The Rules for Visiting a New Mom


You know the scene: A close girlfriend has her long-awaited new baby and you feel the need to hightail it to her house to hold that little bundle of joy. In fact, it takes all of your self-control to not show up at the hospital and interrupt the precious few hours that she’ll have staff doting on her around the clock. Either it’s because you love that new baby smell or you think Mama is going to have hurt feelings if you don’t show interest in her newest family member, but regardless, you are going to hold that baby. This is what we do as women, yes?

Au contraire, mon amie. I distinctly remember being two months into motherhood and realizing that I didn’t need or want any more girlfriends stopping by and over-stimulating my colicky, sensitive child with their scary foreign faces, inappropriately loud voices, or refusal to stop bouncing him for even a few minutes. Give the baby a break from the bouncing, ladies. Do you think I want him to get used to that?  No, I don’t, because I’m tired and I don’t want to have to bounce him myself.

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I assure you that I would not have been hurt had no one come to visit me at all. Do you think I made this baby by myself?  In fact, I did not. There is a man who lives here to keep me company in the evenings. During the day I was too tired, overwhelmed, and covered in spit-up to care about loneliness, and having company just meant that I’d have to squeeze my fat ass into something that didn’t fit and vacuum the dog hair off the floor.

Before I became a mother I was one of those girlfriends who showed up just to hold your baby. I hereby publicly apologize to all of the new mommies that I did this to. No mother I know was sitting around, desperately waiting for me to appear at her house empty-handed and hold her baby. I am no Baby Whisperer, believe me.

There was one instance that I arrived at a girlfriend’s house for no other reason than to hold her new baby and then I sat down and ate the dinner that her husband had been preparing for them. Me! I did not just have a baby! Why was I eating her food?  Shameful.

Now I’m a mother and realize that if you want to hold that babe in the first four months before the yummy new baby smell wears off, then there are some rules governing that situation…

• Bring food that you know they’ll like. This means a take-out lunch from a higher-end restaurant and bring enough food so that Daddy has something to eat when he gets home. Chicken, fish, steak, or something that fits their special diet.  Don’t be stingy; buy enough for leftovers. Don’t make something on your own unless it actually tastes good. It’s best to spend a little money and treat them to something nice since it’s going to be a long, long time before they go to a restaurant again. I hate to say it, but if you can’t afford to buy her a decent lunch, then you need to consider whether you can really afford to hold this baby.

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• Don’t eat her food. Does Mama have some pulled pork or a rack of short ribs simmering in the crock-pot when you arrive? Don’t you dare accept any of it if she offers. She is being polite and you are not actually a guest. You are an intruder. Remember:  Everything that you don’t eat is leftovers for them tomorrow, so don’t eat anything at all. You can have some water if you get it yourself. You need to be on high alert to recognize fake offers of food/gifts/favors and so on from this woman; she is likely out of her mind from sleep deprivation and doesn’t know what she’s saying, but she will still remember your greediness years later.

One of my friends left a homemade chicken casserole and fresh chocolate chip cookies at our front door and didn’t even need to come inside. The hallmark of a truly excellent friend is one who will knock quietly, put the food on the front porch, then get in the car and drive away.

• Bring a gift, even if you already gave a baby shower gift. Ask Mama what she needs or check her registry for lingering purchases. Don’t get your panties in a bunch about this one; it can be something as simple as a case of pacifiers or replacement pump pieces–  things that only cost a few bucks. Nobody ever said that a gift had to be a surprise in order to be good. When in doubt, ask what diapers they use and bring those. If you buy the cheapest diapers you can find that are imported from Mexico, she’ll be dealing with scratchy leaky diapers and cursing your name at 4am.

• Snap Away. If you’re a semi-pro photographer, bring your camera and your most flattering lens. Don’t try to sell her the portraits later. Send them for free.

• No summer dresses in winter. Don’t bring size-inappropriate-for-the-season clothing that suits your taste and not theirs. Babies grow fast. Use your brain.

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• Don’t bring decorative kick-knacks. As much fun as you might think it is, no mother wants you to decorate her new baby nursery. Decorating the nursery is strictly relegated to mom and dad and you can keep your over-sized stuffed animals, picture frames, and inspirational quotes out of it. Nobody wants something extra to dust around when they have a new baby. Don’t make Mama waste a stamp graciously thanking you for some random thing you dug up at Tuesday Morning that she never wanted in the first place.

• Make yourself useful. Is your new-mother friend one of those controlling types who doesn’t want anyone helping with her housework?  Your friend needs to get over it because in about 8 months that baby is going to be mobile and her days of being in control of her surroundings are officially a thing of the past.

Do the dishes. If the kitchen sink is full of dishes, turn on the water, rinse them off, and start loading them up in the dishwasher. Load them smart because you know how much we hate it when the dishwasher is loaded wrong. Don’t halfheartedly ask Mama if maybe you can help out in some way because she’s going to say no even though she means “God, yes, please someone help me for once.” Just do it.

• Or the laundry. Look around and spy a pile of clean clothes that needs to be folded? Do you have two working hands?  Fold the laundry, even the underwear.

• Be that friend. One of my friends not only brought food and a gift, but she called from the drugstore to see if I needed anything (indeed, I did need nursing pads for those leaky boobs no one warned me about) and started putting away all of the odds and ends that belonged in the baby’s closet that I couldn’t reach because of my c-section. When she asked what she could do it wasn’t really a question as much as it was a statement and request for orders.

