ETIQUETTE FOR VISITING A NEW BORN.
For most African homes, a new baby is significant and marks an important addition to the family, and entire community too. There is a lot of excitement once a baby is born — with family, friends, neighbours, etc visiting and congratulating the parents on the arrival of their child. However, we should always bear in mind that the new parents and their baby need a lot of rest at this point and some privacy for family time too.
Here are a few tips to note, for when visiting a new born:
1. Visit the baby and family, only if you have been invited. Never arrive unannounced or in the company of friends, without telling the parents first. There is always a possibility that the family needs some time for their privacy, for the mum to heal, and to prepare for guests.
2. Do not visit the baby if you are sick e.g with a cough, cold, skin infection, etc. At this point, the immune system of the infant is fragile and open to infection.
3. Seek the parents’ consent before carrying the baby and do not pick the baby up in the parents’ absence.
4. Wash and sanitize hands before carrying the new born too.
5. Make the visit short. Both mother and child need a lot of rest at this time.
6. Avoid wearing strong perfumes, colognes and aftershave when visiting a new born.
7. Avoid making derogatory remarks or commenting on the physical appearance (weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, face, head, scars, etc) of the mother or child.
8. Know when to give the baby back to the mum/dad.
9. Do not kiss the baby.
10. Avoid commenting on the parents’ choice of name for their child; and do not name the baby by yourself.
11. Do not expect too much during your visit — refreshment, music, sourvenirs, etc. Post-delivery family visit is not a party; unless the parents make it one.
12. Avoid asking whether the baby was born via a C-section or vaginal delivery. Allow the mother to raise the topic herself, if she feels comfortable talking about it.
13. Know when it’s time to leave. There is no need for prolonged visits, as there would be other opportunities to see the baby later.
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