How to Help a New Mom

by Roo on February 27, 2012

in parenting, tutorials

Like the time I wrote about ways to show a blogger you like her, this post may seem self-serving. But, it is timely. I have three friends due to give birth this week, and plenty of NF buds are due this spring. I swear, it happens like osmosis, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how babies are made.

“Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.”

It’s a wonderful thing to hear, but most new moms are so overwhelmed, they have no idea what to do with that statement. Or, if you’re like me, you’re a little afraid that’s it just something that people say and are too timid to take them up on that offer. Or, again if you’re like me, you’re wondering what “anything” entails.

And while I admittedly need to get over this mental block I have of not knowing how to ask for help or accept help, I have realized that other people deal with this as well. So, when a friend of mine gives birth (or has surgery or a host of other things that can leave them overwhelmed), I try to be as specific with my offer as possible.

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photo by my pal Christopher Capozziello

1) Be a helpline. If you want to help out a brand new mom and you’re a seasoned mom veteran, offer to let her call you at all hours of the night. I had Remmy only nine months before one of my friends had her baby, but I promised to keep my cell phone on my nightstand just in case she had any 3am freakouts and had a baby question. She probably only took me up on my offer a couple of times, but I was another line of defense (or reassurance) for her when the wee hours of the morning seem so lonely.

2) Round up some healthy meals. New moms are generally exhausted and wake up with that fresh I-just-got-ran-over-by-an-Isuzu-Rodeo feeling. While rich, comforting food DOES sound amazing, it will do nothing for her energy levels. Coordinating with a couple friends and taking turns doing something simple like cutting up a bunch of fresh fruit or mixing up granola and delivering it for breakfast is easy and will make this new mom forever grateful. Cause, you know, it’s easier for a new mom to throw a Pop Tart in the toaster oven than it is to attack a whole pineapple with a machete.

3) Kidnap her kiddies. Uh.  Not the new one. The other one(s), if she’s got them. And get them out of the dang house. Give Mom a morning where it’s just her and the new baby, and give the kiddies a morning where they can run around somewhere else and not have to patiently wait through yet another breastfeeding or diaper session. YOU WILL MAKE THE WHOLE FAMILY HAPPY.  :D

4) Clean, if you’re close. If you’re close pals, like.. you’ve seen the state of each other’s kitchens after a weekend the stomach bug hit the house… then yes, offer to help clean. “I’m coming over to clean your bathroom” or “I’m coming over to clean out your fridge” or “I’m coming over to wash, dry, fold, and put away an entire load of laundry for you” are all totally wonderful things to say to a friend. But if you’re not super close, spare her that offer. She’ll end up stressing out and trying to clean BEFORE you get there.

5) Or, send someone to clean. Find a reputable professional cleaning service and pay for a one-time cleaning.

6) Run a couple of errands. Return those baby gifts to the store, bring back the library books, drop off the Redbox rental, fill up her gas tank.  Teeny things that may seem overwhelming to a new mom.

7) Rock that screaming baby. Sometimes she needs a break from her sweet newborn, especially if her newborn seems to be prone to crying jags. After the baby is fed, have her take off her shirt and throw it over your shoulder (her scent comforts baby). Send her into the shower (where she can’t hear and get some much-needed alone time) while you rock the baby for her.

8) Want to help but you’re far away or have your own crew to take care of? Sometimes I simply cannot make the time investment to help another mom, but I want to do something to show her I love her and appreciate her. When you can’t be there, how about: 1) sending her a gift card to a restaurant in her area so she can order take-out, 2) buying a couple of healthy and tasty snacks/drinks online and having them sent to her house, 3) sending a pack of diapers to her house. When she texts you to say thank you, respond with: Don’t you dare send me a thank you card. You’ve got enough junk to do.  :)

9) Help her get out of the house. Moms (and their kids) can get cabin fever, but the thought of leaving the house seems daunting. Pick a morning and tell her you’ll meet her at her home to help her pack up the kid(s). Something as simple as being an extra set of hands while she pushes around a stroller at Target can do wonders for her.

10) Sleep on her couch.  This one helps out Dad, too. Tell her you’ll swing by around 8:00pm and stay til midnight. Once she gets the baby down, send the parents to bed and tell them to sleep. You hang out on their couch, eat Cheetos, fold laundry, etc.  When the baby cries, give her a bottle (or gently wake your pal up for a nursing session). Let Mom go back to bed while you change the diaper and hang out with the baby or rock her back to sleep. The parents gets a solid four hours of sleep and maybe a clean living room, and you get all the Cheetos you want.

Do any of these, and you will bring tears of joy to a new mom.  And she will not forget it when you’re the one living in a sweatpants-clad daze with a crying newborn.  Promise.  Pinky swear.

Got more to add to the list?  What helped you most?  :)

If you liked this post, you may like Five New Baby Must-Haves or Surviving the Third Baby.

