When our little girl was just 7 weeks old, I came down with a flu-like fever one night. All of a sudden, I found myself terrified of the prospect of her getting sick at so young and fragile an age. Fortunately, my fever broke overnight and all was okay. But this one event was enough to trigger the start of my constant worries as a new mom.
After someone has a baby, it feels like the front door becomes a revolving one. Everybody wants to meet the precious little bundle of joy, and visitors seem to arrive in DROVES. And it’s all well and good, except that some people who don’t have babies (and perhaps even a few overzealous family members) may not understand the kinds of fears that new parents have. And they just don’t seem to truly grasp the fact that your baby and his/her well being is now your #1 priority in life.
So listen up, friends and family! Here are the top 3 things the people in your life who now have a baby desperately want YOU to know (but would probably feel too bad to actually tell you because we know you only have the best of intentions):
1.) Wash your hands… and DO NOT kiss our baby!
While you may think we’re being crazy by expecting you to wash your hands before you touch the baby… think first about all the surfaces you’ve touched lately, just on your way to the house to visit! Door handles, sink faucets, money, toilets, your nose, your mouth, your car keys… there are probably a zillion bacteria on your hands right now! And while it may not make YOU sick, or any other adults in your life… a baby is much more susceptible to getting sick from these kinds of things. So do us a solid, and don’t make us ask you. Just wash your hands. And while we’re on the subject…
I know sleeping babies are irresistibly cute and everything, but under NO circumstances should you KISS someone else’s baby! NO, not even if you’re a family member! Just because you are the baby’s dear Aunt Sally does NOT make you magically immune to germs. And this one is even more serious, because if you’ve ever had a cold sore/fever blister… you should know that they’re caused by a type of herpes virus (HSV-1). And it’s highly contagious, even if you DON’T currently have a sore/blister breakout! (Don’t believe me? Read this Mayo Clinic article). This means that if you kiss the baby, you could unknowingly transmit this virus to him/her. And the baby could end up with cold sores all over his/her face because, again, babies’ immune systems are incredibly ill-equipped to handle the onslaught of such germs! (Check out this article, or this one, or this one, to read stories where this has actually happened.) NOT COOL! I’m sure there are some folks out there with kids who might say, “Well I get them, and my kids have never gotten it.” And that’s fine. But I personally don’t get cold sores, and I don’t want someone ELSE possibly causing this to happen to my kid. Not worth the risk.
2.) We will probably be late to your party/dinner/event/etc.
Babies need a lot of stuff. We have to pack the diaper bag. The car seat. The stroller. We’ll spend ten minutes hunting for the ONE toy that keeps her occupied while we’re driving. We have to make sure we have bottles of milk ready to go. And then the baby may poop and spit up unexpectedly, which will sometimes require whole outfit changes. Things will happen as we’re leaving the house that will cause us to be late. It’s really unavoidable. We really tried to get there on time… but sh*t happens (sometimes, literally). So don’t take offense.
3.) We will also probably leave early.
We want to stay late like we used to do. Honestly, we do. But with a fussy baby who’s approaching (or already past) bedtime… it’s just not gonna happen. So we’re going to leave when the baby’s ready. Again, don’t take offense. It’s not that your party is lame… it’s just that our child’s developmental needs (and their subsequent consequences on our amount of sleep later that night) are a priority now over that last glass of wine. #Sorrynotsorry.
If you’re a new parent, what else do you really want your friends and family to know?! Share with us in the comments below.