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As a mother of a newborn, not only have you just spent the last 9 months growing a small human (which is a mammoth task by the way), you’ve also just been through one of the most gruelling things a body can do – give birth. Now you have a tiny human who relies on you for everything, doesn’t quite understand the concept of sleep yet, you feel mushy, tired and you’re leaking from everywhere. It’s rough and it’s okay to ask for help.
If you have a friend or family member who has a newborn or will soon have a newborn, pay attention to this list. Save it for reference and come back to it when you need inspiration. If you’re the mother of a newborn or if you’re about to be, send this list to friends and family so they get the point. These are just some of the many things you can do to help the mother of a newborn.
And if you think you don’t have to do any of these things because she will ‘understand’ then just be aware I’m giving you ‘the look’ right now. You know the one that bores through and tells you that you’re wrong and to just do one of these things at least. Come on… she deserves it!
1 – Bring Food And Coffee When You Visit
Be aware that in doing so, you will most likely make her cry tears of joy and happiness. Know her coffee order and be sure to get it right, even if you have to check with her husband first. And if you’re not sure what food to bring, bring two sweet and two savoury options and let her choose which ones she wants – she will LOVE you for it.
2 – Whenever You Visit, Always Do One ‘Chore’ For Her
You don’t have to go all out and clean her house from top to tail but do, at the very least, wash the dishes or put the dishwasher on. It takes next to no effort and you can do this while she feeds the baby or even while talking to her. Don’t take no for an answer, just do it.
3 – Offer To Hold The Baby For 20 Minutes While She Showers
In doing so you may end up with a baby in your arms and a mother gone within the blink of an eye but she will emerge from the steamy haze feeling semi human again and have a fresh spring in her step.
Showering seems to be one of the things that keeps getting put off as a mother of a newborn. They just need you all the time and some want to be held… all the time… and then you’re leaking and sweating and you’re not quite sure how many days it’s been since you last showered.
Be sure to tell her that she has to be in there for at least 20 minutes. And to take extra time to brush her teeth and pluck her eyebrows while she is at it.
4 – Show Up On Time And Don’t Overstay
If you said you were coming at 11am then you better make dang sure you’re there at 11am. If you’re running any more than 5 minutes late then offer to reschedule (unless the cause of you running late is coffee and cake, then that’s a little more understandable… but still 10 minutes max!!).
On the same note, don’t show up at 11am and plan on leaving at 6pm. Regardless of how close you are or if you’re family, visitors are still exhausting. If she asks you to stay, then do so, but pay attention to her social cues telling you she needs you to go. Don’t be offended, it’s just exhausting.
5 – Offer To Help Her Get Out Of The House
If you’re planning on meeting up somewhere for coffee or lunch or whatever, offer to help her get out of the house. Meet at her place first and help her get things together, nurse the baby so she can shower and do her hair.
If she hasn’t left the house with the newborn yet offer to take her somewhere. She may not be allowed to drive for a period of time after the baby is born so offer to take her out.
Getting out can be great for her mental health and the fresh air might be just what she needs.
6 – Take Photos For Her While You’re There
You don’t have to be invasive, and always check with her first, but these days are like a total blur for her and she probably isn’t even thinking of documenting them. But these pictures will be amazing for her to look back on.
Just doing the simple everyday things, feeding her baby, nursing the baby, rocking the baby back and forth… all little tasks that are so sweet and so precious. You could even pick a nice one and have it framed for her for the next time you visit.
7 – Talk To Her About Anything Other Than Babies
She has probably been void of real, normal adult conversation for a while now. Even leading up to the birth every conversation seems to be either about the birth or about the baby. It makes things kind of lonely. So take the time to talk to her about anything that is not baby related. World news (Trump did whaaaat?), the latest office gossip (did you know they were together…?) or anything else she wants to talk about. It will be such a relief for her.
8 – Take Her Older Kids To The Park
If you have kids of your own, you know what it’s like to have them cooped up in a house for a few days – they go crazy. And if she has older kids that haven’t been getting as much attention as they are used to, I’d bet she (and they) could do with a little break.
Take them to the local park and let them run around and play or kick a ball for an hour or two.
Don’t stress about logistics – where there’s a will there’s a way. Walk to the park if you have to, take her car with the car seats or put the car seats in your car. Whatever you have to do to make it happen. If it really is impossible, then take them outside and keep them entertained so she can have a break.
9 – Stay Away With Coughs, Colds and Sniffles
It really should go without saying, but since people don’t seem to always get it, it has to be said. If you have a cough, cold, sore hole or any sort of not feeling 100% stay away. Your ‘need’ to see the baby does not come before the baby’s health.
On a similar note, make sure you wash your hands before nursing the baby. It’s just manners.
10 – Keep The Unsolicited Advice Under Control
The first few days/weeks, in particular, are quite tough. The whole family is trying to work out their new dynamics and survive this time, in their own way. What worked for you might not work for everyone else.
And while it’s can be nice to hear that someone else has been in the trenches too, telling the mother of a newborn to stop picking up her baby when they’re crying because ‘crying is good for their lungs’ or any other indication that she is doing anything wrong is just downright rude.
However, if she asks for your advice go ahead and give it, just do it in a polite way.
11 – Cook Dinner or Bring Snacks
There’s nothing more comforting than a homemade meal and everyone has their speciality. Make yours for her and pop it in the freezer with instructions on how to reheat and serve.
Also, a major bonus if you bring snacks that she can eat easily like little mini quiches, oatmeal biscuits (good for lactation) or homemade granola. Newborn babies cluster feed while trying to bring in milk and even still, they like to feed… a lot. Which makes a mother very, very hungry. Feed the woman!
12 – Offer To Run Errands
While most bills and things can be paid online now, check with her to see if she has any errands she needs done. Sometimes it’s the simple things like running errands that can be the most stressful for her – getting everything organised and leaving the house for the purpose of errands just isn’t appealing. Offer to help.
13 – Offer To Chauffeur The Kids
If she has older kids they may still need to be taken to and from school and to any extra curricular activities. If she is unable to drive, this can be impossible to deal with and even if she can, it can still be super stressful. Offer to chauffeur the kids around for a while as needed or even just every second day to give her a break.
14 – Ask Her What You Can Do To Help
If you’re at a loss for what to do… still… or if she is declining your offers to help in any of the ways listed above, ask her what you can do to help. She may have something specific she needs done or she may be super stubborn (like me) and be uncomfortable with asking for help. Be sure to remind her that you want to help and that it’s okay to have someone do a few things here and there.
Plus, while all of these things are awesome and will definitely be a massive help to the mother of a newborn, just knowing you are there for her if she needs you can be really comforting. Even if it’s just to text while she is feeding the baby.