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Another girlfriend came over with her husband for an afternoon. He sat in a chair and rocked the baby while she cleaned my kitchen spotless, including shining up the stainless steel of the refrigerator. What did I do?  I took a bath and washed and dried my hair for the first time in a week. You know when your hair gets so dirty that the roots hurt? That was my hair.  I had an entire hour to myself where I wasn’t listening for the baby to cry for the first time since becoming a mother two months prior. When I tried to check on the baby in the living room she whispered, “Get out of here. He can smell your milk.”

But not THAT friend. I can honestly say that there were a few visitors during that time of my life who had me thinking, “I’m being held hostage by this tiny person who just threw up in my eyes and you didn’t even bring me anything?” Don’t be that friend. Learn from me, the reformed do-nothing baby holder. Last summer when a friend had a new baby, I brought a small gift and lunch whenever I went to see her because I knew she felt so overwhelmed. These days I don’t even give birthday presents without asking Mama what the little one needs, or if my gift idea is alright with her.

If you’ve been a blatant do-nothing baby holder in the past, fear not. Make a mental note to buy the child a special gift for their next birthday party and rest easy knowing that at some point, your day of having vomit in your eyes will come and you will find yourself wondering what the hell these baby-holding friends are doing in your house.

Related: 10 Tips on How to be a Good Friend

About the writer

Robyn divides her time between wondering where those 30 points of IQ snuck off to after the birth of her first child and silently judging parents who let their kids eat red dye #40.


Laura 2 months ago

This is super preachy and self-righteous! Honestly, if I started cleaning my friends homes, they’d probably feel weird about it. And, if you ask anyone other than your spouse or immediate family if they need anything from the drugstore, the answer is always “Nope!” I really don’t think it’s a function of how close you are to someone, but rather I think everyone is different and there’s no one set of rules that you *must* abide by in the presence of a new mother. Plus, I think family and in-laws are more guilty of this than friends.

Beth 3 months ago

I love this blog! Thank you for inspiring us –weary moms. I just joined “it works” – I quit my job after 20 years- abandoned my retirement so I can be there for my kids. Join me on this journey.

Moriah 3 months ago

This is the most ungracious, entitled attitude I’ve ever seen from a new mother in my life. Shame on you for “normalizing” these expectations and behavior. Just horrid.

Dakota 6 months ago

Thank you for the laugh and for making me pause and remember when I had mine. Don’t take the stupid comments too seriously. People need to be rotten because they have nothing in their life to be happy about. It was a funny read and too true at times. You don’t have to have a child to appreciate this piece.

Melissa 7 months ago

Wait, now that I’m thinking about it, this has happened to me more than twice. Once – the worst – was when we got stuck making a day trip to “meet” my husband’s new niece. I was actually begging his brother and sister-in-law to let me do their laundry or something – anything to end the sitting and staring at the baby. Unfortunately, their apartment was clean, they were clean, their clothes were clean, their dishes were clean and they had just been to the market and made us lunch. And dinner. Groaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan. So. Painful.

Melissa 7 months ago

I have had sort of the opposite experience. My friends all had babies and wanted me to go “meet” them. I pretty much did everything I could think of to avoid going to their house to stare at their progeny and talk for hours about said progeny’s wonderful points. For the most part, I managed to dodge the bullet but there are always a few who won’t give up. I showed up to these meetings empty-handed and hoping to keep the interview as short as possible. In both cases they made a big show out of having me hold the baby and then they both served me lunch! Believe me, I tried to get out of it but how do you say no to a good friend who is imploring you to sit down to lunch with her??? Anyway, I am super glad that my own natural tendencies have meant that I have avoided the sort of unpleasant person like the author, who for some reason thinks her baby is a bargaining chip to be used to obtain goods and services.

GsR 7 months ago

My favorite story to share from my son’s newborn days is when my MIL came over to ‘make’ us dinner. My husband ended up cooking the meal because she ‘wanted to spend time with him.’ She then took half of the leftovers home with her and left the dishes (that included a pan with burnt rice that took three days to get off) for us to do. Thanks grandma…

CC 8 months ago

If you want to be a true friend to a family with people who are new parents, the best gift you can give that baby is a well-fed, well-rested mum and dad. The baby is not going to miss any toys or new clothes you don’t bring. But they do need parents who aren’taren’t constantly sleep-deprived, or eating erratically. That’s all this author is saying. Essentially, do not make your visit something that makes things even harder for new parents; and maybe you could be so kind as to make your visit something that makes things easier for them instead, please and thank you.

Faye 11 months ago

My cousin visited when my youngest as to weeks old…and brought her gaggle of FOUR small children whom all had runny noses and wanted to kiss the baby. As much as I adored her children, I had to ask her to leave until the kids were all well. Unfortunately, (well maybe not), she never visited or spoke to me again.
Newborns my not have immunity to children with possibly unwashed hands or sniffles. Leave them with Grandma for your visit to welcome the baby.

Marie 12 months ago

Hated having visitors! I just wanted to be alone with my new baby and husband ! Everyone came and expected me to be ready to party and I just wasn’t. Also- do not bring your dirty four year old to the hospital !!! Germs germs germs and I don’t want to see you either . Next time I will say my piece. No visitors at least in the beginning.

Octavia 1 year ago

I always appreciated when people stopped by to see my babies, just keep it short and sweet and don’t expect the new mom to serve you! I was so lonely with my first baby in the beginning, none of my family was near by when I gave birth and it was a complicated delivery. I was newer to the area. My MiL did by me groceries so that was nice. And I did get flowers sent to me too :)

When people did (eventually) visit most brought something special for the baby or me, nothing big, just heartfelt. It was nice. Some interesting points in this article. People are so different, it is hard to know what to do sometimes. I will definitely keep this in mind for the future.

