Someone you care about just became a new mom, and you can’t wait to meet the little bundle of joy. Or maybe you are a new parent yourself and aren’t sure what to ask for from visitors. Keep in mind that parenting an infant can be really tough; read on to find out how you can make your visit more supportive and helpful.
I will never forget when my husband and I came home from the hospital and sat our daughter down on the dining room table in her carrier.
The car ride home was rough; the baby screamed her head off and went silent so abruptly we pulled over to see if she was still breathing. Every bump and turn felt like my C-section stitches were going to rip open and my insides would fall out.
When we got home, we stood there looking at the helpless infant in her carrier and I thought to myself, “now what”? Bringing a new baby home can be exciting, joyful, terrifying, awe-inspiring and exhausting, ALL at the same time. The thought of entertaining guests who wanted to meet the baby was the furthest thing from my mind. Fortunately, we had lots of support to help us through it.
These 10 things every new mom needs will make you the best visitor ever!
Before visiting, check to see if the new parents have dinner plans. Bring dinner for tonight plus a meal to freeze for later. Gift cards for delivery would be amazing too! There are just too many other things to think about other than worrying about what to eat. Healthy snacks like granola bars, yogurt and cut veggies are great for mom to have on hand, especially if she is nursing. New moms often forget (or don’t have time) to eat.
Knock a chore off of the list
Don’t stop by without helping out in some way. Rather than putting it on the new parents to tell you what to do, just jump in. If you see dishes that need washed or laundry that needs folded do it! If you are a new or expecting mom, write these things down so that when friends or family members ask “what do you need?” you can just point at the list.
Or tea, or chocolate, or whatever little indulgence mom likes. Mothering an infant is hard work, she deserves a treat! While you’re at it, dad could probably use a little pick-me-up too.
Talk about something OTHER than the baby.
Especially if you are visiting a new mom on maternity leave, she may be feeling isolated and distanced from her pre-baby life. Sometimes it feels really good to have a conversation that isn’t related to poop or checkups. Just hanging out and spending time together is sometimes the best gift you can give.
Offer to hold the baby for 30 minutes.
If mom is home with the baby alone, she may REALLY appreciate being able to take a hot shower or go for a walk without having to worry about her baby.
Or, offer to do something else while the new mom holds the baby.
For new moms especially, it can be hard to constantly feel torn. She really wants to spend time bonding with her baby but feels guilty about something else that needs to be done. That old adage, “sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn’t account for the anxiety mom might feel when the dishes are piled up and the dog needs to go out. She KNOWS that bonding with baby is the most important thing, but that doesn’t stop the other obligations from nagging.
Speaking of the dog…
Take the dogs for a walk, fill the water and food bowls, clean the litter box, play with the cat. Offer to take care of any other pet needs that may come up.
…and the older kids.
This one could go either way as well. Maybe mom needs time alone with baby and you could offer to take the older kids for a while, or you could offer to watch the baby for an hour or so while mom spends one on one time with the older kids. Ask which they she would prefer.
The house is a no-judgement zone.
Everybody is in a huge adjustment period here. Don’t expect the house, or the parents to be put together. If mom is nursing, don’t be phased if you see a nipple slip here or there. Mom is lucky to have a shirt on at all the first several days. Am I right, nursing moms?
The porch drop.
Several of my mom friends said the porch drop is the ABSOLUTE BEST. Sometimes new parents (or baby) just aren’t up for a visit. Don’t take it personally! Leaving food, soup, treats or a kind note on the porch (with a text to let them know it’s there) is the absolute kindest and most unselfish thing you can do. It shows support and caring without expecting anything in return, and mom or dad will be infinitely grateful to you for it.
These ideas will hopefully make your visit to see the new baby wonderful for you and the new mom. If you can take some of the pressure off of her and help her feel a bit like her old self, she will be forever grateful!