10 ideas: How to help new parents
How to support a new mom - seems obvious, doesn't it? That's not true. Ask any new mom and we bet she's had to serve visitors a cup of tea when she'd rather have napped.
Adjusting to a new baby in the house can be difficult for the whole family. Sleepless nights and a changed routine can leave a mother feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Offering support to a family with a new baby can help them adjust to the new normal, but often a tired, exhausted mother can't think of exactly what help she needs when she asks. Here are some ideas.
1. Stop at the supermarket
Walking into a store for the first time with a newborn and possibly older children can be a daunting task. Offer to do the grocery shopping for the family. If the family has groceries, diapers, etc. delivered, offer to concede the purchase.
2. Help around the house
The reality is still often like this: fathers take vacation or a few weeks of parental leave after the birth. But there comes a day in most families when the man has to go back to work. In addition to taking care of the baby, many household chores are often left unattended. Some mothers can handle it, some want a decent home despite the newborn. Ask if you can do household chores. Washing clothes, cooking, vacuuming or cleaning windows.
3. Be a babysitter
Not all new moms are "new moms". Families having their second, third, or fourth child need as much help as first-time mothers, if not more. If there are older children, there will be no time to rest when the baby is resting. Older kids don't stop playing just because there's a new baby and mom and dad are tired. It can be very difficult to entertain a toddler while the newborn is breastfeeding or changing. Offer to look after the older children for the mother, or offer to look after the baby so that she can spend some alone time with her older children.
4. Love goes through the stomach
Why not bring the family the ingredients for breakfast and lunch instead of just dinner? Stock the freezer with simple, ready-to-eat meals like pizza, pasta sauces, soups, and stews. Then the family can get something out of the freezer when they don't feel like cooking. Are you short on time or don't feel like cooking an extra meal? Then bring the family their favorite snack or order something on your bill!
5. Give everyday life
A mother may feel like she doesn't have time for basic things like showering, resting, or time to eat. One of the easiest ways to support her is to hold the baby and watch out for the other kids while she eats lunch, enjoys a relaxing shower, or takes a quick nap. When she's rested and refreshed, she may be ready to tackle the rest of the day.
6. Airing children
Show your support by offering to pick up the older children, even if it's just for a few hours. If you are going to the park with your own children, also pick up their children for the afternoon. It gets the kids out of the house and gives mom a break. Driving the kids to school or activities is also a big help for a family with a new baby. Alone time with the baby may be just what she needs right now.
7. Listen carefully
The birth of a child is a major milestone, an experience no mother will ever forget. Every birth has a story, and often there aren't many opportunities to tell it. Ask her birth story and listen. Becoming a mother is a joyful, exhausting and life-changing experience. Telling the birth story helps women process and embrace this new journey.
8. Gifts for mom
Many people bring gifts for the baby and forget about the parents. Bring a snack or treat for them to enjoy. Mums are happy about flowers, books, comfortable clothes, care products. Or give something that helps the whole family, like a baby carrier ;)
9. Keep track of the time
Families with newborns are generally happy to have company, especially if they help around the house and with the children. However, you should not stay too long. New parents tire quickly. Visit the family, bring them a meal, but listen for cues from them when the family would like some alone time.
10. Don't give advice
A key tip for anyone speaking to new parents is to listen, but not give advice unless asked. It can be frustrating and overwhelming to get unsolicited advice from everyone they meet. It's important to ask them what would help them. Would they prefer it if you helped them with the housework? Do they want you to hold the baby while they do some things? Some parents would prefer to have someone to chat with for a while, and some parents may want to get out of the house for a while. Offer multiple options and see what they like best. A family adjusting to a new baby in the home is always grateful for any offer of help. And if you give them the opportunity to do so, you are already doing a lot of good to support new parents.