Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

10 ways to support a loved one after she has a baby

Us mums know how challenging the postpartum period can be, and we know how important it is to have support around you. If you’ve got a friend or close family member who has recently had a baby, you want to provide them with all the support that they need, and show them your love and care for them and their baby. While many people want to visit in the early weeks of having a newborn, many of these visits are just to see the baby, and not necessarily supportive of the new mum. As a generation of mums, I think it is important for us to change that, and ensure that when we visit a new mum, we are supporting her wellbeing and helping meet her needs, as well as the baby’s.

When I had both of my babies, something that really stood out to me was the wonderful support I had from some close family and friends. Some of the small acts of support that they offered me were so meaningful and really made a difference in my day. Here is a list of a few of them that I can recommend you do when supporting a loved one who has just had a baby:

Bring food around

Does anyone else remember that hunger right after having a baby and in the early days of breastfeeding? I had never, ever been hungrier. Newborns also make life chaotic, and parents are tired. Plus they often have a “witching hour” of screaming, right around dinner time. For these reasons, I always recommend bringing food around to a new mum’s house after she has her baby. Home-cooked meals that can easily be frozen are a lifesaver for new parents. My personal favourites were the home-cooked lasagnas and pasta bakes. 

Help her with chores

Remember the newborn days when you were so tired, but still had to do all the housework? Yuck. When you visit a new mum, offer to help with some chores. Ask her what needs doing. Fold laundry for her, or fold it together. Wash the dishes, stack the dishwasher, wipe the benches, or just do whatever needs doing to help ease her load. Coming around and doing this weekly can be a huge help!

Give her vouchers for services to help with chores

If you aren’t able to come and help in person, giving vouchers is also a great idea. Laundry services, cleaners, or postpartum doulas are all great businesses to buy vouchers from. This way, the new mum has a professional service so she isn’t left doing chores at home while sleep deprived, caring for her newborn, and recovering from birth.

Give her a gift that is just for her (not just the baby)

So many people give gifts for the baby. While these are so lovely, an even better idea is to give a gift for the new mum. A new mum gift hamper or a collection of nurturing items for the postpartum period are a great way to show your support and care for a new mum. New mums have been through a lot, they need gifts more than the baby!

Do a groceries order for her

Getting out of the house can be a challenge, and taking a baby to the supermarket can be a nightmare. Doing an online grocery order, or just bringing around a few bags of shopping, can be really helpful and ease the mental and physical load on the new mum in her early postpartum period.

Babysit any older children for her, and make it a regular arrangement

Any mums of two or more kids will understand when I say: if you have a toddler and a baby, the toddler is far more difficult and much more work than the baby. Being a mum of a toddler and a baby is more than a full time job. The toddler or older child still constantly needs their parents’ attention, even when the mum and baby need rest and recovery time. Taking care of the older children can be one of the best things to do to ease the load. As a bonus, if your children are a similar age, they can entertain each other and have a play date at the same time.

Ask her how she is, and really listen to the answer

Postpartum depression and anxiety are common, so make sure you check in with your loved ones after they have their baby. If they say that they are struggling with mental health, help them to reach out for help from a healthcare provider, or from PANDA.

Tell her she’s doing a good job, and be specific

As mums, we always doubt ourselves! When the slightest thing goes wrong, self-doubt and mum guilt can creep in. Tell the new mum that she is doing an amazing job, and list the things that she is great at doing. Is she doing a great job of soothing her baby’s cries? Tell her. Does she have a wonderful bath and bedtime routine for her baby? Tell her. List the things you can see her doing that are great for her and her baby.

Get her out of the house (if that’s what she wants!)

I remember as a new mum getting out of the house was hard. I found packing a nappy bag each time to be stressful, I was always forgetting things, and always stressing. If she needs to get out of the house, offer to go for a walk or a coffee with her. Hold the baby or push the pram for her if necessary. Help out with any tasks she needs to do before she leaves.

Look after the baby for her while she has a nap or has some time to herself

If the new mum is really tired, or just wants a couple of hours away from a fussy baby, offering to take care of them is a lovely way to allow her to have some space and relaxation. You could hold the baby for her while she showers, or naps, or just has some time to do something for herself. Enjoy the beautiful time you have with the baby while supporting your friend or loved one when she needs it the most.

When I was a new mum, any time that a loved one did one of these things for me, it was so meaningful, and something that I will never forget. What else would you add to the list?

Rachel Preston Broughton is a mum of two, and the owner of Baby and Mumma Gifts, creating beautiful gift hampers for new mums and babies. Rachel loves being part of online communities for mums and loves spending time with her two adorable kids, as well as her two poodles.