Becoming a new mom, whether it’s your first or fourth time, can be an incredibly rewarding experience but it can also be exhausting. For this reason, it’s so important that the people around the growing family pitch in and help out in ways that will truly make a difference. By taking some stress off of the mother, you allow her to focus on bonding with the baby while figuring out a new routine including feedings, diaper changes and less sleep. Here are some suggestions for how you can make this beautiful transition go more smoothly:
Find out what the family likes/dislikes, inquire about food allergies and then plan to bring over, at least, one meal. Baked items, such as lasagna and meat loaf, travel well and can easily be stored in the freezer until they are needed. Make sure to include enough servings for everyone, especially if there are other children in the house. This can be a huge life saver.
Along with baby bliss and fatigue, it’s easy to get low on supplies and not realize it. Ask the new mom for a list of things that she needs, including groceries and toiletries, and go to the store for her. Alternatively, you could offer to watch the baby for a couple of hours while she gets some fresh air and runs errands.
Let Her Sleep
Plan a day when you can go over and watch the baby while she gets some distraction-free rest. Make sure this is planned in advance and that you don’t just bring it up during a visit so that she knows that you have set aside time that is just for her. She may feel guilty about taking time for herself but her body will be grateful as soon as her head hits the pillow.
Does the lawn need mowing? Are there piles of laundry everywhere? Has the sink been overtaken by dishes? It can make an exhausted mother feel completely overwhelmed to look around the house and see a disaster zone. Ask which tasks she feels comfortable delegating and tackle them. She might protest a bit at first but she will be glad to have one more thing checked off her to-do list.
Let Her Vent
Even mothers who desperately wanted to get pregnant can have moments when they question their decision-making skills as their newborn wails from the next room. The rewarding moments can be incredible but it’s okay to feel frustrated and even a little depressed. Be a safe, non-judgmental shoulder to cry on in those first months of motherhood and be on the lookout for signs of postpartum depression. If it seems like she’s having an extremely difficult time coping, encourage her to speak to her healthcare professional.
Motherhood is filled with so many incredible moments and also some downright exhausting times. Offer whatever assistance you can to a new mother in your life so that she can focus on recovering from delivery and bonding with her beautiful new baby.