{ 134 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting February 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

Ahhh, I love you. This is all SOSO true.

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Thanks, Lisa! :)

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Ingrid February 27, 2012 at 8:54 am

all excellent, excellent advice! love this list :D

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Thanks, Ingrid!! :) Hope you get some good help when #2 comes around!

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Meghan February 27, 2012 at 9:01 am

This is fab. My friends are just starting to have babies and those of us who are kidless are often at a loss of how to help. This is amazing!

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Lindsay February 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

I agree, I pinned this just so I can be a better non-mommy friend!

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Lee June 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I found the article via pinterest – so thanks!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Meghan! :D

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Shannon February 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

This post is so awesome! I can’t tell you how awesome getting meals can be! I received a solid 3 weeks of meals every other day with my second and third baby. It was almost as amazing as getting the new baby! Ha! I also really like some of the other ideas like having diapers and snacks delivered. And folding laundry! I’m so excited about these new fab ideas! Thanks Roo!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Wowwww, that is amazing, Shannon! Not having to meal plan is fantastic, isn’t it? :)

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Chelsea February 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

Love this post-awesome tips. I always do the call whenever one, but know i have options!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

:D Thanks, Chelsea!

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Jennifer February 27, 2012 at 10:18 am

Love this list! My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their first in July! Thanks for the great ideas, I’m so excited to be able to help them out!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Awwww, I’m sure they are going to be super lucky to have you around!

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Jennifer February 27, 2012 at 10:20 am

My mom did all this stuff for me and it was the best thing ever.

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Your mom sounds awesome. :)

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Kimberly February 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

Within the first week of being home with my brand new baby and a two year old a friend called to say she was stopping by for a minute to drop of a gift. Upon enter our house mommy, baby, and toddler were all crying. She took the newborn and sent me upstair for a shower. When I got out she had calmed both baby and toddler and I felt semi-human again. I am pretty sure that half an hour was the best baby gift anyone gave us!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Oh gosh, that story sounds familiar. Anything someone can do to make a new mom feel human is soooo wonderful, isn’t it? :)

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Hannah February 27, 2012 at 11:20 am

This is awesome…I’ve pinned it for my friends (I’m due in two weeks!!) Just kidding…my favorite tip…bring her a gift of consumables. Diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, snack food (cheese & crackers, protein bars, etc.) I might not get to the store to stock up on those things, and it’s nice to have several packs of diapers just waiting to be used!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Thanks, Hannah! And definitely send it to your friends! Good idea on consumables.. so useful!

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Laura February 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

I just wanted to take a nice long got shower and not have to worry about the baby! It would have been nice for someone besides my husband to run to the store for some last minute things.

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Agreed! It seems like the husband is usually the go-to errand guy, but a lot of times it’s just nice for him to be home so he can watch the baby.

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Steph February 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Can you do a post on how to help a mom who has three sons, a deployed husband and a broken elbow? Because a lot of the things above would cover my situation as well! :)

I can’t tell you how grateful I am when my sister comes over to my house carrying milk, diet coke and a casserole for supper, proceeds to clean up the kitchen and takes off again. :)

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Oh noooooo! Steph, don’t break any more elbows!!! Post this to your FB wall and maybe someone will get the hint.

Or think that you’re pregnant.

:)

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Jenny February 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm

This. is. awesome! My daughter was 2.5 when her baby sister was born by c-section and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated everyone who did these things while I was recovering. Getting Big Sister out of the house and some quality time was probably the most important one in our house, but the cooking was a very close 2nd. I’ll be sharing this post for my (several) expectant friends!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Thanks, Jenny! :) I agree, when Baby Shark was born, it was nice when someone came over, took Rembot out, and gave her a little special attention.

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Sue February 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Always try to put yourself in the new moms shoes ask yourself what would you want someone to do for you!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Good thinking, Sue!

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Jamie B February 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Love this! So great to be on the receiving end of any of these and also the giving end! Thanks for sharing!

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Roo February 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Sure thing, Jamie! :)

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Bethany February 27, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I need to remember all of these things when my sister delivers in April!!!! Thank you for this!

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Roo February 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

You’re welcome, Bethany!

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Lindsey Mattei February 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

can you add “massage her feet, spoon feed her, read her textbooks to her, and take care of her children while she lays in bed” to the list? and then can you get someone to do that for me when i have my child?

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Roo February 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Spoon feed? You’re hopeless, Lindsey. :)

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exequiel valloso jr February 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm

nice. :)

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Roo February 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Thanks!

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Paulina J! February 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

This is awesome! I have three friends that will be due in the summer. I will be pinning this and studying it religiously. Maybe one day I’ll be on the receiving end of this :)

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Roo February 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Hopefully soon, Paulina! :D

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trina February 28, 2012 at 9:18 am

I cant thank you enough for this post. As a non-mom who loves to help I need people like you who give real advice that is helpful.

