5 Tips on how to (really!) help a family with a newborn
When perusing social media, I inevitably see posts where people are wondering how best to help out a family with a new baby. I've created a great go to list, that we hope can be a resource for the general public and aid in supporting families in the "Fourth Trimester".
1. Schedule a visit, never just drop in. New parents have crazy hectic schedules (I use this term loosely!) and may want to prepare or make sure they aren't napping when you come by. Dropping by unannounced can just contribute to the chaos although it may not be your intention!
2. Always bring something. That something may be a pre-made meal for the freezer or for dinner that night, diapers/wipes (as a parent, you can never have too many baby wipes!), healthy snack options, comfy pajama pants, a gift card from Amazon (for those late nights when they are up with baby), or if there are older siblings, a time consuming toy or activity to help keep them occupied.
3. Offer to keep the baby so the parent can have some self care time! Even just a 2 hour nap can make a new parent feel better! They may choose to use this time to shower, do their hair or make up, or anything they find hard to do with a baby in their arms. Sometimes just a solo trip to the grocery store can make a new parent feel less stressed!
4. Do a household chore! With a new baby in the picture, sometimes something as simple as loading or unloading a dishwasher can seem overwhelming. Other helpful chores include rotating and folding laundry, emptying a diaper bin, taking out the trash, take the family pets for a walk, cleaning up after siblings, meal prepping, or just running a vacuum. All of these can take a small amount of time, but may really be a big help to the family. Always ask first!
But what can I do if I don't live close enough for a visit??
You can be a big help even from a distance! Find out their favorite delivery place, and have dinner delivered. There are tons of places online that deliver healthy snack options, meals and desserts!
Also, check their registry! If they have not yet received something on their registry list, order it for them!
Hire a newborn/postpartum doula for them! Doulas can do ALL the aforementioned tasks, and grant the new parents some worry free sleep and assistance with newborn care. Doulas are trained in breast feeding support, newborn care, CPR and First Aid certified, and specialize in filling in where needed in a home with a newborn. Recovering after a birth and caring for a newborn is quite possibly one of the most challenging times. Having a good support system is an essential part in in adjusting to parenthood!