Ways to be helpful to someone with a new babyOctober 21, 2015, by Deena @Shoes to Shiraz
photo credit: Miller Ellis
If you have a friend or family member that is having or has recently had a child (be it their first or their fifth) I'm going to offer you some advice so you can be helpful in a way they'll appreciate the most.
photo credit: Miller Ellis
- Bring/send/make food. We all like to eat but no one likes to eat more than a mother who has just given birth. Seriously, a nursing mother is insatiable. Honestly though, nursing or not, having quick and easy food readily available is a godsend. For both babies I came home to a fully-stocked fridge and it made all of the difference in the weeks following. There were times I'm confident I wouldn't have eaten at all had I not had meals at the ready.
When in doubt, bring food.
**note: the fabulous Deena (a fellow Blended Blog contributor even sent dinner to my house one night even though she's thousands of miles away - how sweet/awesome is that?!)
- Give them space but don't alienate. How do you do this? ASK to come visit but don't overstay. Trust me when I say the company is welcomed just not for too long. It's awkward to have to try and change and feed baby with a houseful of people during the early days. Your company is very much wanted and valued BUT mom, baby and family need time too.
- Run errands. Do they need groceries? Toilet paper? Toothpaste? Seriously, ask parents how you can practically help and I'm sure they'll be able to come up with a list of things and be forever in your debt for your help. During the first few weeks it feels daunting, if not impossible, to leave the house (the more children, the more daunting). Having someone grab the necessities can be a real blessing.
- Occupy older kids. If you know someone who has had a child after their first than you can certainly be helpful by pre-occupying their older child(ren). This is awesome for a number of reasons. You not only give mom a much-needed and deserved break but you make the older child feel special by giving them some one-on-one time.
- Let her nap. Seriously, make her give you the baby so she can go nap. Tell her it's non-negotiable. If she's not tired, make her have a hot bath. I can pretty much guarantee, if she lays down, she will sleep.
- Clean or occupy children while she cleans. She's feeling like her house is a mess but she has no time or energy to clean it. The best gift ever would be to clean or have her house cleaned. A solid runner-up would be to take care of the child(ren) so she can clean. Sound silly? I swear my friend came over the other day and as soon as she took the baby I made a mad-dash to the kitchen to put away dishes from the dishwasher.
- Tell her she looks good. Most new moms are struggling with body image. We just birthed life and are left with a lot of residual damage. Tell her, honestly, that she looks good (you have to be genuine and mean it, or it won't work). Bonus points if you watch the child(ren) long enough for her to actually get a shower in, run a brush through her hair and put on some mascara.
- Listen. If you listen, she will vent (said in the voice from Field of Deams). Seriously, a new mom has lots to talk/vent about from no sleep to the number of diapers she changes in a day to things totally unrelated to baby. If you give her an ear, she will fill it.
- Bring wine. Enough said.
- Take her out. This is HUGE!! Don't try and do it until she's ready, but when she is, get her out of the house without children. Take her out for coffee, for dinner or a drink. She needs the time out of the house, to get dressed up and feel like a person outside of her role as mom. If she has a partner, pre-arrange with him/her to be on baby-duty so you can surprise her with some time away.
Bonus: offer to babysit while she and her partner go out. Even if it's just for a quick drink or appetizer, they'll both be better for it and you'll get some baby snuggles in - everyone wins!