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Roo February 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Ohh, you are so welcome, Trina! And bless you for helping your mom friends!

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Rachel S. March 3, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I had my little girl in January, and the first week I was home from the hospital, my wonderful mother-in-law slept with the baby each night so that my husband and I could actually get some sleep. I had a c-section so this was extra special.

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Roo August 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Wow, sounds like you’ve got a great MIL!

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Ummi March 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Very good points. New moms need so much help!

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Emily March 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Great tips- especially 2, 4, 6, and 8!! These would’ve really helped me! One thing that was awesome is my friend brought us dinner about a month after we had our baby. She said she likes to bring meals over a month after the baby b/c most of the meals have stopped coming in. Pinning for later (or rather repinning).

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Roo March 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Ohhhh, smart move on your friend’s part! That is fantastic!

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Dollie March 20, 2012 at 6:06 am

I have been on both ends of most of this list and it truly is priceless. This made me think one step further … Make this into an official gift. Depending on my degree of relationship and distance with the new mom (mom again) I will make a coupon “good for” book accordingly as a gift. One thing for sure, it will begin with the call at any time. I think I will include little tips that worked for me and words of encouragent. I had twins the first time and single 7 years later. I’m now a hands on grandmother, so the least I can offer is solicited advice or an ear. Thanks for sharing.

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Dollie March 20, 2012 at 6:15 am

Oh and I want add, my absolute, priceless gift was I had some friends take turns coming over during the day and let me take a shower and a nap. Those few days during the first 3-4 weeks were key to my sanity.

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LMJJ May 1, 2012 at 3:52 am

I’m the exhausted mom of a 6-week-old & a busy toddler, with a hubby who works 80 hour weeks – If someone offered to come fold my laundry right now I’d probably kiss them…

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Heather May 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm

For a shower recently, we set up a calendar for 3 months out from the day (the babies had been born a few days before) and had people sign up to bring meals so they would be spread out for more than just the first month or so. The new parents appreciated it. :)

I will also say that, when I had my daughter a few years ago, one of the most helpful things anyone did was show up after my husband left for work in the morning and simply hold and play with her while I slept for another hour and showered.

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Joy May 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Easily one of the best gifts I received after having my third was a giant gift of chopped up fruit. It actually arrived the day I gave birth since I had the baby early. Needless to say I was starving and the fruit hit the spot in being healthy, juicy and super for giving me that recovery boost of energy.

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Christine May 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I agree, this list IS awesome, but I had idea I would like to add. How many of us get feeling so huge and uncomfortable those last few weeks? Why not take dinner to your friend the week before she is due? That is just as much appreciated. Or, bring a complete meal that can be stored in the freezer until needed whether it is that night, if the baby comes unexpectedly, or if someone falls through with bringing dinner.

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*LyndiLou* May 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm

“Do any of these, and you will bring tears of joy to a new mom.”

As dorky as it may sound, I’m choking back tears just reading this… while I type half-handed, holding my sweet, snuggly new born.

These are fantastic suggestions! Thank you so much for helping me remember what I can do to help someone else in this situation. AWESOME post.

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Amelinda June 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

This post was the original post that got me started reading your fantastic blog!

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Roo August 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Woohooo!!!! *o/*

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Jenni June 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

The best thing anyone ever did for us after we had our first baby- was when my Aunt and cousin came over to see the baby (she was only about two weeks old? maybe less). They brought a sonic drink for me, and my cousin held and played with the baby and my Aunt did every single one of my dishes, dried them, and put them away -WITHOUT me asking her to, or even having to ask me where to put anything (how does she DO that?!?!)! Then she took the baby and sent my cousin to fold and put away my laundry! I didn’t take a nap, but I did enjoy just sitting, with my feet up, and not having to do a thing!

My mom was also a great help – we live near her, and she would just come over, take the baby, and send me to bed. Moms are so great!!!

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Marnie July 9, 2012 at 1:02 am

I’m retired and a night owl so my gift to my daughter-in-law was to come over every night and take care of the baby while she got a good night’s sleep. Hubby would then trade with me and he played with her toddler during the day so all she really had to worry about was snuggling baby- and grandpa had a great time too! Getting enough rest that first week makes such a difference.

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Susanna July 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

This is excellent! I had some dear friends who did these things for me when my twins were born, and they were an absolute God-send. I just learned about http://www.takethemameal.com which is a great tool for people planning meals for new moms and others in need of that kind of support.

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Allison July 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I’d like to add “Buy her a new comfy PJ set so she can feel special despite all the spit up and body odor she’ll be experiencing on a daily basis.” Since the focus tends to shift from prego mama to new baby immediately after the birth it would be nice to have someone think of something just for her and congratulate her on the hard job her body has just done.

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Lauren August 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I agree! I would add a button up set if she is nursing. I felt wonderful in my new set after my baby since the only think I wore was Pjs for several weeks!

