This is a guest post by Tove Maren from Mama in the Now. If you have not checked her out, she is amazing. Not only is she a fantastic blogger, but I have to give her a huge shout out for being SO supportive to me and our family in this crazy time.
As a new mom your emotions are running high and your energy is at an all time low. While you want to show off your precious bundle, you may have older kids at home adjusting to the new dynamics, you are recovering from labor and/ or surgery and quite frankly – having a parade of (well-meaning) loved ones might not be what you NEED right now. But that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t use a helping hand – or two. There are many ways that loved ones can step up and help the new parents – without sitting on your couch expecting detailed accounts of which breast he nursed from last. Share my list of “Ten Ways to Help a New Mom!” with your friends and relatives – they ARE willing to help, but may just need some direction.
Personally, I prepared my friends ahead of time that we would not be taking visitors (except for grandparents) for the first several weeks, as our growing family needed a chance to spend “quiet” quality time together until everyone felt stronger. I can honestly say that it was the BEST “gift” I could have given my family – and NONE of my friends took offense, but they rather respected my wishes.
Ten Meaningful Ways to Help a New Mom (Without Sitting on Her Couch):
1. Deliver a meal! Bring the hungry mama a good healthy meal. Don’t forget to add something for the kids and husband to eat as well. Ask about dietary restrictions ahead of time.
2. Coordinate a meal train from friends! leave a cooler on her porch for easy delivery. mealtrain.com is a wonderful interactive website to set up a running schedule of meals, times and special instructions.
3. Host playdates for siblings, away from her house, as long as your kids are healthy! I might just repeat for extra effect: as long as your kids are healthy – the last things the new mama needs is to wrangle sick kids and try to keep a baby healthy!
4. Carpool her older children to/ from school and sports activities! Helping her with the daily logistics will save her sanity.
5. Bring care package for breastfeeding mom! Drop a gift bag off at her front door with a new water bottle, lactation cookies, lactation tea, nipple cream, bamboo breast pads, and a good carefree magazine for her reading pleasure. (Even if she never gets to read it, at least she can look at the pictures – or use it for a craft project with the siblings).
6. Bring entertaining care package for older children! Don’t forget the siblings – coloring books, craft projects, books, Play Doh, LEGO. Any non-battery operated, quiet toy is always a sure hit with both a tired mom and frazzled older siblings.
7. Walk her dog, pick up her mail and maintain the house while she is in the hospital! Offer to help with specific and practical tasks. There is nothing more daunting than trying to “run a home” from the comfort of a hospital bed.
8. Stay in touch daily via email or text! Offer support without expectations of her replying instantaneously. This one is probably one of the more impactful ways you can help a new mom. Just a few daily texts checking in with her will be remembered for years. – Trust me.
9. Go grocery shopping/ run errands! Have her text you a grocery list. You help her by going shopping, delivering, putting the food away and then leaving.
10. Update family and friends via private FB group, CaringBridge account or group texts if she’s in the hospital for an extended time! If she or the baby need to remain hospitalized you can help and support her by fielding calls from all her friends. Send updates to Facebook groups or simply just run inference between her and worried relatives.
Before you know it, you will have adjusted to your “new normal” of life with a baby (and older kids) and having visitors will be a relief rather than a “chore.” The day WILL come, so hang in there new mom! Hang tight!
What did someone do for you that always stood out in your memory as a really nice gesture?
Tove Maren is a Danish American mother of four boys. She reports live from the trenches of motherhood on her blog “Mama in the Now.” Her life is full of love, laughter and lots of LEGOs, check out her blog and tell her that Becky sent you!