When a new mom has a baby, it is almost always such a joyous time. When a new mom has a baby for the first time, it is usually something that numerous family and friends want to celebrate along with the new family. In many cases, there are several people who are wanting to help, but is all help the same?
I remember the first time I became a mom. I felt so much like a stranger in a strange land. I will never forget how on the way home from the hospital my husband and I were wondering, “what do we do now?!”
While it is an exciting time for everyone, it can also be a very overwhelming time. When it comes to family and friends who are eager to help, is all help the same? Perhaps not.
If you are looking for some ways that you can help a new mom, here are some great ideas.
Visit, but only when planned and make the visit brief
There is nothing that can be more overwhelming to a new mom than feeling as though she is entertaining in her home while also trying to tend to her own postpartum needs, become acquainted with her new baby, and juggle all the other demands on her time whether it is caring for her older children, tending to the household needs, preparing meals, and perhaps even caring for special medical needs that are hers or her new baby’s. In reality, sleep deprivation is real, feelings of inadequacy are real, feelings of being completely overwhelmed are real, and raging hormones are real. Visits are great, but they should only occur at the time of the new mom’s choosing and when planned ahead of time.
Prepare a meal that feeds her whole family, with leftovers
The meals I find to be really great are the ones that are prepared to the point of being thrown in the oven so that I can quickly prepare them when it works best for me and the needs of my family. Are you looking to really bless a new mom? Bring her more than one meal – such a special treat.
Spend an afternoon or morning cleaning her house
Juggling the demands of being a new mom is often a huge challenge, and the household duties are often the thing that fall along the wayside. Although household duties may be put on the back burner, it doesn’t mean that it’s because she wouldn’t enjoy a clean home. Oftentimes the cleaning and similar household duties get pushed aside because it is one of the only things that can. Meals still need to be made, laundry still needs to be done, and things like paying bills, running errands, and caring for older kids just can’t be ignored. My mom did this for me when my first was born, and I was so thankful she did.
These ideas bring me to some of my next points – offer to spend a couple of hours running some of her errands
Wouldn’t it be such a treat to have groceries in your house and not have to do the shopping yourself? What an amazing way to help a new mom and young family. Whether you are grocery shopping, picking up some forgotten baby items, or returning gifts that were not needed or something she couldn’t use, running errands is an incredible way that you can help a new mom.
Come and pick up her laundry, take it home to wash it, and bring it back clean and folded
Take it one step further and put it away for her when you bring it back. If you have ever done laundry, you probably know that laundry has a way of multiplying to reach epic proportions. My mom did this for me when various babies were born, and I can say from firsthand experience that it is so amazing. It’s one of those things that even she may not think of as a way that she would love help, but it is sure to be something that is such a treat.
If she has older kids, offer to take them for a morning, afternoon, or the entire day whether you are caring for them in your home or in hers
When a new baby comes into the family, a mom can often feel guilty that her time is divided between an older child or children and the new baby who almost always is the most needy of the bunch. Taking her older child or children can be of great value because she knows that her child or children are getting more than she can most likely give them at the time. She knows they are getting something special and can take that time to avoid having to feel like she’s not enough for everyone.
Also in the case of her older children, take a week or two of her driving duties off of her plate
As a mom to seven children, four of whom all have weekly activities that take them here, there, and everywhere, having a break on the driving duties would be amazing! This would only be magnified if the new mom is also packing up her new baby to drive other children all over the city. Take over on the morning or afternoon pick ups, drop offs, or carpool duties.
Offer to babysit her new baby so she can do whatever she wants or needs
Maybe she would love a worry-free shower, just an hour to herself to read, a bit of time to pursue a hobby, or the ability to take care of household duties on her own. If she has older children, she would often love someone to look after her newborn while giving her older child or children the time and attention she is struggling to give them on her own. The key here is to make the offer and let her take it from here. She knows how you can best help her in this way, even if it is a time that you would not normally choose. The open-ended and unconditional offering of your time will allow her to use your “gift” in the way that best suits her needs.
Organize a meal train for her
There are so many awesome tools to do this online these days. Organize a meal schedule where family and friends can sign up to bring the family meals. Organizing and overseeing this process is not overwhelmingly difficult or time consuming, it just takes someone to get the ball rolling. Sign Up Genius and Meal Baby are a couple of online tools available for this kind of thing. Get something started and then contact her family, friends, fellow church members, and neighbors to let them know about what you have in place. No pressure of course, but just letting them know it is there if they are interested.
Finally, ask her how you can help
Tell her that you have x-amount of hours to give to her as a gift, and let her get back to you in how those hours can best be used. It can be a bit worrisome to offer an open-ended gift of time, but if you have it to give, it just might be the most amazing thing you can give a new mom.
Bringing a new baby home is such a special time, but it can also be an overwhelming time when a new mom struggles to keep all the demands of her home and family in balance. Choosing one or more of these ten ways to help will be such a precious gift. No matter which you choose, you are giving her the gift of time, which just might be the most valuable thing you could do for her.
Looking for more on new mom issues, try 12 Tips to Prepare Your Child For a New Sibling, The New Mom’s Guide to Packing a Hospital Bag, or How to Write an Amazing Birth PlanFor A Natural Birth.