When your friend or family member has a new baby, meeting him/her is the most exciting thing. But you should know, that mom is currently in the trenches, especially if it’s her first baby. She just went through the most intense thing the human body can endure and now she is given this tiny human that she has no idea what to do with that is also relying on her for life. In a nutshell, life ain’t easy right now.
The season of having a newborn is by far the hardest and postpartum is about the realest life will ever get. Not only is that mama learning so much about breastfeeding, she’s sleep deprived, trying to recover herself, her boobs are is immense pain and likely leaking, her hormones are going berserk, and this tiny human cries and craps non-stop because that’s basically the only thing they know how to do at this time.
If there was ever a time in life to offer someone some grace, now would be that time. She barely has time to shower, let alone get her house clean for friends visiting. I know I needed nothing from my friends and family but to just let me off the hook. Let me off the hook for my messy house, my messy appearance, my delusional conversation, and my complete lack of understanding of this whole mothering thing.
This period of time is very overwhelming so below are 10 things you can do to be the best postpartum visitor ever. Now you don’t have to take all of them to heart but the truth is, if you are only going over to cuddle a newborn, then my advice is to wait a few weeks. Mama can cuddle her own baby.
- Bring food
The reality is mom has no time to cook a meal and even if she did, she wouldn’t want to. Maybe you aren’t a good cook, that’s totally okay. Pick up Chipotle. Don’t reach and say “Can I bring you food?” because that just makes some people feel bad. Instead say “I am stopping by chipotle, please send me your orders” (include dad in this too, he’s dealing with a lot as well). If they still turn it down, you simply tell them they are getting food no matter what so they might as well get something they want.
- Bring/Drop off Coffee
I don’t think this really needs an explanation but some breastfeeding mamas aren’t into a lot of coffee so maybe bring a half caf coffee over. Also, if you are super busy or know the mom doesn’t want company tell her that you are grabbing coffee and want to do a drive by with some. This way she knows you are thinking about them but don’t want to intrude on their space and they get a pick me up in the process.
- Bring Groceries
Offer to go grocery shopping for this mom. When dad goes back to work, getting to the grocery store is hard. While he’s away working, the last thing he wants to go do is grocery shopping when he just wants to get home and love his baby. So offer to go for them. Or better yet, offer to watch the baby for an hour while mom gets out of the house. Believe me, she will need it.
- Bring a Gift
It’s really easy to just bring something for baby because we all know baby clothes are so cute, but don’t forget about mom and dad in this time. Gift cards for coffee or take out go a long way during this season. Some bath salts, self-care stuff for mom is amazing too.
- Send Mama to Bed or Shower
I know this sounds weird to go over to visit your friends just to say “hey go take a shower or nap” but honestly that’s probably all she needs. She needs a second to feel alone and showering is amazing. The whole nap reasons are self-explanatory. At the end of the day it’s an hour out of your day but that hour is lifesaving to a mom with a newborn.
- Don’t Ask for Anything
Don’t ask for something to drink or eat, just go get it. Believe me, mom doesn’t care. She likely has mom brain and her manners are off on Jupiter right now so don’t expect her to ask and don’t take it personally if she doesn’t. Also, don’t ask to hold the baby unless she offers. I know, I know it’s a bummer because you really want to but just wait until offered. And for the love of God, wash your hands first, don’t make mom ask.
- Leave Your Kids At Home
I know I love to take Teagan everywhere with me, but when you are dealing with a newborn it’s honestly just better to leave them at home. Kids are germ carriers and I know you think your child is the exception but until mom says it’s okay just assume it’s not. Plus it makes the situation too stressful and that’s the last thing new mom needs.
- If You’ve Been Sick Stay Home
I know this is so hard, but if you’ve been sick anytime in the last few weeks, just stay home. Mom’s immune system is down and baby barely has one. It’s just better for everyone. Instead do a drive by with food or coffee so they know you are thinking of them.
- Clean Something
This is a little harder as a friend versus family. I know for me, I could never let my friend come over and clean but at least offer to do the dishes or something. Sometimes the offer is just as nice as the actual action.
- Stay in Touch Daily
Visiting everyday isn’t realistic for either side but hearing from your friends every day is encouraging. This new season of motherhood is so hard but having people ask how you are doing daily makes it feel more manageable. A simple “how are you guys doing?” goes a long way.
They say it takes a village to raise a child but sometimes it really just takes a village to support a mother and it makes it feel as though you can make it through the day. When you have a baby, you have this picture in your mind of everything being easy and your friends and family coming to visit all the time but that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, it can make you feel so alone. No new mother should have to feel like she is alone on this journey so just know it takes so little to make her feel supported.