Moms with new babies need extra love and care. No matter your age, you likely know someone who has a new baby. Being prepared to show practical kindness to a new mom is seriously so important.
My ideas on this subject come from the experience of being a new mom myself five times. Although those years are past, the kindnesses of family and friends have not been forgotten. Additional thoughts on this topic have been gathered by a few brand new moms whose babies are less than a year. Remember that moms who already have children or moms who are adopting or fostering need these same acts of kindness. Here are just a few ideas to love on a new mom in your life!
10 Things NEW Moms Need
1. Sleep. No laughing. A full night of sleep is a distant memory for most new moms. Interrupted sleep and an inadequate amount of sleep often create a host of problems. Think about what you can do to help a new mom with sleep deprivation. Offer some of the below ideas so a new mom can have more sleep.
2. Meals. Offer to bring a meal. Offer to set up a meal schedule. Consider bringing paper plates, disposable cups and silverware so there can be a vacation from washing dishes. Easy clean up can be such a gift. I love to bring breakfast for a meal just because I love breakfast. Freezer meals are another option. Once I organized a collection of freezer meals for a mom who was adopting her sixth child. Her family lived quite a distance from most of her mom friends. With two large coolers and a designated drop time, we took a month’s worth of food to our friend. She mentioned that I seemed like the calvary coming to her rescue. My daughter, Katie, shared, “I’ve given DoorDash gift cards to my friends who don’t live locally – my way of treating them to a meal since I can’t make a homemade one!”
3. Ask about the baby and ask about her. Use good judgement when having a conversation with a new mom. She is likely very tired. Let her guide the conversation. She may want to tell you all about the baby or she may be struggling with her own birth experience of recovery. Be sensitive to anything that indicates that she is sad. The time after a new baby is full of so much transition. Emotions are running at an all time high and dipping into strange, unknown places. Much of the emotional roller coaster comes from fatigue and the magnificent journey of childbirth coupled with breastfeeding. A woman’s body is doing a phenomenal work in birthing and nourishing a little human.
4. Practical help. Offer to vacuum or do the dishes or laundry. Be sensitive not to make her feel bad about how things look in her home. Some have suggested that sending a cleaning crew to clean the house is a glorious gift for a new mom. Some new moms enjoy excellent team work from their husband, their moms, close friends and even their older children. When you see a need, offer to clean something. One of my young mom friends, Madeline Stelling, commented, “Having people give options (‘I can send someone to clean your house. I can drop off dinner, or I can come sit with your baby.’) instead of asking ‘what do you need?’ was really helpful for me because it showed me they meant what they were offering and had already decided what they were willing to do to help.”
5. Time. Offer to sit with the baby while she takes a long bath or shower. Offer to ride with her in the car so she can jump out and run errands while you stay in the car with the baby.
6. Favorite meal. Offer to bring her favorite meal to the hospital after she has had the baby. Hospital food is less than appetizing. This is extra helpful if she has had a C-section and has to stay for a few days. Our second baby spent 10 days in the NICU right after birth. These were some of the longest days of my life. Some of my girl friends brought me homemade foods in those long, difficult days. These thoughtful gifts were never forgotten.
7. Grocery pick up. Many grocery outlets allow shoppers to shop online and pick up the groceries outside at a pick up. A new mom may decide to have her groceries delivered or she may appreciate help having them picked up from her grocery store and brought home.
8. Entertain siblings. When a new baby is born, siblings struggle with all of the changes and the unavailability of their mom and dad. Offer to play outside or at another location with the children while mom grabs a nap or just takes some time to focus just on the new baby. Include the children in a walk or a park day. Creative thinking will go a long way in giving a new mom time to breathe.
9. Invite the new mom for a ride or a walk. Fresh air and sunshine is a fantastic pick-me-up. I have a great advantage in being able to invite a new mom for a ride in my convertible when the weather is just perfect. Let her set the pace. My new mom experience involved five C-sections. I would not have been walking very far or fast. Taking a ride or just sitting outside in the sunshine always did me so much good!!
10. Create a Basket. Many moms enjoy a snack basket near the area where they nurse their baby. Gather some of the new mom’s (and dad’s) favorite snacks. Select full size or snack size portions. Think protein bars, nuts, fruit, candy, beef jerky, tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate, chai tea, cookies, gum, cheese sticks, crackers and anything you love for a snack. If you are a mom, create a basket of items that you thought were so awesome in your early mothering experience.
Remember to be aware of your words when interacting with a new mom in person or virtually. Offer life giving words. Don’t discuss horrible news going on in the community. Don’t tell her all about your birthing experience. Don’t mention how tired she looks. Aim to encourage. Be brief if you visit. When appropriate, text and drop.
Notice those who are helping with the new baby. They are likely tired too. Be sure to notice the attentive hard working dad. He needs all the attaboys you can shower on him. Don’t forget about the mother-in-law, grandmothers or sister-in-laws who have come to help in this transition time.
After you have encouraged a new mom with one of the above ideas, don’t forget about her. From time to time in the weeks that follow, reach out to her to meet a need or just offer a listening ear. Living beside each other in times of need is really the best way to embrace community.
If you are a new mom with ideas of how others helped you, please leave your comments below. Your close-up perspective will be much appreciated.