A new baby is always a reason for celebration. Everyone wants to see the adorable bundle of joy, from the grandparents to the family’s youngest children who now have the task of becoming kuyas and ates.
What you can read in this article?
- 9 things not to do when visiting their newborn
- When is it safe to visit a newborn?
- Keep a newborn save from Covid-19 when visiting: newborn baby rules for parents
Days seem brighter, happier, and so much more joyful with a baby around. But as titas and titos, we must not forget to be considerate towards the parents, especially during the first few days and weeks following the birth. Sometimes, we get so caught up in the excitement, we forget and overstep our boundaries.
Most especially since we are in the middle of a pandemic, it is critical to keep the infant and their parents safe and healthy. Even before COVID-19, physicians recommended limiting the number of visits a newborn is exposed to over the first few months—at least until the first round of immunizations is administered.
9 things not to do when visiting their newborn.
Visiting a newborn. | Image from Pexels
Rules for visiting newborn
Coming over unexpected
It’s probably been a tiring few days for the mother, popping out a child and all. While they may be ecstatic and excited to show their baby to the world, it may not yet be the right time, since they’re still adjusting to the new routine.
Before dropping by, always give the parents a call. This is so that they can prepare and so that can advise you when’s the best time to visit, usually after the baby and parents have had their naps.
Some parents would rather rest, heal, and wait until they return home before welcoming visitors. Remember that bringing a child into the world is a huge undertaking, and they deserve some time to relax and settle into parenthood.
There’s a lot that happens – feedings, diaper changes, and putting the baby to sleep. It’s quite acceptable for them to decline a visit if they’re not ready yet.
After setting a schedule with the parents, do come on time. The purpose of this is to ensure that you do not wake the baby or disrupt their eating and resting schedule. The majority of parents prefer scheduled visits so that they may attend to and entertain their guests on their timetable and schedule.
Visiting a newborn. | Image from Pexels
How to be a good guest
Outstaying your welcome
You came, you saw… and it’s time to go. As much as you would like to spend hours ogling and admiring the baby, both mother and child need time to rest and bond. A good rule of thumb would be to stay two to four hours, or until the next time the baby needs to feed.
Time of interaction is also essential during this time of the pandemic. One of the frequent reminders on minimum health protocols is limiting one’s time of interaction with other people to less than 30 minutes.
Know more about Covid-19 safe visits to newborns at the end of this article.
Giving unsolicited advice
This is a particular pet peeve of first-time parents. Even if you’ve had 7 children and consider yourself an expert, refrain from giving unsolicited advice. No one likes being told what to do, especially mothers who are excited to discover these things on their own. You may offer advice, but only if they do ask.
In many cases, new mothers find themselves in a vulnerable position, both physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, many individuals fail to recognize the fragility of a new mother’s spirit and unknowingly cause harm to her in the process. It is possible to harm a mother’s mental and emotional health by giving her unwanted advice, criticizing her parenting choices, or making her feel incompetent in any manner.
You may be thinking, “Of course, who’s dumb enough to smoke a cigar in front of a baby?” Lighting up a stick in the same room is an obvious No-No, but it may be a better idea to refrain from smoking all together even before you enter the premises.
Third-hand smoke, which clings to your clothes, hair, and skin, is very harmful. If you’re a smoker who needs to puff, do consider bringing a fresh set of clothes you can change into.
10 things na ipinag-aalala ng mga magulang sa kanilang mga newborn
Newborn Guide: Mga Importanteng Kaalaman Tungkol sa Moro Reflex o Startle Reflex
Newborn screening in the Philippines: Mga dapat malaman ng magulang
Good guest etiquette
Assuming you can touch and carry the baby
As much as you want to pinch those cherubic cheeks, don’t assume that you can touch the baby. Always ask the permission of parents first, or wait for them to ask you if you would like to carry the child.
Dr. Karin Nielsen is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine’s division of infectious diseases.
According to Dr. Nielsen, HSV-1, which can cause cold sores, is particularly dangerous to infants.
“In the specific situation of herpes simplex virus or HSV, some people may have cold sores around their lips, or just start manifesting them, and kissing can transmit the virus to others, particularly to infants, who are more susceptible as they have no prior immunity,” Dr. Nielsen told Healthline. She says that there is absolutely a big risk if someone with an active HSV infection kisses a baby, especially during the neonatal period.
An unfortunate example is Mariana Sifrit from Iowa who died at 18 days old after contracting viral meningitis from a kiss.
When is it safe to visit a newborn?
Coming over sick
Sure, your fever has subsided and you are feeling a whole lot better than last week, but until you’re completely sure that you’re free from sickness, do not visit the baby. The baby has yet to develop immunity against ordinary, everyday germs, so being in contact will put the baby at risk.
Do wait and recuperate. You can always schedule a visit in the future.
Also, check yourself for Covid-19 symptoms. Isolate and get yourself checked immediately.
Bringing your toddlers
Of course, little Juan wants to take a peek at the baby, but there may be a better time than now to bring him. The baby needs quiet time, and Juan, who may get fussy himself, may (unintentionally) disrupt precious time for sleep.
Expecting to be waited on
Especially in Pinoy culture, we’ve been taught and trained to be the most generous and most hospitable hosts- bringing out good China for guests, taking extra care in sprucing up the home, serving merienda, and entertaining guests until dawn.
However, when it comes to visiting newborns, do expect that the parents may not be as “energetic” and able when entertaining all of you. They’re probably a little tired, having taken on the 24-hour care of their newborn. While they cannot entertain as much, you can still enjoy the time together during the visit.
In addition, do clean up after yourself when you leave. They will love you for it.
It’s harder now because of the Covid-19 pandemic
When all else fails, you can always stay connected via Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Discord, and any other video calling application there is.
You may even share photographs and videos via social networking or photo-sharing applications with a single press of your finger. If the weather permits, an outdoor meet-and-greet can be arranged so that family and friends can see the baby from a safe distance.
Keep a newborn save from Covid-19: newborn baby rules for parents
Now that we’re in the midst of a pandemic, we recommend that you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s basic advice for preventing the spread of COVID-19 to your newborn:
- Avoid exposing yourself to persons who are not members of your home while indoors.
- When visiting indoors, keep the visit to no more than 15 minutes in length.
- Keep your baby at least 6 feet away from anyone who is not a member of your family.
- If you take your kid out of the house, make sure that everyone around you wears a mask as well.
- Prior to picking up your child, everyone who will come into contact with or hold your child should wear a mask and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer.
If it is possible to conduct visits outside, everyone must wear their masks and maintain a safe distance from the family and other visitors to avoid contamination. However, it is still preferable to restrict face-to-face interactions for the time being. Go virtual!
Visiting a newborn. | Image from Pexels
Do understand if the parents decline your visit, especially when you:
- Have signs and symptoms of a medical condition (even mild symptoms)
- Have been in contact with someone who is sick
- Have been in contact with someone who is or is exposed to Covid-19
What else can you do to help the new family?
- If feasible, any family members or friends who will be in close contact with the newborn during the first few months of life should have the COVID-19 vaccine, a Tdap booster vaccine, and a flu shot.
- Organize a virtual game night, share some amusing new parenting stories, or simply keep the conversation centered on them and how you can help.
- When a baby is born, some siblings may feel betrayed thinking that they lost all the love and attention from their parents. Send them a little something to keep them occupied, or talk to them and teach them how they can be a great and responsible Ate or Kuya.
Additional information from Margaux Dolores
Banner Health, CDC, Healthline, Running in Triangles, Lancaster General Health, Health 4 Mom