Having a baby is an exciting time but it can also be quite daunting as a first time mum.
New mums experience a rollercoaster of emotions when their babies are first born, not only because they have just given birth to the most precious thing in their lives, but also because of the huge change in hormones. Knowing ways in which you can help to support a new mum will help everyone in the long run.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT YOU COULD DO TO HELP SUPPORT A NEW MUM:
1. ASK HER WHAT SHE WANTS BEFORE BABY ARRIVES
Some people really want to have visitors and some people would much prefer to be left alone in their newborn bubble, until they feel ready to share their new bundle of joy with the world. She may change her mind after baby is born but it’s always best to ask beforehand to ensure that everybody is happy, and mum doesn’t begin to feel overwhelmed with visitors.
When my first baby was born, everybody rushed to visit us in hospital. I had just come out of theatre and all I wanted to do was sleep and recover but I was made to feel like having visitors was really important at the time, and I started to feel quite overwhelmed by it all which didn’t help how I was feeling.
Looking back, I found myself wishing things had been different.
Therefore, when I was expecting my second baby, I made sure that I voiced what we wanted beforehand which was ultimately to give us time and space. We only told a few people that we were going in to hospital to have our baby and because of this, it meant that we were able to enjoy our bubble as a new family of four. Family and friends respected our wishes after we announced her arrival and gave us as much time as we needed before coming to visit.
It made a huge difference to me.
2. WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE TOUCHING BABY
A new mum might find it awkward to ask but please wash your hands before touching a new baby, it is so important and even more so during a pandemic. New mums today have experienced their pregnancies during a time of panic and uncertainty so understandably they may be feeling a little bit anxious about germs.
Mum will be extra protective of her new bundle of joy so you need to be extra caring and considerate when it comes to washing your hands and holding baby.
3. TEND TO MUM AS WELL AS BABY
When a new baby arrives, everyone wants to visit so that they can cuddle the baby, but quite often mums get overlooked and can sometimes feel like they’ve been forgotten about.
Give her a hug and congratulate her.
Remember that she’s just been through childbirth which is a traumatic event and will already be feeling fragile so don’t forget to ask how she is. She might tell you that she’s fine regardless of how she’s really feeling but I’m sure she will appreciate the fact that you cared enough to ask in the first place.
4. SEND A GIFT TO MUM & BABY, NOT JUST BABY
If you’re planning on buying a gift for a new baby, don’t forget to grab a little something for mum too, even if it’s something as simple and boring as her favourite bar of chocolate or a new pair of fluffy socks.
Self-care gifts are always greatly appreciated too and I’m sure mum would really look forward to a little pamper session. I loved having self-care evenings when my babies were small, it gave me the chance to relax even if it was only for 10 minutes.
5. OFFER YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT
New mums are often quite reluctant to ask for help so make sure that you put your offer in first.
I know I was awful at accepting help, I thought I could and ‘should’ be able to do it all by myself, but I soon learnt that there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for or accepting help from the people who love and care about you.
“If you need anything, just let me know…” are words we’ve all heard before but sometimes it can feel like it’s just something that people say to be nice.
If you really want to offer your support, make sure that you make it clear to her that you really do mean every word of it. She probably won’t tell you how you can help so here are a few suggestions; maybe you could pick up some shopping for her, bring round some dinner so that she doesn’t have to cook, offer to watch the baby whilst she takes a quick shower, wash up some dishes, give the house a quick tidy, offer to take care of older siblings if she has other children too, or perhaps you could take the dog for a walk if she has a dog.
If you can’t physically be there for her, send a text or give her a call just to see how she is. After all, you could be the only person who has checked in on her all day and she will really appreciate the fact that you took the time to think of her.
6. EMPOWER HER
Shower mum with compliments and empower her, tell her how much of a super-mum she really is. Her hormones will be all over the place and she might not be feeling 100% right now, but she will be so grateful for your kind words and she will remember them, even in the middle of the night when she wakes up to do the night feeds.
Above all I would say that the thing a new mum wants the most is to feel respected, listened to and supported – she doesn’t want to feel like she’s on her own with all of these new responsibilities. So, on behalf of all the mums out there, thank you for wanting to support a new mum in your life. It makes such a difference especially at the very start of their motherhood journey.
*This post is also proudly featured on Emma’s Diary.