I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while now – since I had my baby 6 months ago, in fact! I love to tackle those awkward topics that nobody really wants to talk about (did you read about the labour haemorrhoids?) and if you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’m always keen to show honest real life, not just the highlights version. So let’s talk about how to visit a new mom.
It’s often a situation where a someone just doesn’t understand what a new mom is going through and their visit causes more stress than support, or it’s someone who knows that things are chaotic when a new baby is born and don’t know how to visit without it being awkward so they rather just don’t. So here’s the deal with visiting a new mom. Call it the unwritten (now written) rules.
- Never just pop in. It’s a continuous cycle (24 hours, day after day after day without a break) of 2-3 hourly stretches with very little sleep within any of those. Every tiny moment where mom is able to be apart from her baby is used for things like showering, napping, going to the toilet or eating a meal – never all of those in one stretch, though, it’s a case of prioritising which of those is most important. Every hour of the day is precious and a pop-in when she’s planned a quick shower or a nap is not going to go down very well to say the least.
- Bring something useful. Ask her for a shopping list of things you can pick up from the grocery store or pharmacy. She’s not able to get out to buy anything and someone offering to pick up a few things is a massive help. Offer to get the awkward things too, like nipple cream, or maxi pads – she will be so damn grateful!
- Be flexible. Don’t be offended if she cancels with you last minute. She may have been able to create a little gap in the day to take a much needed nap and that is more valuable than pure, solid GOLD. There is no schedule that you can fit into, you just need to go with the flow and be okay with it.
- Do something helpful. Wash some dishes, make tea, throw a load of clothes into the washing machine etc. Do so in a helpful way without making her feel like she doesn’t have things under control.
- Be okay with boobs. If she is breastfeeding, you will see boobs at some point – guaranteed. Don’t be weird about it. It’s not easy and most of the time there’s a lot to do with a boob out and a crying baby and fumbling and that’s just how it’s going to be. Offer her a cup of tea while she’s feeding.
- Wash your hands. Always wash your hands before going near the baby. Tell her that you’re going to wash your hands before you touch the baby so that she knows and don’t need to worry about any germs you may have brought in with you.
- Bring food. She’s not going to have the time or inclination to cook and a meal that she can keep in the freezer and bring out whenever it’s necessary is hugely helpful! Do a bit of research into what’s okay for breastfeeding. Newborns have gas and colic and all sorts of nightmarish things that are exasperated by certain foods like spicy foods, onions, garlic, dairy…
Those newborn days are so hectic and the support and help is really so appreciated (as long as it doesn’t cause additional stress – that’s really so avoidable.) Now you know!