MUNDE: What to expect when visiting a new mum
As much as many who ask that question do it with sincere intentions of wanting to see and bless you and your baby, sometimes the question is asked prematurely, before a new mum has even adjusted to having her newborn.
That is what has inspired this week’s column.
I didn’t think I needed to mention this, but after some responses I got from my last column on the cost of having a baby, it looks like I need to emphasise: the opinions expressed here are my own. They are not the gold standard.
Last week, some people wrote back, insisting delivering a baby is free.
Yes, there’s the government funded ‘Linda Mama’ option, but not everyone uses it, so for those who don’t there’s no free lunch when delivering.
Now back to the topic of the day.
Before you ask when to visit, (I can already hear critics jumping in, saying things like, “who told you we need your invite… are you Queen Elizabeth”) but still I proceed.
Before you ask when you can visit, make sure it has been at least a month since the mum has given birth. Motherhood is a big shift and hosting is the last thing on the mind of many new mums.
The only people who get invites are usually family and friends, and they usually are visiting not for catch up, but rather to help around the house and with the baby as a mum is usually tired and sleep deprived during the first few weeks.
The next thing to do when you do visit is do go bearing gifts.
As the Swahili saying goes, “mkono mtupu haulambwi” (an empty hand cannot be licked). You don’t need to buy expensive items, but at least a pack of diapers or something the baby (or mum) can use will help, or even a meal because costs add up with a baby.
The next thing to keep in mind is that you should not stay longer than two hours, unless the mum wants you to. Some visitors come and stay for five hours and during that time, baby is unlikely to sleep with all the carrying that will be done by guests. That means baby misses a nap or two... and any mum knows what that means for you and baby that night.
Another thing to note is that you should not expect to be served a full course meal when you visit. You'll be lucky if you get snacks like bread or mandazi to go with tea because cooking elaborate meals is just not practical for new mums.
In fact, it would be a good gesture to offer to cook for the day and even make enough food and soups for the mum to last a few days.
After you have eaten the store-bought mandazi you were served or bread, it’s good to offer to clean the dishes, unless otherwise advised.
Next, in the era of COVID-19 and other diseases and contagious infections, don't kiss the baby. Holding the baby suffices and refrain if you have a flu or other infection.
It may sound like a lot to factor in and like a mum is being unappreciative, but do keep in mind that there are many adjustments she needs to make and will be happy to host you once she and baby have gotten into their routine.
Listen to the First Time Mum Confessions Podcast here.
Send your feedback to: Firsttimemumke@gmail.com or @Clairedudieu
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