After Your Baby is Born
Helpful Hints for New Parents
Planning ahead for help and then asking for specifics once home with a new baby is very important. The first days and weeks in a “new baby household” can be pretty crazy. To help yourself get through this time, keep in mind:
- This is not a time to try to be a supermom or superdad with a spotless house and homemade snacks ready for you to serve your guests.
- You don’t need to entertain your visitors while they rock or care for the baby.
- You don’t need them to care for the baby for you (you may need to be very clear about this with “helpers”), but you might appreciate them holding and cuddling the “just fed” little one while you enjoy a shower or relax and eat without holding the baby in your lap.
You need time as a family to settle in with baby care and feeding, and as a new mother, you need rest to physically recover from childbirth.
Family and friends will come to visit. They will congratulate you and admire the new baby. Remember, household chores such as shopping, cooking and cleaning still need to be done. Be ready with a list so when someone asks what they can do to help, you are ready to speak up.
- Laundry: New babies contribute several loads a day. Visitors can easily throw a load into the washer or dryer and fold when the buzzer sounds.
- Food: Keep a running shopping list so you can tell others what they can pick up for you. Let them know that a casserole or a dessert is always appreciated. They can even make mom a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or iced tea while she’s nursing the baby. New moms are hungry but rarely have time or energy to cook.
- Cleaning: Houses continue to gather dust and dirt despite the presence of the new baby. Having someone vacuum the carpet, shake out scatter rugs or wet mop the floor is a tremendous help, not to mention helping mom continue to heal properly. These are the very things new mothers should NOT be doing themselves.
- Errands: Allow people to pick things up on the way over or run out to do what is needed. Trying to get yourself and a new baby to the grocery store for just a bread and milk can take two or more hours.
- Yard Work: From mowing to weeding to planting some of the flowers you’ve received, yard work can be endless, especially when you are busy with yourselves and baby. Ask new grandparents, uncles or cousins for help. Often this is a perfect match.
- Other Children: An afternoon or evening out with family friends or relatives can be a treat for them and a big help to you: time for a good nap or long shower.
- Gifts: If someone asks what you want or need, and you already have all of the baby clothes you can use, ask for a day of house-cleaning service, a carry-out restaurant dinner certificate, or a gift card for on-going baby necessities like diapers. Any of these will also give you the gift of time to rest and enjoy your new baby.