Rookie dad Notes for Friends of Newbie parents
The following thoughts were conceived here at the Platekloof view point (picture below) as we contemplated the last 3 months of our life… and roles were reversed… I became the model and my dear wife took over the camera 🙂
*Photography by Mrs Gathua aka Mama Ciiru … Love you my apprentice*
When our daughter was born we had lots of visitors come to see the baby. More than two thirds of these didn’t know what to do/ bring but they wanted to support us, so they would ask “If there is anything I can do for you please do not hesitate to tell me …” I didn’t know what I wanted them to do for us either but having gone through this phase I can now throw in a few suggestions for those who are clueless like I was … This list does not work for everyone (this is my own list):
1. Make dinner for them: The new baby comes with so much work you literally have no time for anything else apart from feed the baby, change poop, sing lullabies and sleep when the baby sleeps. We were lucky to have friends who made dinner for us everyday for a month and later on days when did not have a house-help
2. Wash your hands before holding the baby!! You pushed a supermarket trolley, drove to our house and spent your day typing away on a dirty keyboard!
3. Compliment the new dad and mum for a job well-done … especially how pretty the baby is (act as though she is the cutest thing you have ever feasted your eyes on 🙂
4. Don’t expect lunch, dinner or them to make you tea. Please ask to fix yourself something. They are too tired to do anything … (Thanks @kaireitukuma254 for saving the day on the Sunday we catered for an entire women’s guild)
5. Don’t expect to or demand to hold the baby especially if you found her sleeping). Remember, the new parents haven’t had much time with the baby yet either. This is the new parents’ time to bond with their baby. You will have plenty of chances to hold the baby once things have settled down. Your visit should focus more on supporting the new parents than hogging the baby
6. Go easy on the parenting advice unless you are family or close friends. Chances are the last person to visit gave the opposite advice you are about to give. Be supportive of the new parents no matter your opinions … (To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To dummie or not to dummie? To sleep with the baby or to sleep her in her own bed/cot?)
7. Ideas for gifts: Clothes are always welcome (try buy for the future … usually they have stocked up on newborn baby clothes), blankets, toys, picture frames, books … but the best gift you can give is time. Spend time with them and help around
8. Be on time. It is quite a big production to prep a baby for visitors; tasks include: timing the feeding so that the baby’s in a good mood for you, changing her, cleaning her and calming her; and, let’s not forget the work involved with the parents trying to decently spruce up themselves and the home. If you’re late 30 minutes, it’s like tossing half of that work out the window
9. Don’t stay too long. Anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending on the stress level in the air… Read the signs; Mom may very well want you to leave when she says: “Well, we should probably put her to bed now” or “I have to go breastfeed.” These statements should prompt an “Oh, sorry, we’ll get going now.” not “Oh, OK, go ahead, take your time.” *shoot you dead!!*
Happy visiting folks!!