If you know someone who has just had a baby, chances are she could use some encouragement. Here are some tips to show your support.
A new boy truly is a bundle of joy for its parents. But following labor and delivery, a new mother needs time to heal physically and regroup emotionally as she learns to care for her newborn and adjust to a full schedule of family life again.
If you know someone who has just had a baby or is about to deliver one soon, take a few minutes to scan the following list and see if there is something you might do to show a caring attitude:
1. Take over a hot meal. Even a single mom will appreciate someone else’s home cooking, especially if it is something she does not prepare often herself. If she has children and a spouse, a ready-to-eat meal will be warmly welcomed and appreciated. Choose something the kids will enjoy, like pasta or meatloaf. You may want to check with the mom first about food allergies or extreme dislikes, as well as a good date and time to make your own delivery.
2. Offer to baby-sit. Getting back to her old self or developing a new self is often a new mother’s primary goal. Help her out by sitting with the newborn while your friend enjoys a long bubble bath, takes an uninterrupted nap, or goes shopping for a new outfit.
3. Help with the house chores. Come armed with bucket and brushes to clean the bathroom, scrub the floor, or do the laundry. Anything you care to do will be of value to a new mother with an infant to care for. Bring your own kids or a nephew or niece to gather newspapers, sweep the garage, or take out trash. (But keep them quiet so the baby can sleep and Mom can rest.) Afterwards, take them out for ice cream to reward their good behavior.
4. Send a gift certificate. If you are unable to cook or help with housecleaning, mail a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, store, theater, or mall. The new mother will love the opportunity of having fun with money to spend, especially if the gift can be coupled with a babysitting offer. If not, perhaps another friend or family member will help out.
5. Offer words of encouragement or affirmation. Women often experience the “baby blues” after delivering a child. As hormones plummet, they can become tired, discouraged, overwhelmed, anxious, or sad. Send an attractive card or thoughtful note to tell your friend how much your friendship with her means. Reflect on some fun or meaningful times you’ve shared in the past together. Include a few fun photos that will walk her down memory lane.
6. Invite her over. Prepare dinner or offer cocoa and cookies. Perhaps you can do an exercise video together. Encourage her to bring the baby if she cannot find a sitter. Don’t dump your troubles on her; make your visit cozy and supportive so you friend feels like she’s had a real outing and treat. Be a good listener if she needs to vent.
7. Keep in touch. If you are single or your children are older, it may seem natural to let your new-mom friend spend time with her family. But don’t neglect your friendship. Call, email, or stop by (when invited) to let her know you still value the relationship. While you need to respect her new boundaries that protect time for baby and hubby, be open to ongoing fun times like those you’ve had in the past.
New moms can benefit from special attention and gifts provided by friends who care. Take time to do something that will touch the new mother’s heart and add memories to those that the two of you have already collected.