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Dear Those Who are Dying to Meet the New Baby,
Before you head over for a visit, there are a few things you should know. The servant...ahem... caretaker of this wee cherub is in the trenches right now. This is overstated all the time everywhere, no doubt. But it’s just so true that it bears repeating: newborn-raising is no joke. This post-pregnancy season is about the realest that life gets, so if there were ever a time to offer grace it would be now, in the season of weird and unacceptable fluid leaks and undefined pains and hormone changes and sleeplessness and no one even has time to do a dish, much less make you coffee or clean the bathroom so you’re not grossed out during your visit. This momma needs nothing more than for you to let her off the hook, to be that friend who can fold her family's underthings without batting an eyelash and notice her kitchen only when you’re cleaning it.
So here are a few ideas on how to love your overwhelmed new momma. If you decide to take any of these to heart, you are the best ever and may you be blessed with many return favors during your season of babies/surgery/undefined upheaval and chaos.
1. Bring a meal.
Specifically, one that can be frozen. If your new momma friend is breastfeeding/having milk production issues, researching and bringing lactation friendly foods is pretty much ugly-cry-worthy friendship.
2. And groceries...
Bring a bag of extra groceries for the family- breakfast items, lunches, snacks, whatever. It’s all wonderful and it all helps.
3. Start a meal train.
Set up a meal train to supply her with meals, which is the most wonderful invention ever known to postpartum families. Check out takethemameal.com or mealtrain.com—both completely free and about 5 minutes total to set up weeks of love by way of food.
4. Bring mom gifts.
Starbucks cards and gift certificates for massage are a love language. As are healthy beauty products, healing salves and ointments, bath salts, candles...you get the idea. For more on this check out 10 Perfect Gifts Every New Mom Wishes You Would Bring Her.
5. Don’t ask for anything.
Including holding the baby. I know, such a bummer. If you need things like coffee or a bite to eat, get some for mom first, then help yourself.
6. Send mom to bed.
Or to take a shower. Don’t make her sit up and talk to you. Bonus: if you do this, it is totally cool to offer to hold the baby, since showering with an infant is tricky.
7. If she insists on sitting and talking to you, give her a massage while you chat.
Obviously, you have to be a true bestie on this one. Or a massage therapist. Or bring a massage therapist along with you. Because then you officially become the BEST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
8. Don’t visit if you’ve been sick.
And don’t bring anyone who has.
9. Leave small children at home.
And if they are with you, definitely don’t ask if they can hold the baby.
10. Let thank you's be spoken instead of written.
This is huge. Tell mom she doesn’t need to write you a thank you card. In such a season, thank you cards can be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel. It is not ungratefulness, it is overwhelmedness. You are the best friend ever for this one.
11. Do the dishes.
Or the laundry. Or vacuum. Or clean the toilet. In my Italian family, women fight over who gets to clean up after dinner. This is how intense they are about serving (and also no one in my family can relax).
Outside of family, asking to do housework can be weird, and will likely be met with some kind of a “no”. This is the perfect time to get your Italian woman on, and just start doing the thing that needs to be done. Don’t be afraid to offend this mom by implying that her kitchen is dirty by cleaning it. Everyone knows the truth. We all have eyes, we needn’t pretend. If she protests, sit her down with a cup of tea and kindly tell her to shut it. Or better yet, draw a bath for momma and let her have a good soak while you whip her house into dream shape.
Follow any/all of these, and you seriously will be the very best postpartum visitor ever. You deserve all of the awards. And no doubt you will be an incredible help and blessing to this new momma who needs a friend such as you.