Sarah 1 year ago

Also, just to add…
True friends will probably know all of these things anyway. True friends can come over without you worrying about what your house will look like. True friends are people you can tell, “hey, I’m exhausted and haven’t had a chance to do X, Y, and Z… as you can see by the dishes piled high and the mountain of dog hair.” Realistically, it won’t matter to that friend. They’ve come to see you and your baby, not to clean your house. Not to pamper you.

Lily 1 year ago

I’m in the trepidatious period; my close friend who I’ve know for over 15 years will not accept any visitors or help. I poured my heart out and begged her to tell me what she needed inc. leaving her alone & shopping/cleaning. Two days later she said ‘she is really cute, we’re all gaga. Want a girls day out soon and pedicures’ This is 2 weeks in. I realise there is no normal, it is now almost a month and she will have no visitors. She is isolated with no neighbours and no car, am I being paranoid? Is the food & essentials at the doorstep the right idea? I think I just need permission to butt out but I’m worried she isn’t coping. Thank you! Lily

Ultimate Hampers 1 year ago

Bring me wine, cause its been so dam long I need it, sushi, seafood and ham – anything I wasn’t allowed to eat for 9months BRING IT ON. Oh and my ankles who went MIA mid way through my pregnancy!

The best gift I received was a meal delivery voucher thing for those nights I didnt have time or the energy to cook.

Tilly 1 year ago

I HATE this article. It makes me so angry. Please don’t listen to this mean and bitter woman. I LOVED having friends visit me and my new babe, and can’t wait for my next one to arrive in the next few days so everyone can visit again :-) I absolutely don’t expect anybody to cook or clean for me and don’t need any gifts, especially if they’ve already given me something at the baby shower. The only advise I give to friends is to just send a quick text message before popping over, mum will let you know if it’s not good timing. So for all my wonderful friends, please come over for cuddles!

tia 1 year ago

Oh how I wish my in-laws would read this.. The insist on coming over everyday just to hold our new born twins. And some how they always wait until I’m breasting on of the babies to try to hand me back the other because they need a diaper changed.. I want to post a sign that says you can only hold the baby if you are willing to change a shitty diaper. Otherwise let the baby sleep.

Anon 1 year ago

How about… NO!!! I’m not here to be your personal slave, to be barked orders by someone I thought was my friend. Funny how none of my friends who had babies gave me a list like this. I guess I just have friends how are not arrogant and don’t feel like the world owes them a favour for having babies!

“if you can’t afford to buy her a decent lunch, then you need to consider whether you can really afford to hold this baby”… are you actually fucking serious?? My financial situation is now a barrier to me having anything to do with your baby?? Well y’know what, you self-righteous moron…? If you write out a list like this for your friends, you need to consider if you really deserve any friends! And hopefully you have none left!

A_Catk 1 year ago

I will never to this day forget the first time my mother-in-law and father-in-law visited our house after our son was born. I had had a C-section 3 days ago. My husband was busy upstairs with the baby, and my father-in-law walked into the house, sat on the couch, looked at me and said, “[My name], I’ll take a cappuccino.” I hadn’t even offered anyone a drink!! My mother-in-law just sat there and didn’t offer to make it for him. I am not very tall (barely 5 feet), and had to get on a stool and reach up high to get a mug down. I’m lucky I didn’t rip my stitches open! The best part was, less than a year later he had major surgery and I was sooooo very tempted to go to their house a few days after he got home from the hospital and ask him to make me a cappuccino!! My husband wouldn’t let me… LOL

Ashley 1 year ago

Love this! So true. It really hurt that I didn’t have any friends or family offer to help with chores around the house after my emergency c-section. Not one. They wanted to come hold the baby so I could do the chores my doctor specifically told me I couldn’t do. It was really nice to have several people offer to bring meals however, but they would show up at 7:30pm and then want to hang out with the baby for an hour. This made me go through the roof during week 3 when our daughter went through her growth spurt and had day/reversal. She’d nap from about 7-9pm then she’d be up ALL NIGHT LONG. (I’m not kidding, I stayed on the couch and watched tv and drank decaf coffee to make it through each night). And friends would sit there holding her while she slept during that two hour evening time telling me I should sleep when she did. Ha! I guess I was the only one that truly saw the irony in that…

Rivka 1 year ago

My Parents- (Yes MY Parents- not my husbands…) Came to us in Israel in time for our sons circumcision- (8 days after birth). I was really excited and hoping to have a helping hand and some understanding that I JUST had a baby….
Well Long story short, it was my mothers first time in Israel, she wanted to see the sites, an couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to come with them on a hike 10 days after birth…and why I was understandably upset that they didn’t want to stay in the house with us when I haven’t seen them in months…
Aside for the fact that the left us more dishs and laundry instead of doing ours we did theirs…

Nicole 1 year ago

After having a baby, she probably doesn’t want her friends around just for the “benefit”. Being around another person takes a *ton* of energy, and I’m sure when you’re already sleep deprived and exhausted from both labor and the work of taking care of a baby you don’t have any more energy to expend on anything else. I’m not a parent, but I know that even after just working a hard day and feeling physically or emotionally drained the last thing I want is having someone else around – unless they are wiling to just sit quietly with me and don’t expect me to feed them, entertain them, or keep up a quality conversation. It’s not that I necessarily dislike that person, I just don’t want to be around anyone at all. The only way for some people to re-energize is by being alone, so if people are constantly around a new mother when all her other energy is already being sapped, she’s going to lose it pretty quickly.

