I have four kids--bringing each one home from the hospital was special but also really difficult! Each time, I’ve had sweet friends and family members reach out with help, and their offers have meant the world.
If there’s a new mother in your life, here are three things you can do to help:
1. Feed Them!
Newborns require feeding around the clock, and feeding yourself just seems so impossible on most days! You can certainly bring your friend a full meal, but if that’s not your thing it’s ok.
Another great way to help her is to offer to set up a meal train (make sure you find out about allergies and get her favorite orders from nearby fast food restaurants--this makes it easy for out of town friends to help, too).
When my fourth baby was born, my friend dropped by one afternoon with a box of breakfast tacos. I loved it! Breakfast tacos reheat very nicely (and are easy to eat one-handed!) and are delicious any time of day.
Another friend dropped off a coffee and a box of assorted pastries from a local bakery (so delicious!), and I have another friend who takes new parents bags of yummy, easy-to-microwave meals straight from the grocery store.
2. Give Her Something Just for Her
Something about a new baby makes you feel a lot less like yourself--I think it’s the sleepless nights. If you were pregnant and gave birth, all the attention has suddenly shifted from you to the baby, and that’s disorienting, too.
If you’d like to give your friend a gift, here are some sweet ideas that remind her she matters and is special, too!
- A card with a thoughtful message (like this)
- A neck wrap for her tired shoulders and an eye mask for when she finally gets to close hers
- A new robe
- Bath tea or bath salts (and maybe a time for you to watch the baby, so she can enjoy them)
- A care package, lovingly packed
3. Regular Check-ins--and No Judgement for How She Feels
Bringing a new person into your home is beautiful, but it’s messy. Your friend might be confused, weirded out, traumatized, disoriented, or upset, in addition to feeling euphoric and happy or even instead of feeling happy.
All of it is ok and very normal, and one of the kindest things anybody can do for her is allow her to say what she’s feeling, with empathy but not judgement. Simply holding space for all of her, no matter what that means or looks like, is powerful. You can also let her know that she can text or call you night or day, even if she just needs to cry.
(If you are concerned or think your friend may be struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or rage, you can encourage her to get help, or even go with her to her doctor’s appointment. It may look like other moms have it together, but spoiler alert--we don’t!)
Sarah Guerrero is a freelance writer and contributor to Slow North. She has a degree in international business from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and writes about sustainable business practices and ethical living.