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Recently a friend posted on Facebook about how life with a new baby and a toddler at home is rough. It made me think of when I brought my babies home and all the help I wish I had.
When my first son was born, my husband was deployed and didn’t come home until he was four months old. When my second son was born, my husband was in the middle of a mission on the other side of the island. He came home for the ten days he was allowed after the baby was born and then basically disappeared for the next few months while I saw him occasionally on the weekends.
When my daughter was born I told my husband to put in leave (vacation time) on top of his allotted ten days. I refused to continue to be alone after birthing babies. I’m not in a position to have a mom or mother in law come and stay with me after the birth of my children. We’re an island of a family so when we have children, my husband and I are all they have.
Why she needs your help
Let’s just say, the first year after a baby is born is rough. I’m sure if you’re a mom you can relate. But the most stressful time is when a baby first comes home.
The mommy is learning how to breastfeed while getting no sleep, no showers, the house is a mess…she can barely remember to feed herself. Throw a toddler or two in the mix who becomes needier because they don’t have her full attention and it will add more stress to an already stressful situation.
Then there’s the possibility of postpartum depression, mastitis, the baby not eating enough, the baby eating too much, tongue or lip tie, etc etc. Oh and did I mention the constant crying?
Give her a break.
Listen, the one thing new mom’s need is a break! You’ll probably never hear this from your new mommy friends. It’s hard to ask for help.
So text or call your friend and ask when you can come to visit. Go to her house and give her a break.
Hold the baby while he or she screams in your arms so mommy can take a shower.
Do the dishes.
Bring over some dinner, or a snack. Or a piece of cake. A tub of ice cream. Maybe a huge water bottle so she can track her water intake.
Get her some gel pads to soothe her from a tiny human using her as a pacifier.
Bring her some dry shampoo because she probably won’t take another shower until who knows when.
And let the mommy do whatever she needs to do.
Take a shower, poop, sit down, take a nap or go outside and see the sun for the first time since bringing the baby home.
She may just need to leave the room so that she can think for a second without hearing her baby cry.
You can add some genuine compliments, “You look great” “You don’t even look like you just had a baby!” “Your baby is gorgeous just like you”.
Mommy-ing is hard. Especially with a newborn. She’s figuring out life with an extra person involved that is completely dependent on her. It’s one of the most time-consuming adjustments she’ll ever have to make.
And let me be completely honest, if you have something negative to say, just leave. Trust me, the last thing a new mommy needs is an unhelpful, negative friend over at her house who she now has to appease while also taking care of 300 million other things. Please be helpful, not hurtful. Ask how you can pray for her, ask how you can help.
And whatever you do, just don’t kiss the baby.
No matter how much of a super mommy your friend is, any new mommy can use some help. There’s a reason why there’s a tradition for a mom, mother-in-law or someone to come and stay with a new mommy right after a baby is born. If your friend already has someone to help, that’s wonderful. But if she doesn’t, please go out on a limb and do what you can. Go to her house. Hold that precious baby, and give her a break.
Anyone out there that recently had a baby or who remembers the struggle have any other tips and suggestions? Let me know in the comments section and I may update this post with your input!
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