Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Help a Mom with a Newborn

Alright, mommies, mommies-to-be, and those that will be visiting them! This post is absolutely for you! I realize Walker is still technically a "newborn," but I wanted to share a few tried-and-true tips for helping a mom with a new baby. These are those things that I honestly didn't really "get" until he was born, so I wanted to share them with you in hopes of making your lives a little easier. Having a newborn - a baby in general - is so daunting, and I hope this helps you prepare for your sweet baby and will help those who will be visiting you once he or she is born. 

Let me preface this by saying that having a new baby is absolutely wonderful and it's 100 percent understood that people will be coming from near and far to visit said baby. My Dad gave me the best advice when he was leaving our house after Walker was born: "People only come to see the baby because they love you and care about you. So, let them come. Don't worry about how your house looks; they don't care. They just want to come see the baby out of love and respect for you." 

How to Help a New Mom {and Dad}: Visiting

1. See what time(s) work for them for you to stop by. 
Would they prefer you visit at the hospital or at home? If at the hospital, check to see if the hospital has visitation hours. Our hospital had "serenity hour" from 2-4 p.m. each day, so no visitors were allowed. If at home, check to see what time(s) work best for the new family. Most new moms will be exhausted and trying to get the baby on a sleeping and/or feeding schedule, so check with her first to see what time is best. When we first got home, Walker would eat every two hours, so we'd have people stop by right after he finished eating, if at all possible. No visitors like to come and the mom is in the bedroom feeding the baby!

The best thing we did was not have any visitors the day we came home from the hospital. We were all three so tired, and it was just nice to be able to come home, unpack our bags and start laundry, have a home-cooked meal by my mom, and love on our baby. 

2. Speaking of seeing what times work, it was easier for us if people would text us instead of calling us. It was so easier to return a text than answer the phone and have a full conversation {#firstworldproblems, I know}. Plus, if Walker was screaming, the poor person on the other end of the phone wasn't privy to that. 

3. When you visit, don't come empty-handed. 
My Mom always taught me to bring a full meal to a new mom: a main course, a side or two and dessert. Yes, it's tough for you to make all of that, but trust me: the family will appreciate it more than you know! {My go-to recipe to take a new mom is chicken spaghetti, a salad or green vegetable, rolls and a buttermilk pie.} 

When you have a new baby, you barely have time to microwave soup, much less get in the kitchen and fix supper! Also, if you can't or don't cook, ask the family what they would like from a local restaurant and bring that to them. Whether it's home-cooked or pizza from a restaurant, trust me - the new family will appreciate it. {Just make sure it's not too spicy if the new mom is breastfeeding.} 

We were so blessed that my mom was here at first and made us very yummy, homemade meals that were conducive to me breastfeeding: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas and rolls, for example. {Nothing too spicy!} Then, we had friends and family make and/or bring us meals when my mom and dad left. My grandparents were awesome and brought us a ton of frozen meals, and I made and froze meals before Walker was born; we're still eating on those! My aunt brought us salads we wanted from a local salad place, my best friend sent us a pizza, and my nephew's mom brought us Olive Garden. And it was all equally appreciated! 

How to Help a New Mom {and Dad}: Helping Around the House

4. Everyone tells a new mom to "nap when the baby naps." And that's all well and good at first…until she sees her overflowing laundry hamper or piles of dishes in the sink! Then - at least for me - baby's nap time turned into laundry hour. So, if you're close enough family and friends with the new family, ask what you can do to help around their house. 

Most new moms will be too proud to let you help, but insist! Whether it's unloading the dishwasher, folding a load of laundry, walking their dog, checking their mail or just taking a bag of trash from the kitchen to the garage, the family will appreciate it so much. A direct quote from my husband: "Even the smallest chore is a great help." 

My mom and mother-in-law were very helpful in that regard, even running to the grocery store to pick up a few things we were out of (e.g. milk, yogurt, laundry detergent). 

5. Also if you're close enough to the new family, offer to watch the baby for an hour or two while the new mom and dad go to dinner, the grocery store or run a few errands. No matter how in love the new mom and dad are with their sweet bundle of joy, they still will want a tiny little break -- even if they do talk about their baby the whole time! 

My grandparents and aunt were so helpful with this: my grandparents watched Walker while Brandon and I went to dinner on Valentine's Day; my aunt watched him while we went to sushi; my mother-in-law while I got a manicure and pedicure; and my aunt again while we attended a funeral. It was comforting to know that we could get out for an hour {typically right after I fed him} and we had family who loved on him while we were out. 

6. If you have time, offer to hold or feed the baby while the new mom takes a shower or a short nap. This was beyond helpful for me, because sometimes you have to decide whether to sleep, fold laundry or shower…and sometimes showering sadly takes the back burner. Also, if you offer to hold the baby while the mom showers, she can take a nice, hot, longer-than-five-minutes-with-the-baby-sitting-in-the-bouncer-outside-the-shower shower. {And maybe even shave her legs! Gasp!} 

My mom and mother-in-law would also take Walker right after I fed him and would order me to go take a nap. Even if it was just an hour, it was wonderful to not have to keep one ear open and just rest in pure silence. Additionally, Brandon has been very good at taking Walker into the living room after his 6 or 7 a.m. feeding and entertaining him while I slept an additional hour or two…pure bliss. 


I hope these things have been or will be helpful to you! Are there any things I've left off? Did any of these help you, too? 

1 comment

  1. I LOVE this post! When the first of my friends to have a baby brought their little one home, I had no idea what to do or how to help out. I was clueless and I felt like a bad friend. This is SO helpful. Thank you!


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