Nourishing New Parents: 10 Ways To Truly Help

Art by Spirity Sol

Art by Spirity Sol

By: Rachel Walker

If you ask parents of a newborn baby what you can do to help, and they say nothing, don’t give up that easily. There are a ton of things to make life easier for new parents. Here are some great tips that from experience really help!

1)Run A Couple of Errands. If the grocery store is on the way, offer to stop by and pick something up- or better yet, just bring over a bag or two of essentials- milk, bread, fruit, veggies-  she will be grateful to avoid the trip. Continue to offer to help- if they turn you down one time, they might accept your help the next.

2)Bring Fresh or Frozen Meals. New parents do not have the time or energy to plan meals, grocery shop and cook. Bringing someone a meal is more than a nice gesture.  When you have a baby, people who bring you meals are truly life savers. New parents especially with older kids they will always appreciate a good meal.

3)Give a few hours of time.  Go hold the baby while mom has a shower or a nap (or both!), fold laundry (or do laundry!).  The new parents may appreciate you stopping by for a couple of hours on a regular basis if they can get some uninterrupted sleep or relaxation time.

4)Help out around the house.  Put a load of dishes in the dishwasher, wash and fold the endless laundry, wipe down the countertops or do a little food prep. Never stop by the house of a new parent without offering to help out with some kind of chore and on your way out take the garbage with you ;).

5)Make a list for others. Create a list of chores to put on the fridge so that other family and friends know what is needed and takes the weight of the parents to have to ask.

6)Invite conversation.  Giving her the opportunity to speak about her birth is a great way to help process her experience.  Sometimes a new mom just needs someone to listen, especially without judgment or criticism. A new parent may simply need to unload on a trusting ear.

7)Give Them Space. Let the new couple enjoy their short time with their newborn without feeling the need to entertain guests. If you do visit, keep it short.

8)Bring treats. Breastfeeding moms and bottle feeding parents are often cozy in a chair or bed for hours as they establish breastfeeding/bottle feeding.  Gift them with goodies they can keep close by such protein bars or cookies, a water bottle, smoothies, a book, magazine or a link to great podcast

9)Help out with older siblings.  In the first few weeks, helping out with the bigger kids will be priceless! If the older child is involved in activities, offer to take them to or pick them up. If the children are in school, offer to help out with lunches, rides or homework. Offer to host a play date for a couple of hours once a week after baby arrives.

10)Help to hire a Postpartum Doula.  From recovery after birth to emotional wellbeing in the weeks that follow, postpartum doulas can help parents make a smooth and easy transition to life with a new baby. Postpartum doulas are experts at helping parents find the newborn care practices that match their needs, values, and beliefs without any judgement.

All of these suggestions are sure to be taken well, but sometimes all a new mom needs is love, support, reassurance, and time to rest and recover!