7 Ways to Support a New Mother
Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and thrilling moment for many. The Grandparents are ready to get their hands on their latest grandchild, friends are dying to hear every moment of your birth story, and almost everyone you know is asking to stop by the hospital or your home to pay you a visit. They promise it will be short, sometimes they come with gifts, but honestly, you sometimes wish that you could just lock your door and hide away with your new addition for a while. Becoming a new mother is one of the best moments of your life, but it can also come with a flood of emotions, lots of tears, and little sleep.
When I became a mother for the first time, I felt all of those exciting emotions. After ten long months of growing this baby, it was finally time to meet him and hold him close to my heart. However, I also felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the number of people inside of my hospital room, overwhelmed by the amounts of advice I was given, and tired...so very, very tired.
Everyone wants to be helpful to a new mother right after she has given birth and has joined the new motherhood club. Here are a few ways that you can show support to your friend, daughter, or co-worker after she has welcomed her new bundle of joy.
1. Congratulate her! I absolutely loved receiving all of the Facebook messages/text messages from friends. I was unable to check my phone for a while, but once I got the hang of breastfeeding and both my husband and baby were sleeping quietly beside me - I loved scrolling through my phone and reading the messages of congratulations. I was so proud of my baby, and I was honored that so many other people were just as happy and excited as I was. But I was delighted that I received those congratulations over text rather than had several people lined up at my door while I was recovering.
2. Prepare her home for her return. My mother and mother-in-law cleaned my house while I was in the hospital. They put clean sheets on the bed and filled the house with flowers. I was so relieved to come home to a clean house and laundry set away. I felt like I could rest and just enjoy spending time with my baby while I recovered.
3. Seasoned Mother’s - don’t be afraid to drop off a few items on the doorstep that you know that a new mother will need, but she doesn’t know yet that she will need. Numbing sprays, sitz baths, doughnut pillows, nipple creams. When I was a new mother, I had no idea that I needed to stock up on these items before giving birth. Who knew that numbing spray would be such a gift from God after giving birth?
4. Keep your visits short and sweet. A new mother is often still trying to figure out a schedule for herself and new baby. Breastfeeding can be stressful in the beginning - I never stick around when it is time for baby to eat. I want my friend to feel as relaxed as possible during that time. I also want to give her the freedom and time to connect with her baby. A new mother is sleep deprived, and it can be hard entertaining guests for very long. See her, love on her and that precious baby, and then let her take a nap!
5. It is hard for some mothers to ask for exactly what they need or want. Don’t be afraid to offer your services. Excuse her from the room to take a nap, hold the baby while she takes a shower, run a few errands for new mom. Let her know that it takes a village and during this time of recovery and healing - you are at her service!
6. Be her shoulder to cry on. Baby blues are real and very hard for a new mother to share with the people around her. She has waited so long for this baby and may feel guilty for crying tears of sadness and overwhelmed that she doesn’t fully understand. Make her feel comfortable, share your own experiences with baby blues. Validate her and let her know that she is not alone.
7. Be the gatekeeper of your own tongue. During this time, a new mother is often given a lot of tips, advice, and stories. Ask yourself if what you are sharing is positive and relevant advice to the situation. Maybe don’t tell her that she is never going to sleep again or that your baby was a perfect sleeper and never cried. Just encourage new momma and remind her that she is doing great.
It is essential to acknowledge that everyone is different and what will work for one person will not always work for the next. I loved having friends bring me and meal and stop by to eat with me and hold my baby. I enjoyed the close friends who came to the hospital to visit me - but what I needed during that time may not be what another momma will need. Don’t be afraid to ask! Love on that new momma and just be available to her.