide.
Tomorrow I’m visiting a colleague who had a baby last week. So I’m writing this, finally, as a refresher for myself!
1) Take food. You have to take food. Take much food. If you don’t have time to make food, take food from a shop, but make it decent. The food is for the new parents, it is to be presented in a form that they can use later with no more effort than it takes to push microwave buttons, it is not for you to eat while visiting.
2) Say that the baby is the most beautiful thing in the world.
3) Do not ask to hold the baby. But if the parents ask if you want to hold the baby, say yes, because they probably mean “please hold baby for a moment so that I can be not holding the baby for a moment”.
4) Unilaterally do chores. Do not accept offers of drinks, etc. If they offer you a drink say “no, you sit, I’ll get a drink for you.” Then wash the cups before you leave.
5) Don’t stay more than about half an hour, or an hour tops. Visit frequently by all means (that will probably be greatly appreciated), but make it brief.
6) If you are a parent yourself, give much general sympathy and moral support. Give practical tips where appropriate and relevant. Don’t be patronising.
7) Did I mention bring food?
8) Don’t say you’re tired.
9) If the mother is breastfeeding, take your cue from her as to whether you stay in the room or not while the baby feeds. If she leaves the room, definitely don’t follow.
10) Don’t ask about childbirth.