Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

The golden rules of visiting a new mum after having her baby

We all love visiting a new baby. It can be enough to get us, mums, feeling clucky again, or we can just enjoy the beautiful newborn smell, the newborn cuddles, and admiring the tiny newborn fingers, toes and noses. Even though we were all new first-time mums once, it can be easy to forget what it was like in the beginning. We can also forget that some mums have a wonderful postpartum experience and fall right into motherhood, while others can have a difficult time and take time to adjust to their new role. Here are my golden rules that should never be broken when visiting a new mum.

Golden Rule #1: Wait to be invited

It takes time for new parents and new babies to settle into their new lives. Although you may be busting to visit the new baby and enjoy the glorious newborn cuddles, be respectful of the new mum. She will be recovering physically and mentally from pregnancy and birth, learning to look after her baby, and spending a lot of her day breast or bottle feeding, all while getting much less sleep than she is used to. She will invite you when she feels ready to entertain. If you are organising a visit in advance, send a text before you leave to check it is still ok, and don’t be offended if she says no.

Golden Rule #2: Bring snacks

The early days of having a new baby are very tiring, and mums need to keep up with calories, especially if they are breastfeeding. New mums experience hunger that most have never known before, and may want to eat all day and all night. Bring some delicious and nutritious snacks to share. Even better bring enough that the new mother can have some more throughout the days after your visit. Some great ideas include lactation cookies, protein balls, slices and cakes. Anything that is going to give mum an energy boost is great. If the new mum is a coffee drinker, bringing her a takeaway coffee is always appreciated as well!

Golden Rule #3: Ask her what chores she needs help with

When new mums are spending their days caring for a new baby, chores can quickly get away from them. Ask mum what she needs help with. It might be folding laundry, it might be cooking dinner, it might be vacuuming or cleaning the kitchen. Offer to do the chore for her, or do it together. Folding laundry together while the baby sleeps can be a great way to help a new mother out. But always respect her boundaries, some mums don’t want to have others help with certain jobs, so always offer but don’t push. If she won’t accept help with chores, dropping off a home-cooked meal is a great alternative way to help out.

Golden Rule #4: Give back the crying baby

Newborns can cry a lot. They also need to feed very often, and can go through stages of “cluster feeding”, where they feed very often. If the baby cries while you are holding them, make sure you give the baby back to the new mum. You might think you can settle the baby, or rock them to sleep, but it can be very distressing for a new mum to hear her baby crying and not have them in her arms. Let the new mum settle her baby the way she knows how. If she wishes for you to try settling the baby for you, she will ask.

Golden Rule #5: Keep it positive!

Every new mum seems to have a story of someone coming over and making negative comments to her. Whether it is telling her that she looks tired (well of course she does, she’s caring for a newborn!), or telling her that her breastmilk mustn’t be enough, or commenting on the state of the house, we all have a story. Just keep your thoughts to yourself. Remember it can be a challenging time for new mums. Just tell her she is doing a great job, that’s all she needs to hear.

Golden Rule #6: No unsolicited advice

It seems that as soon as we get pregnant, we become a magnet for unsolicited advice. Some of the advice is outdated, and sometimes even dangerous. There is conflicting advice in so many areas of parenting, and everyone has their own individual parenting styles, choices, and preferences. It can be very overwhelming to hear conflicting advice from others and can make a new mum question whether she is doing the right thing and making the right choice. Wait to be asked for advice, and always keep the advice respectful.

Golden Rule #7: Tell her she’s doing a great job

This is the most important golden rule. This is especially important if the baby is unsettled, or if the mum is having any sort of difficulties with feeding, looking after the baby, or mental health. New mums need to know that they are doing a good job. When they’re sleep-deprived, have a crying baby, and have crazy hormones raging around a postpartum body, it can be difficult to see that, actually, new mums are doing a wonderful job! So remind them often.

Golden rule #8: Ask her how she is doing and really listen

Many new mothers experience the “baby blues” a few days after birth, and some experience postnatal depression in the weeks and months after having a baby. Ask the new mum how she is, and really listen to her answer. Tell her you are there for her, and listen if she is upset, or expresses any feelings of sadness. Offer her support, and if you aren’t sure how to best support her, pass on the website or phone number for PANDA (https://www.panda.org.au/) who can support her if she is having a difficult time with mental health.

Golden Rule #9: Bring along something for mum, as well as something for baby

It’s so easy to buy little adorable clothing, teddies, and toys for the baby. These are always really appreciated by new parents but don’t forget something for the mother as well. She’s been through something huge and life-changing as well. Something small for the mother is always appreciated. It can be something small like a box of chocolates, candles, beautiful skincare products for her, a book/magazine, or something related to her hobbies and interests outside of baby. New mums really appreciate something lovely her just themselves.

What are your golden rules for visiting a new mum?


Rachel Preston Broughton is a mum of two, and owner of Baby and Mumma Gifts (https://www.babyandmummagifts.com.au/), creating hampers for new mums and their babies. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of new mums while they adjust to their new role as parents and caregivers to beautiful new babies.

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