Being a mom of four makes me sort of a professional at the mom thing, right? I mean, of course, I still goof stuff up and mess up, but I have a pretty good idea about it. I also know what/how people can help me when I’m just bringing home a new baby. Of course, everybody is different, but these are things that totally have helped our family.
1. Plan your visit and get an okay. A visitor at the hospital is nice. Especially if your husband has to go home and take care of other little ones. And, a visitor at home is nice, too. But, please, do not show up unannounced. It’s just not right anytime, but especially when there is a new baby. There’s just a lot going on with a post-birth body and the new adjustments that you have to let them know you are coming over. During that call, ask if there is anything you can pick up on your way over.
2. Bring food and/or snacks. Having a new baby requires a special amount of stamina and lack of sleep. If you are only getting an hour of sleep here or there, you need a lot of food to keep yourself going. If you are breastfeeding, you need that much more food. It’s often hard to even get a chance to cook, let alone eat, so bringing over a hot meal or even a meal for the freezer for later is so helpful. Even some easy grab and go snacks like pieces of fruit, little portions of nuts or other healthy snacks are great. Didn’t get the okay for a visit? Text mom and tell her you dropped a meal on her front porch. (Pro Tip: Check and see if there are any dietary restrictions in the house. It’s very much appreciated.)
3. Offer to be a resource. Have you done the mom thing? Be your friend’s go-to person. I told my sister she could call me or text me at all hours when my niece was born, and I’m pretty sure it was a blessing to her. And, I know I’ve done the same since B was born.
4. Clean. Yes, I’m going out on a limb here. I know people are very particular. I don’t care how the clothes get put away as long as they are washed and folded/hung up in some manner. It will totally help me if you wash my baby’s clothes. When you do wash them, please use yummy-smelling Dreft. Have you smelled it? You know it smells like a baby in a bottle, right? Once I smell it, the first thing I think is baby. And, it’s totally okay if you wash my clothes and the big kids’ clothes in it, too, because I’ll remember them in their cute baby state (you know, before they could talk- and yes, it’s okay if I keep using it when they are in high school, right?). I’m also perfectly happy with you loading or unloading my dishwasher (just know I might call you later to ask where you put my colander).
5. Hold the baby. I go back and forth here, but offer to hold the new baby and insist mom either goes and takes a nap, gets a hot shower or a hot meal. Let her know that you are confident keeping her baby happy and that she can take 15 minutes to herself and not feel guilty about it. But, don’t hog the baby!
6. Just do it. Another limb here, but just do something to help. Don’t ask, if you are welcome at the house, you are likely welcome to do something useful. Even refilling mom’s ice water and making sure she is hydrated without asking is huge. When you refill that water, bring mom a snack, too.
7. Help dad be comfortable. Some dads can be a little nervous helping mom and baby. Offer some third-party tips that worked well for you. While mom is getting that shower, show dad tips for soothing a fussy baby (ssshhing, swaddling, swaying, sucking, side were the best ones for us), or show dad how to wear his baby. I’m pretty sure most dads want to be useful and sometimes aren’t sure exactly what to do. Having them refill mom’s drink and bringing a snack goes a long way, too.
8. Borrow the older kids. Are there older siblings at the house? Borrow them to “help” with a project at your house. Or take them on an outing to a park (yay for burning off energy) or even a walk around the neighborhood.
9. Be a good listener. Birthing babies is hard. And it might not go exactly as planned. Most moms need to talk about it and share their birth story. Some don’t want to talk about it ever. Be a good listener and talk about what they want or need to talk about. Don’t ask mom about when she’s going back to work (if that’s the case). Don’t say what you will or won’t do when you are in whatever the situation may be.
10. Be an encourager. Being a mom is tough. Being a new mom is even tougher and combine that with all of the hormones and emotions and you get all the feelings. Just encourage mom. Say positive things. Smile. Make a silly joke. Talk about a good book you read (and if you are finished, leave it for mom to read during those late night feeding sessions.) Remember you came there as mom’s friend/coworker/supporter.
Did you know that Dreft has been a part of the wash for over 75 years. They make detergents, laundry care and fabric care that are formulated to be gentle on baby’s skin and not so gentle on stains! Connect with Dreft on Facebook and twitter and check out their Pinterest board, Getting Ready for Baby.
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