I bet you can only think of very few things as exciting as welcoming a new life to this world. Be it your own baby, your sister’s, or your friend’s, there are some etiquette rules that we must follow and make others follow when visiting the new child and the proud new parents in Lebanon.
#1. Keep the visit to after the baby’s first week at home
Unless you are very close to the new parents and are visiting for the sole purpose of helping out, it is advised to postpone your congratulatory visit to at least a week after the birth.
This is simply because the first week is a period of adaptation to everyone involved and all that the parents need is some alone time with the baby. You will have plenty of time to meet him/her later on.
#2. Make sure to warn the parents of your visit way beforehand
This is actually a basic rule for every visit you plan to make and not only if a baby is involved. Nevertheless, when the little one is included in the big picture, the necessity of calling the parents before is a thousand times greater.
You never know what might be happening at the instant you arrive. The couple might not have slept at all in the last few days, the mom might be breastfeeding at the moment, or the baby might have just fallen asleep. You don’t want to bring any trouble to the new family at this stage.
#3. Limit your visit time
I know you would love to stay with the baby for as much time as possible but let’s just put things in perspective: Think about your mood after a sleepless night. Now, multiply this one sleepless night of yours by the “age” of the newborn. Hard to deal, isn’t it? Thus be considerate with the new parents and don’t extend your visit more than needed.
#4. Don’t ask to hold the baby
Parents are obviously aware that you are there because of the baby, so if they don’t call you to see or hold the child, they must certainly have a reason to do so. Be patient. Babies are not timed-machines working according to our schedules. Maybe he/she had trouble falling asleep, a strong belly ache, or any other issue. Remember that this little one should always be the priority.
#5. Wash your hands before holding the newborn
This is not the parents trying to be picky or spoiling the baby. We can’t even emphasize enough the importance of washing hands to the immunity of this little human being. Again, let’s put it in perspective: Think about how much you suffer from a simple cold. Now, just think about how much a tiny 50 cm baby would go through. Can you imagine?!
#6. Always bring something along with you
By that, I don’t mean a gift (even though a gift would be most welcome in this case), but a snack or a meal depending on the time you arrive. The parents might not even have had time to eat or cook so that kindness would be highly appreciated. Better yet, stay a few minutes with the baby so that the parents can calmly eat.
#7. Don’t post any pictures on social media
You read it correctly. No pictures. Not even a single one! First of all, it is up to the baby's parents to decide when and what to publish on social media. After all, you are not more proud than them (even if you are a member of the family). Some parents might not even feel safe to post anything.
#8. Give some attention to the older siblings
The arrival of a younger sibling is overwhelming for most children and they will probably be still adapting by the time you visit. By giving them some attention they seek and acknowledging their presence, you will be easing their anxiety and helping them to feel loved and cherished.
#9. Keep the unsolicited advice to yourself
No need to elaborate on this one. It speaks for itself!
#10. Offer to come back later if needed
As we discussed before, children are not timed-machines. There may be times when you did everything correctly: waited for the first week to be over, called beforehand, washed hands, and even got a gift to the newborn and to all his siblings. However, when the baby doesn't stop crying, it is better not to impose your presence. Excuse yourself with a smile and say you will come back at another time. The parents will be very grateful for your understanding.
You might be asking yourselves what would be the point of going if I have to stick to these rules. However, they are the very basic and are meant to help the new family adapt to the most exciting time of their lives, and the most tiring one.