18 Ways To Help A New Mom

on April 11 | in Baby | by | with 64 Comments

18 Ways To Help A New Mom

 ”What Can I Do To Help?”

If you say this to a mama and she looks at you like it’s a trick question, don’t give up. Sometimes asking for what we need is tricky, you know? Especially when we love, respect, and can’t imagine you scraping lasagna off our plates and taking out our trash! No fear, though, here are some ideas we will love!

1. Run A Couple of Errands. Text me the day before you’re scheduled to drop off a meal and ask if you can pick anything up on your way: toilet paper, bleach-free pads, laundry soap, etc.

2. If I Say No: Text me again a few hours before you stop by. I may have remembered something!

3. Give Me An Afternoon. “Come over about 2 in the afternoon. Hold the baby while I have a hot shower, put me to bed with the baby and then fold all the piles of laundry that have been dumped on the couch, beds or in the room corners. If there’s no laundry to fold yet, do some.” (Gloria Lemay¹)

4. Something Else I Really Knead :) Go in with a friend and pay for a massage therapist to come to the house. Let me pick the date so I can make sure hubby is available to take the kids on a walk. Peace, quiet, and relaxation! (Thanks for this idea, Anna Miller!)

5. Spruce Up My Kitchen. Put a load of dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down my countertops.

6. Make Me a Mood Boosting Air Spritzer. Buy a simple 8 ounce spray bottle and fill it with 2 tablespoons witch hazel and 3/4 cup filtered water.  Add 36 to 48 drops of lavender, rose otto, violet leaf, lemon balm, ylang ylang, clary sage or sandalwood. Ask me if I’d like you to spritz my pillow. Oh, and make up a batch for yourself, too. Let’s be happy together!

7. Don’t Assume that because I am on my second (or third or fourth!) baby that I don’t need help because I “know what I’m is doing.” I need more help! (thanks Renee Kohley!)

8. Speaking Of My Older Kids . . . Please take them to the park to blow bubbles or kick the soccer ball around. Please do not feed them junk – they turn in to gremlins, I promise! Here are some healthy snack ideas they’ll love!

9. Take Kitty For a Walk. Or if you really love me clean out Fido’s litterbox! (What, you DIDN’T name your dog after a cat and vice versa?!?!?)

10. Put A Sign On My Door . . . that says “Dear Friends and Family, Mom and baby need extra rest right now. Please come back in seven days, but phone first. All donations of casserole dinners would be most welcome. Thank you for caring about this family.” Gloria Lemay ²)

11. Express Your Inner Type A. If you’re the organizing type, help me harness “Is there anything I can do to help?” into real-life results. Create a list of chores to put on the fridge so that friends know what is needed. (thanks for this idea, Katy Scott!)

12. Invite Me To The Circle. Thinking about birth – mine, yours, or the totally different one down the street – is a great way to help me process my experience. Long conversations can be tiring, but I wouldn’t mind if you dropped by your copy of The Birth Next Door for me to read while I’m nursing in the wee hours.

13. Nourish the Nourisher. Set up a Care Calendar and email all my friends/family about it. If my family is on a restricted diet  – gluten, dairy, sugar, whatever – make sure that vital info gets listed. When you sign up make sure to bring me a nourishing meal like egg drop soup and a huge salad with homemade dressing. Here are 21 healthy ideas I’ll love you for!

14. Close The Gap. Yeah, there are 3 states between us and you’re totally off the hook, but how awesome would it be if you made the miles vanish into thin air with a visit from a cleaning service or box of organic, GMO-free dark chocolate drop-shipped from Amazon?

15. Send Me This Article.

16. Stop By After All The Hullabaloo Has Died Down. The first two weeks everyone is eager to help, but the adjustment period takes much longer.

17. Leave Immediately. I love you, I REALLY do, but welcoming visitors can be very tiring. So after you’ve done one of these amazing things for me, quietly slip out the door. Did I mention that I love you?

18. Make “Thank You” Taboo. Gifts are not necessary, but if you bring one make sure that it comes with a card that says “Don’t you dare write me a thank you note!

What did you find most helpful after having baby? What do you wish someone had done for you?