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Rochelle July 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm

This list is so great! I’ll be delivering in three days and I’m getting completely overwhelmed with all the offers to help. Your advice on the food and the cleaning, especially, is spot on. I don’t need another pan of lasagna – I need some cut up fruit or some carrot sticks! And, though I appreciate all the offers to help clean, I’m tired of trying to hurriedly clean my house, 9 months pregnant with twins, before my mother in law shows up to “scrub my floors.” I think everyone offering help to a new mom should read this!

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Jessica/littlepumpkingrace July 17, 2012 at 1:45 am

WONDERFUL list!! Love all the suggestions!!

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Baylie July 17, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Love this! Great ideas, and I will try to do as many of these things as my new-mommy friends will let me do! The only thing I would add is to just give your new mommy friend some adult companionship during the early weeks. I think the best thing my family and friends did for me was come over just to sit on the couch and talk for 15 minutes, and maybe fold some laundry at the same time. Or send me an encouraging Facebook message. Or come over just to go for a little walk around the neighborhood with me and the new baby. Or text me a few times a day to check in and let me know they were thinking about me. (Remind new moms to turn OFF the phone when they’re napping!) Despite adding this new, wonderful little person to your life, being a brand new mommy can actually be pretty lonely.

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Melissa July 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Great post!! Some of these would even be great for the not-so-new Mom. lol ;)

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Jane July 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I almost cried just reading this! I just Ibecame a mom of 5(#5 is the same age as Minnie), and I would love someone forever if they would do some of these simple little things… Thanks for some great ideas of things I can do for my new mom friends too!

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Melanna July 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I had a newer friend have a baby last fall. They don’t have a lot of family in town and it’s all on his side so I knew she might be needing some extra help. I asked her what day she wanted me to bring her dinner. Then I told her that we were going to come and help her out around the house when we dropped it off, whatever she wanted me to do. And I offered to clean her bathroom. I told her the reason I was offering the bathroom was because that’s a room that rarely would you ask someone to do who offers to help, but it’s one that when it’s clean makes you feel better. So I wanted her to know I could do more than just mop a floor. She told me that her tub needed scrubbing and it was just too overwhelming to do, so yes, she would let me come clean her bathroom. My girls (1 and 3 at the time) came with me and played with the baby (well, more her toys…). The older one helped me clean. We got in a quick visit and I aimed to not be there long at all (another important thing to note: try to not stay more than 30 minutes! For serious, unless you’ve told her you’re coming so she can have a 3 hour nap). A month later she was still raving about how much having a clean bathroom helped her. So I think you CAN offer to clean for someone you don’t know super well as long as it’s worded right and you make her comfortable with you seeing a mess.

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Mallorie July 23, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Love these ideas. I am trying to be a better friend and think this will do the trick!! Thanks:)

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Marie July 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm

This was wonderful advice. Just had number 3 and hope to help other new mommies soon!

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Grace August 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

Oh my I truly wish I had friends like this, I dont feel like I really had a good support system to be honest. But this wouldve been great if someone couldve done any of these things for me. There hasnt been a single night that someone else has woken up with my baby in over 6 months now. Head is still held high! Ill live vicariously through all the new moms out there that have this great support system!

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Julie August 6, 2012 at 12:08 pm

This list is great! Such helpful ideas. A few I’d like to add. Take the mommy-to-be for a pedicure her last week of pregnancy. My girlfriend took me and it made me feel so much better about my swollen feet that were in desperate need of some attention. Bring over groceries. My mom and stepdad brought over basic staples my first week home. Milk, bread, eggs, fruit, granola bars. It was a great surprise. And emergency information. With my first, I was completely lost. A close friend gave me numbers and addresses to the nearest pediatric urgent cares for all hours of the day and night. It came in handy years later as well

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Meaghan July 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Yes!!! To the basic staples! Great suggestion

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Eva August 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I love this! When My sister had her second child, I came over every morning around 7:00 for about a week to help her first child get breakfast and be ready for the day. It helped my sister sleep more and helped her have a little less stress in the morning. I usually stayed until 11:00 or 12:00. She was very thankful and I know it helped her a lot.

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Lissa August 8, 2012 at 10:36 pm

These are all awesome! I am getting ready to have my 2nd (my first will be 23 months when this new one comes) and I am overwhelmed thinking of how I am going to survive the first 6 weeks! When I had my first my older sister came for a weekend and did all of the above! She would get up early with the baby, rock him in the middle of the night, feed him pumped milk so I could sleep, made us dinner every night, stocked our freezer with freezer meals, cleaned my house, was my phone a friend lifeline and was our angel. My husband and I BOTH cried when she left. My goal is to do this for my younger sister when she has her first baby too. I am going to share this list all around!

