It’s Facebook official, “new parent” shirts are made, and the cutest clothes have been found… your friend is having a baby! So, after commenting “congratulations!” (with heart eye emojis, obvi) and texting “SO HAPPY FOR YOU!”, what’s next? How do you support your friend on this new journey of hers, especially if you don’t have a little one of your own!? There are a lot of good (+bad) ways to support a new parent and baby and it’s important that you think through all the ways to be a good friend in this time. Check out our list below for ideas!
1. Start a meal train
Meal trains are lifesavers for new moms. Whether you are near or far from mom, there are always ways to send meals through gift cards, door dash, or services like Blue Apron. While dinners are lifesavers, consider sending breakfast or snacks as well. Oftentimes the pantry needs to be restocked, and no one has time to get other essentials!
2. Help with siblings
If this is baby #2, 3, etc, older siblings can sometimes be even more difficult to manage than a new baby. They are used to all of mom’s attention and can require more than usual. Offer to babysit any siblings like taking them to the park, zoo, or on a walk. This can allow your friend to spend some quality time with her new baby!
3. Bring a gift
When you do visit your friend for the first time, don’t go empty handed. You could bring takeout, a homemade meal (don’t forget paper plates!), gift card, goodie bag of gifts for mom (lotion, body wash, face mask, nail polish!), diapers, a bottle of wine, Starbucks coffee, etc.
4. Ask before you hold the baby
Especially before the baby gets their shots, its immune system is weak. A new mom is on high alert for keeping her baby away from anything contagious. Make sure to wash or sanitize your hands before you touching or holding the baby and, no matter how badly you want to, don’t kiss the baby!
5. Don’t invite yourself over
Instead, send flowers, a card, or mail order food. Don’t invite yourself over or stop by unexpectedly. New moms are trying to figure out routines, and it can be stressful having visitors. However, they do need to know they are supported and loved, so sending a gift until you see them in person can be a kind gesture.
6. Give mom a break
When it does come time to see mom & baby, look for ways to give your friend a break. Offer to hold the baby (or put her in a rocker) so mom can shower, clean, sleep, run to the grocery store, or just have some quality alone time!
7. Be a good friend
What does your friend need? Sometimes a new baby can make you feel lonely & distant from the outside world. Listen or offer adult talk if she needs it. Your friend may feel insecure about her changing body, stressed from lack of sleep, or just craving a good gossip session. Everyone is different, but be there for your friend.
8. Offer help
Your friend may be feeling stressed partially because of a growing to do list she is unable to work on. When you go to her house, offer to clean, mow the lawn, do the dishes, get groceries, walk the dog, or anything that you can do to help! If your friend wants some alone time, consider hiring someone to clean, mow, etc. It can be less intrusive to hire someone!
9. Don’t stay too long
Plan for a half hour, 45 minutes maximum stay. A mom and baby is adjusting to a new schedule. Babies eat every two hours and moms are tired, so having visitors staying too long can feel disruptive.
10. Know that your relationship may change, and that’s okay
Your friends focus is going to shift… a lot, and that’s ok. Be a good friend by helping, listening, and giving what you can. The first few months are going to be a huge adjustment for everyone, so just be a good friend!
Know someone who’s having a baby? Share this with your mutual friends and plan out the best ways to be supportive!