Nicole 1 year ago

I don’t think she’ll have a problem with this. If you don’t want to see her baby, then don’t go over to her house, and everyone is happy. I think her point is that if you absolutely must see the baby in the first few months after it was born, without being invited, then do something nice and helpful in return. If you don’t have an urge to see the baby, then don’t. She’s ranting against people who insist on visiting without being helpful, not people who don’t visit at all.

Nicole 1 year ago

This is great. I haven’t had any close friends who have had kids (yet), but my reaction to my acquaintances and distant friends having a baby has been to drop all contact and wait for them to contact me. If they don’t, then I know that I was probably on the list of people they can’t make time for with their extremely busy schedule. I don’t mean that sarcastically, either, I legitimately understand that there are going to be people that you don’t see or contact anymore once you have a baby. That baby is now the single most important thing in your life, and since it takes up so much of your time and energy it’s simply not possible to have everything (and everyone) in your life that you had before.

I’m not sure I’d do any of these things with anyone to whom I wasn’t particularly close (I’m still the stay away until they give the okay type of person, there) but now I know what to do if I ever have a close friend who has a baby. Now, are these things legitimately helpful? Or are they just things that you need to do to make up for the fact that you felt like barging in on another person’s home without being invited? Do new parents ultimately prefer everyone else to just leave them alone for the first four to six months, regardless of how close of a friend you were, before? If that’s the case, I have no problem controlling myself from contacting them for that time period – I simply want to do whatever is best for the new parents.

Holly 1 year ago

Awe I had a well meaning family member tell EVERYONE to not visit and leave me alone. I was sooooo lonely and thought noone cared. My next three babies i made sure people knew to come share the joy of a new baby with us! It was so much fun and babies benefit from all that love people have to give. Everyone was happy to wash their hands and if they were sick were cosiderate not to
come. Not to mention noone came empty handed! I did not have to cook for weeks and my baby was more fashionable than me!

Judy Parsons 1 year ago

The best hint I ever got was at a La Leche League meeting: Wear a nightgown for the first 2-3 weeks (or longer). When someone stops over, you can either say “oh, I was just going to bed” OR “I was just getting up, let me throw something on” depending on how you feel. Somewhere I read if you are the “live-in help” after a baby is born, let the momma take care of the baby; YOU take care of everything else.

Kris 2 years ago

You could be thankful anyone cares enough to come see you instead of demanding gifts from them…. WOW.

Jessica 2 years ago


laura 2 years ago

I was always bad at bringing stuff. However, I wasn’t a total failure. I was more the friend that showed up empty handed, took the baby, and demanded that mama shower/nap/eat. What ever she needed to do. I wasn’t a stranger to diapers and crying….I didn’t mind.

Julie 2 years ago

I guess I was the weirdo who welcomed company. I was lonely and happy to have friends or family there to hold my kids so I could shower, eat a sandwich, or just sit there. Of course, my friends were all great about bringing food and wine and gifts and helping throw in a load of laundry or dishes. And when I invitd my friends to stay and eat whatever was in the crock pot, I meant it. I wouldn’t ask them if I didn’t. I also would tell them Ihad enough if I wanted them to leave. Friends understand.

Sara 2 years ago

in my country it is not for anyone besides the parents to enter the maternity wards in the hospital. If u have guests, u will have to use the common cafe-area usually close by. I felt it was wonderful, no unexpected visitors at hospital!:)

Jen 2 years ago

I have one friend that totally fits the bill for being the perfect friend for a new mom. When I gave birth to my first child and was having difficulties with latching, she emailed my husband all the materials she could find that would help me. Then she and her husband asked to visit and, to our surprise, when they arrived they had grocery bags with them and cooked Thai food for our dinner. They helped us with cleaning up too before they left. Needless to say, we chose her to be godmother to our daughter :)

Callie Ge 2 years ago

A new friend from down the road was the only visitor I had the day i got out of hospital ,but what a joy she was, she came in, saw the look on my face and got to work, she folded enough nappies to last me all night, made me a cup of coffee and a sandwich, did the dishes, vacuumed the lounge room, fed the dogs, gave me a hug and a kiss then left,

Emily 2 years ago

A couple of days after my daughter was born, my sister came by to sit with me for an hour or so while my husband ran some errands – I was too nervous to be alone with the baby and wanted company. I don’t remember much about that day except that I hadn’t eaten all day and was exhausted. My sister left her own four-month-old at home, told me to sit down as soon as she got to my house, put two slices of pizza in front of me and ordered me to eat, and cleaned my kitchen while I ate. When my husband got home, she taught both of us how to give our baby a sponge bath before going home to her own baby. Best sister ever.

Our children are both two now, and she just hosted a little sleepover for them so that my husband and I could have a night out together before our second baby is born in a few weeks. She also has a seven-month-old, but happily volunteered to wrangle an extra kid for a night. I hope I’m half as good a sister to her as she is to me.