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Karen August 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

As the Momma of 3 now-grown-ups, when I was home with a littlebitty, I would wish for healthy pre done snacks and no they don’t come from the store- like celery or carrot sticks and fresh home made chicken salad, or unsalted pretzels, krispie treats, brownies chock full of nuts (if I was breast feeding blonde brownies with LOTS of nuts) pre-made little sandwiches, or a pre-done salad already in tupperware, etc. So if you know what the New Mommy likes, stocking her up with a few days snacky treats is awesome. Also, giving her some new uber moisturizing soap for her bath, or just coming by to visit and bring decaf drinks and a funny video to watch together. And changing the sheets on all the beds, taking all the old linens to a laundromat and bringing them back al folded and ready to put away or cleaning the stove and reorganizing under the sinks. WOO! :D

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Lisa J August 12, 2012 at 9:46 am

My best friend spent the night with us so we could sleep–it was the best gift I’ve ever gotten!

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Redd August 13, 2012 at 9:29 pm

What if you are the grandma and your son is the dad? How to help without fueling a fire?

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monicak September 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Perhaps you could send your DIL an email (to take the pressure off) of a list of things you would love to help her with, letting her know you don’t want to over step your bounds, but you want to help. You could possibly mention remembering something about when your son/her husband was born to make it personal.
I would have deeply appreciated things on this list from my MIL but I think she didn’t know how to approach it so she didn’t really step in. I am hoping she will now that I am having her 4th grandchild lol We have a great relationship, but I think she still struggles with where she fits in. If she wants to do some dishes, that is perfectly fine with me :)
It is very sweet that you want to help her! Just make sure NOT to criticize her no matter what!! lol

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Chrissy June 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm

My MIL has this problem as well….she solved it by just doing the dishes EVERY time she comes over. I find this odd and wonderful at the same time. She feels warm and fuzzy about helping (I detest dishes) and I feel warm and fuzzy about her effort to love on us.

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Ruthie August 14, 2012 at 12:32 am

If you live far away send a package of disposable plates, cups and utensils. Wonderful if there are other kids in the house.

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Coley Salas August 14, 2012 at 3:20 am

Such an AWESOME list!! These are all wonderful things that I would’ve loved to have people do for me!! I’m going to try to remember to do some of these the next time a pal has a baby. And hopefully I won’t be too proud to ask for these things for myself after my current bun!!

Oh, and spot-on about offering to clean…. I can only think of one or two SUPER close friends that I would allow to clean my house. =)

(On a side note, very well written. I hate to admit it, but I’m one of those crazy grammar people. A post that has some truly great points can be completely ruined for me if the writing makes me want to tear my eyes out. Lol.)

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Monica August 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Awesome post!! So thoroughly supportive, your people are lucky to have you in their lives.

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kelsey August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Yeah, I wish I had a friend like you. I’ve got baby #3 in a couple of months and all anyone has offered is stuff! I still have a 2 year old in the house, I have stuff, I need help!

Great post!

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Nikki August 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Easy to cook frozen oven meals did wonders for me. They are easy, filling (and some can be healthy), and make easy leftovers. Another great baby gift….a gift certificate for a massage. Oh la la. I fell asleep on the massage table, but it was the best sleep I had in a while! And felt great and somewhat refreshed afterwards ;)

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Hockey Wife (@HockeyWife_22) August 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

SUCH a great list! I’m expecting my second boy in January and all of those things already sound great to me! It really is the “little” things, like offering to pick up your phone in the middle of the night during a freakout, that make all the difference! Is it tacky if I pass this on to my friends? Haha!

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Jen August 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm

What about “Make her some lactation cookies”?

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monicak September 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm

What are lactation cookies?

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H. January 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Cookies that boost milk production.

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Ash January 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

Clearly, we need a recipe.

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Kat February 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c. oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c. almond butter or peanut butter
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. flax
1/3 c. water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
2 c. (12oz) chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts of your choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, flax and water until creamy.
Mix in eggs.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Mix in nuts and chocolate chips.
Add oats slowly, mixing along the way.

Place balls of dough onto greased baking sheets or baking stones.
Press down each ball lightly with a fork.
Bake 12 minutes.

source: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/08/lactation-cookies-recipe-increasing.html

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Stephanie February 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm

So you put the warm cookies on your breasts?

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Sue February 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Good one!

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Roo March 1, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hahaha, Stephanie!

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Christi August 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

There’s a free website – takethemameal.com – you can fill out things like allergies and likes and dislikes for the family, and then people can fill out what they’re going to bring and sign up for a day. That way you don’t get duplicates, and it’s there for you refer back to. My Sunday school class uses it a lot for babies and such. It’s amazing! The mom can also go online to see who’s coming by.

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Crystal October 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

We also use mealbaby.com

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H. January 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

and mealtrain.com!

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Tammie August 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm

These are also great ideas to use when someone loses a loved one…especially a young widow/widower with children or parents who have lost a child but have other children to still take care of!!

