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The Days After a Baby is Born, How Can I Help?

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The Days After a Baby is Born, How Can I Help?

How can I help?

During the days following a newborn’s arrival, family members and friends might be excited to rush over to cuddle with the new little one. While this is an exciting time as a friend, aunt, godmother, etc., it is important to remember the mother and her well-being. It is easy for mom to get lost in the shuffle amidst the excitement and celebration. How can we ensure we are avoiding this common mistake? Here are some practical tips the next time a baby arrives:

1. Be mindful of scheduling a visit

Many babies enjoy demonstrating their longer awake periods during the wee hours of the early morning (2AM-5AM). This means mom might be “catching up” on sleep between 6AM-11AM. Each baby has their own preferences so make sure to allow mom to guide the timing of your visit so she can catch whatever moments of sleep she can.

2. Bring a Meal or Door Dash

Hosting family or friends usually means providing a meal, but in this case, it’s time to switch roles. If you’re coming around a meal time, offer to pick up a meal for yourself and the mother/father on your way. Even if you are not coming at a meal time, consider making double of your dinner and saving a pan to bring them as they could heat it up later. A frozen lasagna or stirfry from the store is more than acceptable. Be sure to ask for dietary restrictions.

3. Ask Mom what she needs the most: Nap, Conversation, Cleaning, etc.

When you arrive, mom may have had the worst night or she may be in dire need of talking to another adult. She also may be staring at the sink full of dishes. Ask her what she needs the most. Holding the baby while she goes to her room to sleep may be the need, but it also might be cleaning her kitchen while she cuddles her little one while chatting and reminding her she is still the person she was before endless diaper changes and spit up sessions.

4. Mental Health check

Be intentional about checking in with mom and how she’s handling the intense transition to motherhood and all the feelings of anxiety and sadness it can bring. If you have personal experience with struggles post-partum, share and normalize and provide hope that this stage will pass. Regardless, assure mom of the tremendous job she is doing and validate her feelings of grief over losing her old self.

These are just a few tips for visiting a newborn/new mom and be sure to ask mom what is helpful in particular for her as each person is different. Know that your words of encouragement and hope in addition to your meal or assistance with cleaning could be what gets her through the next night of no sleep.

Postpartum Counseling

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