As the world awaits the arrival of the new Royal baby, it’s a good reminder for the rest of us about proper etiquette when visiting a new mom and her baby right here in Ottawa. What should you do and what things should you avoid?
Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized etiquette expert, author and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, offers this advice:
- Call ahead of time. Let the new mom decide when she would like visitors and respect her wishes. Don’t show up unannounced, keep your visit brief, don’t show up empty handed, or expect to be waited on or entertained.
- Never visit a newborn if you’re sick. Make sure that you are in good health and that everyone with you is well before visiting. When you arrive, don’t pick up the baby unless you have been invited to do so and be sure to wash your hands first if you have been invited to hold the baby.
- Don’t offer your opinions unless asked. It seems like everyone has an opinion as to how to raise a baby. If the mother asks for your advice, be careful not to offer too much. That’s what pediatricians are for.
- Keep the focus on the new mom and her baby, not on yourself. Be careful not to “one up” the mother’s labor and delivery experience with details of your own. Everyone’s experience is different and most people don’t want to hear the details of your delivery or share the details of theirs, anyway. That’s called TMI — too much information!
- Names are a personal choice. Regardless of what the baby is named, be gracious with your response to it. Naming a child is a very personal decision. And the name parents choose is usually one they love. To make curt remarks or disapproving facial expressions is an insult to the parents.
- Respect the mother’s privacy. If the mother decides to breastfeed her baby, be sure to ask if she would like you to leave the room during feeding time. Also, in spite of the fact that women are more relaxed these days with breastfeeding in front of others, some visitors may not feel comfortable watching. Always ask if your guests or family members mind if you feed the baby in front of them.