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64 Responses to 18 Ways To Help A New Mom

  1. Jaime Adams via FB says:

    Love this article. I hope I am so lucky when we start having babies (hopefully right after the wedding in September!). Love the article you linked, also.

  2. This is great! I could have used pretty much all of these when my kids were born. I love to see how we are all paying it forward :)

    • Heather says:

      Yep! :) Really, though, I didn’t have any mommy friends when Katie was born. If my mom hadn’t come to stay with me I would have had two donated meals and a flower arrangement from Daddypotamus’ employer to work with. The second time around was soooo different. I was surrounded by amazing, generous women . . . they inspired this list!

  3. Leah says:

    meals, meals, and meals, followed by someone to hold baby while I showered. our first child didnt ever sleep therefore I was a very tired momma. having meals delivered kept the hubby and I fed and able to concentrate on our new baby. with our second child having people to spend time with the older child was important and having meals that fit our dietary restrictions in the freezer ready to go was great!

  4. Diane says:

    Good idea and I’ve read it before. Read it & tried it. Still, they came, thinking I surely wasn’t talking about THEM. Doh.

    Someone should market a new mom flamethrower, easily worked with one hand while nursing baby is cradled in the other. Or, for those less prone to violence, one of those motion-activated sprinklers to chase away visitors when they reach for the doorknob. :-)

  5. Diane says:

    Forgot to mention that I was referring to #10 up there.

  6. Bethany Nash says:

    mealtrain.com

    Use it.

    • Heather says:

      Lol, Bethany! Passionate about meal organization, are we???

      • Bethany Nash says:

        Our church just started using it for new moms or other families that need meals, and it makes it SO much easier. Less time on the phone trying to work out who’s bringing what and when, etc.

  7. Lyndsay Weir says:

    I have a dog named Kitty ;)

  8. Julie Harding says:

    Great article with lots of good suggestions. Don’t limit these ideas just to new babies – there are many other times in our lives when we need to pull together as a community and help each other out. My son had surgery a couple of weeks ago, and his recovery was crazy difficult. I would have loved to have help from friends. Fortunately family was able to help out a bit.

  9. Robin says:

    So many great ideas here! I love them all. Thanks!

  10. Diana Osborn says:

    I’ve given birth for the third time and I got a lot of help from using astaxanthin which I got from Dr. Mercola at http://products.mercola.com/astaxanthin/ and I never had problems about my skin after birth.

  11. Brittany says:

    This list is great! As baby #2 is on the way, I am hoping to get a little more help this time around. With my first one, I was living with in-laws who both work and are hardly home. We got virtually NO outside help, I guess because people assumed that we didn’t need it since we lived with family. This is a good list for me, too, for visiting friends! Sometimes it’s hard to think of what I can do to help!

  12. Erin says:

    I love these ideas except I would claw someone’s eyes out for touching my laundry. Feel free to clean my kitchen though, I’m just that way. :)
    I do wish I had had a little more help, my support system was somewhat of a wreck. My mom was there being a tremendous help for what would have been a week if my husbands aunt hadn’t come over and called her the maid which hurt her feelings terribly and made her decide to leave a little earlier. The doctor said, in front of my in-laws, that friends and family are there to help, not be entertained so if visitors aren’t doing something productive, they should leave. My FIL thought this was great advice which he repeated every time he came over for the next month. DId that change the fact that he and my MIL still did absolutely nothing helpful but simply sat on the couch and hold the baby until I had to take him into another room to nurse because they think it’s gross? No. About half of my friends that visited brought meals with them, the other half, I ended up cooking for then cleaning up after.

    I’m going to be a much better friend to new mamas now that I”ve experienced how not to be. And I”m also going to be more explicit in my requests for help the next time around.

    • Tam says:

      I think this is GREAT! I have had two babies and both times I was totally alone, My hubby had to go back to work so during the day it was just me and two babies. And I have to have C-sections so it was especially challenging with the 2nd baby. Someone PLEASE do these things for me with baby number 3 lol.

  13. A. B. says:

    One of my friends with 3 children got a babysitter for her own kids and came and cleaned house with me a few weeks after my second was born. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me and did so much to alleviate the depressed feelings that would well up every time I looked around my filthy home!