Emily 2 years ago

All of the advice here is good, but I would add: If you do nothing else, just call before visiting a new mom to make sure it’s a good time to come. Most of our friends and family did this, and we were happy to see them, both in the hospital and at home. But I will never, never forget the people who showed up unannounced, ALWAYS while I was trying to nurse the baby, and just sat there while I either struggled to get her to latch under a nursing cover (because I didn’t know these people well enough to feel comfortable nursing without it), or ignored me while I said, “I’m so sorry she’s screaming, I really think she needs to eat.” My husband even tried to stop one of his cousins at the door to our hospital room – I could hear him outside saying, “Emily’s trying to feed the baby right now” – and she plowed right through him, insisting that I needed her moral support while I tried to breastfeed for maybe the second time ever. I really, really did not – what I needed was silence and an empty room.

My second baby is due in a few weeks and I’m feeling a little anxious about this happening again. Honestly, folks, just a quick phone call or text to see if now is a good time is all it takes. If you bring food or offer to clean, even better.

David 2 years ago

Same thing when you get a new car! Don’t ask me to drive over so you can see my new car, drive over to my house. Also, don’t ask if you can go for a ride in it. I bought a sports car, not a taxi. And if you’re coming over, bring some high-octane gas, enough for my sports car and my wife’s Toyota. And while you’re looking at it, why not grab a sponge and help me wash it. It doesn’t keep that showroom shine by itself you know. Don’t forget to stop by the auto parts store on the way in case I need anything (no one told me windshield washer fluid doesn’t refill itself!).

Natalie 2 years ago

I would add this: Thank you very much for the gift, truly, I deeply appreciate that you thought of me and my baby and went to the store to pick something out and used your hard-earned money to buy it. But FOR THE LOVE OF GOD if you must go off the registry, please include a receipt! I only need so many sets of 6 month pajamas, so I might have to return your gift. I don’t care that you got it off the clearance rack for 75% off. The outfit you bought for $10 is now only worth $3 without a receipt so you just donated $7 to the store and I can’t buy anything I can actually use. Receipts, people, receipts.

Kari 2 years ago

I have 2 friends, amazing friends, who didn’t come over until we asked them to! And when they did come, they helped me put groceries away (they know our house like it’s theirs), held the baby while I peed and watched tv. I couldn’t sleep, Ive got a 2 year old, but they offered! Their husbands also took my husband out for drinks. He needed it, he was just as stressed as I was. When one of us isn’t stressed out, it helps a lot. God bless these amazing peoole;

dee 2 years ago

That’s a very honest insight as a mum and galfren! My bff who is also my bubba’s godma, tagged me in this link not because she wanted to warn me, but because she felt bad that she didn’t get to do what she was “supposed to”. She had to leave the country for good and it was just too sad enough, but we still love her to bits! Drea, if u happen to see this, we connect on a different level and we understand! Baby V will love you as much too! :)

Ashley 2 years ago

Here’s a big one for me. I don’t mind company as long as you call or text first. Some (most) days, if I’m not going out, I’m not putting on a bra or anything other than sweatpants. Please don’t just show up at my door and then tell me how rough I look. And please don’t bring food in containers you need back quickly. I barely have time to do my own dishes let alone yours! The best thing anyone brought us was a gift card for a good delivery service so we could get what we wanted, when we wanted it. They also brought plastic silverware and paper plates. Big help!!

Jennifer 2 years ago

No one came to see me. :(

    Susan Binghamton 2 years ago

    Exactly my point!! All these comments are shallow and self-centered. I am BLESSED when friends “interrupt” my day. btw–raised four kids..

Sarah 2 years ago

Bring a meal
Clean my house
Bring a gift
Go away

I’m sorry of someone you have had to deal with serious baby-grabbers, but this article is out of freaking control!

We have to sit through your 500 ultrasound pictures on Facebook, get you a gift for your over-the-top “gender reveal party”, plan your baby shower, but another gift for your baby shower, attend your baby shower, hear you complain for 9 months about how awful being pregnant is, pop and ahh over pictures of your wrinkly bundle of “joy” (though this article makes motherhood like like a horrible nightmare). Then when the kid is here, either become your slave or ignore you?

I think it would be easier if the new mom had a backbone and told people “no” or “Hey we just need some space” or “once we are settled”. Maybe ask a close friend to set up a meal-train and be the “bad guy”
That let’s everyone know that you will not be taking visitors for a while. Enlist close friends to help. If they aren’t allowed to hold your baby, don’t invite them to your baby shower! It makes you look super gift-hungry!

People have been becoming mothers forever. It’s no easy job, sure, but these kinds of lists are so sanctimonious. Seriously though, if someone gives you a gift or brings you a meal, say “thank-you” and throw it away if you don’t like it. Your kid, your responsibility, your life, your choice. Having a baby doesn’t make it okay to act like a spoiled brat. Expecting gifts is freaking rude.

I always bring new moms meals, and never ask to hold their babies, but if any of my new-mom friends gave me a BS list like this they would get nothing. I don’t have to do anything just like you for have to let people hold your babies.

Woman the hell up and tell people no– don’t sell your freaking kid to the highest bidder, or in this case the person that brings you the most expensive sandwich from Panera…

Shoogarbooger 2 years ago

I’d like to add that after reading a bunch of the comments a visitor could really do well by thinking about the individual they want to visit. is the mom an introvert? Does she never like to go out, chat on the phone, etc.? If so, then she might not appreciate visitors for at least a month after the baby is born. If she’s social, loves to chat on the phone, goes out with friends, then maybe she would like visitors. We’re all different. I’m of the former lot and I have lots of anxiety issues and get extremely overwhelmed when I’m around people who aren’t my husband, brothers, or mom. It has nothing to do with being selfish or ungrateful (to be fair, no one but Mom offered to help when they visited me, so there was nothing to be grateful for…except Mom). Don’t bash someone because their personality isn’t want you want it to be.

