Pregnant mamas are no doubt going to hear, “I can’t wait to meet the baby”, “I’ll take all the baby snuggles”, and on and on and on. Of course, your closet friends and family members are beyond excited that a new little one will be entering the big world. They’ve most likely thrown mama-to-be a baby shower, helped decorate the nursery, shopped for the cutest bows and accessories or the tiniest pairs of Nike’s just like Daddy, and daydreamed right along side mama-to-be about what baby will look like.
Fast forward, baby is here and mama-to-be is ecstatic. She has never been more in love with any human on this earth. A baby, her baby, is here! Life has changed forever. There is nothing like holding a sweet baby in your arms, looking at their little fingers and toes and that precious sleepy, squishy face. Mamas can literally stare at their babies for hours on end and then wonder where the day went. That is pure love my friends!
But being a mama, especially a new mama for the first time, is HARD! Some might say it is in fact the best job in the world (I certainly believe it is), but with that territory comes …lots of them. Challenges that you have never encountered before because motherhood is foreign…and new mamas are bound to feel like a “tourist”! You can read all you want and listen to everyone’s advice, but until you become a mama yourself, you will never fully grasp the reality of motherhood. It is surreal. It is remarkable. It is chaotic. It is nerve wracking. It’ s exhausting. It is forever.
So here we are. New mama in the picture and we want to help. But how? What can we possibly do to help make her life a bit easier? I am so glad you asked because there are so many wonderful ways you can help new mamas during their fourth trimester and beyond.
- Check in on the new mama. Everyone is so wrapped up in holding the adorable baby and asking questions about the baby. But you know what many people forget to do? Ask mama how she is doing. Let her know that she is a rockstar because she just birthed a beautiful little babe and deserves all the best. Compliment that new mama, lift her up, praise her…make her feel good and whole heartedly loved. A woman’s hormones after giving birth and during the postpartum period are all over the place…like a rollercoaster honestly. Hearing comforting words, listening to her, and validating her feelings, and simply being a good communicator will go a long way and really mean a lot to her.
And after that, ask what you can do to be helpful. Encourage her to be honest and comfortable. It’s so hard to say I need this, please do that, etc., but let her know you wouldn’t be offering your help if you didn’t genuinely want to help her. Work on making a to-do list! And if you can’t get an answer, just do your best to accommodate what you think will benefit her the most.
- Send a message or call the new mama. Let her know that you plan on delivering some meals/snacks. Ask for any requests if you do not know her favorites… it is always good to check in anyways because she may now have certain cravings or just really want to eat a specific food that she could not eat while pregnant. If she says no or that she cannot decide, do not take no for an answer. Go ahead and cook, order food, whatever you decide on and just drop it off on the doorstep and ring the bell! You don’t even have to visit (unless she really wants you to of course).
The relief a new mama will feel knowing she doesn’t have to cook, food shop, order food, or even think about how she will eat is a complete lifesaver! She needs to fuel her body so she has the energy and stamina to be a strong mama, especially if she’s a breastfeeding mama. Don’t forget that breastfeeding mamas need to stay extremely hydrated! If you’re visiting make sure she has a water next to her…and by chance if you notice she doesn’t have a good water bottle, maybe you can pick one up for her and deliver it the next time you stop by. It's the little things that make a difference and will make the new mama grateful.
Pay attention to their surroundings and topics they are talking about. You may pick up on things she needs/wants without having to directly ask her.
- Again, send a message or call mama. Let her know you want to come over at a time that will help her. Plan accordingly so she can take a shower without disruption, eat a warm meal, take a nap, go for a walk, make a phone call…anything that she would like to do without having to worry too much because her previous little newborn will be sleeping and you’ll be there to make sure baby is ok. That is an incredible gift!
If it so happens that baby sleeps in their bassinet/crib, help tidy up the house! Look around and see what needs tending to. Wash the dishes, unload the dishwasher, throw a load of laundry in or fold a clean basket, sweep/mop the floors, scrub the toilets…anything you do will be greatly appreciated! Tasks that mama can cross off her mile long to-do list and focus a little bit more on bonding with her baby, and squeezing in some time for herself, however she pleases.
Or maybe baby is sleeping in their bassinet/crib and mama just really wants some girl time. Just the two of you. Let her guide the conversation and see what she is up for chatting about. While new mamas love baby talk, sometimes it’s nice to have that feeling that you are still the person you were before becoming a mama. It’s all about that balance!
- If mama is not a new mama this time around, offer to help care for her other kiddos. Spend time with them, maybe even take them out of the house whether it’s outside or on an adventure to give mama a bit more peace and quiet. One on one time with multiples is rare so having any opportunity to enjoy baby all to herself is an amazing gift.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to go help a new mama friend or member of the family with a bit more confidence? We all know that everyone is different so take these tips for what they’re worth and tailor them to work for your relationship with the new mama. Remember, you are here reading this because you care and want to help. You are not in it for the thank you or the recognition. Even if mama does not notice or seem to appreciate your acts of kindness, know deep down that she does. And maybe one day she will thank you, or maybe not. But no matter what happens, you’ll rest easy knowing that you were there for her when she needed you most.
Look out for those new mamas. They need you!
Cheers to you, my friends!