How To Help a New Mom
Posted October 28, 2013 by Prairie Wife - 2 comments
We’ve all been there, a friend of yours has just had a baby, and you can’t wait to head on over and hold that sweet little bundle of blessings! Part of this is, of course, pure selfishness. The other half is the desire to lend a hand to your friend. It doesn’t matter if this is her first or fifth baby. The hints listed below will ensure you leave her happier than when you came, and it will seal the deal on your “friend of the year” Prairie Wife Badge.
1. Call and schedule the visit a few days ahead of time.
And then call or text at least two hours before to ensure she is still up for a visit. The new baby might have been up all night, or her mother-in-law may have popped by for an unscheduled stay. Make sure that your visit is genuinely wanted before you come.
2. Bring food.
If you are coming near mealtime, let her know that you will be bringing food for her. Sometimes the thought of making a sandwich for yourself is overwhelming for a new mom, not to mention a meal for a friend. If you plan on leaving before mealtime, let her know. If she has a husband and kids, ensure enough for the whole family. (Make sure you ask if she has any dietary restrictions, nursing moms usually stay away from dairy and onions)
If you are stopping by and it’s not near mealtime, bring something she can eat later or freeze for another day. Again, make enough for the whole family. Please put it in a container you never want to see again, and let her know it’s hers forever. The last thing she needs is to try and remember to wash and return a dish.
If you aren’t into cooking, get her a lovely card with a gift certificate. Pizza Hut and Papa Murphy’s are great. If it is for a restaurant, make sure it has carry-out. Trying to go out with a newborn would reduce most new mothers to tears.
3. Don’t look too cute.
Chances are the new mom probably isn’t looking her best. A devastating combination of hormones, baby spit-up, and sleep deprivation tends to suck all the beauty and style from even the most put-together women. You don’t have to show up in your sweats and baseball hat (though that would make me feel better), but coming over looking like a fashion spread from Vogue isn’t very nice!
4. Keep your advice to a minimum.
When visiting a new mom, it’s normal to want to offer advice, especially if you’ve had a few babies of your own. That’s great, but try and keep it to a minimum. And end it with, “That’s what worked for me. You need to pick what works for your family.”
5. Offer to hold the baby.
Before you take the baby, make it clear that she can feel free to do whatever she needs to while you get your baby fix. I love it when people come by and hold the baby so I can chat and get caught up on putting laundry away, doing dishes, and going through two weeks of mail.
6. If you are super close friends, you can offer to help clean up the house or hold the baby while your friend naps or takes a shower.
Be careful with this offer because some women may see it as an insult…”What do you mean, I spent 30 minutes cleaning up before you came?!” or “Do I look like I need a shower? What are you saying? Do I stink?!” You can see how this can be dangerous territory for a hormonal woman.
7. Keep it short.
NEVER stay longer than two hours. With a new baby, the opportunities for a mom to rest are few and far between. Please don’t stay all day, and take that away from her!
8. There are many other ways to help besides stopping by the house.
Texting your friend while you are already at the store to see if she needs anything is a great idea. You can tell her you’ll put it on her front porch as you drive past (don’t ring the doorbell or go in the house).
One of my neighbors offered to take the kids to school for me one day a week for the first few months after Cowbaby was born. Her generosity brought me to tears; it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me, seriously!
Some of my girlfriends would also pick up the Cowkids for me, keep them at their house for a few hours, and return them later in the evening.
I also had a girlfriend who would pick the kids up and come to the house for a low-key play date. When you’ve been with a cranky baby all day, the grownup company is sometimes the best balm for your soul!
Sometimes sending your friend a quick text to let them know you are thinking of them and an offer to help is all a new mom needs to make it through a rough day. I rarely need help, but knowing they support me goes a long way.
Do you have any other ways to help a new mom? Let us know in the comments.