    Nicole 1 year ago

    This. So much this. I think many of the people commenting negatively are extroverts and/or social people. I’m not a parent, but I am an introvert so I totally get why a new mom would want to be alone/want people who insist on being around her to at least help decrease her energy output in some other way. This article was obviously presented in a funny and sarcastic manner, and I’m sure she would never actually hand this list to any of her friends or actually say these things to them. It’s just general “keep in mind” advice (that can be picked around the sarcasm and snark) that is particularly helpful for non-parents (such as myself).

Shoogarbooger 2 years ago

I love this so much. I do get freaked out at the idea of someone else cleaning my house, though. And, I don’t find it helpful to hold my baby. I don’t like people coming to my home (or the hospital) and thinking they should be able to sit around for hours holding my newly born child that I’ve been waiting for 9 long, awful months to see and hold. Otherwise, yes, stay away unless you’re going to not be a PITA. Bring food, strongly encourage my husband to help me, get me something to drink and/or snack on, and just be another adult to chat with. A lady I’ve known the majority of my life came over bearing food. Lots of food. It was all in disposable containers with heating instructions. It was hands down the greatest, most thoughtful thing anyone did when my first was born. 6 years later I still thank her and tell her that she’s one of the best people I know.

I’ve had people who didn’t even like me come to the hospital and insist on holding my child, keeping him from others who genuinely cared to see me and the baby. My MIL and her SIL literally played tug-of-war with my baby. People trying to take the baby from me and getting mad at me for not handing him over while I was breastfeeding him. Some people can be so obnoxious. I don’t want to have to entertain you or clean up for you. Don’t treat my child like a 6-paper joint. I’m tired and I want to bond with my new baby and family and I don’t want my baby to get sick or broken.

Em 2 years ago

Exactly! Makes me think it’s easier to stay away completely. People are trying to show love and support. Be accepting and grateful. Be honest. If you don’t want visitors, just say so.

Em 2 years ago

I have to say, as someone who has never been a mother to a new baby. It’s always helpful for the mom friend to be honest with what she needs. Every mother is different and some don’t want people over, some do. I found it never safe to just assume what a new mom needs. If you want the help, please be honest with your close friends and let them know!! For those that have never been there but care enough about you new mothers to take time and money, please do communicate. It’s silly to think people that haven’t been in your shoes just know.

    Shoogarbooger 2 years ago

    I have made it known and many of my friends and family still either ignore it or tell me to get over it. It’s selfish for others to not take the baby’s parents and siblings into account. I personally don’t want help. I want privacy and quiet.

Heather 2 years ago

I agree with the kids thing. In our church community it’s tradition to bring people meals for the first few days, even week, after the baby is born. As a gift I let everyone hold her for a minute, after sanitizing their hands. One lady brought her two sons, and went to let the six year old hold her. I almost flipped, but I knew that she was honestly just clueless. She had eight kids and was like whatever, kids are tough. And I was like ah, and she was like oh I’m still holding her, he just wants to give her a hug. My bishop’s wife came over and bishop is a pediatrician. She was strictly warned not to hold the baby, and we were strictly told to skip church her first six weeks. So we took turns going, or had my mom watch her.

I was such a sharing mom. I don’t know, I remember wanting my baby for months and being upset that I had to ask to hold babies. So after mine was born I just shared the love. It’s wonderful to see the joy a baby can bring to someone whose own grandchildren live far away, or don’t/can’t have kids.

My In laws are wonderful! and my mom is a great mother in law. Be grateful for a crazy mother in law because she’ll die before you. Crazy daughter in laws are worse! They hold their babies hostage and threaten you with no relationship with her children if you don’t…(insert babysitting, dropping everything for her, making her feel like her kids are the favorites when there are no favorites. Crazy) But I’m going to go hug my mother in law right now for being such a sweet loving person. His parents were a big selling point in this marriage. At this point, I’m not sure who I love more. lol

Geneva Echols 2 years ago

Yes this would be nice, but here is some advice for new mommies don’t expect this to happen

Geneva Echols 2 years ago

I agree with clothes thing but that’s it…when I visit my friend with twins I take one off her hands.

Stacia Mildge 2 years ago

Yes, yes, yes. I wish this was common knowledge.

Nyssa 2 years ago

I disagree about the expensive lunch, my best friend brought around fresh buns, ham, tomato& baby spinach and made us lunch and it was amazing. You don’t have to spend a lot, most new mums would just be grateful to not have to think of food. I know I was.

Jon 2 years ago

What a load of self-centered BS! Your friends are supposed to bend over backwards and worship you because you’re the one that decided to have a kid?! What a crock!

    Em 2 years ago

    Thank you. If you don’t want baby holders. Say no. Some moms actually enjoy the company. I had a friend who’s husband was deployed and had her fourth child. She was just grateful someone’s cared to be there and she was honest with what she needed help with. I ended up babysitting her other kids a lot and took a meal and I was so happy to do it because she actually told me what I could do to help.

Kim Newbourne 2 years ago

Um, whut? I guess it’s just me, byt I was THRILLED when my friends cane by to snuggle my babies. Yes, even when they were newborns. A.) I couldn’t wait to have a conversation with friends that didn’t center around the baby. B.) I loved that they held my babies so I (not my friends) could do a load of laundry or wash dishes. This type of article gives martyr mommies a bad name. Give me a freaking break.

