I love that Rob and I are surrounded by babies! It is fun being the age where we are constantly celebrating friends through their pregnancy journey, into the newborn phase, and watching these sweet babies grow, and then celebrating all over as they add siblings into the mix.
Three years ago before I was even pregnant, I guest blogged for a popular mommy blog about general guidelines of how to bless new mamas without overwhelming them. Many of us have the best intention with our visits but in fact it can be exhausting for moms with new borns who are already sleep deprived, socially exhausted, and constantly have to have their boob out.
Let’s be real! We all go with the best of intentions to bless the mama with the new baby! We all want to make sure they feel loved and we want to cuddle their baby. However many of us forget what it’s like to have a new born or have yet to be in that situation!
1 week old
Here are 10 things you should do (and avoid) for your friends with newborn.. you don’t have to do all of them however intentionally doing 2 or 3 of these things will really bless a mama!:
1. Always bring food: Moms whether it is their first baby or fifth baby are all tired and the last thing they think about is taking care of themselves. I always ask the mom if I can pick up any special treat from Starbucks/McDonald’s but also bring a large homemade meal with lots of leftovers! Bonus if it is high in fibre because… well if you have had a baby you understand the importance of fibre.
2. Clean something: When Novee was born my sister came over and did the dishes, cleaned the house, and did laundry. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders that my house was presentable since we had so many people just popping in.
3. Offer to help: The most helpful thing my friends and family did was come over and offer to hold the baby, change diapers and give her a bottle so I could catch a nap or pump quietly. However this can be stressful for some moms to pass off their babys so do not be offended if they turn down that help.
4. Keep it short and sweet: Moms with newborns are counting down the moments of how long they have to nap and get in any sleep. If you are chatting, stay a max of 30 minutes.
5. Remember the baby isn’t going anywhere: This is true especially for family! The baby is not going anywhere.. the short visiting rule counts to you as well.
6. Always bring gifts (except one): Whether it is their first or seventh it is so nice to bring a gift. However DO NOT BUY CLOTHES UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PERSON’S STYLE VERY WELL! If you are off point with the clothes it is like pouring money down the drain because mama will dress their baby in the style they want. Some other ideas are a cute artisan paci clip, a box of diapers, or even a gift card to Walmart, Target, or Babies R Us for purchasing those last minute baby items.
7. Don’t forget about the siblings: I like to always bring a small gift for big brothers and sisters. Even if it is just running to the local Dollar Store and getting a small toy. Not only will it be exciting for them but it may also keep them occupied for a bit so mom can focus on baby.
8. Don’t forget the siblings.. Part 2: If you know mom and their kids well, offer to take the kids to the park or to McDonald’s Play Place. This may provide some much needed quiet mom has been craving.
9. Do not give unsolicited advice: Which is pretty ironic since this is an advice article but you are still reading 9 points in so I assume you are interested. Moms don’t want to be told they are breastfeeding wrong, holding them wrong, diapering them wrong, etc. Unless it is something that could harm the child then zip it unless they ask for your opinion.
10. Understand the baby blues: 80% of women will have the baby blues due to the hurricane of hormones, sleep deprivation, and major life change going on. I had pretty intense baby blues for 8 weeks after Novee was born and what made it worse was feeling judged by moms who were able to dodge that bullet (or it was so long ago they don’t remember). I already felt super guilty that I hadn’t bonded well with my child or that I cried a lot because I couldn’t return her to the hospital. For me I had to slow down the visits so I could take care of myself so that I could take care of my baby. If your friend or loved one isn’t up for a visit or cancels last minute be understanding and compassionate.
No matter what you do will be so appreciated by any mother of a newborn. It is just always an important reminder to not impose our own personal expectations on them as friends and family. Instead of imposing expectations if we be a tribe around them to support them I truly believe it will make the transition smoother.