parent opinion

'When I gave birth, my family were "too tight" to buy presents for me and my newborn.'



What do you do when your family is cheap?

They are just plain old ‘tight’ and do not like spending money.

This is fine if they are not well to do but what if they are cashed up? They have money and loads of it. Is there an expectation that ‘well to do’ family show some generosity especially in the case of the arrival of a newborn baby? Should they follow newborn etiquette?

In my case, my family were plain old cheap.

Just tight. Their purses were firmly shut.

Newborn etiquette? Are there rules or requirements that we should abide by when someone has a baby? Or is it just common sense that certain customs and practices are followed?

Mothers in the Mamamia office confess to the one thing they weren’t told about giving birth. Post continues after video. 

Video by MMC

Now there are countless lists on the internet of what to do when a baby is born, most of which you would think are common sense practices.

Firstly, when visiting the hospital, it is common practise to take a gift. A gift is symbolic. It welcomes the baby to the world and helps the parents celebrate the arrival of the baby.


Just a glimpse in every ward, you fill find they are adorned with beautiful fresh flowers, gift baskets, soft toys and baby gifts from visitors of the new arrival.

It’s pretty much common sense to take a gift. Or is it? Are you asking yourself ‘who would visit a newborn with no gift?’

In my case, family turned up to the hospital empty handed.

Both my mother-in-law and sister-in-law announced they didn’t want to buy flowers because they die and are a waste of money. Their comments went over my head and really did not register with me.

I lay in the hospital bed, exhausted and recovering from complications. It was only later in the evening when visiting hours were over that I was alone with my newborn and I was chatting with the other mums in the ward that I noticed. Their shelves were full of gifts and flowers. Mine were empty.

It was a strange feeling wondering why my family came empty handed. I began to feel very annoyed. Too stingy to buy flowers. Well, what about something for the baby?

Turning up to hospital empty handed is not how a baby is welcomed to the world. It is disrespectful to the baby and to the parents.

Why on earth did they not bring flowers, a packet of nappies, a soft toy or any other token gift to the hospital?

Hosts Holly Wainwright, Christie Hayes and the Year One team of in-house experts find out what to expect in these first precious days after giving birth. Post continues after podcast. 

Irrespective of their personal feelings, they should have welcomed my baby and shown some basic respect. Instead, they did the opposite. They showed that they were cheap and disrespectful. But what kind of people turn up to visit a baby with nothing? It surprised me. It made me realise that we were not respected. As for them, plain old tight.


Do not be cheap when it comes to a newborn. Flowers and soft toys are not expensive. Soft toys range anywhere from $10 above and a decent basket or box of flowers can easily be bought for $20.

This amount should not have been a problem for my family. They own numerous houses, have their own multi million dollar business and drive fancy cars. Money is no issue.

They turned my baby’s birth into something all about them. They picked up the baby and demanded photos, which were posted on social media without my permission. I was appalled and angry.

How dare they treat us this way? This was my baby and yet it was all about my mother-in-law and sister-in-law.

When discharged from hospital, it was my friends who came to visit with a variety of gifts, small and inexpensive to large and clearly more costly. Irrespective of the cost, it was my friends who arrived with gifts and warm hearts to welcome my baby to the world.

It was my friends who showed genuine care and respect. The amounts they spent were irrelevant. The point was no body turned up empty handed expect for my family. Months have passed and this family still have not provided my baby with a welcome gift. It is just not right.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.