Jennifer Lynne 2 years ago

Some good points but a little demanding. I was excited to show my baby off…

RPB 2 years ago

And don’t even THINK of promising to show up to help after hubs has to go back to work (traveling), then call half an hour after his flight leaves to say you won’t be coming after all!!! Yeah…had that happen…three weeks after my c-section.

Maisie Crawford 2 years ago

It’s funny to me because I think a lot of the women who are so upset by this don’t have newborns yet, or haven’t had children in a long while! I have a 8 week old and I totally agree with this article. Not that people HAVE to bring stuff but just offering is nice! And don’t come over and eat my food!!! I had people do that a few times. It’s like my baby is three days old I’m NOT going grocery shopping. Don’t make more of a mess or add to my stress. Be understanding and maybe give me a break to take a shower??!!

Jessa Dupuis 2 years ago

So funny and true!

Lori Yeager 2 years ago

Yeah, I would never tell family or friends all if this BUT as a new mom of 5 month old twins I completely agree with this article!!!

Plus, don’t just “drop by” unannounced! Depending on the day, I haven’t brushed my hair or teeth, I’m in pajamas, and I just got the babies settled – I’m too busy and tired to satisfy your “baby fix”!!

Laura 2 years ago


LilyBelleLove 2 years ago

I super-love the recommendation to take pxrs. I look back and there are hardly any pxrs of me with my daughter as a baby and I remembered that me ex-husband always came up with an excuse not to take pxrs of us, but there are a plethora with him. At 5, my daughter noticed and asked about it. If new mom is trusting and comfortable enough, upload the pxrs to shutterfly or the like and let her help set up share albums to keep long-distance family updated.
1 to NEVER do: don’t offer to hold the sleeping baby so new mom can do dishes, make supper for everyone, and fold laundry. My former FIL did this and I forever lost a lot of respect for him.

Amber 2 years ago

This list is perfect for me right now. My SIL is about to have a baby any minute now and I’m preparing what I can do to be a good friend. I remember what it was like when I had my 2, but life and support is different for everyone. I would have LOVED someone to come rinse a few dishes while they chatted about whatever while I nursed my new baby. No one did, even when I politely suggested, “Hey while you’re waiting, feel free to ___” and they’d chuckle and comment about how busy new moms are and then sit down. I figured I’d always jump in for SIL. Good to note that other people would not like me to just do their dishes. I’ll be sure to ask first. :) I’m thinking that when we talk in advance about a visit, I’ll say something like, “I’ll stay for 30 min and of course I’d love to hold the baby, but I also want to help you out. Think about some chore I can do while I’m there that would make your lives easier. Dishes, laundry, mopping, etc. “

Jamie Church 2 years ago

This was definitely not my feelings after giving birth, but I had a fairly smooth delivery and a sleepy newborn and I’m an extrovert. I can see how some of this would be necessary to keep in mind for others tho, especially after a c-section and if they’re introverted.

Mom of 2 2 years ago


Kim Edwards 2 years ago

Amen! Add to the list no visitors at the hospital unless you are blood related…and even then you better be close blood…and keep it to under 15 mins because mom really just wants to sleep and hold her own brand new baby!

Marian Jeffries 2 years ago

Awesome….this story nailed it!

Gabrielle 2 years ago

Hahah yessss thank you

Kara Alkire 2 years ago

Hilarious and true!!! May everyone, everywhere read this and take notice!

Renee Puzio Troisi 2 years ago

Love this

Kelly Brett 2 years ago

Sometimes it was stressful having people over but it did make me feel good that people wanted to see me. I would have been upset if no one showed.

Mindy J Melton 2 years ago

Haaa !

Laura 2 years ago

My sister lived on the other side of the world when I was pregnant with my first. I told her specifically to not come, that I would be fine. She showed up anyway when the baby was 2 weeks old, having dropped a couple of grand on a plane ticket. I won’t go into all the horrid details, but her visit lasted about 3 days before I told her she had to leave. She packed her things, and my husband drove her to someone else’s house. To this day I’m not sure where exactly she went. She still tries to tease me and guilt trip me over it, but I just look at her and shake my head and say, “You should listen when I tell you not to come.” When is my family going to learn that I mean what I say?

Kassi Green 2 years ago

I have been lucky enough to have friends clean my house, hold my baby while I slept, bring me a freezer full of meals and
Meals from restaurants. One friend did my
Laundry and was nice
Enough to pick up nursing bras. I even had one mom friend help me
With my engorged breasts-true friendship!

Helena Ryan 2 years ago

So much wisdom!

Mary Anne Beaudoin 2 years ago

Good read!

Leslie 2 years ago

Great article! I would add that if you bring a gift make sure to tell them – or write in the card, that a thank you card is not necessary! I started to dread gifts because my thank you card list kept getting longer.

Kristina Mary 2 years ago

Haha this was hilarious!

Kara Leslie-Haug 2 years ago

Omg! Love this….

emmy 2 years ago

I completely disagree! Its good to know this viewpoint, but after each of my five babies, I was dying for company! My husband is wonderful, and I enjoyed him being around when he was able to be there, but I wanted my friends! I wanted them to come drink my coffee, eat my food- we had too much to eat ourselves, and hold my babies. I wanted to talk about what was going outside of my little nursery centric life! I’d say ask a mom for what she wants and be willing to accept the answer if she doesn’t want you to come! Oh and I DO love decorating type gifts since that is so not my area of expertise!

Talia Jonathan Wong 2 years ago

This is awesome!! Lol!

