A healthy pregnancy, read countless pregnancy books, done my yoga and stretches, eating nourishing meals, meditation - it had been a perfect journey. And then came the cute little bundle of joy!!
The reading and the antenatal classes did not actually help me with the reality of life post-baby: the sleepless nights; learning to eat with one hand while feeding your baby with the other; losing all concept of time, and did I already mention the sleep deprivation?
Does all this sound very familiar?
Whoever said life with a newborn is easy! When you understand the many challenges a new mum faces, here are the five best ways you can make yourselves invaluable to them:
1. Make her a meal
She must have totally forgotten what it is to enjoy a warm and cooked family meal. Cook her a warm dinner. Stack her freezer with some frozen meals so she doesn’t have to worry about cooking, at least for the first few weeks.
If you don’t feel like cooking, offer a food delivery gift card. Nourish her, she needs it. Her family needs it. Her baby needs it.
2. Do her chores
Before being a mum, my house was perfect. It was super tidy. The floors were mopped, books were tidied and the washing was always done. New mums struggle with the thought of doing even the most basic of chores, getting the washing done or doing the dishes.
Lend her a helping hand instead. Let her cuddle the baby while you do the dishes. Maybe just tidy the house. Fold the washing. There are a dozen things you could do to ease the mind of a new mum.
3. Look after older kids
When my daughter was born, the guilt of spending too much time cuddling my newborn and having to compromise my son’s playtime was tearing my heart apart.
Give her a break. Take the older ones to the park or go for a walk. Visit the local library. It keeps the older siblings engaged and gives the new mum a much-needed nap or some quality guilt-free bonding time with her bubba. Offer to do a school pick up or drop off. These little acts of kindness might be all she needs to ease her mind and promote the natural healing process.
4. Care for her
New mums can get so hooked up in the repetitive cycle of feeding, changing and sleeping routine, they forget or worse, neglect their needs and self-care. When was the last time she had a proper nap or enjoyed a walk in the park? A new mum faces a range of hormonal, physical and emotional changes that she needs time to understand and adjust accordingly. You can help in this healing process, my friend.
Don’t ask her. Just do it for her. Send her for a walk, while you look after the kids. Offer to cuddle the baby while she takes an extra nap. The newborn is so adorable and super cute but her mama needs some TLC too!
5. Leave her alone
You just had your baby and have come home. All you need is some peace and quiet, rest and to eat a good meal. But here come all your friends and neighbours. Everyone wants to see the new bub. While all the attention can be good, sometimes all a new mumma needs is to be alone with her baby.
Respect her time frame. Make your visits short. Give her the space she deserves. Her body has just been torn open and she needs the time to adjust to this new phase of motherhood. She is tired, sore and achy and wants to be left alone. Check on her periodically though, while she transitions to this magical phase in her life.
Being a mum is one of the most rewarding and challenging times in your life. There are so many simple and best ways to help new mums. While cooking, shopping, running the errands, mending the older siblings, encouraging self-care are some of the many ways you could help.
One last tip: a simple secret sauce that will always work… is to simply BE there for her.