Think back to when you were a brand new mum. Apart from feeling joy and wonder, you were no doubt tired, possibly feeling overwhelmed and perhaps a little (or a lot) sensitive. Yes?
Now think about how you might have felt in those early days if you’d had YOU now as a friend, knowing what you do about the kind of help that new mums REALLY need.
Well, you can’t travel back in time, but you can be that person to another new mama friend!
Here are some ideas.
1. Think of her nipples!
Forget flowers, if your new mum friend has just had her baby and is starting out on breastfeeding, then think of her poor sensitive nips!
Wrap up some nipple balm instead of blooms. As this is the gift she REALLY needs right now.
If you know you won’t be seeing her for a few days, then why not drop this off in the letterbox for her partner to take into her in hospital?
2. Shop for her
Sometimes it’s easier to go without than take a trip to the shops with a new baby.
It’s nice then to check in with your friend whenever you are at the supermarket, just to see if she needs milk, bread or anything, and then drop it off to her.
3. Mind her other kids
If your friend is already a mum, then the best thing you can do for her is give her a break from minding ALL of her littlies.
Taking her toddler to the park, so she can ‘sleep when the baby sleeps‘ – something that is only possible when you have one baby, for instance, will be a welcomed break.
4. Drop off a meal, without asking to see the baby
Of course, cooking is an obvious form of practical help. But if you are dropping off a lasagne, or the like, don’t ask to see the baby.
She will offer if she feels like a visit, of course, but otherwise just drop and go.
5. Take her out
If your friend is struggling to leave the house – So. Much. Effort- why not help her to do this simple thing which will do wonders for her mental health?
Even if you just pack the nappy bag for her, so you can go for a pram walk around the block, will be a big help.
6. Give the gift of sleep
Sleep is the best thing in the world when you are a tired new mum, right? Help her to get this by scheduling some ‘sleep dates’ with her.
This might mean you drop around at a certain time of day when she knows she’ll be able to nod off, and take bub for a walk, or just mind him as she snoozes.
7. Hold the baby
If she’s comfortable with the idea, offer to cuddle her bubba. That way she can actually DRINK the tea, or even pop into the shower and feel clean and human again.
It’s such a simple and small thing, and let’s be honest, SO NICE for you, but giving her the chance of feeling her arms again will be heavenly.
8. Fold the washing
Then if the little one has dozed off to sleep and your friend also looks like she might pass out on the couch, why not tackle that washing pile of hers while you put him down in the bassinet?
Waking up to find that washing pile tackled will definitely make her feel less overwhelmed.
9. Remind her that she’s got this
Remember when EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE gave you their two cents’ worth when you were learning those new-mum ropes? All that advice can be a little confidence eroding, especially when it conflicts and you are not sure who to listen to.
Remind her that she already knows what to do. That she’s a great mum. That her baby and inner mum intuition is guiding her.
Lift her up. Encourage her and be a sounding board if she needs to be listened to. Don’t be another advice giver, unless of course she asks for it.
10. Take care of her mental health
Lastly, if you sense your friend might be struggling beyond normal new mum woes, then please be THAT friend.
Talk to her about PND, and give her the support and information she needs to seek help.
Remind her that you are with her every step of the way, that it can happen to any of us, and that she doesn’t need to keep feeling this way.