I had a baby girl three months ago. She is my second child, with a six year gap between the two. It’s safe to say I was pretty far removed from newborn life. I have been SO blessed to have had so much support in my “fourth trimester” this time around. From 0-12 weeks, baby is transitioning to life outside the womb, and mom is trying to get to know a brand new person who is likely making life a lot harder than it was.
Do you know a friend/coworker/relative/deserving stranger who is about to have/just had a baby? Do you want to help? Maybe don’t bother spending your money on (more) cute tiny outfits. There are plenty of less expensive options that are worth WAY MORE to a new mom. Allow me to enlighten you on what I think postpartum moms REALLY wish for.
1 // Baby holding
It seems simple but ohmygosh this is invaluable. If you hold the baby, she can NAP. Or take a shower. Or maybe even blow dry her hair. Just go over and take the baby and tell her to do whatever she wants until baby is hungry again.
2 // Meals
Mom may be able to live off of spoonfuls of Biscoff butter and random handfuls of mixed nuts, but the rest of her house is hungry and guess who ISN’T making dinner a week after a C-Section? Please bring hearty meals that husbands/partners/visitors/older children can easily pop in the oven or even better, something ready to eat. And Starbucks. Always bring Starbucks.
3 // Disposable dishes and cutlery
The same Mom who isn’t making dinner, also isn’t doing dishes. This is not eco-friendly, but who really cares. Being able to throw away all the things is amazing.
4 // Entertaining of the other kid(s)
An older sibling is excited and well behaved for the first five minutes and then it’s a lot of attention seeking chaos for awhile. They are used to being the center of attention and they will do just about anything to re-earn that title. Go over and play Legos with him, take him on a walk, or let him read you a book. He needs the attention, and Mom just can’t even right now. While you’re at it, offer to take the other kid(s) to school or the bus stop. I can’t even tell you how much help that ALONE was, for me.
5 // A basket of healthy and convenient snacks/drinks
This is an extra bonus for breastfeeding moms because those munchies are no joke. However, ANY mom needs something close by that she can grab and eat quickly because I can tell you that many a day have passed where I didn’t eat because I couldn’t put a baby down long enough to think about it.
6 // Laundry folding
This turned out to be one of the toughest things to get to. For some reason, I could manage
a lot of some things but folding the laundry just wasn’t happening. Maybe because it builds so quickly and my particular newborn wouldn’t allow me to do pretty much any chore that couldn’t be done in 4-5 minutes.
7 // Babysitting for date night
She. Needs. This. Even if she is just going a block away to have coffee with her husband for an hour, go sit with the baby so she can have a grownup conversation with her right hand man. It’s no secret that a new baby takes every ounce of energy leaving you feeling like you haven’t had any time for your spouse. A new mom needs to feel loved and supported by her partner and have some time to recharge that dynamic now and then. The coaches of a winning team need time to game plan! My recommendation is at least once every other week. If she’s a single mom- give her a date night with her bestie.
8 // Errand running
Her list is building. She needs groceries, stamps, to make a bank deposit… who knows what else. First of all, if she had a C-Section, she isn’t allowed to drive for two weeks. Secondly, well, it’s a pain to get a newborn and possibly more kids in and out of the car etc.
9 // WINE.
10 // Words of affirmation
Tell her she’s awesome. Make sure she knows you haven’t forgotten about her three weeks later when the hype dies down. Validate that being a new mom again is hard. Keep texting her over the weeks and make sure she is practicing self care and not forgetting about her needs. Let her know you are there for her. Sometimes one encouraging text from another mom was all I needed to make it through the day.
So. If you are going to visit a new mom postpartum, bring one of these ten gifts with you. Most of them cost zero dollars and would be appreciated more than you could know. You don’t have buy someone a maid service, mobile massage therapist, or postpartum doula to be a blessing. (Don’t get me wrong, if you have urges to throw down loads of cash- those things are awesome…)
I was beyond taken care of by friends and family and I had each one of those ten things given to me, some of them multiple times. Don’t let a new mom refuse your help. Go over anyway and HELP. HER.