How to Be Helpful to Someone With a Newborn Baby

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I'm writing this blog post by request, not to passive-aggressively get anyone to do stuff for me. Just want to put that out there. 

We've been incredibly blessed by our community here. We haven't had to cook anything but breakfast since Shepherd was born because our friends set up a Meal Train for us, and people bring us dinner just about every day. And usually the portions are plenty to be able to have leftovers for lunch the next day.

These lists are based on my experience so far, as well as things I've heard other moms mention being helpful. 

Things You Can Bring/Send/Drop Off

  • Meals - home cooked or from a restaurant
  • Snacks - fresh fruit, cut veggies, pretzels, crackers, protein bars (breastfeeding all day/night = extreme hunger)
  • Diapers (they go through them so fast)
  • Wipes
  • Paper plates/bowls/plastic utensils (so that they don't have to do dishes)
  • Send them a text when you're on your way to the store/Costco to see if they need anything specific
  • A congratulatory card that shares your excitement for their new addition
  • Flowers
  • Random gifts for the parents (it can feel really special to get something that's not baby-related)

You can either text them and see when it works for them for you to drop it off, or you can just leave it on their porch. Gift bombs are the best. If you're far away, you can mail non-perishables.

Things You Can Do

  • Give their pets attention/take their dog(s) for a walk.
  • Chip in to pay for a house cleaner.
  • Water their plants/help with their yard.
  • Keep them company on a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Take their older kids off their hands for a few hours.
  • Give them a hug and tell them they're doing a great job.
  • Set up time with them to talk on the phone. They might like the company during a walk or while they're hanging tiny baby clothes -- especially one parent is home alone and the other is back at work. If you're sick, this is a great opportunity to share your excitement with the new parents without risking getting the baby sick. This is also a great option if you live far away.
  • Spend some time talking about something besides the baby. They're out of touch with the outside world, because they're most likely stuck at home for the first 2 months of the baby's life. These conversations make them feel human.
  • Try to refrain from offering advice unless asked. If asked, by all means, share your opinions.
  • Don't stay too long. They're likely on a regimented feeding schedule, so their free time is limited. And they probably don't want to nurse in front of you.

How to Keep Their Baby Safe

Newborns are really vulnerable because their immune systems aren't strong yet. You should stay home/not be around the baby if:

  • You are sick at all -- scratchy throat, cough, sniffles, fever, stomach bug, etc. 
  • You have sick kids/sick roommates/sick family members at home
  • You must bring your kids with you. They love your kids, I'm sure, but it's safest to keep kids away for a while because kids are super germy.
  • You're a smoker and you haven't showered & changed clothes since you last smoked.

Even if you are well, you should wash your hands before holding the baby. Go ahead and do that without the parents having to ask, if you wish to hold the baby.

And it would also be nice to ask if the parents have strong opinions on vaccinations for visitors, especially if their baby is a newborn during flu season.

Here are some other things to be mindful of:

  • Newborn necks are not strong. Be sure to hold the baby in a way that supports their head and neck
  • Sit down when you hold the baby. It's safer than holding the baby while standing/walking.
  • When you hold the baby, be sure that their mouth/nose aren't buried in your shirt or in their swaddle. Breathing is important.
  • Don't kiss their baby. The human mouth is a really germy place. 

Anything that I missed that you would add? Leave me a comment below.

Hugs,
Bridget