1. Always give them a call or text before you come over.
Sometimes as a parent, especially a new parent who is sleep deprived and getting adjusted to their new role, the only win you have is not looking and smelling like you live in a garbage can when people come over. I had friends just knock on the door and come in when I’ve been nursing, or worse, had fallen asleep with my b*ob out because they said they thought it would be easier than trying to set up a time since I would be so busy. I just want to not be covered in barf, maybe have a little mascara on, and feel like a person who kind of has their life together some of the time. Call first.
2. And ask them before you share a picture of their baby on social media.
Don’t share or repost without giving a heads up, no matter how cute the wee one is.
3. Be thoughtful about the advice you give them.
Don’t give advice if you’ve never had kids, and don’t start your advice with “don’t”. That’s for any and everyone, people with kids or not. It rubs every mom the wrong way.
4. They’re still alive and want to hang out with you (when they can, of course).
When I told my then BFF that I was pregnant, she pretty much faded into the dark. I feel like she felt that I abandoned her by becoming pregnant. My life just switched paths while hers stayed the same. I wish she would’ve been there with me through my pregnancy. If she would’ve been, maybe we would still be close.
5. It’s also nice to invite them to things, even if they — and you — know they can’t go.
Even if we say no, which we probably will, we still want to be invited and thought of as something other than a parent. I felt so associated with my baby rather than as a person still.
6. They won’t wake their baby up if he or she is napping when you visit.
I understand you want to see my baby, but I will not wake her up for you if she is napping!
7. And they definitely will prioritize their baby’s schedule over theirs or yours.
Schedules are important for babies, especially nap or sleeping time. Please don’t hate or judge me if I want to cut short a meet up/gathering just to make sure my baby gets to go in bed in time. Yes, you get to see my cute baby awake for another few minutes, but it will be a torture for me for at least a few days because of the messed up sleep time.
8. Don’t be offended if their baby cries when you’re around.
I’m sorry if my baby cries when they see you or you hold them! It’s nothing personal!
Image Credit: Halfpoint / Getty Images
9. They appreciate a heads-up about any gifts you’re going to buy for their child.
Let me know what you’re buying my kids for Christmas, because I don’t want to confiscate another Nerf gun.
10. Offering help without being asked is basically the nicest thing you can do.
You come over, take the baby for a walk, do the dishes, or throw some laundry in. I’m beyond exhausted and I need help keeping my life together so desperately, but I would never ask you to clean up my house or make me a sandwich. The best gifts from friends are the little things like this that helped me get through every day.
11. And be specific with the kind of help you’re willing to do.
As in, “Can I come and do some laundry for you?” or “Can I do your grocery shopping?” The vague “Let me know if I can do anything to help” is very kind, but a lot of people have a bit of a stumbling block when it comes to having to ask for help, whereas it can be much easier to accept help when it’s offered in a very specific way.
12. It means a lot to them if you make yourself useful while you’re hanging out with them.
We LOVE having you over, but if you’re coming over be ready to maybe help out! It’s hard to feel like you’re entertaining someone who comes over and just sits on the couch and watches you scramble to take care of your baby while sipping their drink and talking. Offer to bring takeout, hold the baby while we go make a bottle, or make the baby laugh while we change their diaper. It means the WORLD to have support when we have company!
13. Don’t share news about them or their new baby without their consent.
It’s fun to be in the know about all things baby, but some things are shared with close friends in confidence and out of concern for safety or privacy, and aren’t things new moms don’t necessarily wish for the world to know.
14. And yes, they may be slow and forgetful, but it’s because they’re so damn tired.
Everything is fatigued — my body, my mind, my emotions. Emotional capital is particularly precious, I don’t have a ton to spare. Please, please, don’t use any of it thinking my slow response time/forgetfulness/lack of ability to be exactly the same as I was before the baby is about you. Please also know that I might be desperately unhappy. It’s not all magic.