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9 Post-Baby Etiquette Reminders For Friends & Family

Motherhood

There is nothing more exciting than getting the news that the bundle of joy everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived. As soon as you get the word, you probably start making plans in your head about when you're going to go visit the baby and the gifts you hope to bring. And while all of this is sweet and many new parents appreciate it, there are some things to consider.


After a mother gives birth, she goes through many changes. No matter how she gave birth, she's most likely feeling it and trying to heal. Not to mention, she's exhausted! The new mom is getting to know her baby and figuring him or her out. Anxiety could be at an all-time high.

Here are a few things to remember when it comes to post-baby etiquette after someone you love has a baby:

Respect The Adjustment Period

Give new parents time to bond with their baby and make sense of what will most likely be a crazy routine for the next few weeks. Even if they call you from the hospital to tell you the news, don't assume that's an invitation to drop in or call multiple times. Texting or emailing is a life-saver in cases like this! That way, when the parents have time in between trying to get some sleep and caring for a new baby, they can respond. Please don't take offense if they don't respond right away! There is a lot happening.

Don't Drop By Unannounced

This is the worst thing you can do to new parents! Dropping by unannounced can make them feel very overwhelmed. New parents may not have the heart to tell you that it's not a good time or may be worried about hurting your feelings. I have personally witnessed how hard it can be when you have a rotating number of people coming in and out of your house after having a baby. The mother is usually struggling to sit up in a robe looking exhausted, trying to smile, look happy, and entertain, while her baby goes from hand to hand. Respect the mother's space and the fact that she is extremely fatigued. She probably didn't even get to shower that day for all you know.

Also, family members: don't show up with an overnight bag, temporarily move in and start rearranging things in the home. Although most people know it's coming from a good place, it can make new parents feel stressed and tense. If they would like help with the baby or want you to stay overnight, let them ask you. Or if you're unsure, ask them.

Be On Time and Don't Overstay Your Welcome

Once new parents finally get it together and ask you to come over on a specific day, try your best to be on time. They most likely scheduled that time after the baby had a nap or feeding, or around a time when the baby will have the most energy. When and if you come late, it can really throw the parents and the baby off schedule. If you are going to be late, give them a call to let them know and check to make sure if you should still come that same day. It may be best to reschedule.

When you are visiting, keep your eye on the clock. I personally think a 30-60 minute visit is appropriate. Nothing longer than that. Be aware of non-verbal signs that the parents might show of being sleepy.

Leave Your Young Children Or Other Pets At Home

When visiting, avoid bringing your small children or pets. Small children can get restless. They may cry and be unable to sit still. You don't want your toddler to be disruptive or wake the baby while napping/resting. Even if the parents have toddlers already, it's best to not add to the noise factor.

Also, leave your pet behind. You don't want your dog or cat in the mix when a new baby is only a few days old. If the parents already have pets that's okay, just don't assume it's time for a doggy playdate.

Don't Bring Extra Guests

People always do this and I wonder how they are comfortable with it. It is not a good idea to bring extra people with you who are uninvited to visit a new baby. You don't know if the parents will be comfortable and they may feel like you put them on the spot. If something comes up and you have to make arrangements for someone to come with you, check and ask ahead of time to make sure it is okay.

Avoid Visiting If You're Sick

A new baby's immune system is super sensitive. If you're sick, the considerate thing to do would be to stay away. A new baby can get sick and possibly have complications fighting off an illness that we can easily beat as adults in a short period of time.

Wash Your Hands or Use Hand Sanitizer

Even if you think your hands are clean, always wash them before holding a new baby. We carry many germs and you should always be cautious to not pass it on to the tiny newcomer.

Don't Kiss The Baby

I know it may be tempting, but don't ever kiss someone's else's baby, especially when the child is a newborn. I've seen many people do this, sometimes even on the mouth. If you are not the parent, this is not appropriate to do. You want to be mindful, so please do not upset new parents by doing this.

Bring Cooked Food/Ask Them What They Need

If you're a close family member, be intentional and ask them how you can be supportive, don't take it into your own hands. While flowers and balloons are great, you would be surprised to know that new parents prefer food or another task that can help. While adjusting to newborn life, parents don't have much time to make meals. Bringing something that is cooked and can be reheated is often very appreciated.

Also, don't be afraid to ask how you can help during your visit. A load of laundry, a quick grocery run, or a light clean is helpful. If you're a close family member, with permission from the family, you can even make a little schedule of who can come over to help with small tasks during the week. This will help make the new parents feel supported and less stressed.

Featured image by Austin Wade on Unsplash

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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