Almost six months ago, my husband and I brought our third chunky monkey baby home from the hospital only twenty four hours after he made his grand entrance. We were ready to be home with our other two kids so that their routines wouldn’t be thrown off completely. We also wanted to free up my in-laws of the babysitting them. Also, hospital beds are the most uncomfortable things to lay on right after you endure the most labor-intensive work ever. We left the hospital after 24 hours with our second baby, so we thought we were fine! We were professionals when it came to handling new babies, right?!
I can remember that afternoon perfectly. We got home, greeted the kids with their new baby brother. They weren’t as excited as I thought they would be to see us. My in-laws left us to get situated as a family of five and “relax”. I had this really adorable idea that I would throw a load of laundry in the wash, get comfortable and lay on the couch with the baby on my chest and get some newborn snuggles while watching TV.
About five minutes after I sat my exhausted body on the couch, I start to doze off only to wake just a few seconds later to the older two arguing and screaming and running around the house sounding like an overcrowded daycare center. My husband took them outside so that they could be loud out there and burn off some energy but every time I fell asleep, one would come back in to ask me something. In that moment in time, my conscious slapped me in the face to remind me that I was now a mom of three kids who were three and under and that I would no longer see the backs of my eyelids for a very, very long time. I pouted for a few minutes but then just went on to do what I would do any day of the week even though I had just had a ten pound baby. We went on a walk that afternoon. Played outside. You know, the usual!
Looking back only half a year ago, I can’t believe how ridiculous I was being. I should have sat down more, enjoyed the baby snuggles, asked for help, and listened to what the doctor tells you to do after you have a baby. Luckily, I have some pretty amazing people in my life who did step in and offered to help. Because of them, I will always help another new mom out whether they ask for it or not. Sometimes we are weird creatures and think that it’s “wrong” to accept help or that we aren’t good enough if we can’t do everything ourselves. SPOILER ALERT: we can’t do everything ourselves. Below is a list of helpful ideas that anyone can do to help out a new or seasoned mom!
1. Meals. Meals. Meals.
I’m going to list this first in case you get bored and want to quit reading because this is the number one thing I loved receiving! It is the most wonderful, stress-relieving gift you could give a new mama. GIVE. ME. ALL. THE. FOOD. I remember as a kid, when my mom would have a new baby, I would look forward to all the meals that people would drop off just as much as I looked forward to getting a new brother or sister. What person wants to worry about making dinner post-partum? I don’t like making dinner in the first place, so I’m sure as heck not making it after I have a baby. Dads already have enough work cut out for them with helping us and taking care of the other kids. Freezer meals are perfect because they can choose when they want to eat it. (Sometimes more than one person will drop off a meal and families can’t eat all the food in time before it goes bad). Chili, crock pot meals and soups are great freezer meals. If you are a three-star chef like myself, gift cards to restaurants also work!
2. Adult interaction
Sometimes after you’ve been holed up inside for awhile with a new baby, you start to get a little stir crazy. I normally am fine not socializing and can keep myself busy at home, but having another adult to talk to really brightens your mood when you don’t even think you need it! If this is a second or third plus mom, they will also have other little ones that need more interaction besides their parents and siblings. Obviously, call ahead of time to schedule those playdates!
3. Help with the baby
Moms need to free up their hands of baby squish sometimes. Ask her if you can come snuggle with the baby so she can clean, organize or just take a walk alone. I personally don’t prefer someone cleaning up after me, so just getting another set of hands to keep baby happy is a HUGE help!
Older siblings like to be remembered too when a new baby joins the family. Plan a day or a morning/afternoon to take them out for a little time away. New parents enjoy this even more than the kids! Taking just one kid makes a huge difference when you start a new season with a new baby and need to get a quick break! My in-laws do this about once a week with the two oldest and our baby is six months and I still love it!
5. Check in
If making time to do any of the above suggestions is limited, it only takes a few minutes to send a text, email or call to a new mom to make sure she is doing well. (I suggest texts in case she has a sleeping baby or if she hates phone calls like myself 🙂 ) She might be too busy to respond right away but just letting her know she’s being checked on is a big deal! I never want any of my friend moms to feel forgotten when they are starting a new season with a baby. It can be exhausting!
Writing this post holds me accountable for the next four months of new babies! I have freezer meals to make and two showers to plan. A girl, a boy, and one surprise baby are due and our family cannot wait!
Parenthood is a scary, fulfilling and selfless role that is so much easier to navigate with help from others. As the saying goes, it takes a village!