Wait Until She's Ready for Visitors
Everyone is so excited to see, snuggle and ‘ooh and ahh' over the latest family addition, however, it's critical to take cues from the new parents on when to visit. Some parents want space, i.e., no visitors for a bit, while others are ready to show off their pride and joy almost right away. Even if you're a close family member, be sure to ask the mother when she feels up to having visitors. Don't be offended if she's not ready for others to hold the newborn, her top priority is the health and safety of her child, and she just might not feel comfortable yet.
Offer to Help and Leave the Baby to Her
In the days and weeks following a birth, for many women, one of the best things to hear is, “how can I help?” Many people are anxious to see and take the baby off the momma's hands so she can get a break, however, those first days and weeks are a critical time of bonding for the baby and new mother, especially if she is establishing breastfeeding. What the exhausted new parent(s) often need is help with all the other stuff. You could offer to:
- Pick up groceries
- Bring by some freezer meals
- Do some laundry
- Mow the lawn
- Take the older kids out for an afternoon
- Drop off a gift card to a local food delivery spot
If you're really comfortable and close with the new mom, and you know she wouldn't mind, take things into your own hands: Tidy up the kitchen, clean out the fridge, fold the pile of laundry in the family room, wipe down the bathroom, etc. And, if the mama tells you she needs a break from the baby to take a nap, shower or eat something, by all means, snuggle up!
A Simple Way to Ask
Many people have a hard time saying yes to help, so a great way to word it is: “It would make me feel wonderful to be able to help you, may I [pick up some groceries or diapers? drop off a dinner? do a few chores around the house]?” Depending on how close you are with the family and their comfort level, sometimes a card or a gift card is perfect.
It truly does take a village—to raise a child and raise up a mother! Those weeks and months after a baby arrives can be some of the toughest, and most beautiful, in a woman's life. Kudos to you for giving her your love and friendship.