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Britney A August 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm

If you do take the older kids, make sure you bring them back clean and fed! Otherwise the relaxation achieved alone is completely undone.

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monicak September 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Good point! ;)

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Faith August 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Another idea is to browse the new mom’s Pinterest Boards for recipes, wish lists, etc…and then surprise her with doing one (or a few) of them!

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Andrea August 30, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Oh the memories of the newborn phases of my six kidlets that flooded back while reading this post. They are 7-20 now and I still remember the feelings of aloneness and sleep-deprivation at all hours of the night. What a blessing these things are to new moms who are overwhelmed and needing a hand. Every new mom should keep this list and when a well meaning friend offers to help, have them just pick one from the list. Fantastic Fantastic List. Thanks for sharing!

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Sarah M. September 7, 2012 at 8:02 am

I wish I had found this sooner. A good acquaintance of our who delivered the day before I did just 3.5 months ago has been struggling in her new role as a mother. I just found out the night before last that with in a day or two after our last conversation/email she took her life. My heart just hurts. I don’t know her partner/baby’s daddy, only met him in the hospital when we were there, but I am bound and determined to try and do some of these things on the list for him and baby.

Thank you for this list.

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Roo September 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Sarah, I’m so sorry to hear this, and my heart hurts with you. I’m sorry I don’t have any wise or comforting words, but my thoughts and prayers are with you and that family.

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Sarah M. September 10, 2012 at 5:29 am

Thank you! I understand. In a situation like this what does one say? This news has been difficult for me, so I can’t imagine what the family is going through. I am doing better than I was on Thursday and Friday, though my heart still hurts, but still find my mind wandering back to it, especially when I look at my daughter and have to ask myself how anyone could give “this” up. It will be reasons we will never understand. I just hope and pray that baby boy can adjust. He was nursed so I hope he can talk to a bottle easily. I think about how when he cries for his mama and cannot understand why she doesn’t come for him. I think about how long or rather short of a time it will take him to “forget” her and how he will never have a memory of her. OK – I’ve got to stop. I just had to get that off my chest.

Thank you for your reply and your thoughts and prayers.

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Mrs. K October 2, 2012 at 8:17 am

Sarah –

I am so sorry to hear this. I will be praying for this dad and his son and their entire family. My mom took her own life when I was 32 and I still have feelings of abandonment, I cannot imagine how this baby boy will feel. The thing I know is that when a person is seriously mentally ill is that they do not consider what they are “losing” or “giving up”, they have no logical thoughts. Especially women, with as emotional as we are – if they think about it, they won’t go through with it. Praying for you as you try to minister to them and as you try to process this as well.

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anonymous January 31, 2013 at 2:02 am

I know this was an older post, but I just wanted to add my support and good thoughts. My little sister died at 7.5 months pregnant (complications from pre-eclampsia) and left behind a beautiful preemie daughter and a sad, bewildered husband. A bereaved new dad is a situation very, very dear to my heart. It’s kind of amazing how when that happens, you suddenly realize how many parenting blogs, books, etc. treat dad as a kind of accessory. It’s totally alienating for them and I really, truly appreciate bloggers now who write for parents, not just for mothers. (And he, like all new parents, truly appreciates people who don’t overstep their bounds when it comes to his daughter – he is still her father. You wouldn’t believe how many people act like he is less qualified to raise her just because he’s a dude.)

Anyway, nine months on and my littlest niece and her daddy are thriving. I hope your friend’s family is, too. Losing someone is always hard, and I have lost close friends to suicide also. Take care of yourself and remember that for better or for worse, life does go on. <3 Peace for you and yours

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Roo February 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm

This was heartbreaking to read. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your sister’s story. ♥

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Heather D. September 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

Wow! What a wonderful way to detail that comment our friends so often say! I think it’s helpful to those who make offer as well but don’t exactly know how to help. We have a 1year old and are expecting twins in Feb. I’ve already had offers to help us so this is great! Thank you for sharing this. Very helpful and inspiring!

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Leann September 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

This is such a great list and as a postpartum doula, it’s many of the things I do for my clients every day. So if you’re a new mom and don’t have a nearby support network, hire a postpartum doula!

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Lissa Gilson September 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I delivered my darling baby girl eight weeks early – bless us she never ever stepped foot into a NICU! I’d had a horror show of a pregnancy, and we’d invited my aunt and uncle, both of whom at the time had cancer, in to see the new baby. My uncle, a father himself, was too terrified to hold her, she was so little! There was a HUGE bag with them…I pulled out a hand-knitted purple blanket, that was my size. A gift just for me. Something to snug up in to feed her, or doze under while she napped next to me, or tuck around the other kiddies so we could all read her a bedtime story. I was so touched!!

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Stephanie T September 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Thank you, thank you THANK YOU!!! I am not a mom, but lots of my friends have babies and I never know how to help. This is really helpful, and I am glad for the ways to bless and encourage my friends.

