|A tired new mom enjoying a cuddle.|
We were talking about this at our Mom's Bible Study at the church and the ways that we have been shown kindness and how we could show others that kindness.
As a new mom it is really hard to ask for or accept help from anyone. You feel like you should be able to do it all. But at the same time you feel like you are failing when you cannot possibly get everything done and enjoy your little one and take time for yourself to really heal and recover.
With Little A, I felt like I could do it all and I really tried. I was up and moving like there was nothing wrong but I was sore and tired and struggling with my crazy emotions. There was something inside me that felt like it was failure to let my mom help me, but being the amazing mom that she is she stayed with us and helped make food, did laundry and tidied the house. But most of all she gave me time to be a mom and enjoy my baby.
With Little E, I had no choice. I needed help and there was no buts about it. My dad was down to help with Little A. Hubby helped with Little E and with taking care of me. And my wonderful friends and Hubby's Nana came and brought us meals. The guys did a great job at trying to keep things clean but when my mom came down things were actually clean and laundry got done (and put away).
Honestly, after Little E, I was so sore from the blood clot and we had to just wait for the clot to break on its own and the pain to subside, it felt like my appendix was going to burst for over a week. I was moving so slow, sleeping poorly, and felt dizzy and weak from the blood thinners so I was a mess. The kindness of others was what got us through.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted...
Ephesians 4:32 (excerpt)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18
There are some great resources of ideas for nice things to give or do for a new mom but I wanted to make a list of some of the ones that have been done for me or people I know, as well as ones that I have done. There are some things that I have learned along the way from my own experience and that of my friends.
20 Ways to Show Kindness and Bless a New Mom
1. Let her know that she is not alone, it is okay to ask for help, and that it doesn't mean she is failing if she doesn't get it all done.
I had a horrible time feeling like I had to do it all and it does take some time to really sink in that it is okay to need help and to ask for it. Make sure that the new mom knows that there is no judgement and that you are there to help because you care.
2. When visiting at the hospital:
- Call ahead to make sure she is awake and ready to have visitors. (nothing like having friends come to call when you are in your pjs, have yet to shower, and have barely slept)
- Don't stay too long. (I had a guest that stopped in to check on me, I was surprised to see her since we were not really close. She stayed for what seemed like forever, she just would not leave, even when my best friend arrived and when my parents brought me food. It was horribly awkward and a nurse eventually was the one who came in and said I looked tired and she should go. )
- When you call, check to see if she needs anything to eat or drink. (hospital food is generally terrible. It is always a good idea to see if she has anything specific she would want to eat or drink)
- Bring a Hospital Survival Kit. (include things like hair ties, travel size shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, chapstick or vaseline, granola bars, and a little treat) Also bring chewable fiber capsules, this was something I didnt know to buy and my sister brought for me. It makes taking the fiber so much easier.
3. Listen to her and offer to be a Helpline. (at all hours)
Being a new mom can be scary. There are always a million things that people are telling you on how to nurse, change, and care for your child. But with all the things you are trying to learn and cope with, coupled with the lack of sleep and the raging hormones, sometimes we just need someone to talk to. Especially when hubbies head back to work and we are left at home with an infant for hours that can seem to drag on. Sometimes we just need a level headed friend who has done it all before, that we can call in the middle of the night when the baby is doing something we haven't experienced yet, or when we feel like we are at our breaking point.
4. Invite her out to a playgroup or Moms Bible study.
Its always hard for new moms to get out of the house but knowing that there is a group that meets weekly really helps to have something to look forward to and to plan and prepare for. Plus it is great to get together with other moms to talk and learn from each other and to support each other.
5. Bring over a meal.
- When calling to see if you can bring over a meal, do not ask, " Can I bring over a meal?" instead say "I am bringing over a meal, when would be the best time." That way they are less likely to decline even if they really need the break from cooking.
- Make sure that it is something that is easy to throw in the oven or reheat. It is always tempting to make something extravagant that will be delicious and look beautiful. But the best thing to do is keep it simple and nutritious. Don't make her have to do a lot of prep before she can eat it.
- Check for diet restrictions, allergies, and food aversions before making the meal. Don't make something they aren't going to eat or that will cause an allergic reaction.
- Bring it in something disposable or that they can keep. We were given some lovely meals from friends but then were stuck with their casserole dishes until we saw them again. I hate to say it but there was one that we had for nearly six months because every time we saw them we forgot to return it.
- Include a recipe card. Then they can make it again if they enjoyed it and they can know exactly whats in it.
