After having River, I made a few notes of things I found super helpful and things I will make sure I do (or don’t do) in the future. I also asked you guys for your input on Instastories and received lots of messages with similar and additional ideas to my own. I have rounded up the top 5 things that myself, and other moms have found most helpful during their postpartum recovery. Here are a few ways to nurture the postpartum mama in your life:
Without a doubt, the most helpful and appreciated gesture we received after having River was FOOD! It was also the #1 thing (by a long shot) among mamas who sent me DM’s. I craved smoothies and fresh pressed juice and my amazing MIL would bring me one almost every day. When friends visited and brought us food it was life saving. I did prep some freezer meals ahead of time but we went through them so fast! Some favourites were protein balls, tex mex casserole (or anything Oh She Glows), soups, lasagna, and frozen spaghetti sauce. Bonus points if the food can be eaten with one hand, or is healthy-ish.
2. ASK HOW THEY ARE DOING
It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the arrival of a new baby. Is there anything better than a fresh newborn to snuggle? Asking parents “How are you doing?” is so nice and well-received. Going through the pregnancy and birthing process, sleepless nights, changing body and raging hormones can make for quite the ride. It’s really cool to acknowledge the mama in all her badassery and postpartum beauty. I remember every time I would see Phill’s stepdad, he always complimented me and told me I looked well. I’ll never forget it, it was so sweet and appreciated.
3. BE SPECIFIC RATHER THAN THE OPEN ENDED “LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED ANYTHING”.
I am so guilty of saying this in the past. In my experience, when someone says, “Let me know if you need anything”, I almost never reach out and let them know when I need something, mostly because I don’t want to be a burden. Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything”, try, “Is it okay if I drop off dinner at 6 p.m. on Thursday?”, or, “I’m going to the store today, what do you need?”. It’s so much easier to accept help when it’s a more specific offer.
When visiting in the first few months, keep it short and sweet — around 30 minutes or so. If you stay for a long visit, they won’t kick you out, because that’s awkward. If you don’t have kids of your own, this might seem ridiculous. During those early days, bonding and getting the hang of things is a lot to handle and a nice quick visit is perfect.
5. DON’T JUDGE
Please don’t pass judgement. A new mama (or anyone) will run as far as they can in the opposite direction at the first sign of Judgey McJudgerson. During the sensitive, intimate, short season of bonding with a new baby, the last thing anyone needs is to feel judged. This may seem obvious, but almost every mama I have talked to has felt judged on how they are parenting by someone close to them (on topics such as: bottle and breastfeeding, breastmilk and formula, BLW and purees, crib sleeping and cosleeping, sleep routines and sleep training, etc). Everyone is different and how each family navigates nurturing and caring for their babies will be different as well. Unless you are saluting or uplifting, keep the comments to yourself.
(Image via Postpartum Stress Center & Molly McIntyre)
Here are a few other things that a new mom can never have too many of: pads, disposable nursing pads, lanolin, Epsom salts (if vaginal birth), padsicles (pads soaked with witch hazel, frozen), diapers and wipes.
Next time, I plan on reading this book and giving it a try! I have heard amazing things. Have any of you read it?
Cover photo by Taya Photography.