Friday, April 24, 2015

How To Care for a New Mom

Photo Credit: Day Three Studios

The other day, while looking over my list of all the things that I still need to do before baby boy makes his appearance I panicked a little bit. I absolutely can not believe we are just eight short weeks (give or take a week or so) away from meeting our son! We haven't chosen a pediatrician or toured the hospital, my bag isn't packed and the nursery isn't complete, and the list goes on. Luckily, we still have two months to prepare though and I have a lot of very generous friends and family who are so helpful as we get ready for our world to completely change.

I think this is the season of babies because many of my friends have either just had a baby or are pregnant and getting ready to welcome their baby into the world like I am. Until I got pregnant, I didn't realize just how much work babies are before AND after they're here. I also probably didn't do a wonderful job of caring for my friends who were new moms because I just was clueless. I decided to turn to some of my favorite blogger friends who have recently had babies for some advice on how to best care for a new mom. There are so many great suggestions from these ladies, and if you are like me and have a lot of friends expecting in the next few months, I hope these are helpful to you! Make sure you go stop by each of their blogs too to learn more about them, their sweet babes and soak in all their advice and wisdom!

From someone who went from being a clueless friend who did not do the right things to a new mom whose friends didn't necessarily do the 'right' things, this is what a mom needs after having a baby: an enthusiastic community; miscellaneous things from the store; a clean house; showers; rest; food. OK, so you might not be able to help with all of these things, but you can help with some of them. Here is what I would recommend:

Offer to visit ASAP after the baby is born, but don't demand it and don't overstay your welcome!If you are a close friend or family member, offer to visit right away, if you're an acquaintance, wait a few weeks. I had some best friends visit us in the hospital and I loved it! Other people might be overwhelmed by offers to visit, so just feel this one out, but at least express excitement to meet the new baby right away. New parents want their community to love their bundle of joy as much as they do!

-If you live close to the new parents/baby, text or call before you run to the store to see if they might need something.
-Give a gift of a one-time house cleaning service that the new parents can use when they start feeling really overwhelmed by the dust piling up on their furniture.
-If you're a good friend or family member, offer to watch the baby while the mom showers or rests for a bit. Definitely don't expect her to entertain you when you come to visit!
-Cook. Bake. Don't show up to a new baby's house empty-handed. Bring take out. Personally, we had so much pasta and junk food when Clara was born that I was craving salads - so bring healthy & fresh food if you can! If you can't cook, bring a favorite baby product or cute outfit or maybe even flowers.

I am a first time mom and had my son Bennett in December and honestly, I had a really hard time accepting help from others before and after I had him. At first I wanted to prove to everyone that I could handle it all (Type A personality...) and that I didn't need anyone's help, but I finally realized that I was going to run myself into the ground if I didn't allow others to help, at least a little bit : ) One of the best things, in my opinion, was the fact that my house was spotless when we got home from the hospital. When you are 40+ weeks pregnant the last thing you want to do is clean your house so it was nice that my mother-in-law did that for us while we were at the hospital. It was so incredibly nice to come home to a home that was clean, had fresh flowers, and a beautiful glowing Christmas tree.

 Another thing that was really great for us was that our small group from church set up a meal train for us and took turns bringing dinner to us every night for a few weeks. Even if we didn't eat the meal that night we were able to freeze a ton of it and had meals for a while! This was really nice because for about two weeks I had a tough time getting around and spent most of my time on the couch trying to recover. Even something as simple as coming over and holding someone's newborn so they can take a shower really does mean so much to a new mom. It is hard to find time for yourself when you are trying to recover and take care of a new baby at the same time. I appreciated everyone who did anything for us and can't wait to return the favor when my friends have babies!

A little over a month ago, we welcomed our second child into the world. The months leading up to my labor and delivery I went back and forth between feeling very prepared and worrying about how I would do even the most normal of things (like cook dinner, grocery shop, etc.) successfully with a toddler and a newborn. Thankfully, we are blessed with a ton of great people around us and we were well taken care of and loved on during the early weeks of my daughter's life. The week before she was born, two of my sisters took a gift card and went to Walmart, buying all of the groceries I needed for making my freezer stash and then cooked and froze all of those meals for us. It was a huge blessing to not have to go shopping and prep those meals at almost 9 months pregnant, and was it was so great to have when the meals people brought by ran out.

My little sister also ran to the grocery store for me a few times after our daughter was born to grab some basics that we had run out of, which allowed me to focus on my babies without the stress of getting dressed and getting two kids into the grocery store! For me, it was a huge relief to send someone with my debit card to go get things we needed rather than stress about getting out or making my husband go!

As far as what helped me most in the first two weeks, having my mom stay with me was number one! I could wake her up and ask her questions in the middle of the night, I could lean on her for support and advice, I could cuddle her when I needed comfort, I could break down and cry when I needed to and feel comfortable. Granted your hubby is there for that too, but sometimes a girl just needs her mama and having your first baby calls for needing your mama. She's been there of course!

 Also, our church provides a service for moms where other moms sign up on a calendar for the first month and bring you meals. This is still a blessing for us right now since we are still receiving the blessing of food. I have no energy to cook. It's hard enough to find time to shower so having meals and treats brought over is incredible and comforting and a huge stress reliever! One less thing you have to think or worry about.

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