Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Support the New Moms in Your Life

Hello readership!

"Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives..." haha! And with every year that passes, chances are you have more and more friends who are having children, becoming moms. Even if we haven't been through it ourselves, none of us can deny that having a child is perhaps the biggest, most transformational life change that can ever happen to a person. 

When a friend has a baby, you want to do everything you can to show your love and support during this challenging transition. However, if you haven't experienced pregnancy, childbirth or parenthood yourself, you may not have a clue about what to do! And if you ask, your friend may not feel comfortable "burdening" you with what she really needs. Or more likely, she may just be too tired to even think straight to give you an answer!

So on behalf of all of us, we decided to ask - and we received - an abundance of great advice from new and experienced moms alike. It turns out that more than anything, it's the little things that are most appreciated during the special yet difficult time of being a brand-new mom. 

Below is a list of the most frequently-offered suggestions:

#1. Bring Food:
"Food!!! Healthy food, freezer food, snack food..." - Sarah

New moms always appreciate meals -- this was the most consistent reply and one of the easiest things to do. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • Organize an online meal calendar like this one so food is coming when she actually needs it.
  • Ask about food allergies or dietary restrictions before you bring anything!
  • Send instructions for reheating.
  • Send items in containers that you do not expect to be returned. (The last thing a new mom will be able to do is keep up with your tupperware!)
  • Send snack items that can be eaten with one hand (Baby's in the other!) or ask for a grocery list to bring over some general items like bread, juice, fresh fruit, etc.
  • If you aren't a chef, order food to be delivered! Better yet, order enough for there to be leftovers.

#2. Encouragement:
"It always helps when someone says, 'Hey, you're doing great! Your baby is fine, and even if today was rough, tomorrow will be better.'" - Sallie

Be thoughtful and encouraging without expecting too much in return. Remember, when you visit the baby, try to be helpful and not over-stay your welcome.
  • Send a quick text to say you are thinking about them and hope that they are doing okay, even if they are exhausted.
  • Don't expect a new mom to respond right away to your text, call, or facebook comment! She's got her hands full, literally. 
  • Keep her company -- go over for a quick visit so she doesn't get lonely when she can't leave the house.

#3. Chores & Errands
"It made a huge difference when someone would offer to do a grocery run for miscellaneous things that were needed! It's so hard to get out of the house to run errand with a newborn when you're still recovering." 
- Laura

A new mom always needs help with, well, just about everything. Especially early on, a new mom's basic needs won't be met unless someone else steps in. So, as mother-of-two Krista put it, "Don't ask - just do!"

  • Schedule a time to drop by and hold the baby for an hour while showers, naps or does whatever else she needs to do! Let her be while you enjoy Baby.
  • Before you head store for yourself, text and see what your friend needs. Run by for a quick grocery drop-off, helping your friend put the items away.
  • Offer to walk the dog after work a couple days a week. 
  • If she has another older child, offer to come play with him/her, take them to the park or movies. Anything to keep them entertained and feeling special while Mom gets a breather.
  • Whenever you drop by, look around and see what needs to be done. Wash the dishes, take out the trash, vacuum, or start/finish a load of laundry. Take the initiative yourself and do these things without asking. 

More great ideas, straight from the source:

"Starbucks pick-me-ups are awesome!" - Emily

"Honestly, the biggest stressor for me was how crazy my house got, because often times you don't have a free hand to do anything. My mother-in-law was the best at dropping by the house and staying for 20 minutes to vacuum, fold laundry or pick up the kitchen." - Kristen

"In the beginning, having a guest for more than 1 hour was pretty hard on me. I would honestly say give the family some space the first week or two unless you are family or a close friend. It took me several weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding and people being around just made it harder, especially since the baby needs to feed almost every 2 hours!" - Sarah

Another big thank you to the many moms who helped us compile this list!! If you're reading and have more ideas to contribute, please add them in the comments below - we all need all the help we can get. :)

Ladies unite!!

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