Whether Baby is due months from now or in a matter of days, it’s important for expectant Mamas to round up their support network ahead of time. New babies mean huge changes for new parents, and helping hands are invaluable while Mama’s energy is focused on the new arrival. If you’re a Mama-to-be, let your friends and family know how they can help you post-delivery by sharing this article—trust us, when yummy snacks show up on your doorstep, you’ll be glad you did!
Between fatigue, physical discomfort, and hypersensitivity to Baby’s every need, new Mamas may have a hard time giving their full attention to guests. Long visits can feel taxing (even overwhelming), and the last thing friends and family want is for the new Mama to feel exhausted by the time their house-call is over. Make sure you arrange the date and time in advance, and be conscious of Mama’s energy level throughout your stay. A good rule of thumb is to keep visits under 30 minutes (that is unless you plan to help with house duties!), so keep your eye on the clock or set a timer on your phone. If Mama excuses herself in order to feed the baby, that’s your cue to leave—this way other members of the household are free to see to her needs. Remember, the first six weeks after baby arrives are a huge adjustment for Moms, so don’t worry if things don’t feel the same as they used to; give her a couple of months to find her footing as a new parent and you’ll pick up right where you left off!
Postpartum Care Package
Expectant Mamas will spend hours reading books and blogs in the hopes of arming themselves with all the knowledge and resources they’ll need to survive once Baby arrives. That said, some of the most simple and commonly needed supplies are easily overlooked! And usually they’re the kind of items that will ensure Mama herself is comfortable postpartum. Consider putting together a care package filled with pampering goodies to remind her that she deserves some love too! We’ve got some ideas that will have the new Mama feeling nurtured and well cared for:
Help Around the House
Once upon a time, in a land before your Mama-friend had a newborn, she would cross items off her to-do list with style and ease. She could run impromptu errands at the drop of a hat, and managed to toss in loads of laundry during commercial breaks. Now that Baby is here, her list is a lot harder to tackle and seems to be growing by the minute! Remind her that she’s going through a major change in her life, and that it’s ok if some to-dos are put on the back burner for a while. Try helping Mama prioritize her list, and offer to lend a hand with the important items like laundry, or those tasks that are difficult for her to do like large grocery trips. Consider a weekly visit to help Mama make it through her first weeks as a new parent; having the regular help will be a huge relief when she begins to feel like there’s too much on her plate.
The post-labor period is an emotional time for Mama, so keep the air light and love-filled. Whether you’ve had a terrible day at work, got cut-off driving home, or just learned of the latest political disaster, be sure to save the rant for someone who has the capacity to carry that negativity—guaranteed it’s not the new Mama sitting in front of you. Notice the energy in the home and do your best to keep it tranquil. Besides deferring tales of outrage for another time, there are many ways to support a peaceful and loving space for Mama and Baby to enjoy. Here are some environmental stimuli to keep in mind when you visit:
Sounds: Speak calmly, turn televisions off, keep cell phones on vibrate
Sights: Dim harsh lighting, turn on side lamps, tidy up
Scents: Empty garbage bins, avoid wearing strong perfume, offer lavender room spray
New babies eat round the clock, and it’s not uncommon for breastfeeding moms to feel as though they are a 24-hour buffet. This means Mama’s three square meals are going to be less than regular (at least for the first month or so). Even if baby is formula fed, frequent feedings mean its tough for Mom to make it to the kitchen simply to feed herself throughout the day! Chances are she won’t even think of eating until she’s ravenous and needs to eat something now. Prepared healthy snacks are a lifesaver that will help Mama keep her body fuelled while she doles out the TLC to her little one. And don’t forget water! Especially if Mama is breastfeeding, she’s going to feel thirsty ALL the time—be sure she’s got a glass of H2O at arms reach. Need some snack inspiration? Here are some tasty suggestions to bring when you visit:
Someone to Listen
In the weeks leading up to Baby’s arrival, Mama-to-be is flooded with loving attention and thoughtful inquiries about her health, hopes, and state of mind. Yet, the days following labor tend to be quiet and, quite frankly, lonely. “Hello, is anybody there!” Although friends and family commonly believe that Mama wants to be left alone while she gets to know her child, she may in fact be wishing for a friendly face and a shoulder to lean on. Birth, in all its many forms, is a life-changing experience that can leave new Mamas feeling stunned. Try to notice if your Mama-friend wants to talk about her birth story and decide if you’re the right person to lend an ear. Simply listening to her story and letting her express her feelings is hugely therapeutic! Mamas can experience various degrees of “baby blues” postpartum, and depression is not uncommon. So, if you think she needs more help than you can offer, talk with another close friend or family member about seeking professional advice. That’s what friends are for!
With a new baby comes a world of change and, if Mama-to-be is a close companion, you’ll have her wellbeing at heart! Not only will she be adjusting to life with a newborn, but she’ll also be in a mental and physical state of recovery after labor. Remind Mama that she isn’t alone! Show her some love and let her know that, while she’s looking after Baby, you’ll be there looking after her.
What are some things you appreciated help with when you first had baby? Please share what you most needed in the comments below!