Those first few weeks home with a new baby are pretty difficult for new parents (or even seasoned parents, honestly). If you've never had a baby before it's safe to say that you have no idea what to truly expect. Between feeding, nighttime parenting, and all the other daily necessities, new moms are usually stretched pretty thin. There are definitely some super kind things you can do for a first-time mom when she has a new baby, though, that can help an otherwise exhaustion transition period run smoothly. (Or, you know, at least as smoothly as possible.)
When my son was a newborn, I had pretty much zero support. My new family had just moved to a new town and I had approximately zero friends or family nearby to help with all the things new moms need help with. After the initial rush of family visits (and the blessed freezer meals they brought) came to an end, we were on our own. From about the second postpartum week on, I made every meal, ran every errand, and did every load of laundry. I would've declared undying love and devotion for anyone who so much as folded a pair of underwear. If someone had brought me coffee? Or pizza? Or sat with my son while I took a long hot shower? I probably would've ugly-cried in their face while simultaneously begging them to move in with me.
Because I know all the things I so desperately needed during those first postpartum months as a brand new mom, I feel 100 percent confident in saying these are the most amazingly kind things anyone could ever do for a first-time mother. Take notes, ladies and gentlemen.
Drop Off A Meal (Or Two)
The last thing a tired new mom wants to do is worry about what's for dinner. Having a few freezer meals to dump in the slow-cooker can be such a huge help, it's kind of unbelievable. Find out from the new mom's partner (or friends and other family members) what some family favorites are, then do all the prep work.
Making it easy for a new mom to feed herself is super kind and way helpful.
Watch The Baby So She Can Shower
It's become a stereotype of the new mom: unwashed, disheveled, exhausted, but it's not too far off base. Finding the time to shower with a new baby in the house can be difficult, and finding the time to actually relax in the shower or tub and not rush is pretty much impossible.
Offer to watch the little one for as long as she needs so she can have some time to herself.
Help Her With Her Laundry
It's amazing how quickly the amount of laundry increases with the introduction of such a small family member. One basket turns to two then three and, before you know it, mama is wearing the same shirt on Thursday that baby spit-up on on Wednesday (and that got soaked with milk on Monday).
Between constant feedings, no sleep, and just wanting to gaze at the baby, a new mama absolutely needs laundry help. Even if it's just folding clothes, or putting away the clothes she has already folded, insist that she let you help.
Organize A Meal Drop-Off
Better than just one or two meals dropped off at sporadic times, help organize an army of meals! Websites like Meal Train make the logistics and scheduling super simple and allow for notes about allergies or other food preferences so all the volunteers know just what is needed.
Instead Of Asking What She Needs, Figure It Out For Yourself And Just Do It
If you tell a new mom to let you know if she needs anything, you can rest assured that she most likely won't. Not only is asking for help difficult when you're a new mom, but you just don't have the time to reach out to people. In other words, take it upon yourself to help without being asked.
When you visit, bring her favorite snacks or a special treat just for her. All the focus has been on the baby, I can assure you, and chances are something sweet just for her will send her over the moon.
Run Her Errands For Her
Nobody likes going to the post office or picking up the dry cleaning, and doing it with a new baby can be downright scary. Running to the supermarket for milk is a lot simpler for one person than for a new mom with a baby, so ask what she needs, grab your car keys (or take the metro) and run those errands.
Let Her Take A Nap
Offer to keep watch over the baby so she can get some much needed rest. Keep baby quiet and fed and let mama sleep for as long as she can. Exhaustion makes everything so much harder, and a postpartum mom needs rest in order to heal.
Don't Just Focus On The Baby
Everyone who comes over will be going crazy over the baby, which is to be expected. I mean, new babies are adorable. However, make sure to take the time to give the new mom some love, too. After all, she did just create life in her body. She's kind of a big deal, so make sure she knows you think so.
Tell Her What A Rockstar She Is
And tell her what a great job she's doing. Being a mom is hard and being a new mom can be scary and overwhelming. Let her know that she's slaying this whole parenthood thing and calm some of her anxiety.