Welcome my Guest Blogger Katy Hobbs!
5 Ways to be a Friend to a New Mother
When our first baby was born, I could barely move for more than a week. My husband had to help me get out of my chair the first few days, and it was a couple weeks before I could sit on a hard surface. The first two weeks were rough. The first couple of days, frankly, felt insurmountable. Learning to nurse when you can barely move and are majorly hormonal is ridiculously hard. Then I had a regimen (sitz baths, etc.) to promote healing that took up the entire time between feedings three times a day. I was a wreck. I felt like life would never again return to anything even remotely resembling normal. At least a portion of every day I felt devastated and
Those are realities we moms know about, but don’t speak of too often. Over time
I adjusted. My hormones regulated. I healed. Baby Girl learned to nurse well. Life
did return to normal – a new kind of normal, one that was even better than our
pre-beautiful-little-girl-normal. But I don’t know how I would have made it there
without my support system. My husband took great care of me. My mommy came
over and helped with some chores. Friends and family brought us meals every
day for two weeks. I’m now pregnant with my second, a baby boy due in July. I’m
counting on that support system coming through for me again. This time I know
we’ll get through it and that it will be a joy – but in the meantime we’re going to
have a newborn and an 18-month-old, and I’m going to need help!
Based on my experience, here’s my top five list of ways you can be a good friend to a
Offer specific help. We’re all prone to that throwaway line “Let me know if I can
do anything for you!” We often mean it, but it puts the burden on the person who
should be the recipient. Personally, when I had my first I never would have felt I
could call people up and tell them I desperately needed them to come wash my
dishes so I didn’t have a nervous breakdown (I already felt insane as it was). Offer
something specific: “I want to come do ________ for you on Thursday so you can relax.
What time is good for me to come?” Then, when you get there, make sure she knows
you really do mean it – she’s to sit, and you will do the chore and play fetch for her if
she needs something while you’re there.
Clean something. I don’t know about you, but I found things just piling up after
baby arrived. I had command central surrounding my living room chair, and no
interest or energy in putting anything extra away, let alone cleaning my house. A
quick dusting, scrubbing, vacuuming, or dishwashing is a huge help to new parents.
You don’t have to do everything – just knowing something is being done takes a load
off the mind of a new mama who is stuck in one spot staring at the house as it gets
dirtier and dirtier.
Make food. Eating well is obviously extremely important for a new mom, but
making dinner is overwhelming for her and her spouse. There are some great
meal planning sites out there now. My friends used MealTrain to facilitate meals
for our family when we had our daughter. You could take on the task of setting up
such a site for folks to sign up to bring meals. Or, if you don’t feel up to that, just
deliver a meal or two you’ve made yourself. Any little thing you do will be greatly
Do laundry. My mom did laundry for us the first couple of weeks after we had our
daughter. It was such a huge relief to me. If you know ahead of time that you plan to
offer to do laundry for the family after baby arrives, ask your friend to write down
her laundry procedure before the baby even comes. That way you can feel confident
you are doing things “her way” without requiring anything from her after baby
Watch older kids (or take them out). Older siblings, especially if this is the first
new baby they’ve experienced, are likely to feel the change acutely. They need
individual attention, and of course that attention should come from their parents
as much as possible. On the other hand, mama also needs some time to rest. asYou
can help provide everyone with what they need by spending time playing with older
kids, or taking them out for a fun event. You could also volunteer for school pick-up
or drop-off, or to chauffeur to any other events they may have in that first week or
Whatever you choose to do, remember that you are doing it to provide rest to your
friend. Unless her personality is energetic right from the start (HOW are there
people like that??), now is not the time to visit. Stay as long as you are able to
accomplish what she needs without making her feel pressure to entertain you, and
then head out. If you do any of these, you are an awesome friend!
What would you add to this list? I hope you are surrounded by lifesaving
family and friends when you add a little one!
Katy Hobbs is a wife and work-at-home-mom. She’s used her bachelor degree in
marketing and her MBA to make her career in higher education, a field she finds
incredibly stimulating. Since becoming a mom in 2011, her interests have shifted
to all things mommy – and she’s turned surprisingly crunchy, having fallen in love
with nursing, baby wearing, cloth diapering, and baby led weaning. She keeps busy
chasing her toddler, participating in local music groups, working with her husband
to renovate their 110+-year-old house, and blogging about it all at Plumfield