Being a new mother is both the best time of your life, as well as one of the most difficult. It can be a season of great joy but for many it also carries pain, hardship and sadness. As a new mother myself, I know I’ve experienced a rollercoaster of the above emotions, and more (2am breakdown, anyone?), but what has helped me most in getting through those early weeks of ups and downs has been the love, support and generosity of amazing friends and family.
You may know a new mother (or about to become one) who you wish you could give encouragement to – well I’m here to tell you that you CAN! Here are the 10 Helpful Ways to Help a New Mum, based on my personal experience and the testimonies of other new mums I’ve spoken to.
10 Helpful Ways to Help a New Mum
- Bring her meals (and eat with her!) – In those very early days, there is basically NO time for anything. Hubby and I went through hours of not eating, just because there was no time to prepare food (or we forgot). What helped us was friends and family who brought homemade meals that they had prepared, and then sat down and ate with us! Prepare a meal (doesn’t need to be homemade – frozen dinners also work a treat!) that basically needs zero prep, and bring it around for the new mum to eat. Also stay and eat with her, and offer to hold bubs while she polishes off the meal (as she’s probably hungry from the previous meal she forgot to eat!).
- Offer to do some errands. Unfortunately not many errands get done in the early days/weeks, however there are ALWAYS things that need to be done. There will be nappies to buy, official documents to post, groceries to get (once all those delicious pre-prepared meals are finished)…. It can be hard for a new mum to build the confidence to leave the house to check the mail with a newborn, let alone venture into a shop. Any offer to run some of those errands will be a huge help to any mum!
- Help her play with (and set up) the new baby toys. Playing with baby toys is kind of (ridiculously) fun, but there are so many contraptions and devices that she will most likely get from her baby shower that will require multiple reads through the instruction manual. Lend her a hand in putting together the cot (or bassinet), the monitor, the car seat, the stroller…. Anything that needs more than one hand to put together!
- Take the big kids off her hands. Those early days of having a newborn are both chaotic and angelic. Help the new mum (yes, she is still a NEW mum because she has a NEW baby, and all babies are different!) by offering to take any older children out for the morning/afternoon (or the DAY!) and allow her to spend some quality one-on-one time with her new baby – and maybe even get in some sleep!
- Be an extra set of hands for her. New mothers are on call 24/7 with a newborn. They never get a break, which can leave them worn out and drained, and might also make them feel a bit upset or depressed. New mothers hardly even have time to shower (let alone wash their hair!). Give her an afternoon off by offering to watch her baby while she has a shower or a bath, and let her have a snooze. Even better, if mum and bub are BOTH asleep, lend a hand folding laundry or tidying the (most likely) cluttered house.
- Help to tidy up her kitchen. On the topic of tidying, subtly cleaning her kitchen will be a godsend! I had a lovely friend come over for morning tea, and she just started washing my 3-day-old pile of dishes while we were chatting, mid-sentence. I said the obligatory “oh no, you don’t have to do that…” but inside I jumped for joy at the prospect of one less thing to worry about.
- Spoil her with an afternoon of luxury. As mentioned previously, new mums never get down time. If you really want to spoil her, give her a gift of a massage to help her to distress, unwind and relax! This can be either at a day spa (with added babysitting), or maybe you can join in with a friend and bring a massage therapist to her home (while you offer to watch bub). This is something she’ll DEFINITELY be thankful for!
- Keep in contact with her. Being a new mother literally takes up all day and all night. EVERY (and I do mean EVERY) new mum is thankful for the support network of family and friends that she has. One of the best ways you can help her is to keep in contact with her, ask how she is going, chat to her about grown-up things (because everything else is lullabies, feeding, and poo), and make an effort to keep this up consistently. If she doesn’t reply straight away, don’t be offended – she will get there. If she doesn’t initiate the conversation between you (for what might seem like months!) don’t be angry at her. Life with a newborn is extremely difficult and takes up everything. By making the effort, she’ll know that she has your love and support.
- Never assume – ever! Many friends and family members will assume that if this is baby number 2, 3, 4 (or onwards!) that the new mother will have it all under control (and that she is no longer a “new” mother). Help her by removing any of these assumptions, providing support and lending a hand as though this were her very first child. All babies are different with different needs, and in those early days she will still be a new mother to a new baby figuring out what those needs are.
- Keep the help coming. The best way you can support a new mother is by CONTINUING to help her, after those initial weeks have passed. As bubs continues to grow, so do their needs and the way in which new mums support these needs. Continue to run errands, prepare meals, help with cleaning, offering to babysit, spoling her with gifts and contacting her, because it really will make the world of difference to her motherhood journey.
These are my suggested top 10 Helpful Ways to Help a New Mum. What would you add to this list?
Wishing you all a wonderful day and if you’re struggling with Motherhood or looking for arts and craft ideas for your kids head over to the Finlee and Me blog as it’s filled with amazing parenting articles.
About the Author
Fi Morrison is a first-time mum to her beautiful, 5-month old baby boy. She is a trained primary school teacher and a (new) small-business owner. Fi blogs over at Mumma Morrison about all things motherhood-related, particularly life as a new mum, with recipes and activities for babies and kids coming soon to her (newly updated) blog.