  14. Love this list as I’m working on a list right now of how family and friends can help with #3 arrives any day now!!!

  15. Congrats, Jessica Beech Griffith! Wishing a beautiful, butter birth!

  16. Sharla says:

    When I had my twins my friends were so amazing. We had meals for 6 weeks. There was one set of friends who came over on a Sat night to bring us dinner and stayed until 10pm!! I was so tired!

    Another thing I will add to the list is please leave your own kids at home if you come over. I actually had to add that to my meal train instructions as my boys were preemies and I wanted to keep them as germ free as possible.

  17. allison says:

    Your article sounds like most new mum’s dream – but a nightmare for me. There are only two things I want from other people after baby comes – take my older kids and make them happy and hold the baby whilst I shower. Other than that please leave my laundry (most people who try to help shrink all of my clothes I’ve spent years taking care of), cooking (I have celiac disease, I’m allergic to peanuts and sometimes other things and can’t consume cooked dairy) and cleaning alone (I have one person I trust for that). The massage therapist is welcome about 3 months after I’m into a nursing rhythm and the soreness has left. Call me a masochist, but there’s so much I’d rather do myself as to not make the postpartum hormone hell any more agitating.

  18. Great post ~ lots of useful information to share with friends (who are ALL having babies these days)! :-D

  19. Erin Kutschbach Conant via FB says:

    This is really really good. And accurate! And personally, i think people should not expect a thank you note anytime soon if they send gifts after the baby is born!

  20. Cara says:

    These are great ideas! I especially love the no thank you card note with a gift. I will definitely be practicing this one myself!!

  21. Tammie says:

    These are also great ideas to use when someone loses a loved one…especially a young widow/widower with children or parents who have lost a child but have other children to still take care of!!

    • Or even a mom and dad who lose a baby that don’t have kids at home. Getting back in to a routine of taking care of anything from paying bills, grocery shopping, and cooking healthy meals after we lost our first took a LONG time. I can’t tell you how many days I ate a reeses peanut butter cups for lunch because there was nothing else in the house.

      Meal, meals, meals! There could never be enough. When our second baby was born we were so blessed by people bringing us meals! Although with only adjusting to new baby and not grieving I felt like I could have handled more cooking, but was SO grateful I didn’t have to.

  22. jana says:

    Are people really that needy after having a kid?? I mean, sure, these gestures are nice, but I had a kid, not cancer. I couldnt WAIT to get back to normal after pooping mine out. I found infancy to be tedious, rather than exhausting.

    • Bethany Nash says:

      Desiring loving support from friends and family during the postpartum period is not “needy.” You may be someone who has a very independent personality, and would prefer to “get back to normal” and go it alone, but some of us aren’t. Gathering around a new mom and helping out is a great way to build community, and most of us (I hope) would return the favor.

      I found infancy to be exhausting at times, tedious at times, but also a time of wonder and exhilaration. Also, birthing my children was a holy experience, a thing set apart from anything else I’ve ever done, much more than “pooping out a kid.”

    • LaTN says:

      I think it just depends on many factors. My first born did not sleep, was colicky, and I had a terrible time recovering physically from difficult labor. I was sleep deprived for months and really appreciated the small gestures like folding a load of laundry or bringing a quiche, that helped so much

  23. Mindy says:

    Good list! I cannot emphasize enough to the in-laws, friends, etc who want to come over to “help” me by sitting around and holding my new baby, PLEASE don’t. If you want to bring food and then leave that’s one thing. If I need help cleaning and I say that would be helpful OK. But don’t just come over to hold my baby. A new mom needs alone time to bond and to adjust and in some cases learn to breast feed (think boobs hanging out) and does not need a bunch of baby-crazy people playing grab hands. IF she asks for this that’s one thing but please don’t assume that’s what she wants.

    • LaTN says:

      I TOTALLY AGREE! A family member came to “help” for 2 days and all she did was hold the baby and I ended up cooking for her while she held my 1 week old baby. That is NOT what I wanted to do!