- Include everything to make the meal a success. After having E we had a number of great meals that we were blessed with. Two that my husband was blown away by, were a pasta meal that came with sauce, pasta, garlic toast and a veggie tray. The second was a Mexican Lasagna, tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, and a banana bread for dessert. They both thought of everything. They were big enough that we had leftovers and we had things to snack on through the rest of the week.
6. Bring over snacks for the nursing mother. It can be hard to keep the pantry stocked when you are eating like crazy. Pick up some granola bars, trail mix, fruit cups, etc. and grab a fruit or veggie tray or fresh stuff and cut it yourself. Having healthy snacks around will be so wonderful for that nursing mom.
7. Drop off some gift cards for take out or delivery meals. Takes the stress off mom and dad when they have to start making their own meals. They can also save them for later when they can finally go on a date.
8. Take the other kids off her hands for a while. Getting the older kids out of the house allows mom to get some sleep while the little one does and it helps her relax and enjoy the baby. The older kids will also be grateful for the time away from home and the crying baby. The whole family will feel a lot better after some time out and apart.
9. Go over to cuddle the baby and let mom sleep, relax, shower, or anything else she feels she needs to do.
10. Drop off movies (and snacks) for mom to enjoy while hanging out with baby.
11. Offer to help her get out of the house. The first outing for a new mom can be a huge challenge especially when there is a time frame. Just helping while she gets ready or while she packs up will be a huge help. "I will be over at 9 to help you get ready to go out." For moms with other children it can be very challenging. It can take so much work to pack up all the kids and get yourself ready too. Just being there to help her get them ready will be invaluable.
12. Run errands for her. It can be frustrating for a new mom to run around town. Even doing simple things can get tiring when you have to lug around a giant car seat and baby (especially in the winter). "I'm at Walmart, what do you need?"
13. Offer to take her to her six week check up. Or watch the kids while she goes alone. That way you can watch the kids at home or sit in the waiting room with the baby (and other children) while she is in with the doctor. It can be hard to remember everything you need to ask or talk to the doctor about when your milk is letting down because the baby is crying.
14. Offer to babysit for an hour or two (whatever mom and baby can handle) so that Mom and Dad can have some time alone together. Let them get out for a walk or a quick outing. Time together without baby is important for the couple so that they can remember how much they love each other. It is hard when hormones are crazy and mom is spending all day with a baby cuddling or suckling her for her to want to spend time with her husband, but time together is really important for him, and her. Be sure not to pressure them, it is hard enough to leave your baby for the first time on your own terms, having someone pressure you to do so when you are not ready for it is a horrible experience. (Trust me, I have been there. My first outing without little A was horrible and forced upon me. I got into the car and had to choke back tears. The whole time we were gone I felt sick to my stomach and then when we got home I was informed that she cried almost the entire time and they never called to get me to come back. Not something that you want as a first outing) Be sure to tell the new mom that you will call as soon as baby starts to seem hungry or upset. (And then do it)
15. Offer to help write the thank you cards. Most new moms feel like they need to send out Thank Yous right away for the gifts they receive. Having a bit of help would likely be very welcomed. (along with the assurance that she could wait a few months and no one would be upset. She has enough on her plate)
16. Volunteer to clean the house or do laundry so she can just relax and enjoy the baby. Or give her a gift card for a cleaning service. Only offer to do this if you are close friends. It is hard to have someone clean your house for you and if you aren't that close it will cause her more stress than doing it herself or leaving it a mess. (She could even be like those ladies who clean before the maid comes)
17. Drop off a Nursing New Mom Gift basket. Include things that every nursing mom needs: Nipple Balm, Nursing Pads, Hot/Cold Packs, Magazines, Snacks, a large reusable Water Bottle, an Amazon gift card or Itunes gift card. ( I also like the Power of a Praying Parent book by Stormie Omartian)
18. Drop off a box of Diapers or Wipes. This is something that a new parent always needs and can always use. Don't just bring newborn sizes of diapers, all sizes will eventually be used.
19. Bring her tea or coffee and let her tell you all about labor and delivery. It can be so nice and therapeutic to talk about the whole labor and delivery. And having someone to talk to while her hubby is back to work is likely a welcome change from the lonely feeling days at home alone with baby.
20. Bring her gifts to pamper herself. New moms (and moms in general) often don't take care of themselves as much as they should. Gift cards for massages, pedicures, or haircuts are a welcome gift when most gifts she would be receiving are for the baby.
I hope that that helps. I am sure that there are more ideas out there. Comment or post and let me know what you think and what you have done for others.
|Enjoying a cuddle with Little A, a few days old.|