It’s been just about three weeks since Hug has joined our family. In that time, we have been surrounded by friends and family who have been incredibly helpful in easing this transition.
Although I have felt more confident and prepared with Hug than I did with Little, having kids is still really hard. It’s hard mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s not easy to balance time with an active toddler and nursing a newborn.
Each and every person that has come by and offered help has been so helpful.
Simple Ways to Help a New Mom
Today, I’m sharing some of the really simple and practical ways that people have been supporting us these last few weeks. If you know a new mom and are wondering how you can help out during the first few weeks, here are some ideas that will hopefully be useful.
Take a Meal
This one is really practical and has been so helpful to us. When both of our boys were born, our friends have set up a Meal Train for us. The idea is that friends sign up to bring meals on preset dates so we don’t have to worry about cooking. We are able to list any food allergies and preferences as well as preferred time(s) for meals to be dropped off. Honestly, whether it’s a fresh cooked meal, or take out, not having to worry about what to cook for the family is a huge relief for new moms.
For a bonus, you could also take something quick and easy to prepare for breakfasts or lunch the next day, too.
Wash the Dishes
If there are any dishes out on the counter and you have a minute, offer to wash them. Load the dishwasher, empty the dishwasher, whatever. It is such a big help.
Help Clean the House
A mom’s chores don’t stop because she has a new baby. There is almost always something around the house that needs to be done. And even though it might not be the top priority, it’s probably still on mom’s mind. Whether is the dishes that need to be washed, a load of laundry, or the floors that need to be vacuumed, there is likely something that you can do to help lessen mom’s to-do list.
This one does depend largely on how well you know the new mom. Not everyone will take you up on this or feel comfortable with someone else doing their laundry, but if she’ll let you – this can be a HUGE help. My mother-in-law actually came by and deep cleaned all of the bathrooms in our house. Talk about a humbling experience. My showers hadn’t been really scrubbed for weeks. It’s my least favorite chore to begin with, but I reached a point in pregnancy where I just physically could not get down on the floor to scrub the showers like they needed to be and they were in less than ideal shape. They are sparkling now and I am so thankful.
Hold the Baby (or don’t)
This one is touchy – literally. I know people love to snuggle new babies. If mom is okay with it, offer to hold the baby while mom gets some rest or takes a shower. But, you should always ask about this first. I’m especially mindful of this with Hug since he was born right in the middle of cold and flu season. I make sure that everyone who holds him has washed their hands prior and I really don’t love to pass him off to many people. BUT, because newborns sleep a lot, it is really helpful to have someone just watch him while I shower.
Whatever you do, you should just follow the mom’s lead. Ask permission first. And wash your hands.
Stay Home if You’re Sick
On the note of washing your hands, keep your germs to yourself. I think this is self-explanatory, but it’s worth mentioning. Adults have a tendency to minimize our own sicknesses or colds. But even small colds can be really serious for babies. If you have any inclination that you might be sick – it’s best to be honest with the mom and just stay home. You can always visit later.
Pick Up Groceries
If you live close to mom, send her a quick text when you head to the grocery store for your regular trip. Check in to see if there is anything quick you can pick up that she might need in her pantry or fridge. This might seem really small thing, but it can mean so much to a new mom.
Watch the Older Kid(s)
Bringing a new baby into the home is a big adjustment for everyone. Not just for mom, but also for older kids in the house. It has been so helpful to have family and friends stop by to give Little some extra attention during this transition. As a mom, it is really encouraging to see him getting some extra attention when I am simply unable to give him my full attention while I’m busy nursing Hug.
Listen to Her
And finally, sometimes the best thing you can do for someone – a new mom included is to just be present and listen. There are so many things that new moms might be feeling or experiencing. It can be really helpful to have another adult around just for conversation sake. Be sure to really listen to the things she’s saying. It’s good to make sure that she feels supported in whatever she is feeling. Don’t try to minimize her feelings or even offer solutions if she isn’t looking for them. If you have advice, you might share things that worked for you, or that you have heard of, but be sure not to present them in a way that comes across as telling a new mom what she should do.
I can assure you that she’s probably doing the best she can.
Being a new mom isn’t easy and it’s not always easy to ask for help. But I promise you that if you are able to help a new mom in any way, she will likely appreciate it even more than you know. Allow her to say yes or no, but definitely offer to help in ways that you are able.
If you are a mom, I’d love to know some of the things that you found most helpful during those first few weeks. Let’me know in the comments so I can add to my list!