What moms really need after the baby arrives

Just as you sought to create a safe and nurturing environment for the birth of your baby, so do you need the same safe, cocoon-like space in the days following your birth. Well-meaning family and friends love us and want to support us, but often that “support” is not helpful at all. It can be hard to ask for the space you need or the things that would really make life easier, so the following list of things is something to offer to family and friends to help nudge them in a direction that makes everyone happy.

  • Bring food along when visiting, even if the family has enough, they can always freeze the meal for later.
  • On your way to visit, stop at the store for a few household necessities like toilet paper, diapers or yummy snacks.
  • Even though it’s amazing and lovely to visit with the new baby and family, limit your visit to no more than an hour, and before you go ask if you can take out the trash, load the dishwasher or start a load of laundry.
  • If there are siblings, offer to take them out for small adventure like the park or zoo. This will give the tired parents a chance to rest and sleep (hopefully alongside baby) but it gives the new brother or sister some wonderful attention and focus just on them.
  • Don’t assume that someone else is helping and that you’re just there to visit. There are so many small things that can make this time easier for the new family. If you’re not sure what to do, just ask.

And for you, the new parents, remember that it’s ok to ask for help. When you feel hesitant about reaching out for help, or you feel like you should be “strong” and do it all yourselves, think back to the last time you were able to really be there for someone you care about. It makes us feel good to help and there are people out there who would love to do that for you…. And it’s ok to ask for exactly what you need.

Here are two websites to offer to family and friends who may ask what they can do to help: