We all know what to do when our friend is pregnant: we buy a gift from the baby registry, celebrate at a baby shower, and “like” all of her bump pics on Facebook. But once the baby arrives, friends may wonder how best to help. Below are my favorite tips for showing love to the new mom in your life!
1. Call before and keep it short
Always be sure to call or text before you visit to ensure that your timing is convenient. In the early days, keep visits limited to 15-20 minutes.
2. Consider a hospital visit
New moms have the fewest responsibilities while they’re still checked in to the maternity ward: nurses are caring for them around the clock, and the hospital staff is responsible for cooking and cleaning. So consider swinging by her room for a quick visit the day AFTER the baby is born.
3. Bring food!
Once mom and baby arrive home, your friend will be adjusting to a whole new world! New moms are so focused on feeding their little ones that they often forget to feed themselves (or their husbands!) A dinner (in disposable containers) is always a tremendous help, but if you’re not able to bring a complete meal, consider bringing healthy snacks, like trail mix, muffins, fruit, or veggies and hummus. If your friend has a favorite treat, pick it up on the way: I’ll always remember a dear friend who brought me a latte and French pastries from my favorite bakery days after I gave birth!
4. Bring a gift
Traditionally, visitors may bring a cute outfit for the new baby. But, as someone whose baby received what seemed like a million tiny pink pajamas, I have an alternative: look up the new mom’s registry and see what items remain. Picking up something the new mom didn’t receive at one of her showers is a win-win: you won’t have to aimlessly select a gift, and the new mom is guaranteed to love it! Bonus: if the new baby has an older sibling, pick up a small toy, sticker book, or puzzle for them to enjoy!
5. Look for ways to help
If you’re out running errands, shoot your friend a quick text to see if there’s anything you could pick up for her (laundry detergent, milk, baby wipes, etc.). You will be greeted as if you were an actual angel, I promise! If you’ve stopped for a visit, keep your eyes open for small chores you can complete for your friend: offer to unpack the dishwasher, fold a load of towels, or sweep the floor. If the baby is sleeping, or if you’re comfortable babysitting, offer to watch the baby so your friend can take a shower—she’ll feel like she’s taken a trip to the spa!
6. Ask how she’s doing
When my daughter was born, I thought I might scream if one more person asked, “Is she a good baby?” How was I supposed to answer that? New moms often finding their way, and asking them to evaluate their little one so early on is stressful. Instead, focus on her: how she’s feeling and adjusting. Let her do the talking, and don’t rush to offer advice—wait for her to ask.
The new mom might welcome a conversation that’s not baby-centered, so fill her in on what’s been going on at the office or amongst your group of friends. She’s probably dying for an update!
7. Don’t be offended if she “disappears” socially for a few weeks
Each mom is different: some might be ready to return to girls’ nights and constant texting conversations in a few short weeks, while other moms need more time to adjust. You might wonder why she doesn’t bring the baby along or hire a babysitter, but give her time: this is all new for her! Be understanding if your friend is absent from get-togethers for a while, or doesn’t seem as responsive to your texts and calls. If this is her second or third child, she might need even more time away from her regular life. Continue checking on her, but keep your needs to a minimum—her little one needs her most right now!
While baby showers and gifts are always nice, new moms really need their friends when the little one arrives! Do you have any tips for helping a new mom? Leave us a comment below and let us know!