Do you know a new mom? Chances are, if you’re in a certain age bracket, you either know someone who is expecting or you know a new mom who recently had a baby. And assuming you’re a mom, you know how tough it is to make it through the newborn stage – especially when the baby depending on you for all food, shelter, and comfort is your first.
One of the worst things, as far as I’m concerned, about having a baby is that while so many people swoop down to offer you new mom help, that “help” can feel like just another obligation.
For instance, family comes to stay. Instead of washing up and doing some shopping and changing the baby without being asked, they’re looking at you, the new mom, for all their meals and entertainment. Worse yet, they’re leaving coffee mugs and plates everywhere. Or a loved one comes to give you a chance to rest, and what happens is that they cuddle your baby for four hours while you hold up your end of the conversation and tackle the ever-growing pile of unfolded laundry on your couch.
New mom help? Hardly. Hopefully, you don’t resemble those remarks. You, I have no doubt, swoop in not to be amused by the new mother in your life, but to give her a real break by doing any (or all) of the things on the list that follows.
1. Bring the new mom not one, but five frozen dinners… but only after you’ve made sure she has room in her freezer or deep freeze. Better yet, you organize a meal drop schedule among your group of friends using Takethemameal.com. Not a cook? Gift certificates to local take out joints work just as well.
2. Clean when you visit. Not, I should stress, when asked, but just clean whatever you see without making a big deal about it. See the laundry pile on the couch? Start folding. Dishes in the sink? Load the dishwasher. Tidy up the baby toys. Literally do any one thing to clean up in a new mom’s house and you will have earned your wings.
3. Remind the new mom in your life that there’s no such thing as a perfect mom. Maybe she’s sad because nursing didn’t work out or her birth didn’t go as planned or her baby has a medical issue that was unexpected. Maybe she just feels like she can’t keep up with her little need machine. Whatever challenges she’s facing, commend her for handling them. Not handling them well, just making it through.
4. Get her a present. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Food is usually a winner. 6 months of Netflix. Keep it simple! It may just be exactly what she needs when she’s coping with the post-pregnancy hormone crash, she’s exhausted, and she’s feeling a little left out since everyone seems to want to hold the baby but no one’s hugging her. You know what would be an awesome present? Offering to help with thank you cards.
5. When you buy prezzies for baby, make sure they actually useful. Examples of some things many new moms end up giving away are wipe warmers, stuffed animals, tiny receiving blankets, itty bitty shoes, bottles, bottle warmers, and tons and tons of newborn clothes that baby will outgrow a week after coming home from the hospital. When you’re buying clothes, chose 12 mo. or 24 mo. size and make sure you’ve got the season right.
6. Tell your new mom friend about Mom Meet Mom, the best way to meet moms who are going through all of the same things she is. There’s nothing like hanging out with other new moms when you’re in the bleary-eyed newborn phase and it feels like those night feedings are never going to end.
What are your best new mom help tips? Tell us here or at our Facebook page!