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Fran September 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

I had twins when my older child was 21 months old. A friend put on a baby shower for me but the gifts were all food destined for my freezer with recipes attached. What a godsend! I still make some of those dishes today, and my kids are all in their twenties.

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Jessica September 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm

This is such a brilliant idea!! We have lots of moms expecting new babies in our neighborhood (who already have little ones), so thanks for this!

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Leah September 21, 2012 at 12:15 am

I had a 2 yr old girl when I had my 2nd baby – a boy who cried a lot. :) One thing I wish I would have done was pre-planned a bunch of craft/coloring activities for her. My cousin sent a box of with new markers and other little things and it entertained her for hours. I think ready-to-go crafts prepackaged in Gallon ziplocs would be such a blessing when you’re trying to help the older sibling keep busy!

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Christine March 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Love this! My friend is several states away, and though we are emotionally close, I was wondering how to help her transition to “second child” mommyhood! This is a GREAT idea for her 5yo girl! Thank you!

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Misti September 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

My best friend came out & spent a night so I could get some sleep and it honestly was the best gift I had gotten.

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monicak September 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

This is fantastic!! I read recently that new moms don’t need someone to keep the baby, but rather someone to take over other responsibilities so they can bond with the baby. (Particularly when mom is breastfeeding as that is highly time consuming.)
Not that a shower and a nap aren’t great either mind you! ;)
I love the added ideas of new pjs for mom, or a pedi just prior to delivery! Such great, thoughtful ideas here! And I think it would be helpful in many different circumstances! :)

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Emily October 4, 2012 at 3:38 am

When my son was a week old I was changing him on my bed one morning while my husband was in the shower getting ready for work. I wasn’t fast enough with the new diaper, and the baby projectile pooped all over me, the bedding, the cloth back board, the walls, his co-sleeper, and his bedding. It then dribbled down everything it hit to the carpet below.
Stunned and covered in yellow stuff, I couldn’t even move. Upon exiting the shower my husband took a picture of us & the walls, and called my best friend. She took the morning off of work and brought over a Costco size bottle of OXYclean, and started in. Two hours later, everything was washed and good as new. I would have cried if I had to face it alone. Sometimes a helping hand in a time of crisis is priceless!!!

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Sue November 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

What an awesome friend you have! No matter how many times you tell yourself, “It’s just poop” it still freezes you up when it’s everywhere.

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Carrie @ Better Is A Little October 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

I’m 22wks right now and I found this because my sister pinned it to Pinterest. I swear, I’m tearing up just reading them (this baby will be our 4th). I can vouch – these ideas will probably make her cry with gratitude. She might try to tell you it’s okay, you don’t need to. DON’T LISTEN. She needs it. I swear. (THANK YOU for not writing a much more generic, much more common list of “how to help your friend.”)

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Sheryl Gard October 8, 2012 at 11:57 am

What I do for new moms is provide dinners for a week. This is put on by close friends and families. These meals are dropped of around 6 pm ready to eat. The person dropping off understands they should drop off and leave. 15 minutes max so the family doesn’t feel obligated to tend to them. New moms and veteran moms can always use a week off of cooking.

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Mary Ellen Cox October 10, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I have done so many of these. As one of the older moms at a large church, it is a privilege to say, I know where you are, let me fold clothes. Let me take the big kids, even if it is in the back yard or another room. When I finally became a grandmother, I slept there while my son in law was out of town, When he went back to work, I went over and let her feed then go back to sleep. One of the showers I went to was for frozen meals or meals to be frozen for after the baby was born. Love makes things go smoothly and new moms need to know they are loved by a lot of people not just the screaming hungry baby. Thanks for the list. I am pinning it for sure.

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Devon October 15, 2012 at 9:46 am

I LOVE this post! I am a postpartum doula, my business is called Mama’s Best Friend – because I do all of these EXACT things for the new mom’s I work with. Would it be ok if I link to this post from my blog?

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PlanePrincess October 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

What an amazing (and useful) list! Being 3-weeks on the other side of my first baby, I’m looking at many of those and thinking “YUP!”

When I went into labor I was a week ahead of my due date, experienced absolutely NO nesting urges and had had plans of doing all those last minute cleaning/organizing/shopping things that final week. (In fact I was supposed to have my 39 week appointment and then meet a friend to run through my last big grocery shopping trip on the day that my daughter entered the world :-D) Additionally I labored all over our house – in the living room, in all the bathrooms etc. Needless to say, when we left for the hospital at 0300 our house was an absolute disaster and our fridge was bare – wet soggy towels in the bathroom from laboring in the shower, clean but unfolded clothes, dirty dishes and general clutter. My mom and dad arrived the day I delivered and worked magic on our house. When we came home from the hospital my mom had cleaned top to bottom, squared away all of the laundry and my parents had restocked our fridge. It truly was magic. Of course, if anyone else but my own parents had seen the house I would have been mortified! :-) When my mom was here the first 2 weeks, she was beyond amazing and it was a combination of the little and big things: she’d rock the baby while I got myself a good breakfast, make hot (healthy!) meals for dinner, join me for late night feedings (before we’d introduced a bottle) to keep me company and just taking her for 30 minutes at a time so I could shower or nap. If anyone has a mom or relative like that, I can’t recommend enough having them come help.

