One of the biggest things that I find people often struggle with and wonder about when a friend or family member is expecting a new baby “How can I help most?” While the obvious answer is “Go over and hold baby while mom takes a quick break (or much needed shower)”, we wanted to give you a few other options that are just as helpful! These are easy and impactful ways to support a new mother in your life.
One of the easiest ways to support a new mother is to listen. Whether she’s needing a good cry about being completely exhausted or wants to share with you what she watched on Netflix, the key to this is actively listening and engaging with her. New moms are constantly processing and attending to the needs of their newborn (and potentially other children), so listening to them can make them feel appreciated and help for them to relieve the stress. Finally, don’t be afraid that if you sense mom is really struggling emotionally and seems to be suffering from postpartum depression and/or anxiety to help them find resources to help them.
Proper hydration is extremely important a for a new mother. If you are able to, while you visit the new mom, make sure she has a full glass of water with her while she breastfeeds baby. If she doesn’t already have one, we highly recommend buying her a high-quality water bottle, like the EcoVessel. This will help her keep water available when she needs it and keep it cool all day long. I know that when I came home with my new baby, I was constantly wishing my water bottle would fill itself!
New moms are burning tons of calories recovering from birth and feeding their baby. Healthy and easy to eat snacks are a must. We recommend high-protein items that are grab and go for her to keep next to where she feeds baby. Granola bars, trail mix, and protein bars are all good examples. Make sure you check on any family food allergies or dietary restrictions beforehand and buy a variety of brands/flavors to give mom a good selection.
This was one of the things I was most grateful for after baby. I was so exhausted that I didn’t have an ounce of energy to cook and when my husband returned to work, I found myself struggling to make real meals for our family. The key to providing a meal to a new mother (and her family) is making it well-balanced, ready to eat and last a few days. Fancy isn’t necessary and basic is usually best. I highly recommend baking a pan full of seasoned chicken breasts pairing it with cooked pasta and a side salad or steamed veggies. For dessert, bring a fruit salad instead of something loaded with refined sugar (which tends to upset breastfeeding babies tummies).
New moms can easily become overwhelmed by the needs of their newborn and trying to maintain their household. This is where you can easily pitch-in. See a sink full of dishes? Don’t be afraid to jump in and clean it up. See a pile of clean laundry laying around? Fold it and put it away. The family dog sitting by the door? Take it for a walk! I realize that this may feel awkward at first, however, the positive impact it could have on her life is huge.
Help with Siblings.
If the mother already has at least one other child, offer to take the sibling(s) out to give mom a chance to rest and relax with her newborn. Don’t be intimidated by overthinking this one. It can be as simple as taking them outside to play in the yard or as elaborated as taking them out all day to the local zoo/museum. Either way, it’s about giving mom a little break and giving the sibling(s) a chance to be kids and play.
Does mom have a prescription that needs to be picked up? Or maybe she’s dying to get out to Target but not sure how she’ll do it alone. For me, there were times where I just needed someone else to grab something at the store for me. On the other hand, there were moments when I could have used a little help to feel secure leaving the house and running an errand myself. Offer up both options to the new mother as you are able to and as an added bonus, take her (and baby) to Target and treat her to Starbucks!
Invite Her to Adult-Only Events.
I know, I know, this one sounds CRAZY! Truthfully, it’s nearly impossible to physically leave your new baby, however, this isn’t about whether she’d be able to. Instead, it’s about making her feel like she’s still a woman outside of being a mom. Girls night out? Invite her! Manicures/Pedicures? Invite her! Even if she is unable to make it to anything and everything in the first few months, know that your invitations mean more than you can imagine. Keep inviting her and know that by doing so you are providing her emotional support in a unique, yet important way. Your friend is still in there, under her unwashed hair, yoga pants and sleepless nights! I promise!
We hope you enjoyed these ideas! We would love if you comment below and tell us which you would want the most after having a baby and if there are any we missed!