I’ll never forget that moment when I suddenly “got it.” As I stared for hours on end at my newborn baby boy, I remember also spending a good chunk of that day feeling like I was now part of the secret mom club. I say secret, as if it’s exclusive or something. Obviously millions of women have given birth, but if you’re a mom you know that you have a major paradigm shift the day you get your own little human. I suddenly thought back to all those times I’d been around other moms with their kids, and how I didn’t have a clue the work they were doing to take care of their babies, the process it took to feed them, the planning it took to load them in the car to bring them to family gatherings, etc.
I didn’t get it. But now I did.
During those hazy newborn moments I remember appreciating my own mother in a way I never had before, knowing that she too went through all of this.
Whether you’ve been a mom for a day, a year, a decade, or more than half a century, you know that those newborn days and weeks were full of tender emotions. You might have found yourself feeling like a freshman on the first day of high school, awkwardly trying to figure out how everything worked. You got the okay to leave the hospital, and you realized your baby didn’t come with a manual. They actually trusted you to keep it alive!
Needless to say, new moms have enough consuming their minds. They shouldn’t have to be distracted by the oodles of things that need to get done around the house, or what to make for dinner. New moms simply need encouragement and time to focus on their baby.
Let’s reach out to the women we know in our circles who are about to become moms for the first time. OR, who are becoming moms for a second, third, or fourth time. Afterall, those mommas need encouragement and support just as much! Here are a few ideas to get us started. In no particular order…
30 Ways To Encourage A New Mom
1. Instead of telling her to call if she needs anything, just show up. She’ll need something.
2. Buy her a pair of cute new pajama or yoga pants and tell her it’s okay if she stays in them for weeks on end.
3. Bring her a fancy cup of coffee.
4. Set up a meal train for her. MealBaby makes it easy!
5. Tell her she looks great.
6. Don’t tell her your baby was sleeping through the night at this point.
7. Give her a pedicure. Chances are it’s been a while since she was able to reach her toes to pay them attention.
8. Hold the baby so she can take a shower or a nap.
9. Bring chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
10. Offer to be a resource for her, but don’t offer unsolicited advice.
11. Change diapers.
12. If she has other children, offer to watch them so she can have one on one bonding time with the baby.
13. Bring her essential oils and epsom salt, and draw her a hot bath. Again, offering to hold the baby.
14. Ask what household chores need to be done and do them.
15. Fold laundry.
16. Don’t overstay your welcome. When the baby sleeps, she needs to sleep!
17. Buy her a cute accessory – she might be feeling frumpy and in need of a pick-me-up.
18. Tell her she’s a great mom.
19. Tell her she looks beautiful.
20. Go on a grocery run for her.
21. Find her camera and take some candid pictures of her with her baby.
22. Offer to watch the baby so she can get out of the house. However, she may not want to go more than 10 feet away from her precious bundle, so don’t be offended if she turns you down.
23. Brave first outings with her to calm her nerves. We all know how intimidating it is to take your baby out those first few times!
24. Give her a massage.
25. Bring fruit and veggies or easy to grab snacks.
26. Take an active dog for a walk.
27. Cut the grass or shovel the driveway.
28. Tell her she’s doing an AMAZING job.
29. Tell her it keeps getting better.
30. Most importantly, directly ask how you could be of help. Every mom’s personality is different along with her priorities. Don’t assume hers are the same as yours! With that said, offer to help multiple times. Even if she turns you down, it’ll be very comforting for her to know there’s someone to call if she really needs something.
Let’s pay it forward and take care of those mommies!
What did your friends and family do for you during the newborn stage? Please share your ideas with us!
originally published in January 2014