Moms may look like superheroes --and I'll admit that I own a cape and keep my kids alive every day, so the title may fit -- but we are tired. We don't feel 'super' if anything, we feel like we are just treading water most days. And here's the deal, most of us are too prideful to ask for help. This includes brand new moms and those of us who have birthed a few babies. But the reality is that while we may be doing okay in survival mode, we deserve some help, and it should come from those we love!
How can one help a mama who has recently had a baby? (I'm so glad you asked!)
A little background here: I just gave birth to Baby #5 (Yes, FIVE. Yes, I know where babies come from.). We live a whopping 26-hour drive from our families, and we know no one here. We moved during the pregnancy and have yet to create that amazing support system. I have had some time -in the wee hours of the nighttime nursing hours- to analyze the difference between this baby and my last. These late night thoughts are what drove me to write this article.
I had ample love and support poured at me after baby #4 arrived. Meals delivered, gift cards sent, etc. But this time? Not so much. I'm not complaining, as I don't have that chain of friends here yet, but it leads me to writing to those who have someone they want to help. I have had many babies, and much help, over the last 8 years. I figure that some of my favorite 'after-birth' supports may inspire those of you who want to help a friend or family member!
10 Ways to Help a Mom
#1 Bring a meal.
You can have a meal delivered from a restaurant. You can bring over a hot meal, or a freezer meal for later. The last thing a new mom wants to do is stand in the kitchen and cook. The best thing you could do is bring a meal over during the first two weeks and then again around 6-8 weeks postpartum. Newborns tend to 'wake up' around that point and the help seems to disappear after week 4.
#2 Make a meal in her company.
Moms need social interaction. We crave adult time. We won't get out of our PJ's for you, but we will certainly sit in the kitchen and enjoy your company if you offer to cook for the family! Make sure that you stay and eat too!
#3 Send or bring wine over.
There are multiple online wine sellers that can ship an entire case of champagne or wine to a doorstep. (Ask me how I know!) Of course, a hand delivered bottle and a friend to share it with is much appreciated too, but if you don't live nearby, consider sending a few bottles to celebrate the new baby.
#4 Run her errands -- or accompany her on them.
Life doesn't slow down after adding a baby to the family. Groceries need purchased, Target runs still need to be made, and normal errands still need accomplished. You can offer to grab the dry-cleaning or stop by the grocery store for her. You can sit in the car line and grab her older kids from school. If she is feeling adventurous, ask her if she would like company walking the aisles of Target.
#5 Do her laundry.
The never-ending chore piles up faster than anyone cares to admit, but it's a simple task that can be accomplished as you spend the afternoon hanging out together. Throw a load in, change it over, start another, fold while she nurses the baby and you catch her up on life.
#6 Get a pedicure together.
Newborns sleep a lot. They can sleep right on Mom's chest as her feet are pampered.
#7 Offer to babysit.
If there are siblings, give mom an afternoon off and take them to the park.
#8 Send in a house cleaner.
For about $100-150, you can call a cleaning company to come scrub the house, strip the beds, change sheets, clean out appliances, etc. She won't have to lift a finger!
#9 Let her shower and sleep.
Come over and snuggle the baby while she relaxes. You can hand baby over to nurse when needed, but other than that, let your friend just be alone for an hour or two.
#10 Send random gift cards.
Amazon, Target, restaurants, baby stores, spas, whatever! Gift cards are amazing because she won't have to use them right away. A massage is wonderful, but not at 2 weeks postpartum. She needs to be able to decide when she's ready to leave baby for an hour or two, not have someone decide for her.
There are so many ways to be there for a new mom. Remember that all moms -- even those of us with five little humans, deserve some help after adding to the family. So don't assume that we've got it covered; instead, show up at the front door, grab a baby and tell us to sit down and enjoy the help.