Pregnancy, labour, childbirth and motherhood are all very different for each of us. We need to keep in mind that our experience isn't always the same as other women we know. Once the baby comes out, it's game on and some of us have an easier time of it than others. There is nothing wrong with needing help in the first few weeks (or even long after that!) and there is definitely nothing wrong with offering help to make those first few weeks of life easier. Don't know where to start? No, the baby doesn't need clothes, a stuffed animal or new toys. They need parents that aren't struggling to keep their eyes open, parents whose stomachs that aren't constantly growling and a house that isn't a complete disaster. Here are some ideas on how you can help the new family:
1. Bring Food. By food, I mean something she can just reheat or dump into a crockpot and not have to worry about getting dishes back to you. The fewer dishes for her to wash the better. And drop off the food and leave, often it's not a good time for a visit and she really just wants to dive face first into whatever you brought because she hasn't eaten all day.
2. Hire a House Cleaner. This would have been so amazing! Unfortunately if you want to do this one, you will have to pay a stranger to do it, because there's no way I would let my friend sort my dirty laundry or clean my toilets.
3. Take their other kids somewhere. If they have older kids, this is a HUGE help. Balancing a newborn and a toddler can be a trying task so take her other children out as often as you can. I'm sure they will love the relief of being away from their new sibling for a couple of hours.
4. Go to the grocery store for her. A trip to the store takes an entire day to plan, so if you can spare her the prep (and need to put pants on), you are a true hero.
5. Watch the baby while they nap. This is a tough one, because not all moms are comfortable with this idea. Always nice to offer though, because she may actually take you up on it!
6. Get them out of the house. Even for an hour. Whether it's a walk around the neighbourhood or to the mall, it can be incredibly lonely at home all day with no other adults around, so this company could be much appreciated.
7. Make a sign for the door that says "Baby Sleeping". It never fails that as soon as you put them down, someone comes ringing the doorbell and you have to start all over again to get baby to sleep!
8. Watch for the signs of Postpartum Depression. Your body goes through a lot when growing, delivering and raising a child. In addition to the physical stretches, your hormones take you on the roller coaster trip of a lifetime. Although it's common for women to experience Baby Blues, it can quickly turn into worse. Be on the lookout of the signs that mom might need a little extra help.