To that list I’d modify #3 and add “Kidnap her Fur Babies”. We love our dogs very dearly (they’ve gotten me through 2 deployments!) and whether the dogs have gotten enough attention/care has been a constant worry of ours. My parents helped make sure the puppies got out on walks, were fed, made it to vet appointments and were generally taken care of. And when my sister-in-law came in to town, she helped make the dogs feel loved too.

And I can attest to the fact that #10 is the most amazing gift. My SIL is a night owl and she and my husband took turns putting the baby down to sleep then she would take the feedings in the wee hours of the night. I’d get into bed around 8pm and pick feedings back up around 4-6am and it was pure and unadulterated heaven.

I’m forwarding this post to all my expectant girlfriends! It definitely has some amazing and helpful tips for those wanting to help and those not sure how to ask for help :-)

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Marci November 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm

What a GREAT post! Any of these things would be amazing help to a new mom.

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Paige December 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I did not read everyone’s comments, so this may be a repeat. I remember being SO happy when anyone would bring me a little treat in the middle of the day (a yummy drink, muffin, lunch, etc!(. A text like “Lunch is on the porch. love you!” was simply music to my soul! :)

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tamara January 12, 2013 at 8:44 pm

My husband does the cooking in our house but when our youngest was born our neighbors brought in meals so we could all sit and enjoy the meal. It’s nice to feel pampered.

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eirn vey January 22, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Spot on, awesome suggestions.

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Annicka B January 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm

After I had my first I suffered from pretty severe PPD. One of the things that helped me more than anything else was a random check-in, whether via text, email, phone call, or dropping in. It was so nice to not feel so alone after my husband went back to work.
I also had a sweet neighbor across the street bring me dinner every night for a week. I know it seems like a lot, but if you’re only feeding 2-3 extra people you can generally stretch what you’re already making for your own family.

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Kate M. March 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

This is an amazing list. There arent many people in my life who would LET me help (sad and frustrating, but some people just reject help left right and centre)…however, I have a really good friend who is planning for a baby now so am keeping this in mind for her.
My mum was so good to me throughout my pregnancy (I developed antenatal anxiety) and after my baby girl was born. My little love is 13 months now and is still a handful. My mum comes over nearly everyday after work to help me get her fed and bathed and to entertain her while I do some house work before hubby comes home. She and my dad take her once a week for a sleepover to give me and hubby much needed time together and rest and if we are really struggling, she will take her for a night during the week too. I am so grateful to my mum for helping when others faded away or just weren’t there (I remember having to make dinner in the first week of being a new mom – like I had nothing else better to do?!) Long term help from special friends and family is a godsend and something I will try to remember to do for others.

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Kate June 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm

This is definitely one of my fav Neon Fresh posts. I’m just starting to enter the my-friends-are-having-kids-how-did-we-get-this-old-also-why-don’t-i-have-any-clean-underwear phase of my life, and I’m not sure how to help out my friends because I don’t have kids. I think I’m going to try hiring a cleaning service for a day – that’s a good one! Has anyone had a negative reaction to that? Don’t you have to clean for the cleaning people sort of thing?

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Kelly @ IdealistMom.com June 30, 2013 at 10:31 am

I just had #2 six weeks ago, and a mama friend kidnapped my 5yo for an afternoon, and it was like HEAVEN.

Thank you for putting this list together! Pinning it now. :-)

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Desarae July 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

This is an awesome list! there is a great website called mealtrain.com that helps organize meals to bring to someone in need. people can sign up for the day(s) they want and put down what they are bringing. The family in need can list any dietary restrictions, likes, dislikes… It is a great resource!

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Elizabeth September 12, 2013 at 11:15 am

I’m reading this a great deal after this was originallly written, but I only recently became acquainted with your lovely blog via Matthew Paul Turner.
This post is so wonderful! I am a first-time mama of a preemie girl who is now 16 1/2 months old. It was so hard those first few weeks, especially when we were in limbo, dorming at the hospital and coming home every once and a while to do a load of laundry, etc. I never do well with “let me know if I can be of any help!” because you never know what people’s scopes are in that instance–even close friends.

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kateri December 30, 2013 at 11:18 am

I’m pregnant with #2 (18 weeks) and the thoughts of my first not being the only kiddo has already started. This list makes me smiles and teary eyed all at the same time. :) :/ :D so many emotions!

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Roo January 2, 2014 at 7:50 am

Congrats, Kateri! :) :) :)

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