When a close friend has a baby, you want to support them in any way possible. Even if you’ve never had kids of your own, you can still imagine just how exhausting and overwhelming it must be. But if you’ve never had kids of your own, you might be a bit unsure about the best way to help.
If we’re unsure, we tend to react by avoiding. You might tell yourself that what your friend truly needs is space. And it’s true, she does, but then again, you can give her space and also be there for her when she needs you. Here are 7 ways to do exactly that.
Be present but considerate
Rule Number 1: never stop by unannounced. To be fair, these days most of us will text a warning of our arrival. But remember, your new mum friend won’t be checking her phone very often. If you do plan to stop by, ask well in advance if that will be okay. Also, don’t linger on your visit. It’s best to go with a purpose in mind, like dropping off an essential or helping with a task (see below). Once you’re done, you’re out the door!
Always bring food
If you’re heading over to her place, bring food along every time. There’s no such thing as too many home-cooked meal deliveries for sleep-deprived mummies and daddies! Bring something freezer-friendly that can be reheated as needed if you can’t or don’t have time to cook, no problem. Stop by their favourite takeaway or bring some nutritious snacks for breakfast and lunch.
Do all the running around
Ask your friend if she has any errands that need running. If there’s a letter that needs posting or a prescription that needs picking up, that’s a job with your name on it. If it’s something she needs to do in person, offer her a lift. When you do your weekly shop, pick up extra toilet paper to drop off at her place.
Help around the house
See that huge pile of laundry next to her washing machine? You can make it magically disappear. Those crumbs on the carpet? They’re no match for your vacuum skills! Let everyone else send her flowers and chocolates. You can be the one who’s there on the battlefield, getting the hard work done and giving her the gift of time.
Request 1-on-1 time with Baby
Some new mums aren’t okay with this, which is perfectly normal. Don’t be offended if they don’t want to leave you alone with their newborn – it’s just that protective maternal instinct kicking in. For some new mums, however, a little break to nap, shower or just breathe is an absolute godsend. Offer to hold Baby for a little while and give her a chance to feel human again.
Look out for Baby’s big sibling
If this is your friend’s second child, she’s still dealing with a completely new experience: taking care of more than one kid at a time. If the older sibling is still very young, it’s especially hard. The last thing any parent wants is for an older child to feel neglected. You can help with that! Bring gifts just for Big Bro or Sis, or take them out for the afternoon to make them feel special and give Mum a break.
Play it cool with advice
Even if you’ve had children yourself, what works for you might not work for someone else. Chances are, your new mum friend has read all the books and received loads of advice from midwives and mothers-in-law. She won’t need to hear it from her friends, too, so don’t offer your advice unless she specifically asks for it. Instead, be her outlet to vent and support her with hugs and sympathy.
Welcome your friend’s new baby to the world! Discover personalised gifts Mum and Baby will love at My 1st Years.