Adding a new child to a family is no small endeavor, and help is almost always appreciated. I say almost always, because not everyone accepts helps easily, or wants it at all.
But it’s normal for people to want to help a family adjust. We want to oooh and ahhhh over the new baby and praise the parents for a job well done. But how to actually help a new mom (or mom with a new baby) can be hard to figure out. There are so many different personality types out there, it’s near impossible to decipher what a mom needs.
Here’s how to actually help a new mom: ASK HER. Don’t assume you know what’s best for her. Ask, and then not only ask, but LISTEN to what she says.
How to Actually Help a New Mom
Everyone is different. I am highly social…I wanted visitors and lots of them. I loved the company. I wanted people to gush and swoon over my babies and tell me how perfect they were. That’s just my personality, and I welcomed all the guests that wanted to stop by (so long as they were carrying a Braum’s chocolate shake…true story).
Some people would die if you came over immediately following the birth of a baby, and consider it rude to come up to the hospital. Some moms very much appreciate the gift of a meal, but are really struggling to figure out the breastfeeding relationship and want you to leave as quickly as possible.
I believe everyone has the best of intentions welcoming a new baby into the world. I really do. But we can always stand to be a little more intentional and purposeful in our actions.
So Ask. Then Listen.
One of the worst things you can do is assume you know what a new parent needs. What works for one, may not work for another. Instead of assuming, simply asking what would help them really makes all the difference.
I do understand that some people aren’t very great at being open with their needs. We all need to be better at recognizing our needs and not being afraid to ask for them. So in the case that you have a friend whom you know struggles in this area, here are some really great questions you can ask to coax out what a family really needs:
- May I bring you a meal?
- May I set up a meal train for you?
- Would you like me to visit while you’re in the hospital? Or would you prefer I wait until you’re settled at home?
- Is it OK if I stay a little while, or do you need to get back to snuggling?
- May I do your dishes while I’m here?
- Do you have any errands I could run for you?
- I’d love to come meet the baby, can I run by the store and pick up anything for you?
- Do you mind if I stop by and bring a treat? Place your order!
- May I babysit your older child for a bit so you can bond with the new baby?
- Would you appreciate a nap? I’d love to hold the baby while you rest.
I’ve read several great blogs about how to help a family adjust after a baby. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can find another great tip for guests in our post: Preparing Your Child for a New Baby