Caring for a new mum is so important. It’s one of the most potentially stressful, life-changing events that a woman will ever go through and many mums really do struggle. Knowing that you are there to help care and support her is vital to her wellbeing and so we’ve brainstormed some ideas of the best ways you can do this. Here are our top 13 ideas for supporting a new mum!
1. Make sure she’s ok with you visiting and check with the new mum beforehand.
Some Mums are ok with impromptu visits, but others need to make sure they have at least brushed their hair and gotten out of their PJs before a visit. Don’t just rock up, but instead check she’s ok with you visiting and arrange a time to suit her and her new baby.
2. Don’t expect to be served when you arrive
Don’t turn up and expect the new mum to serve you tea and cakes. Instead, immediately offer to put the kettle on and you do the serving. Maybe bring cakes with you, ask for a plate and offer one with a cup of tea.
3. Don’t walk into a new mum’s house without a gift.
We all know it’s cute to buy something for a new baby, but let’s face it, it’s the mum who’s done all the hard work, is exhausted, and needs a pick me up. Take something along that will cheer her up and make her feel special.
Check out our new mum pamper hampers and range of gift boxes for both mum and baby.
4. Encourage Mum to get out for a walk and some fresh air
Instead of arranging to meet at her home, why not encourage her to meet for a pram walk at the park? New mums spend a lot of time inside with newborns and it can lead to cabin fever. Fresh air and gentle exercise is great for picking up the mood of new mums. Give her plenty of time and arrange to meet up at the park with a takeaway cuppa!
5. Accept that if you do arrange to meet up she’ll probably be late!
Oh my goodness, I don’t think I ever managed to be on time once when my boys were tiny. I know it was very frustrating for my friends without kids. The simple fact is that you just can’t predict what bodily function is going to surprise you just before you step out of the door and there will always be something!
Be forgiving, maybe even send a text to say ‘Don’t worry if you’re late’ It might just prevent her from bailing at the last minute!
6. Wash your hands when you arrive
Even more important in this post-pandemic society, we are all more conscious of germs on our hands. Make a point of asking if you can wash your hands before you ask for a cuddle of her precious newborn.
7. Offer to help with her to-do list
You might think that washing, ironing, shopping, and other house tasks are the last thing on her mind, but they may be looming in the background and causing anxiety. Maybe offer to take a basket of ironing home or pop to the supermarket. Think of helpful things that don’t involve you actually being in her space, but will actually help to give her space to breathe are perfect.
I always found that someone offering to look after the baby while I had a shower and got dressed, or took the older children out for an hour so I could have a nap was a welcome relief.
8. Organise a meal rota for the first couple of weeks
Club together will a group of friends and family and organise a meal rota, finding out likes and dislikes and organising times of delivery. Check with members of the rota, ensuring they don’t receive tuna pasta bake five nights in a row! Even if the family doesn’t eat it on the day it arrives, they can freeze it for another day. Having healthy meals to hand will keep her energy up and reduce stress.
Another tip is to send the meals with instructions in a takeaway container that you don’t need to be returned and can easily fit in the freezer. That way there is no pressure to wash up and return your best casserole dish!
9. Continue to extend the invitation to her for events even if you know she won’t be able to make
Keep inviting your friend out on girls’ nights out, couples events, and work events. It’s highly likely that she’ll decline for the first few months, but at least she’ll feel included, thought-about, and loved. Eventually, when she’s feeling back to a little bit of her old self, she’ll brave ‘Going out’ again!
10. Remember that she’s still her old self
Yes, life has changed beyond recognition, but she’s still the same person. Chat about the things you did before baby came along as well as appreciate her 24/7 baby chat. Oh and definitely be patient and sympathetic to the 24/7 baby chat, you will get bored!
11. Chat and tell her it’s ok to feel rubbish. If she needs help, encourage her to approach a professional
Most mums experience the ‘baby blues’ at some point.
Crikey, she’s either pushed the equivalent of a pineapple out of her nether regions, or been ripped open by a surgeon’s knife, and is now faced with sleep deprivation torture and feelings of being totally inadequate. She’s allowed to feel rubbish and as her friend, it’s your job to assure her it’s ok to feel that way.
If you sense that it’s a little more than the baby blues, encourage her to seek professional help, talk to family members and be there for her.
12. Don’t preach and tell her what to do unless she asks
It’s so easy for new mums to feel like they are failing, so unless she asks, don’t preach. If you’re already a parent yourself, you’ll be full of tips and advice, but be careful. Don’t turn into the friend who seemingly has it all ‘sorted’ and dishes out parenting advice left right and centre. Instead tread carefully, wait until she shows signs of asking for help, and maybe use a phrase like ‘Have you thought about trying…?’ or ‘I had a similar issue and we found …. made things easier.
13. Encourage her to ask for help from friends and family members to look after the baby while she has some ‘Me time’
New mums sometimes struggle with leaving babies with other people, even their partners in the early days. Encourage other family members and friends to keep offering their help and services. Their offer may be declined in the early days, but eventually, they may just take up the suggestion of help!
Our business financially supports The Pandas Foundation, a wonderful charity that helps mums with anxiety and depression both in pregnancy and post natal. You can find out more here https://pandasfoundation.org.uk/