You’ve made it home and survived your first few days, weeks, or months home. While the comfort of home beats the hospital, life with a newborn or baby is just plain hard.
Some may have had practice at this mom thing with other children at home, others are new to this rodeo. The things they have in common are some shared struggles new moms have. Some are more vocal about their needs than others. I’ll speak for the less vocal and give you some insight into what new moms really want but won’t necessarily ask for…and aren’t on all those baby registry checklists.
Going grocery shopping while recovering from delivery is hard. Cooking a meal while baby is screaming and needs you is hard. Putting the need of your baby eating before yourself…snacking on junk instead of a meal or actual lunch…ordering take out…they’re all likely things to happen to new parents. Even for two parent households and your partner’s help cooking an actual meal and eating it while it’s hot can be a challenge. If you’re planning to visit new parents in the near future offer to bring a meal, either to eat together during the visit or even prepare a meal that they can heat up in a jiffy later that week. Bonus points for helping do the grocery shopping.
A Hot Shower, Uninterrupted
One of my favorite self care activities is an uninterrupted shower or bath. When a new baby (or babies) comes home there certainly is an adjustment period. Catching a shower and changing those clothes that have throw up on them could easily be pushed to the back of the to do list. Next time you’re planning a visit offer up some free time to watch the baby while Mom gets some uninterrupted time to take a shower.
Help Around The House
It’s easy for things to pile up as a parent, especially when there is a newborn in the house. Offering to help clean, do the laundry, or put the dishes away can be a huge weight lifted off the new parents shoulders. It may be hard for the new parent to ask for the help, but if they are open to you extending an offer this can go a long way.
You showing up at the door and having a conversation with a new mom could be the highlight of her day! Being home with a baby can make new moms think the extent of their conversations are all baby talk. Live far away? A phone call can be just as helpful to have someone just listen and talk normal conversations.
Loss of sleep or sleep deprivation is an expected downside to having a newborn. New moms might be able to catch a nap when baby naps but no matter what it’s just plain hard to function without much sleep. Now consider it’s a mom with other children in the home. There is no more “sleep when the baby sleeps”. If you have a close enough relationship that mom trusts you to hold down the fort for a while, offer to take care of the baby and children while she gets a nap.
Attention To Other Child(ren)
Here’s the thing about new moms and dads. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re new to the parenting world. Other children could be in the home and adjusting to life with a newborn baby as well. Option 1: Offer to take the other child or children out for a fun activity. Option 2: Offer to watch the baby so that Mom/Dad can take the other child or children out for a fun activity. Option 1 allows for the children to get out of the house and have fun time, meanwhile it gives the parent(s) a little break. Option 2 allows for the parent(s) to still connect and spend time with the other children which can be so important to both parties.
Free Time To Be Me
A shopping trip to Target ALONE could be the best thing since sliced bread for a new mom. How about grocery shopping, getting her nails done, seeing a friend, working out. Whatever it might be that the new mom needs or might want to do baby or kid free, offer to babysit so that she can have free time to be herself. Don’t forget about dad too, he might also be in need of some me time. Better yet maybe mom and dad/partner can do a date day or date night rather than having date night at home.