Blog and photo contributed by Iowa Parent Mag (https://www.iowaparentmag.com/blog/7-ways-to-actually-help-a-new-mom). Check them out – they’re doing awesome things for the parent community in Iowa!
1. BRING HER FOOD.
Now I am sure you have heard of this one. Now that her life has changed and she is no longer sleeping, it can sometimes be hard to make time to eat. Don’t call her and ask what you can bring her, be thinking of this point before she even delivers the baby and try and take note of things she likes. This can be as simple as stocking her pantry with easy one-handed snacks like granola bars, or bringing some frozen meals for her to easily warm up as she is pumping, breastfeeding, bathing the baby, changing the baby, walking in circles to soothe the little one.. you get it, she’s busy. Don’t overthink it, in the end she’s just going to remember you were thoughtful, not what food you actually brought.
Because who doesn’t love doughnuts?
2. SEND HER A MESSAGE- THAT SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO GET BACK TO.
I’ve talked about this many times before, and no one likes to say it too loudly because we adore our children and our friends. That being said, becoming a parent can be very alienating, and a lot of that can be self inflicting. As a new mommy, you are overwhelmed with new responsibilities, under-replenished with sleep, and many times under-fueled with nutrition. Answering the simplest text message can be a chore, but if left unanswered can just provide more guilt. Don’t let her get down on herself that she hasn’t answered your text message asking how she is doing. Simply send her a message that you understand; and that she doesn’t have to get back to you, but you are here to listen when she is ready. If all else fails, text daddy and make plans to come bring her dinner ;).
3. OFFER TO HOLD THE BABY WHILE SHE SHOWERS.
Come to think of it, even today I would love it if someone came over and offered to watch my little tornado while I leisurely shower and get ready. It seems so simple and overlooked, but showering can really alter your mood (that link proves it). As a brand new mom, I would eagerly wait every day for my husband to get home from work so I could shower. This was honestly one of the best parts of my day because I was so new at this whole “momming” thing that I would panic if he even whined if I did try to shower with him home alone. She deserves some time to herself, even if it’s just to put on some mascara in piece. BTW- bonus points for complimenting her after she’s all showered. She’s just getting used to this new body and her whole life is in transition, she deserves to hear how well she’s handling it.
Everyone loves a shower transformation.
4. WHEN YOU COME OVER, JUST START CLEANING.
This one is near and dear to my heart; because living in a small apartment at the time, if my house was messy, my brain was probably 20x messier. I need a clean space just to breathe or I will not sit down until my list is complete (which never really is). A couple of weeks after our little man was born, my mother in law came to stay with us to get to know the babe. Without asking, my MIL would empty the dishwasher, fold clothes, and tidy up our little apartment. She didn’t do the whole “What can I do to help?”– which is still a great thing to ask — but I would have responded with nothing. I always try to be a host, and especially if you are not my mom or sister, I am not going to boss you around. Sorry Mom & Benji!
5. CALL AND ASK TO COME WATCH THE BABY WHILE SHE NAPS.
Hopefully you understand by now that “Sleep while the baby sleeps” is not a real thing. Your baby might sleep in 15 minute spurts at a the drop of a dime. I’m not much of a napper anyways, but if you tell me I have 15 minutes to nap, I am just going to do something else. That is not enough time to settle my brain and fall asleep. So even if she doesn’t nap during this time, give her at least a half an hour to scroll instagram or watch Netflix in her room by herself. Don’t stay in the same room or she’ll feel like she needs to entertain you. Tell her she deserves to have basic human rights, like catching up with KUWTK on her DVR.
A mom needs to take care of herself to take care of others.
6. BRING HER A GIFT, NOT FOR THE BABY, BUT FOR MOM.
I know I am going to sound selfish with this one, but I really don’t care. Amongst the “oooing” and “awwing” of this new perfect little peanut, some people forget to acknowledge that she just birthed a human. She literally just spent 9+ months growing a human inside of her. She couldn’t bend down to tie her shoes, wear her favorite clothes, drink mimosas, eat her favorite sushi roll (ok I’m getting personal on this one)— she deserves a medal! So either get her a medal (which would be pretty funny) or bring her something nice like a new pair of slippers or something comfy to wear as she tries to get that little kid to latch to her nipple. Maybe a DVD set or some soothing facemasks— really anything to show you were thinking about her too.
7. KEEP YOUR VISITS SHORT AND SWEET.
Unless you are her mom, her very best friend, or someone she is fine seeing her naked, you will outstay your welcome. Birthing a child means you spend the next 4 weeks with your boobs out either pumping, icing them, trying to get your kid to latch, or just not wanting to wear a shirt. Even worse, it takes you 30 minutes just to pee with all of the witch hazel pads and squirt bottles— TMI. But speaking of TMI, that’s why you really shouldn’t stay too long. Don’t make her feel guilty by asking how long you should stay, plan something for after that you have to do so there is no guilt leaving. But before you go- just ask the polite question if there is anything you could get her while you’re out there. It’s all about the gestures here people.
Remember to keep it short and sweet!
Do you have different ideas? Drop them below! We want to hear what helped keep you sane after delivery!