My beautiful sister-in-law and brother have welcomed their third boy into the world and I’m one very proud auntie again.
I can’t wait to see my gorgeous little nephew but it won’t be for a few days yet, as I’ve come down with a cold. And the last thing I want is to pass my germs on to a newborn or my sister-in-law, who as we all know needs as much strength as she can get right now!
This moment has brought back so many memories of when Nikoleta was born.
I also gave birth in winter and being our first, we had lots of visitors. Steve and I have a fairly large group of family and friends who were very excited to meet our new bubba- and for that we are very grateful.
However, the truth is it does become overwhelming- especially considering we had over 300 guests coming through the door in the first month.
The worst thing was at around week 4, our little girl ended up with a terrible cough and we headed to the paediatrician. Straight away he sent us to pathology to have her tested for whooping cough.
Now just imagine- here I am- a new mum trying to recover from labour, struggling with breastfeeding and now I am told my baby needs to be tested for whooping cough!
I vividly remember the pathologist poking Nikoleta’s nose and throat to take a swab for testing. Nikoleta screamed and I cried the entire time we were there- I was a real mess. It takes one week to receive the results and this felt like an entire year. Steve and I were so worried and hardly slept- we both jumped every time our little girl coughed. Thank the Lord, it wasn’t whooping cough- but the scare was awful.
This experience changed my views on visiting newborns and made me realise, although it is the happiest time for parents- it’s also a delicate one. So nowadays, these are my thoughts on visiting a new mum:
- I never visit a newborn if we have been sick. Whether it be a cough, sneeze, runny nose, sore tummy or any kind of virus- I give it a few weeks to ensure it has completely left our system. Newborns have fragile immune systems and even a minor cold can make a baby sick- which I feel is unfair for baby and mum (who will have to mend their bubba back to good health).
- I always wash my hands before picking up a newborn. Even if I have done so before we enter a home, out of courtesy I’ll do it again to give the new mum peace of mind. Exposing babies to germs is not my job and I know from myself and mums around me- we can all become germaphobes as soon as a newborn enters our life.
- We make our visit a short and sweet one. As much as I would love to hang around and spend time with my friend and their new baby, I know now is not the time. New mums need to do things like feed, put their baby to sleep in a quiet environment and rest up as much as they can.
- I avoid wearing strong perfume, as they may linger on for hours after a visit and are often overpowering for baby and mother- who have a heightened sense of smell.
- I no longer ask to hold a baby. Yes this is a hard one, as new babies are so adorable and everyone loves a cuddle. But now I wait for the mum to offer and if she doesn’t- I completely understand and would never be offended by this- I totally get and respect it.
- I only offer advice if I am asked- and even then, I always tell parents- I’m no expert. All I can tell them is my first hand experiences with Nikoleta and hope they can gain something from it. But every baby is different, as is every mother. So I would never force my opinions on others and tell them there is a “right” or “wrong” way. What works for one mum, may not work for another.
- I never judge another mum, it’s not what I’m there for- I am there to visit and congratulate them. The way they decide to parent is 100% their choice and I am 100% behind them. This can be a challenging time for new mums and my best piece of advice has always been – “Do what works for you and your baby.”
So as I sit here writing this, I’m hoping I feel 100% better asap because I just can’t wait to meet our new little prince.