  24. […] a Mom from Our Family for His Glory Bringing Baby Home: 30+ Ways to Bless a Family by Erika Dawson 18 Ways to Help a New Mom by The Mommypotamus 10 Scriptures for New Moms {Printable!} from Jessica […]

  25. […] The truth is that the Western cultural obsession with bouncing back right after pregnancy is both impractical and self defeating. I am not Wonder Woman. I will choose to take things slow, not ask too much of myself, and accept help when offered. (Wondering what mom’s really need after baby arrives? Here are 18 ideas.) […]

  26. Nice list. Here’s my tips on the first two weeks home and I love the Gypsy Mama post that I linked to at the bottom of my post! :)

  27. ( : Kate : ) says:

    Wow, these are AWESOME! Particularly making “thank you” taboo! YES Please! I am VERY thankful, but it stresses me out to write everyone a specific note in a timely manner! I always tell people to NOT send me a thank you note, but I should probably write a note that says that!
    #1 is great too! With our second baby we were grossly unprepared for how many diapers he would go through before we got into town again!
    I like what another mom added below about not bringing your kids when you go see a new mom/baby. I love children and think they should be full of life etc. But there’s a different etiquette for visiting “new baby” homes. Do not let your kids get ANYTHING out or get ANYTHING dirty, and if they can’t be quiet and or polite, then kindly leave them at home.
    This is a wonderful list! Thanks for putting it together!

  28. Beth says:

    Thank you! Baby #1 is due in March. I am so very shy about asking for help so I am for sure passing this on to my mama & hubby who aren’t shy at all! It’s also wonderful to hear from mommys that have been there & done that that I’m not supposed to be superwoman.

  29. Megan says:

    I don’t know…I think I would feel really embarrassed if anyone started cleaning my house for me, nor would I feel comfortable going to take a shower with visitors over. Dropping off dinner is hard in our case because we’re a divided family (vegetarians and meat eaters) but I lovvvvved a friend who dropped off a zucchini pie that we ate for breakfast and lunch. I could cook dinners because my husband was home to hold the baby then, but during the day I lived off of bananas and apples. It was so good to have something substantial to snack on when I was alone.

    I love the one about coming over to see the baby but not staying too long. I want everyone to get to meet the baby, but for all the hours that I had to share my baby with visitors (including grandparents here!) it was really tough to feel like I was getting my time to rest and bond myself.

    And having a no-thank-you-card policy is fantastic! Nothing like trying to keep track of your thank-you list with a newborn in your arms.

  30. Keagan says:

    Some of these Im really divided on. I would never expect people to come clean my house, that is unnecessary. My house was clean before I gave birth and I was more than capable of wiping down countertops or loading the dishwasher. I would never ever put a sign on my door telling people to leave. I find that incredibly rude, but I also did not have people show up at my door unannounced. Everyone that visited texted or called to check with me beforehand. And I could never feel right about accepting a gift without sending a thank you – or at least expressing gratitude if the gift is given in person. I had very simple, generic thank you cards written out several weeks before I had my daughter so that they could be addressed and mailed out quickly and easily for those who sent or dropped off gifts. It was not difficult or time consuming in the slightest…it was probably the easiest thing I did haha

  31. Lauren says:

    I liked some of these. Bringing meals, calling to see if I need something (though with 1 baby I relished going out to the store, it’s with 2 when became beyond exhausting at first), and folding my laundry. Honestly, laundry was the only this that totally killed me. I really don’t understand how new moms have trouble finding the time to shower though. Newborns sleep so darn much. I took long long shower when my first was a baby. I also don’t like the idea of putting a sign on the door. That seems really rude. For me, the biggest help was plain old company. With my second my husband was in the middle of a huge transition at work and could only take 3 days off (including the day he was born) so I was alone pretty quick. It was super lonely and I loved the people that would just come and sit and talk with me. I hated how so many people wanted to give me “space.” It made me feel incredibly lonely. Oh, I also loved the idea of taking the older kids out.

    • LaTN says:

      My first newborn rarely slept for more than 30 minutes at a time, in a 24 hour period. I did not shower much. I often asked myself “I could shower, nap, or start a load of laundry” and usually the shower was last priority.

  32. Valerie Lewis says:

    My MIL comes and helps me for a week and I love when she comes because she cooks,cleans, does laundry, and plays with my kids. She holds the baby so I dont have to eat one handed. The most amazing thing she does is when I’ve been up for awhile with my new born she come and gets the baby and tells me to go to sleep.
    Lately I’ve been leaving sodas on my friends door steps that have just had a baby. Thats what I wanted. I didn’t want to see anyone butI just nneeds a little diet coke/ pick me up.

