“Ding dong!” The doorbell rings and your heart starts to pound. “Not another relative.” You think, and just as you were about to rest your eyes for a few minutes while baby naps.
The newborn bubble is one of the most precious and vulnerable times of life for, not only the baby, but the new parents too. It’s a time when you’re trying to learn each other’s patterns, needs, wants, and cues. You may be trying to establish breastfeeding, working out newborn sleep, and attempting to also shower and feed yourself. It’s a bit of a marathon.
As new parents, we know our loved ones are so excited to meet the new baby, but, seeing as it is such a delicate time, we would like to humbly suggest you follow these suggestions for ten ways to actually help parents of a newborn baby.
After all, the needs of the new parents and baby are more important than your wants...even if you’re the mother, or the mother-in-law, or the forever best friend.
Here are nine tips for what to do (and not to do) to help out a new parent.
1. Meal Trains/Bring food and don’t stay
Nothing is better than getting a message saying “I left something at your door” with no door bell ring or knock at the door or interruption to your busy day. Contactless delivery forever.
2. Check in on them
“One thing I've noticed with my third is often I feed everyone else... my older kids get their dinner, my husband gets his, and then baby will decide she's hungry and I don't get to eat because I have to feed her. Check in on new mamas via text to ensure that they've eaten and had water. Make them a snack care package with little things they can tuck in places like beside their feeding chair, or the car.”
3. Offer specific help
“Offer to do chores while mom naps/feeds/eats/relaxes. I personally never liked it when people offered to watch the baby so I could nap. I would have to wake up soon anyways to feed again, and all the chores in the house would still be there.” New parents can also feel anxious to let others watch their newborn baby, though they would gladly accept a sparkling clean kitchen!
“Not at all new moms are ready or want people to come take the baby to "help", especially when you exclusively breastfeed. Instead, prepare meals, clean, do laundry. That's huge help to new parents.”
4. Keep older kids busy
“Bring things to entertain older siblings, like self play toys, anything that they can entertain themselves with while mom feeds and cares for baby. Think blocks, lego, magnatiles, or small quiet toys. Anything that mom doesn’t have to help with and they can play with at their feet.”
5. Drop off groceries
Ask for a list and shop for new parents. Drop off the items to their doorstep and let them know everything’s there with a cheerful text.
6. Gift cards!
Get the new parents a giftcard to their favourite restaurants so the new parents can have date nights in.
7. Hire them a postpartum doula
Professional postpartum doulas are an incredible resource for new parents. They help with baby care, assisting mom with nursing, and more. As professionals, it’s often easier for a new parents to allow a postpartum doula to watch their baby while they have a nap than it is for them to even trust friends and family. There’s something about the security that comes with having a trained professional that puts the mind at ease.
8. Getting a cleaning service
Get a few friends together, pool your money, and get the new parents a weekly cleaning service for a month. I promise it’ll be their favourite gift they receive.
9. If you visit, keep it short
“If you do visit a family with a newborn, don't overstay! Keep the visit short, like 15 minutes. Of course, this is all depending on Covid-19 restrictions and the parents comfort right now anyways.The new parents are going to need to feed the baby, they're trying to establish a relationship and routine. If this is their first, it's a challenge. It can still be a challenge with their fourth. If they are trying to establish breastfeeding or the baby gets distracted on a bottle they don't need the stress of you not taking a hint and leaving! They don't want to be jerks and have to kick you out either. Doesn't matter if you're immediate family or what, keep it short.”
This list has been compiled from the Beluga Baby Facebook Group members.
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