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The days, weeks and months after having a newborn can be difficult for any mum, whether it’s baby number 1 or number 5. Their body has just been through the battlefield, they now have a baby that relies on them for everything and literally drains them of nutrition, they are physically and mentally exhausted and they also have a barrage of people who want to come and visit.
It’s also difficult for them to ask for help. Perhaps she doesn’t want to admit she needs it, or maybe she doesn’t know what to ask for. Sometimes it’s even best for you to not ask if you can help, but to just do it.
Here’s a list of simple ways to help a mum with a newborn. These are just a few ideas to get you started – I promise she will thank you a million times over, even if she is too exhausted to say it.
1 – Wash the dishes.
Whenever you pop over for a visit, just walk into the kitchen and wash the dishes. It will only take you 10 minutes and make such a difference to her day.
2 – When the baby is sleeping, offer to watch the baby for an hour while mum gets out of the house.
She can go and do groceries in peace, go and sit at a café… whatever she wants. The thought of getting out of the house as a new mum can be incredibly overwhelming, and therefore you kind of get stuck… not going anywhere. If you can just watch the baby while mum gets out of the house it will be amazing for her.
3 – Bring over dinner.
Find out her favourite meal and make it for her. Be generous and make sure there is enough for her to freeze for an easy ‘go to’ meal on the days when she just doesn’t have time to cook.
4 – Sweep the floor.
This comes under the same banner as washing the dishes. Just do it and don’t let her object. The whole house feels so much more fresh with a clean floor.
5 – Watch the baby for half an hour so she can have a shower, shave her legs, wash her hair and pluck her eyebrows.
Showers for a new mum consist of quickly ducking in under the water while the baby sleeps and poking her head out every minute thinking she has heard the baby crying. Give her a chance to just lock herself in the bathroom and do whatever she needs to make herself feel bright and fresh.
6 – Don’t expect to be entertained when you visit.
This woman has just had a baby, the last thing she needs is to feel like she has to entertain you. Be the friend that cleans when she comes over or brings food.
7 – Let her nap.
When you stop by to visit, send her to bed. Take the reigns in watching the newborn and allow her to just go and nap. It’s amazing how much of a difference just a half hour nap can make.
8 – Bring cake or her favourite sweet treat.
When breastfeeding, women are ALWAYS hungry. A sweet treat every now and then will be greatly appreciated, especially if you show up with her favourite éclair or chocolate mud cake.
9 – Give her a break.
As much as she would love to see you, there has possibly been a hoard of people trampling through her house in attempts to meet the new addition. Check first to see if she wants visitors and make sure she knows it’s okay to say no.
10 – If she has older kids, offer to take them to the park to play or just get them out of the house.
Give her some alone time with bub where she can lay in bed and feed, enjoy the quiet of the house and not have other kids waking her or the baby up.
11 – Be there to listen to ANYTHING she wants to tell you.
Day 5 after the baby is born is notorious for the blues. The surge and plummet in hormones causes women to become more emotional around this time and it can be incredibly difficult.
If she wants to vent about her leaking boobs, her lack of sleep, her post-baby belly bulge, her inability to pee without screaming, her husband who seemed so wonderful who now seems like he is the dumbest person on earth, the endless stream of people parading through her house, the ever-increasing pile of washing – anything at all, just listen.
Don’t offer advice; don’t compare your situation to hers. Just listen. Then ask what you can do to help and do it.
If you have a friend or family member who is a mum to a newborn, please do just one of these things for her. Feeling generous – do a few. If you’re a mum to a newborn and don’t know what to say when people offer to help then share this list. Post it to your Facebook page, text the link to your friends. These are simple ways to help a mum with a newborn and they make a massive difference.