It's rarely like a unicorn, but it really does exist: the perfect postpartum visit.
Many want to be, even more think they are, very few know what's really going on with mom and baby - especially when he's gone: the postpartum visit.
We know you mean well, we know you wanna see the baby, we know you're naive:
But you can actually do a lot, a lot wrong as a postpartum visit - and in the worst case, trigger a engorgement in the mother, which has to be treated with antibiotics in the clinic. Simply because going to bed usually means one thing for both mother and child: stress. Yes, stress.
So please! Take this seriously.
The perfect postpartum visit:
... never invites himself! If he is not actively invited, this means that postpartum visits are (still) undesirable. Complete. You don't know if Mom is having the baby blues or breastfeeding problems or menstrual flow problems. He doesn't even ask if he can come NOW if he got a no last week.
...never stands in front of the door unannounced or "just happens to be in the area". Point. This is simply NOT possible. Stress level 1000 for mother and child.
... only comes if he is healthy.
...does not stay longer than an hour. Maximum 90 minutes. no longer. Ask the mother what works and what doesn't. Mom often overestimates herself, even if she is happy about your visit. Please be strict with yourself and leave early again. Unless Mom is hanging on your leg and yelling "Don't leave me!!!"
... bring something to eat. A strengthening postnatal soup, chocolate, cake. Breastfeeding mothers in particular often need a lot of chocolate. Don't ask IF, ask WHAT to bring to eat.
.. bring a small gift for mother and child. Maybe flowers for mum, a romper for the baby or a voucher from the nearest drugstore. Diapers are always welcome and consumption is enormous, especially in the first few days.
... also note the older sibling. And maybe even has a little gift for them too.
... asks shortly before the agreed meeting if Mom really still likes it. This can change quickly, she can be dealing with babies or her own diapers, have a crying fit, etc.
... won't let mom play the big hostess. Mama shouldn't move. If you're a good friend and it's okay with mom, then YOU set the table with the cake you brought. YOU make yourself some coffee and ask mom what SHE wants. YOU help mom to help her baby. Of course, dad can also take on this role and, in the worst case, is also the perfect bouncer or hellhound - depending on how persistent and popular the announced visit is.
...also ask mom how she's doing. Everyone is ecstatic about the baby, but Mom did the heroic work.
... NEVER comment on how the apartment looks like. Unless it's something positive. After the birth, mom and dad really don't have the nerve to wipe the dust for visitors. They've had sleepless nights and are completely new people, so you have to set priorities. Anyway, Mom probably cleaned up quickly and stressed herself out with it. The condition of the apartment is already the best that can currently be achieved.
... NEVER makes the new family feel guilty. Yes, you want to see the baby, yes, you want cute photos and then show them to Aunt Anneliese and the colleagues from the bowling club.
But it's not about you. Please don't be ego pigs. Take it easy, and above all: don't take it personally!
You don't know what's going on in childbirth and what emotional highs and lows mother and baby go through. No mother says openly: You know, I'm having a splatter-movie flow right now, I change my diapers more often than the baby's, and I cry non-stop, plus I've got sleep deprivation, birth trauma and scared shit, so please just stay put remote.
...does not wear harsh, heavy perfumes. Especially not if he/she is allowed to hold the baby. Now, baby really doesn't want to smell like aftershave or heavy perfumes, and mom will hate it when her baby smells like perfumery.
... waits patiently, IF and if so, UNTIL mom lets the baby out of her hands. Believe me: Every mother knows that the childbirth visitor likes to hold the baby and take a picture. Every mother waits to see if she and baby are ready for this.
There's no way Baby will be snatched from her hand. No way is baby denied to her if she wants it back. In no case will we make her feel guilty a la You've had it all the time anyway, now let me have it too! Especially not when it comes to breastfeeding and mom and baby are withdrawing - ie leaving the room.
If the baby is hanging in a baby carrier with mum, please don't reach in with your hand and stroke the baby's little head in front of mum's chest without being asked. This is overbearing and creepy! It is asked and waited for.
... prefers not to kiss baby or touch his face.
.. does not give tips unless requested. " Well, WE did it completely differently back then..." PLEASE! HAVE MERCY! New parents are unsettled enough. PLEASE don't make a name for yourself at the expense of the insecure parents - because yes, that's what you're doing in the end. Instead, tell them how great and right they are doing and that they will find their own way. If they need tips, you're more than welcome. But they do.
... if in doubt: don't even come to visit. The perfect postnatal visit is often the one that says: settle in first. Get along as a family first. The confinement officially lasts eight weeks, and there is a reason for that. When you're ready, you come out of your den. We are waiting and looking forward to seeing you - even if it means that we won't see you for another two months. (Yes, you read that right: IN TWO MONTHS.)
No matter how perfect you are as a childbirth visit: Keep in mind that every childbirth visit, every new impression, has to be processed by the baby afterwards.
That often means: An hour of childbirth visits can mean two hours of baby roaring, especially when the baby has noticed that the mother was not feeling well.
You may go home and rejoice in how well the little family is getting along and how hospitable they have been. But you don't get what's going on afterwards, especially with mother and child - and especially the more recent the birth is.
So please follow these rules here and even better: ask the little family and especially mom what is right for them. THANKS!