|Taken at the park when Grayson was 4 weeks old|
(in the interest of full disclosure, I read a list online somewhere that inspired this, but I can't seem to find the exact one. In Googling, I discovered several of these type lists already exist out in cyberworld. So, if you need more ideas or these don't resonate with you, try a simple Google search!)
1) Shift your focus from baby to mom.
Everyone wants to ooh and ahh over the new baby. They all want to hold him/her.
Of course you want to compliment the cuteness of the little bundle of baby
and show concern for his/her well-being, but please don't forget to compliment and ask about mom!
I often felt on the verge of drowning in breastmilk and my own tears,
but I wasn't going to just offer that up to someone who was gushing over my baby.
But if a good friend genuinely showed interest in my feelings, you better believe I opened up about it! Sometimes that's just the relief a new mom needs.
Also, it can be a pretty big adjustment going from everyone showing concern for pregnant you
to suddenly everyone is much more interested in the baby than how you're feeling.
Oh, one more thing -- don't ask to hold the baby!
If mom wants to offer, she will.
If she doesn't (like I didn't),
she may not quite be ready to hand her new, tiny baby off to anyone else.
Please don't put her in the situation of having to say no or to feel anxious after saying yes.
Trust me, she has enough to feel anxious about right now!
2) On a related note, tell mom how GREAT she looks!
I'm not just talking about weight, though that can be nice too.
Two compliments/observations stood out to me after having Grayson.
One: his pediatrician said, "You don't even look tired!"
Two: a professor in my department said, "You look so rested!"
Let me tell you,
when you are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted
having someone tell you that you look refreshed and rested is amazing!
3) If you're really interested, ask about the labor.
This may only be appropriate for close friends,
and only if y'all are sharers like that.
But the thing is,
moms have just done one of the most amazing physical feats of their lives.
And so often they NEVER talk about it!
Be impressed with them!
Congratulate them for making it through.
Tell them how they're a total bad a**!
You don't need to ask for gritty details to acknowledge the awesomeness of labor.
There is a reason this is the most popular way to take care of new families.
We all NEED food, and finding time and energy to make it is not on the radar for new moms.
Offer to help coordinate meals.
Consider setting up a Take them a Meal profile.
And try to be creative.
I love a good casserole, especially the leftovers,
but after a week or so, casseroles get old.
If you aren't able to cook a meal, consider bringing them take-out or ordering a pizza.
We had friends from out of town actually order pizza for us! So sweet!!
You can also consider buying groceries instead of a meal.
And don't forget dessert! My favorite part! :)
5) Bring practical things
Most new moms don't really need another pack of diapers or onesies
(but then again, sometimes they do!)
Think about not-so-fun-but-necessary things for mom like
witch hazel and maxi pads, coconut oil, lanolin, nursing pads
or just something you know she loves
like a chocolate bar or Starbucks coffee
6) Don't stay long
When Grayson was first born, I was so thankful for all the visitors who cared for us,
but I could not wait for them to get out of my house!!
Drop off the food, items, etc, pay your compliments
and then leave mom to rest, spend time with her new family, or cry into her pillow.
7) On the other hand, stay for a long time!
When Grayson was a few weeks old and Scott had gone back to work and my mom had gone back home, I was terribly lonely all day, just me and my newborn baby.
I was too nervous to leave the house much, but I was getting some serious cabin fever too.
The days when a friend would come over to go for a walk around my neighborhood and stay for hours just to keep me company were some of the best!
8) Visit for the purpose of NOT visiting
One very difficult day, when Grayson was 3 weeks old,
and I had severe nipple trauma,
and a fussy baby
all I could do was sit and cry. I wanted to shower and have just 5 minutes of silence.
Scott called one of our good friends and asked her to come over to watch Grayson while I did those things. She came right over! She didn't put any demands on me to visit or chat.
She just took Grayson and I took my sweet time showering -- complete with shaving and plucking my eyebrows! sweet glory!
9) When she's ready, invite her to a non-threatening hangout spot.
I had to ease into the idea of going out and about with Grayson.
It was so much nicer being invited to places like my friends homes or the park
where it was okay if Grayson got fussy or even screamed bloody murder.
It helped me get used to going out with him, and wasn't as stressful as going out for dinner somewhere.
And while you're there, make sure you tell her what an awesome job she is doing,
how she seems like a pro who has been doing this mom thing for years,
and how sweet and easy going her baby is. These words build confidence!
10) Avoid the questions/comments she hears night and day
- Does he/she sleep through the night? (just assume no)
- cherish every single moment! (some moments just don't seem worth cherishing!)
- Just wait, this is as easy as it will ever be! (a few people said this to me and I about broke down into tears right then and there. I will say, each stage seems to have it's own challenges. I'm not saying it won't get harder. It will. But in totally different ways it gets much, much easier! A year later, I can say with confidence that the first couple months have still been the very hardest!)
- don't you just LOVE being a mom?? (yes, of course. But not always. Don't make her feel guilty about those moments!)
And while we're on the topic, don't offer advice or opinions unless she asks.
Everyone has their own thoughts on feeding, sleeping, and every other thing regarding babies.
If she asks for your thoughts, give them!
If she doesn't, just hold your tongue!
Those are just a few things my friends did (or didn't do!) that made the transition into motherhood a little easier. Would you add anything to this list?