It is a special time for a new mom following the birth of a child.
So many emotions are going through a new mom’s head: I’m not pregnant any more! This is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen! Will I get my waist back? I’m already exhausted! Will I ever sleep through the night again? Are they breathing? Am I doing this right? They are so tiny! Oww I need a Tylenol… And this is just in the first 5 minutes!
Everyone wants to help a new mom out, but sometimes we forget what they need the most. Moms need to relax and recover for at least 2 weeks following birth. Having a baby is no easy task for a mom’s body to go through. If they push themselves too soon, they could hemorrhage or develop mastitis.
Here is my list of ways that my family and friends helped me the most following my births:
1) Keep the older kids entertained.
Aidalyn was 2.5 years old when Annaleigh was born. Luckily, Aidalyn did well with the extra TV time that she had while we were all recovering from Annaleigh’s birth. My mom was such a huge help to us before Annaleigh was born and right after. She stayed with us for about 5 weeks total, helping me with Aidalyn and the house. Not having to worry about Aidalyn helped me give my full attention to recovering and taking care of Annaleigh.
2) Cook meals for the family
Following both of my births, my church family really helped me out by cooking meals for 2 weeks. Having a hot meal coming each night was so amazing. I didn’t have to worry about what we were going to eat and it helped us all recover by being able to relax at dinner time. We used Sign up Genius to schedule meals and it made the process so easy.
3) Do laundry
Births and babies generate a lot of laundry. Adam’s mom and my mom both helped me with laundry following the births of my girls. It is not glamorous by any means, but it is such a HUGE deal to a new mom to not have to worry about.
4) Clean the kitchen and put dishes away.
Just like the laundry, this is not a fun job to do… but some things just have to get done and we don’t want our new mom to feel like it is her job. Ask her what would make the biggest help to her (maybe it is unloading the dishwasher or wiping down the counter tops). Everyone has that one thing that bugs them, see if you can scratch that off her “to-do” list.
5) Let Mom get a shower
Getting a shower and feeling normal again is so important to a new mom. She will be pouring all of herself into this new little baby and forget she needs to care for herself too. Newborns will want to be held all the time, so showers and baths become a luxury.
6) Text her to see if she needs anything from diaper cream to coffee.
New moms don’t always know what they need until after the baby arrives (or they run out of something faster than expected!) Don’t call, just in case she is sleeping or dealing with the baby. A text allows her to get to your message at her convenience. She can reply and let you know if she needs anything from the store.
7) Let her know you are there if she needs to talk or ask advice.
New moms are always doubting their ability to care for this new little baby they are now responsible for. It is a relief to have a more experienced mom there for questions or advice. Wait until the mom asks for advice, though. Don’t offer advice when it isn’t solicited. Let this mom use her judgement to make decisions (and those mistakes we all make). It is a huge leap to go from a woman to a mom.
What not to do:
1) Don’t go over to help and end up holding the baby the whole time and expect to be treated like a guest.
2) Don’t stay for hours and hours keeping the mom busy when she could be resting and taking a nap.
3) Don’t tell horror stories about babies, postpartum time, or never sleeping again. Be a positive light when you are talking to this new mom.
4) Don’t make her husband busy or leave the house for long periods. He needs to be home too, recovering and falling into his new role as dad.
5) Don’t make a mess while you are at her house.
6) Don’t go over unexpected. Always check to make sure it is a good time for the new parents.
I hope these list help you as you are getting ready to bless a new family.
What are the best things that were done for you when you were in your postpartum period?