We’ve all been there: our mom-friend just had a sweet little bundle of joy and we are on our way to pay a visit. With these visits come the inevitable questions:
What do I bring?
How long do I stay?
What do new moms really want in the first months of motherhood?
I asked! And some of the answers may surprise you.
New moms want food and lots of it.
Between the exhaustion, leaking boobs, and raging hormones- the last thing they want to worry about is making food. More than likely the close family is also exhausted so here’s where you come in! Set up a meal train or just bring over some food. Now in the “what to bring category” I got lots of varied answers. They ranged from “casseroles are great” to “anything but casseroles”; “breakfast food was my favorite” to “hot dinners for the win!” Knowing your friend will help you make that decision, but don’t be afraid to ask what they really want! There may be some hormonally driven craving no one else has brought them yet. Or as one of my own mom-friends so eloquently put it, ” brownies, brownies, brownies.” Can’t go wrong with that choice.
New moms want sleep
Every single mom I talked to mentioned something about sleep. Moms raved about friends who took their oldest children for a few hours so she and her husband could sleep when the baby slept. Or if this is a first baby, watch the baby for a few hours so they can sleep. Is this a close friend or family member? Offer to take the night shift while mom gets a solid chunk of sleep-(If mom is nursing, bring her the baby when he needs to eat, then let her go back to sleep.) At a time when a few hours of sleep can make a mom feel like a new human being, this is a rockstar friend move.
New moms want something tangibly helpful
Obviously cuddling the new baby that smells like heaven is a top priority. But don’t leave without at least offering to help in some way. Offer to clean a room or hire maid service. Bring flowers. Bring diapers or burp cloths- the less stylish but oh so necessary baby gifts. One mom mentioned a friend who spent the day showing her how to use new mom things like breast pumps, carriers, bottle warmers, etc. It can be so overwhelming with a first baby, let’s get in there and share that seasoned mom knowledge.
New moms don’t want you to bring your parenting opinions with your casserole
Sharing mom knowledge is one thing, sharing mom-opinions is another. Help her change a diaper, but don’t insist that cloth diapers are the only way to go. Help her mix up her formula, but don’t sneakily slide in a “breast is best” message. Working mom vs stay at home, circumcision or not, the list goes on. Leave the mom shaming and controversy at home. Bring only the love and empathy. A mom of 3 said it best, “Just love them where they are. Encourage them to slow down and not try to do it all. Press into the simplicity of caring for this little one for this time.”
New moms want to be remembered
Ask about mom, not just baby. After the birth of a child, your identity as a woman is changing. It is easy to feel like you have lost that identity and nice to be reminded you still exist outside the realm of motherhood. After the recounting of the epic birth story (all birth stories are epic) ask her about herself! Talk to her about your friends or family or things that aren’t baby related. Remind her she is still “her” and not just “mommy.”
Some new moms (even if they are your friend) may not want you to linger around
Don’t overstay your welcome. I got this tip in various ways, “Read the room” or “No one wants to entertain you.” From personal experience, I know how much I loved having visitors. But I also know how exhausted I was. Unless they specifically ask you to stay-get in, get your cuddles, be helpful, and get out. Mom is too exhausted to entertain and shouldn’t be expected to. And for the love of Pete, don’t show up unannounced- make sure it’s a good time to visit and then gracefully excuse your self before your host ends the visit.