Friday, February 1, 2013

Best Ways to Help New Moms

A dear non-mom friend emailed me the other day asking for advice.  Her friend has just given birth to a beautiful baby girl, and she wanted my opinion on the best ways she can help the new mom.  How timely, I thought, as I had just read the Rules for Visiting a New Mom at Scary Mommy.  I was about to send the link to my thoughtful non-mom friend when I took a minute to reread the rules.

I didn't send that blog post to my friend. 

Robyn has some really great suggestions for helping out new moms.  But they are buried in several layers of snark that I could not bear to share with my non-mom friend who was trying so hard to be thoughful.  Instead, I sent her an email in bullet points with some of the best help I received as a new mom, and some excerpts from Robyn's "Rules."  My friend's response: You should totally write a blog post about this – you have good suggestions that aren’t “bring lasagna.”

So here are the bullet points I sent my non-mom friend:

  • I know she barely knows me, but I’m here if she needs another mom to talk to.  Seriously.  Give her my number – I text till 10pm, but check it till 11 and would answer her if she had a question.  (I doubt this new mom will ever text me, but isn't it reassuring for a new mom to just know support is out there?)

  • I don’t know how laundry happens in NYC, but that will be really hard for a new to accomplish with her C-section stitches.  I have no idea if doing a few loads of laundry is feasible, but it would probably go a long way!

  • Offer to clean the kitchen, or whatever while she takes a baby-cry-free shower.  Ah showers!  My favorite thing.  I love not hearing the kids cry when I’m in the shower.

  • Bring some favorite moisturizer, or her favorite shampoo?  Things that feel clean and baby-puke-free are awesome.

  • Check the baby’s room to see if there’s anything to put away so “cutely” that now she can’t reach because of her stitches.  (As a side note, how many seasoned moms out there can laugh at their attempts to decorate that first nursery?  Nothing from my original attempts worked the way I "planned!") 

  • Drop off a pack of size 1 diapers.  You get a pack or two of newborn size from the hospital, and babies grow fast.

  • Give her some soft (but cute!) jammies for lounging – pants sit funny on those c-section stitches, I hear.

  • On a nice afternoon (when she’s healed and walking again), help her take the baby for a walk.  Fresh air is really helpful for new moms – but strollers are scary.   

  • Chauffeur your new mom friend to the grocery store.  Help with that enormous baby carrier, and carry her bags of groceries for her.  But do wait a few weeks to take her grocery shopping - a one-week-old mom doesn't want to think about groceries!

  • Most importantly, don’t… crowd.  Don’t show up unexpected.  Don’t come by if she has people over, or has had a full day of visitors.  Some sorts of company can be really draining for a new mom.  So sometimes that new mom just needs a break from people. 

  • Don’t stop being sweet just because the baby is three weeks old and old news – that’s when you ask about the trip to buy groceries. 

I wanted to see if any other moms had tips for visiting new moms.  So I took it to Facebook & Twitter:

Kate Sluiter from Sluiter Nation said friends dropped off diapers and Starbucks cards.  What new mom doesn't love a free fancy drink from Starbucks!  Dunkin' Donuts would work for me, too!

KLZ from Taming Insanity said the chance to sleep or take a shower was the best gift she received as a new mom.

Kit said to bring cookies.  Obviously.

Teresa said washing the dishes.  Any of my friends can come over to wash the dishes any time they want.  Seriously.

Adrian was welcomed at home by flowers and framed photographs of her with her new baby, gifts from sweet friend Elizabeth.  I swooned a little when I heard that suggestion - how thoughtful to help remember your baby's first moments!

Amanda received breath mints and lip gloss, in case she didn't feel pretty.  Because sometimes (gasp!) new moms forget to brush their teeth.  It's not pretty, but it happens!

These are such wonderful suggestions from some of my favorite bloggers!  Thanks to everyone who contributed!  The first week of being a mom is so overwhelming.  It's great to know you have wonderful friends willing to support you with such sweet gestures!  What is your favorite way to help a new mom?