I’m nine-months post-partum (How long can I really get away with saying that? Because I still feel it.) with my first daughter and I remember trying to cherish my first few weeks so I’d never forget my current state of emotions. Those days are so sacred and hormonal. I didn’t want to let her go, like ever. So telling people the best ways to help a brand new mom didn’t include holding my baby. The only people I really trusted holding her while I took a shower (out of my site) and being able to maybe forgive if anything happened to her was her own father and my mother. Needless to say, I’m a worry-wart or how I like to describe it, better safe than sorry.
The excitement of meeting and holding a brand new baby is life-changing…but let’s not forget who’s baby it is ladies. Visiting a new mom could quite possibly entail not holding that little bundle of cuteness as soon as you walk in the door. It could include a list of chores you don’t even want to finish at your house.
Let’s be real, hospitality doesn’t exist at a brand new parents’ home when you’re relaxing on frozen maxi-pads or trying to keep your deflated balloon at bay above your incision line. Moms, you get it, the joys of the fourth trimester. Did I instill these ‘rules’ my first time around? No. Will I the second time? Probably not, I don’t have the guts. It’s also not why Dads exist, they need those newborn cuddles too, their mind is also beyond blown, don’t ask them any serious questions. Find the best ways to help a brand new mom (or dad).
Bottom line, asking for help is a challenge and you don’t know what help you really need until someone just steps in and subliminally checks off your to-do list. When visiting new parents, bring out your best hospitable guest manners or discover them for the first time. Be the unexpected. If you don’t agree, you’re at least guaranteed to be the first invited over to visit baby number two 😉
Best Ways to Help a Brand New Mom (and Dad)
1. Call in route:
Ask if they need anything, better yet tell them you’re already at the store, even if you’re not. No excuses. Start spouting off suggestions and pull it out of them; paper towels, toilet paper, batteries, double chocolate with caramel center filled cookies? The important things.
just start cleaning, everything. Even when they tell you to stop. Pick-up and organize the mail, do the dishes, vacuum, do the laundry. An even better idea if you’re really hoping for that godparent role: arrange a cleaning service to come over while they’re in the hospital. You’re welcome.
3. Don’t overstay your welcome:
Remember you’re looking for the best ways to help a brand new mom (or dad). So, when you come bearing gifts, cleaning and anything else I have on this list, it could appear that you’re there for the long haul and you just didn’t pull your sleeping bag out of the car yet. Be mindful that babies have schedules and new nursing mamas may need privacy while feeding. So, keep a flexible schedule, don’t rush mom and baby, but be ready to leave if they feel uncomfortable.
4. MOST IMPORTANTLY: Bring a gift.
Duh, don’t arrive empty-handed. Do you go to a party with a gift for the host? You should. This is the same concept except this is the best party ever to new parents!
**ALERT: Genius gift ideas. Everyone has different interests, but no matter who you’re visiting, at least one of these can apply!**
For what? So they have a mobile bucket for important baby and mom stuff. If you feel weird bringing an empty caddy, fill it with a bottle of water, hairbrush, hair ties, tissues (post-partum hormone tears), chapstick and health food bars. Once you arrive add some diapers and a pack of wipes they’ve chosen to use. This is especially helpful if an unexpected cesarian happened and they’re not prepared at home. Midwives orders: (something you won’t hear your Dr. tell you) Mom technically shouldn’t move much for two weeks after giving birth to allow the placenta wound to heel. If you saw the size of that wound on the outside of her belly you wouldn’t want her to move either. All the more reason for this caddy.
Okay, this is very faux pas and unoriginal, but as new parents, your house might not be up to par and a pot of flowers can make all the difference. Plus it’s soothing and makes you feel special. At least bring them as an extra gift. I had a friend bring flowers from Fresh Market (in Tampa off Henderson). These are seriously The.Prettiest.Bouquets.Ever.
Bring the ever-popular homemade frozen dinner they can pop in the oven or crockpot. Want to be creative? Create a gift basket with a DVD or Netflix gift card (you can buy them at Target), movie popcorn, chocolate, Twizzlers, any kind of sugary goodness that will help them stay up all night with their newborn.
Not just any sweets. I’m adding this because I had a couple of girlfriends bring me handmade macaroons. Heck yes, that was awesome! Anything hand-made, hand-crafted, hand-bought by someone else just tastes that much sweeter.
- Beer, Wine, and Spirits
No one likes to make a beer run, especially a new dad. Okay maybe he might need to run away for a bit, but start him off in good spirits. And breastfeeding mamas need that brewer’s yeast! Plan to make a toast or accompany the drinks with pizza (but be mindful of #3).
Literally, these are only gifts moms would understand and not feel embarrassed giving another mom because no one told you how imperative these necessities are; Soothing gel pads for the nips (heaven!), extra-large maxi-pads, large granny panties to eventually trash later, nipple cream, breast-pump accessories, milk bags, a new set of PJs or lounge pants, a pedicure gift certificate…because we all know she needs it, or if you’re the nice one, a massage gift certificate.
5. Offer random help
Send a text in the middle of the day and ask if she needs to do anything on her own, like take a shower. This is for the mom that’s happy to be able to relinquish her baby to you while she takes a shower, a nap or anything to feel a little bit normal. If you were too busy cleaning during your first visit, this may be your breakthrough. Selfish? Maybe. Helpful? Yes!
6. Ask Mom those personal questions
(more for that mom-to-mom or therapist friend): How are you really feeling? Do you really feel okay with how your labor went? How’s breastfeeding going, do you need any guidance? If needed, be the greatest mind reader and ask if you can hire a lactation consultant to come over. Major bonus points.
Last but not least, the obvious, the ONE thing that everyone should do even if you live in a germ-free bubble; wash your hands. This isn’t the most comforting phrase to ask your guests as they walk through your door so just take the initiative. Then tell them you washed your hands after you’ve been granted permission to hold the delicate fruit of their loins. It’s comforting and they’ll thank you for it.
I hope this broke a barrier for some of you and helped with answering your thoughts of what to really do for a new mom (and dad)! What was the best task, gift or help someone did for you as a new parent? OR What out of this world, best guest ever ways have you helped a brand new mom or parents?? I’m visiting a friend soon who just had her first baby so besides my fantastic list, I’m open and want to hear more creative and thoughtful ideas.