Posts Tagged ‘support systems’

5 Ways to Support Moms of Newborns

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Having adequate support during the early postpartum period is an important component in adjusting to life with a new baby. Mothers of newborns need to be heavily nurtured and loved so that they may focus their energy on caring for their new baby. Here are 5 ways you can support a mother after the arrival of her baby:

Deliver Meals
New nursing moms need extra calories/nutrition but often have limited energy to prepare foods for themselves or their families. Offering to bring a meal can be a great way to support a new mommy. Here are some general tips for meal delivery:
-package the meal in containers that do not need to be returned to you.
-bring something that is easy to heat and/or takes minimal preparation
-include heating/baking instructions if needed
-take into account the size of the family and make enough for leftovers
-be sure to make accommodations for any dietary restrictions or food allergies

Help with Older Children
Mothers of more than one child may appreciate help with their older children. This could entail helping transport a child to and from school or having a playdate at your house so the mom can rest quietly with her new baby. Another option is to go over to the family’s house and interact with the older child(ren). While you tend to and occupy older children, mommy and baby can rest. You might even consider bringing a few gently used toys, games, or puzzles from your own home to lend or gift to the child(ren). Sometimes having something new to play with can be helpful for young children as they adapt to having a new sibling.

Help with Household Chores
With a mother’s arms occupied by new baby, it’s easy for dishes, laundry, and other chores to pile up. I know how grateful I was after the birth of my third baby when a friend of mine offered to pick up my dirty cloth diapers, wash them at her house, and deliver them to me the next day. Her generous and kind offer made me feel really loved. Now that I am past the early postpartum period, I want to spread that love around and offer my support to new moms. If you can think back to after the arrival of your baby what are some ways people helped you? Or what would have been nice to have more help with? Can you offer this support to other women in your life? Creating a strong circle of support begins somewhere and maybe it begins with you? The idea is that it is a circle and it eventually comes back to you at some point.

Provide Companionship
Sometimes what a new mother needs most is simply companionship. The adjustment to motherhood can be lonely or isolating for some women. If a woman is used to leaving the house every day and interacting with others, the idea of staying home caring for a newborn might make her feel anxious or nervous. Offering to stop by for a visit might be the type of support she desires. Plan to keep visits less than an hour unless the mother communicates otherwise. Typically an hour visit is about the maximum for a new mommy before she feels tired or wants to tend exclusively to baby. If you do visit make it very clear you don’t expect the mother to be a hostess. Maybe offer to stop at a coffee shop on the way and pick up her favorite drink or snack so she knows you’ll be bringing refreshments. Or when you arrive, first ask the mother if she needs anything. If she offers you a glass of water, offer to get one for yourself and for her as well. Allow her to simply relax and enjoy your company.

Ask the Mother What She Needs
Everyone’s situation is unique, so often the very best way to support a new mommy is to simply ask her what she needs. Maybe she needs someone to walk her dog, pick up a prescription, or water her garden? If you offer yourself openly you may discover an opportunity to deeply connect with another woman during a time she truly needs your support.

What are ways you have supported friends after the arrival of a new baby? What have friends or family done to support you after the birth of your baby? Would love to hear your experiences!