How to Support a New Mother
By Hannah Hodgden
There's nothing to prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that comes in those first raw postpartum weeks. This is the time support is needed more than ever.
Is there a new mother in your life? I get asked a lot for gift ideas for a new mom, and while I think gifts are lovely I also think there are a few gestures that a new mama would appreciate even more. Feeling loved and supported is the greatest gift you can give your friend in such a vulnerable and exhausting time and there are so many simple ways to show you’re thinking of them.
A home cooked meal. Mothers need a lot of nourishment for both themselves and, if nursing, their babes too. As simple as it sounds, a healthy and filling meal cooked with love is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give.
Every time one of my friends has a new baby the rest of us rally together and set up a meal train to give them a few weeks off from cooking. It’s also a great way to stagger the visitors so they aren’t bombarded in the first few days. Make sure you find out if the family has any preferences or dietary restrictions so you can make something everyone will eat and enjoy.
Baby cuddles. I remember when I was still in that new born haze how lovely it was when my mother or a friend would come over and just offer to entertain and cuddle my babe so I could shower and freshen up. With leaking boobs, hormonal sweating, and spit up – a hot, unrushed shower is a luxury every postpartum mom can appreciate.
Tidying up. Invite yourself over to fold some laundry, do a load of dishes, or sweep up a bit. Those little favours add up big time. Mess can be stressful and when you spend a majority of the day holding and feeding a baby a lot of those chores can add up.
Healthy snacks and flowers. Need I say more? A couple bouquets of fresh flowers to place around their house and a basket of organic, healthy snacks and fresh squeezed juices is a great way to let someone know you’re thinking of them.
Market trip goods. Next time your heading down to the farmer’s market or grocery store shoot them a text to see if they need anything. Chances are they have a few items on their list that you could pick up and save them a trip. It’s a little favor that goes a long way.
Freshly baked Lactation Cookies. If you know a new mother struggling with their supply, you know how stressful it can be and the store bought lactation cookies just aren’t the same as when a close friend delivers a homemade batch of fresh ones.
Sibling Play Date. Do they have older children? Offering to take them to the playground for a couple hours is a HUGE help. Caring for a newborn means a lot of the day is spent inside, which can make the older siblings a bit stir crazy and rambunctious. Taking them to the local park to blow off some steam and play in the fresh air is a wonderful gesture.
- Some real talk. Lend them your ear for some judgment-free venting, deep soulful discussions, or just some light-hearted chitchat. Sometimes after being at home so much with a baby all a mama wants is some good conversation with a loved friend over a cup of tea. Plus, it’s so important to do a mental health check in with a postpartum mama. Mothers are hit with so many emotions and so little sleep to process them sometimes it helps to just know they are heard and loved and supported.
And if you are a postpartum mama reading this or will be soon, my greatest piece of advice to you is to put your pride aside and accept help. Graciously accept those meals or laundry folding. The people in your life love and care for you and want to help in any way they can – let them. Trust me, friends get as much joy out of helping you as you get out of accepting it and one day it will be your turn to return the favor.
Hannah Hodgden lives in the bohemian enclave Topanga Canyon, California with her husband and 2 children, Henry (6) and Vivienne (3). She enjoys writing for her blog www.BeautyandtheBeasties.com and re-homing shelter dogs.
Hannah embraces a natural lifestyle and loves hiking, camping, and visiting the mountains of Northern California.