Jennifer 2 years ago

Ah, great etiquette rules for visiting a new mommy and baby. People underestimate the power of simple things like good toilet paper, until you don’t have any to wipe your painfully swollen nether regions. THAT was something I wished people would have brought for me. Just the basic necessities so that I didn’t have to run out for it myself or have to ask the hubbs to. This was funny and useful!

Anna Crossley 2 years ago

I almost cried at this article, it fits how I felt to a “t”. I was an extremely high risk pregnancy combined with fertility issues, so yes everyone was excited about this little one. She came at 33 weeks and was in the NICU for 25 days. I was not the first person in my family to see my child. That was my husband and then the grandmothers. I did not see her until the next day. I was also terribly ill and at one point was sent to another hospital and only got to see her a few hour each day. I had one skin to skin contact and then had to glove and gown for the next 25 days. I didn’t see her first bath (it was my husband and mother in law) since visitors were limited and I was too tired and sick to fight about it. When we got our miracle home I just wanted to be a family for a few days, just us. Well, the next day my MIL comes over for 2 hours after she had said she wouldn’t be at our place for long. She kept shoving the camera into the little ones face and practically climbing on top of me to “look at her face”. I hadn’t been alone for almost 6 weeks, was hopped up on steroids and other crazy making pills and just wanted to be alone with my child. She is my miracle too. Ny BIL came in just as I got her to sleep and had to hold the baby. Then my husband kicked them out, telling them they had been their way to long and that her coming over had a been a special circumstance and that we wanted no more visitors for the rest of the week. She was so hurt that when she showed up unannounced 3 day later with my husbands grandmother, she sulked in the car. Once again, baby was asleep and I said that I was not waking her so they left. No one brought food or anything and that was fine but I felt so invaded and that being the child’s mother was somehow less important than the rest of the family. As for friends I had a friend who came to see Me, and sometimes saw the baby or sometimes didn’t and boy did that ever feel special. I will be forever grateful to her. Later on, sure come on over but that first month or so home is hell and as wonderful as it is to share the joy, can’t share the joy if you as the parent are too busy making coffee to enjoy the joy yourself. Besides my family knew before, help yourself, want a coffee make it yourself, why would that change now that I have a kid?

Leslie Richardson 2 years ago

yes, yes a hundred times YES

Jennifer Stalley 2 years ago

Ha! I breastfed mostly for nutrition, of course, but the added benefit of NOT having an entire tribe of people passing her around like a football was awesome! “Sorry…I’m the bottle.” Booyah! Nobody ever volunteers to help with laundry…what’s up with that?

justwanttobeinvolved 2 years ago

I am really shocked at some the comments. As a grandmother – I want to be involved. I have offered to cook, clean, run errands, and yes -hold the baby. Other than holding the baby for a few minutes – all has been declined. Honestly – run off the ones who are being a pain in the rear. But get over yourself and accept help when it is offered. You are robbing yourself and someone else of a blessing. So what if a dish gets put in the wrong cabinet? At least it’s clean. The world won’t end.
When people don’t feel needed or welcome – they will get the hint – and may not be there when you realize you can’t (or don’t want to) do it all.

Keara McNulty Sweet 2 years ago

You know what I’m excited for??? Adult girlfriends to plop on the couch in pajamas & eat hot dip with me or even climb into my bed (hubby works nights) and watch bad TV and pass kiddo back & forth. You literally do not hafta do anything else. Maybe drive the older to school in the AM!

Keara McNulty Sweet 2 years ago

Even cooking makes me feel a tadbit more human. Hold the kid! Hands washed of course

Keara McNulty Sweet 2 years ago

Hmmm. Am I the only crazy one who will wrap the kid well & head out in search of company if none will come to me? LoL. I need people, no strings attached! Takes my mind off the pain! Even the mall & lunch aren’t crazy at a few wks of age. Hands washed, kids bundled if headed out, all fair game. Mom & dad are 40 mins away and it’s the perfect setup, I prefer going to them, car rides of perfect length, and everyone’s vaccinated over there to the hilt.

Courtney Elise Crumbock 2 years ago

I agree with most of it! I just don’t think is it necessary to bring a gift! I don’t expect that! I would much rather have privacy :)

Missy Kivi 2 years ago

Genius! I love it!

Dorothy 2 years ago

When I had my daughter, it was only me, my mom, and my boyfriend. His family wanted us to drive all over to show her off…and they were some of the very few who knew she had jaundice.

Not a single person, except one friend at the hospital, CAME to see my baby, or bring me something. One “friend” even let me have it for not having messaged her about how the baby and I were and about the fact that I hadn’t brought the baby to see her….I hadn’t heard from her so it wasn’t like she was waiting for my reply to a caring message.

I finally told people that I was tired of being asked when I was going to bring the baby to see them, I was the one who had just had the baby.

I think My MIL only asks me what the baby needs or what I want for her so she can get the exact opposite.

While I agree with the fact that you don’t want a line of people making their way through your house, trust me it is hard when you look around and NO ONE comes to see your new baby or asks if you need anything. It was very hard for me at the time.

Anne O. Whitaker 2 years ago

Sensible suggestions!

Alison Hayes Carvalho 2 years ago

I agree with most of this….however, I would like to add one thing to the side of the friend. If you are lucky enough to have good friends bringing you dinner, doing dishes, gifts, etc….please be appreciative! I had a friend who went ahead and had dinner ordered in, when she knew I was coming with take out from an expensive restaurant. I was burned for life on that one! So it goes both ways.

    Christine 2 years ago

    Thank you!

Jincy Philip 2 years ago

lol this is funny!


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