You are about to embark on the most amazing journey ever. And. Help is good.. Have a doula or nanny or nurse? Great. Just you and the other parent? Great. Family around? Great. No matter who is supporting you and your new family, know this: Self care starts now. Ask for help.
Here's the ultimate list of how to help a new mom.
Whether you live 5 minutes away or 5 hours away technology has made very easy to send food to anyone. It doesn’t matter if it is a meal made from scratch, a Gift Card to any Meal Delivery App, or carry out ordered with love, taking the work out of feeding a tired new mom is such a big help.
Start a meal train
Take the “bring a meal” a step further and set up a meal train with friends. If you are new to this concept, a meal train is when people sign up to bring food for a specific date and time. Meal trains can last a few days or a few weeks. There are apps for them, so the recipient can add details of dietary preferences/ restrictions. Setting it up and sharing through social media allows her friends you may not even know to participate. Again, long distance friends can send carry out.
Pro tip: if you are cooking take food in foil pans or tupperware you don’t need back. If you do need your dish back, make sure your name is on the bottom. One less thing for a tired mama to have to figure out.
Wash your hands before holding the baby
It’s a super simple small task, that takes 5 seconds, or however long it takes to sing “happy birthday.” During cold and flu season it helps ease a new mom’s mind, especially if you have toddlers or school aged kids at home. It’s not a big deal and takes 5 seconds, but really shows you care about keeping the new little one healthy.
Don’t stay too long, unless you are specifically asked
She is so tired. She doesn’t have energy to entertain you, but she may not know how to say it. She’s been up all night and all day with her newborn. There is only so much time she can carry on a coherent conversation. If you’re there to watch the baby while the mom sleeps, then stay as long as she needs you! But if you are there to catch up with her, make it brief. Be understanding and know that this is temporary, and doesn’t reflect her feelings towards you.
Clean something. Clean anything!
Help with basic tidying up around the house. Do laundry, fold laundry. Get gift cards for help around the house or laundry service. It’s not a super exciting gift but it gives her time to rest, and is so appreciated. Unless she is one of those friends who “doesn’t like other people cleaning their house.” In our experience, even they come around in the first few exhausting months of motherhood.
Take the older kid for a few hours
Take big brother/sister out for a special “big kids only” outing. Preferably an outing that will tire them out, like the park. Try not to return them in a state spun out on sugar and ready for a meltdown. But sometimes that is worth it, just to have them occupied for a few hours. This also makes the new older sibling feel special and loved.
And don't forget inn your sleep deprived, bliss filled state- these people want to help, so, hand them the list and rest. It's all beyond good:)