  33. Jacqi says:

    #18, thank goodness someone said it. I should come with a disclaimer, if you require a thank you note when you purchase someone a present please don’t ever buy me or my kids anything.

  34. Jessica Gómez Truque via FB says:

    Dianna Ciccotto Louis Ciccotto

  35. Tiffany Pontier via FB says:

    CarolineandMiles Knox I didn’t reads this but she has great articles.

  36. Lulux Humbert via FB says:

    Wallace Tanaka
    Mayaa Tanaka
    Leon Zispi
    Sascha von Derecke

  37. Amber Joiner via FB says:

    Sash Lynn Russell check this out

  38. Katie Thieme via FB says:

    Also everyone brings dinner. Think of bringing breakfast.

  39. Caty Parker via FB says:

    Ashley Poetter Schmidt

  40. Stephani Bliss via FB says:

    Someone cleaned snow off my car and ran it so it wasn’t sitting all the time I was staying home, shovelling/snow blowing the driveway, restock drinks and snacks by my nursing area, feed and walk the animals

  41. LaTN says:

    Great ideas! I have 2 children and the best things people did for me was 1) do laundry, and 2) bring dinner. I would have loved for people to sweep or vacuum for me but I would never ask anyone to do that. The least helpful thing was hosting out of town family members that did not help out much, or when visitors stayed too long chatting while baby was sleeping (and I missed a much needed 20 minute nap).

  42. Danita says:

    I just wanted to comment that I agree heartily with number 18, ESPECIALLY if you get the impression that something might not be going according to plan. I went through more than 6 months of depression immediately following my daughter’s birth because of an unwanted and unneeded C-section, and then an inability to breastfeed which made my entire birth experience feel like a 100% failure. I could barely get myself up and dressed and take care of my daughter, much less come up with the energy or emotion to compose thank you notes. I was grateful, but I was so depressed that I avoided everything I didn’t absolutely have to do. I cannot begin to explain how much worse it made me feel when someone would call and ask if I got their present, because they didn’t get a thank-you note. Now, a year later when we’ve mostly recovered, I’m too embarrassed to send any because it would require an explanation about why they took so long, and I’m still not sure I’m ready to tell that story to every great-aunt and cousin who sent us a onesie. I really wish there was an assumption on the part of gift-givers that moms received and appreciated their gifts without the requirement of a confirming thank-you note.

  43. LaTN says:

    Regarding the thank you notes: It is true that sending notes can be time consuming and hard to keep track of. But, sending at least send a text or email could be a nice gesture so they at least know that yes, you did receive that precious gift in the mail, or that you loved the casserole they took time to make for you. Especially with our cell phones these days… sending a text or email is fast and gets the job done

  44. Lisa Womack-Robson via FB says:

    Love

  45. Kristin Marsh via FB says:

    Barbara J. Dray

  46. Michelle Newell via FB says:

    And then I read the comments and wonder if I’d still manage to do the wrong thing…. guess it’s still best to ask before doing anything….

  47. Beth Weiland via FB says:

    Casey Dunn Stover

  48. Carmen Obregon via FB says:

    For sure!

  49. Tarrin Fletcher via FB says:

    #7 was the worst one for me after my 2nd was born. Everyone assumed I had it handled, even family, even though my husband got ZERO days off because of extenuating circumstances. I was always overwhelmed. It was also my fault for not owning up to that and asking for more help.

  50. Tammy says:

    All of these ideas are great when helping a new mom. She will benefit from all of the support she can get from friends and family. Imagine what it would be like to be a new mother in a developing country? In the spirit of Mother’s Day wouldn’t it be nice to offer support to those in dire need? Gifts for new moms in developing countries can be purchased through the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada gift catalogue: http://bit.ly/ccfcanada-SpringGiftCatalogue-2014.

  51. Tammy says:

    Being a new mother is challenging enough, just imagine the challenges you would face as a new mother in a developing country?
    In the spirit of Mother’s Day wouldn’t it be nice to offer support to those in dire need? Gifts for new moms in developing countries can be purchased through the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada Gift Catalogue – http://bit.ly/ccfcanada-SpringGiftCatalogue-2014.

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