Adjusting to life with a newborn takes a good support system. Sometimes it is hard for well meaning friends and family to know the best ways to give new moms what they really need during postpartum period. I polled several friends and colleagues to find out what helped them the most.
1. Help out with the older siblings.
"Take my big kids once I get home so I can bond with the baby! Everyone wants to see the tiny one, but the big guys need some lovin' too and I was soooo tired. I just wanted them to be able to go run and enjoy themselves, even if I wasn't up for it yet." Caitlyn
"Take my big kids! When baby #2 was born, our nanny or my mom would come and pick up the big kid for the morning, feed him lunch, then return him at nap time. Best maternity leave ever." Jill Christianson, BBCI
"Hold & play with my big kids. They need some extra attention." Erin
2. Bring food!
"Meals were so great! Especially if they dropped it at the door and didn't come in. I had a lot of anxiety about people bringing food and wanting to visit and hold baby etc." Chelsea Miller
"Fooooooooooood. My mom stayed a week, filled my freezer, did so much laundry, dishes, meals, didn't mind my near nudity as I was learning to feed Henry. She was amazing." Jillian Blakeman, BBCI
"Meal train!" Bekah Smith, BBCI
"A dear friend dropped bfast in a crate for us at our door the morning after B was born. And it was heavenly since everyone was up until after 3 am so all of us were walking zombies. I second meals besides dinner! And another friend brought us bubbly to celebrate post birth! So sweet!" Celsi
"Bringing food was the biggest thing for us. We don't have any family to speak of, so just knowing that I could focus on my children and baby but not meal prep those first few weeks was a gift. Our friends provided meals for close to a month! One friend brought us a stack of cute paper plates and cups and a card that said to not feel guilty about using them." Maria Pokluda, BBCD
"Not just meals but easy snacks for late night feeds, especially ones that boost milk production if mom is nursing." Amie Campbell, Mother & Blogger
"Someone dropped a cooler on my porch. Other people filled it." Amanda Devereux, BBCI, BBCD
"We had some friends give us gift cards to fastfood places near us and pizza. Josh would pick it up on his way home. Meals are great but my kids and husband are picky so gift cards were great." Nicole
"Bring food, and not just meals for dinner time but for lunch and breakfast too. Snacks are a big help." Andrea Brannock, BBCI, BBCD
3. Help out with chores.
"My sweet friends bought me a cleaning from one of their cleaning ladies. That was such a blessing!" Celsi
"My FIL came and cleaned my kitchen from top to bottom while we were at hospital and it was a wonderful surprise." Adrianna
"My mom paid for a house cleaner for the last few weeks of my pregnancy and for a few months pp. It was so helpful for my anxiety to have a clean house!" Melissa Meyer, BBCI
"Church members brought food, mom stayed with us for a couple weeks and did cleaning, laundry, and cooked once the meals stopped coming." Maryellen Yates, BBCI, BBCD
4. Help mom practice self care.
"Come and sit with the baby so you can take a long, peaceful shower." Kori
"Help me in or out of the car with all the kids. Offer to carry something besides the baby.
Bring disposable dishes, silverware, & napkins, toilet paper or anything else that I don't want to make an emergency run for." Erin
5. Be respectful.
"Don't show up uninvited and expect to stay." Ashley
"I had a few friends that told me the exact days and times they were available and wouldn't let me tell them no about coming over. They just held the baby so I could shower or nap. This was so helpful for someone like me who isn't good at asking. So many well intentioned people say "please let me know if you need anything" but I'm not one who would do that." Andrea Powell, BBCI
"It was prob just my ppd, but it really hurt my feelings when someone came in and cleaned up. I thought-- Give me a break! I just had a baby. If it's not clean enough for you, go away." Brandy
"After my second baby, I didn't want any visitors, so my mom ordered pizza and had it delivered to our house." Elizabeth Baer, Midwife
"For people to call or text and ask if they can come over instead of just showing up. I remember being so tired from all the visitors. I loved when someone would ask what time they could come instead of just showing up." Amber
"Personally I'm too OCD to let other people do my laundry and such, but if they watched my kiddos while I did it, it helped!" Kendra
"If you are visiting a family with a new baby for a few days, no matter what the circumstances, remember that you're not a "guest" during THIS stay. You are the help. Cater to the new mom." Britain