10 Practical Ways to Help a New Mom
The days and weeks following the arrival of a newborn can be overwhelming for a new mother. Many times close friends and family have good intentions of trying to help out new moms, as they transition to life with a baby. Here, we offer some practical tips for helping and supporting a new mom.
- Ask her how SHE is doing. Much of the attention is focused on the new baby, but check to see how the mom is transitioning.
- Text her! Let her know you don’t expect a response but that you wanted her to know that you are thinking of her.
- If you’d like to give her something, consider dropping off a gift card to her favorite restaurant or cooking her a meal. After having a baby, the last thing you want to worry about is cooking.
- If you’ve set up a time with the mom to meet the new baby, ask her to have a task waiting for you to complete while you are there. For instance, she could have you fold some laundry or unload the dishwasher. Or, you can let the new mom take a nap, while you take care of the baby.
- Drop off a cup of coffee. She can use all the caffeine she can get.
- Offer to go to the grocery store, so you can cart the baby around, while she gets the items she needs.
- Motherhood can be isolating. Ask her to go out for a walk after all her company leaves town. She’ll enjoy talking to another adult, and the sun and exercise will give her a boost.
- Ask her if you could take any older children to the playground while she spends some time with the new baby. If this is her first child, check and see if she would like you to take her dog for a walk.
- Listen. If she needs to vent, let her vent without judgement. She’s already her own harshest critic.
- Be honest. If she asks, be honest about your experience as a new mom. Tell her it’s OKAY to not love this new little being all day, every day. Tell her it’s completely normal to feel like she is so sleep deprived it feels like torture. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to tell her if you’ve suffered from a Perinatal Mood Disorder yourself. She might feel relieved knowing she isn't alone.
If you think your friend is suffering from a Perinatal Mood Disorder, encourage her to follow up with her primary care physician or OBGYN. To find a primary care physician or schedule an appointment, visit UNC Physicians Network online.