One of the things we’re missing most these days is celebrating this bigger than life milestone with those we love (and we’re really missing loving on all those new babies that have entered our families). Even though we can’t be there in person, we can be there in spirit to help new Mamas through the early days.
Five Ideas to Help New Moms.
Create a Resource Team. New parents usually have no idea what they’re in for! So, don’t ask them to tell you what they need . . . make a list of everything your “team” can offer and have them pick and choose. Of course, ask the new Mom- and Dad-to-be what they’d like to include but the list should start with: getting/delivering groceries; running errands; preparing and delivering meals; helping with pets and siblings; and taking on household chores like lawn work or house cleaning (if you can do so safely).
This works best if you choose a team “leader” who can be the go-between and assign tasks. This person can schedule tasks, explain their needs, and coordinate with the new parents. Then assemble your team – be sure to include coworkers, neighbors, family on both sides and friends. Set up clear parameters for visiting and avoid a plan where multiple people are dropping things off. New parents need space, especially with covid restrictions. (Hint: there are lots of really good online tools now for organizing things like this – try setting up a Slack channel or creating a calendar through websites like MealTrain.)
Make a care package for Mom. Most gifts that come in during this time are for baby or for the entire household but Mom could definitely use some pampering. And she needs extra good nutrition, especially if she’s nursing. Treat her to her own little stash of healthful snacks. Ask first if she has preferences, many new Moms are watching their own diets for dairy, soy, or gluten because it can sometimes lead to fussy babies. Our snack kits have you covered and you can be assured each one of our Vegan- or Gluten-Free Snack Boxes is curated and guaranteed to be safe for these dietary plans. Shop here.
Don’t forget siblings and pets. Bringing home baby often throws the rest of the household’s inhabitants into chaos! Especially if they’re young toddlers or previously spoiled fur babies. Offer to walk the dog each morning or take them to your house for a few days. If you can do so safely, take the younger kids for an outing to a park or nature center for some exercise and one-on-one time. And don’t forget to send gifts for the new big brother and sister – choose things that don’t require a lot of supervision but can keep the little ones occupied while Mom cares for the new baby.
Respect their boundaries and decisions. Every new Mom wants family gathered around her in those first few months of new parenthood but with covid concerns, this is not safe for her or for her baby. As hard as it is, please stay away until Mom feels comfortable. If you’re able, considered taking a covid test and then quarantining yourself so you’ll know you’re safe to be around the baby. Even then, some new families want to just be alone for the first few weeks to get to know each other. There will be many days over the next year that you can visit, just be patient.
Remember that all Moms need extra mental health help right now. Most new Moms (50% to 75%) experience “baby blues” and 10% will suffer from more serious post-partum depression. The added stress and social isolation due to Covid are likely going to see these numbers going up. It is so very important to stay in good contact with the new Mom – text, phone, email, Zoom (if she’s up to it) and be sure Mama knows you are there whenever she needs it. Pay attention to her and watch for signs that she needs a pick-me-up or more advanced care. We’re all in this together right now and it truly takes a village.