How to be the Best Visitor for a New Family Ever!

bringing home baby 2

Someone you know has just had a baby and you are totally excited. What are some things you should keep in mind and some ways to be the best visitor ever!

  • Wait for an invitation. Send a quick congratulations message and let the parents know that you would like to see them when they are ready and then wait.
  • Keep your visit short. Under an hour is perfect. New parents don’t get a lot of sleep so time is very precious.
  • Offer to pick them up some groceries. Tell them you are going anyway so they don’t feel like they are inconveniencing you. Milk, bread, eggs etc are  almost always needed.
  • Bring food. If you are coming at lunch or dinner time, don’t expect the new family to cook for you. Pick something up on your way.  As a bonus, bring a casserole or other easily frozen and rewarmed dish for another time. Try to think healthy since fast food and ordering in for meals is a common occurrence for a new family.
  • Don’t ask to hold the baby, let them offer. It is sometimes tricky for new parents to juggle visitors and a new baby. Some babies are very sensitive and if they are passed around a lot, they become extremely fussy.  Parents will offer for you to hold baby when they are ready.
  • Ask how mom is doing. It’s amazing how when a mom is pregnant everyone wants to know about them but once baby is born people forget about the mom. Asking how she is will make her feel good and not forgotten.
  • Don’t ask about the birth, let mom bring it up if she wants.  Some births take more time to process than others. Resist the urge to make comments like “That was easy” or “OMG that labour was sooooo long”. Just listen and ask questions. Remember it’s not about you so just let mom talk.
  • Do some light cleaning while you are there. Pack a roll of paper towel, multipurpose cleaner, windex, toilet cleaner and some gloves. Go to the washroom and do a quick cleaning. Go in the kitchen and see if there is dishes to be done or put away. Ask them if you can throw in a load of laundry. They will remember this more than any fancy gift.
  • If you want to bring a gift ask them if there is anything they need. Its amazing how many blankets a baby will get as gifts. Gift cards for a drug store come in really handy. Diapers, not newborn are great too.  Include gift receipts so that it can be exchanged if necessary. If you are buying clothes, buy bigger sizes but keep in mind the season. If baby is born in winter and you want to buy 3 month clothes, go for spring/summer clothes for example.
  • If there is an older sibling pay special attention to them. ALWAYS say hi to them first. Almost ignore the new baby for a few minutes and only pay attention to them. Bring them a special big brother or sister gift. Talk to them while you are holding the baby.

Congratulations!  You are now on your way to being the best visitor on the planet.

What to Pack for Labour

what to pack for labour pic 3

Wondering what to bring to the hospital for baby’s arrival?

There is quite a few lists around on what to bring for postpartum but not that much on what to bring for labor. I always recommend to my clients that they pack 2 bags for the hospital. One for labor and one for postpartum. You may also want a smaller bag for your support person. When you arrive at the hospital, take your labour  bag with you and leave your postpartum bag in the car. After the birth, your support person can take the labour bag to the car and grab your postpartum stuff.  Luggage bags on wheels come in VERY handy and you support person will be EXTREMELY grateful.

For your labour bag you want to pack things that will make you more comfortable in labour.

These could include:
{   }  Birth plan
{   }  Pillows-the ones at the hospital are not very supportive
{   }  Snacks.  These could include but are not limited to-cheese, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, protein bars, sandwich, chocolate etc
{   }  A microwaveable heating bag, hot water bottle or heating pad
{   }  iPod or some other music device. Bring ear buds so you can walk the halls and tune out other noises or if you get an epidural you can tune out distractions so you can rest. Many operating rooms have docking stations so you could ask to play your own music, even in the event of a c-section.
{   }  Hard candies. gum, mints etc
{   }  Ultrasound picture to use to focus on during contractions.  You can put it in a cheap dollar store frame so its nicer.
{   }  TENS machine-Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is the use of electric current produced by a device to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. In labour it helps to release endorphins that help relieve the discomfort of contractions.
{   }  A battery-operated fan from the dollar store. These come in really handy if you get hot and fanning you with a piece of paper just wont cut it.
{   }  Comfortable shoes-not slippers!  If you are doing a lot of walking or standing you want something comfy AND supportive for your feet
{   }  Hair band, hair tie or both
{   }  Chap stick
{   }  Small bottle of massage oil
{   }  Depends underwear or underwear you won’t mind tossing after the birth
{   }  Camera that is charged or bring extra batteries
{   }  Refillable water bottle.  Not a case of water but something you can refill as you need to.
{   }  Gatorade and/or juice
{   }  Tooth brush and paste and/or mouthwash. Put all toiletries in a small bag that can be transferred easily to your postpartum bag.
{   }  Deodorant
{   }  Chargers for phone and other electronic devices
{   }  Small bottle of olive oil for perineal massage before delivery

Partner for Labour

{   }  Snacks.  Sandwichs, power bars etc.  Nothing that has a strong smell.
{   }  Comfortable shoes
{   }  Comfortable clothes
{   }  Gum, mints, mouthwash
{   }  Book
{   }  Deodorant
{   }  Change of clothes in case it is a long birth or mom doesn’t want to go home after the birth

Postpartum bag

For baby:

{   }  Car seat properly installed
{   }  2 Hats
{   }  Outfit-for going home
{   }  2 or 3 onsies
{   }  Blanket-for taking baby home
{   }  Diapers-size newborn
{   }  Wipes sensitive
{   }  Olive oil or Vaseline-to put on bum for baby’s first bowel movement(mechenonium)

For mom:

{   }  1 0r 2 Nursing bras.  Usually 1-2 sizes larger than pre-pregnancy size
{   }  Nursing pillow.  I highly recommend ‘My Breast Friend’
{   }  Breast pads
{   }  Pajamas with opening at the front for easy breastfeeding
{   }  Robe
{   }  Outfit to go home
{   }  Overnight pads-not Always brand
{   }  Flip flops for shower
{   }  Small bottle of shampoo and body wash
{   }  Dark colored towel
{   }  Toiletries bag from labour bag

Good luck and happy birthing!

**Written by Kristi Clements who is a Registered Massage Therapist and birth doula who has helped over 300 babies enter the world :)