11 important ways to support a new mum

Adjusting to the arrival of a new baby can be difficult for the whole family. Sleepless nights and a change in routine can leave Mum feeling overwhelmed and totally exhausted. Offering support to a family with a new baby can help them adjust to their new normal, but often when you ask, they aren’t able to think of the exact way they need help. Here are some ideas.

Stop by the supermarket

Going to the shops with newborn and possibly older children for the first time can be a daunting task. Offer to pick up a few things the family needs. This is especially easy if you will be out running errands already. If you aren’t sure what they would like, have the family order and pay for groceries online, then pick them up and deliver them. Helping to put them away would be an extra bonus.

Help around the house

Sweep the floor, fold laundry, vacuum, or do dishes, even a little bit of tidying up can make a big difference. A clean house during a time of transition can bring order to a time that feels chaotic. Though check with Mum first, as she may prefer to clean herself. If so, offer to care for the baby and other children while she works on a household project.

Come when others don’t

Not all new mums are ‘new mums’. Families that are adding their second, third, or fourth child need help just as much as first time moms, if not more. When there are older children there is no time for resting when the baby rests. Older children do not stop activities just because a new baby has arrived and Mum and Dad are tired. It can be very difficult to entertain a toddler while nursing or changing diapers, so offer to take care of the older children, or offer to take care of baby so she can spend some alone time with her older children.

Provide a meal

Friends and family often send versatile casseroles like lasagna after the new baby is home. Try thinking outside the 13×9 pan, and why not bring the family the fixings for breakfast and lunch rather than just dinner? Stock the freezer with easy, ready-to-make items like pizza, pasta dishes, soups and crock pot meals. Then the family can pull something out of the freezer when they are not up for cooking. Crunched for time or don’t feel like making an extra meal? Bring the family their favourite take out or send a gift card.

Let her shower

A new mum may feel she doesn’t have time for basic things like a shower, rest, or time to eat a meal. One of the simplest ways to help a new mum is to hold the baby and watch the other children while she eats lunch, enjoys a relaxing shower, or takes a short nap. When she is rested, fed, and freshened up, it can really make her feel ready to take on the rest of the day.

Help with the older kids

Show support by offering to pick up the older kids, even if it’s just for a couple hours. If you are taking your own children to the park, swing by and pick up hers for the afternoon. This gets them out of the house and gives Mum a break. Driving the kids to school or activities is also a big help for a family with a new baby. Time alone with baby may be just what she needs.

Ask about her birth story

Giving birth is a huge milestone, an experience no mum will ever forget. Every birth has a story and there aren’t a lot of chances to tell it. Ask about her birth story and listen. Becoming a mum is a joyful, stressful, awe inspiring, and life-changing experience. Telling the birth story helps women to process and embrace this new journey.

Bring a gift for Mum

Many people bring gifts for the baby, but Mum is usually the one doing all the work. Bring a snack or treat for her to enjoy. Other great gifts are ones that pamper Mum or make her feel beautiful and comfortable in her postpartum body. Lotion, perfume, a new nightgown, or slippers are some good ideas. A delivery of flowers is another great way to bring cheer and make Mum feel special.

Don’t stay too long

Families who have newborns generally like to have company, especially if they pitch in around the house and with the kids. However, don’t overstay your welcome. New parents tire easily. Visit the family, bring a meal, and help out but watch for clues from mom as to when the family would like some alone time.

Take her somewhere

Mum may not be able to drive for a few weeks after birth. Offer to take her on errands or just out for coffee. Being able to get out of the house can do wonders for someone’s outlook.

Don’t give advice

An important tip for anyone chatting with a new mum is to listen but don’t give advice unless you are asked. It can be frustrating and overwhelming to get unsolicited advice from everyone she bumps into.

It’s important to ask her what would help her. Would she prefer to have help with housework? Would she like you to hold the baby while she gets some things done? Some mums would prefer to have someone to chat with for awhile and some mums may want to get out of the house for a bit. Offer several options and see what sounds most appealing to her. Any offer to help is always appreciated by a family adjusting to having a new baby in the house.

Sarah Lyons, mum of six, has learned first-hand what it is like to adjust to a new baby in the house. She is so grateful for the family and friends that helped her as each baby came home, and loves to return the favour to others.

KOTC issue out now MREC

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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