Motherhood confession: I had a very hard time transitioning to motherhood when my first child was born. For a lot of reasons I really struggled to enjoy that season of life. God got me through it and taught me A LOT but it was tough. Because of my experience, I have a heart for mamas going through the transition of adding a new one to the family.
One thing that really helped me through those first few weeks was the outpouring of help and support from friends and family. I felt so loved and blessed by all of the things people did to reach out to my husband and me.
I wanted to share a post that I wrote almost two years ago. I’ve updated it a bit and added a few things but most of it was written from a new mom’s perspective. I hope that it can give you a gentle nudge to help out any new moms that you know.
Seven Ways to Bless a New Mom
We are about 8 weeks in to this whole baby thing and I can’t tell you how blessed I have been by my friends and family. I have seen such an amazing support group rise up and help us in so many ways. So thank you friends and family. You have no idea how much you have carried us through these 8 weeks.
There have been numerous ways that people have helped us out. I wanted to mention some of them as not only a reminder to myself in the future but also to help others without kids know how to help out a new mom. Here are some ways to truly bless a new mom.
1. Bring Them a Meal
We had meals brought to us on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 6 weeks! It was incredible. We scarfed all of it up and shed a tear when the meals stopped coming. I had always thought this was a nice thing to do for new moms but having personally experienced it now, I realize that it is vital to survival. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But seriously, my husband and I would have been living off of cereal and frozen pizza for 6 weeks if we didn’t have meals coming our way.
Here’s a helpful tip: include some breakfast food! In those first few weeks, I barely got around to eating breakfast. After being up half the night and the extra calories spent nursing, I was often famished in the morning but didn’t have a spare moment to eat anything other than cereal. When we had a friend drop off coffee cake, I couldn’t be happier!
If you need some meal ideas, we have tons of yummy, healthy freezer meals in our Recipe Index. A freezer meal is ideal in case the family already has meal plans lined up when you bring them something. Or, if you want to take a fresh meal, Rachel posted some Mix and Match meal ideas to take to new moms, too.
Oh, one more suggestion: Make them a meal in their home! (Only if you have a close enough relationship that is). We had friends come over and just take over our kitchen and made us dinner. I loved it. Not only was the company a breath of fresh air but we got a great, fresh meal out of it. I also had friends come over and do the same thing for breakfast. Those were some of my favorite mornings.
A helpful (and free) website to organize meals for a friend is Takethemameal.com. As a friend of a new mom, you create an online meal sign up for friends to fill out. It’s a great way to spread out meals that will be delivered to the new mom as well as making sure the family doesn’t get 6 rounds of lasagna. 🙂
2. Just Hang Out
In those first few weeks, I was bored. Lonely. Things just felt so quiet. Coming off of a very social and high energy job, it was really hard to be home so much. I craved people being around. I simply just wanted someone there. I didn’t care what we were doing. Just the presence and conversation of a good friend brightened my day. Bring a movie over, show up with Sonic drinks, have a happy hour, etc. Just be present!
However, be careful not to interfere with potential naps the new mom could be taking. Even though I loved having people around, there would be times that I really just wanted to sleep! Just make sure to ask if it’s a good time to come by and be aware the new mom will be pretty tired.
Want to really humble yourself and help a new mom out? Clean for them. I had a friend and some family do this and I can’t tell you how blessed I felt. Since I was healing up from a C-Section, I could hardly do anything. I had a lot of people in and out so I wanted my house to be somewhat in order. When my mother in-law vacuumed my whole house, I couldn’t have been happier. When a friend showed up to clean my kitchen and bathrooms, I could have cried (tears of joy). Cleaning is where it’s at. This one takes a bit more work and isn’t as fun but I’m telling you- it’s the thing to do!
4. Share Media
In the beginning there is so much down time spent nursing. It was really hard for me to sit still for 30-40 minutes every two hours. I really appreciated when a friend of mine dropped off two books that she really liked and suggested I read. It’s super easy to read while nursing. I also used the time to listen to a few sermons on my ipod. A very thoughtful thing to give a new mom is a good book, sermon, magazine, or even music to listen to. With my next baby I plan to stock up on a few good books so I have something to look forward to reading!
5. Call or Text Frequently
I had a friend who seriously texted me almost every day for the first 3 weeks. She simply asked how the night went or how the day was going or how I was doing. I felt so loved by the fact that she thought to text me every day! Even if I couldn’t answer texts or calls sometimes, the fact that people were reaching out to me meant so much. So don’t hesitate to call. Even if a new mom can’t talk at the moment, she will appreciate the gesture.
6. Take Their Other Kid(s) Out
As I anticipate the arrival of our next baby, I am growing anxious about my busy-bodied toddler. We are used to going out and about every day and I know that having a new born will limit our outings. I think one of the most helpful things for this next time around will be for someone to simply come by and take my daughter on a fun outing. It can be as simple as walking around the mall or taking her to a park. This would not only make her feel special but it would give the new mom a much needed break. Offer to take one (or) all of their kids out – even if it is only for an hour or so. This would be MUCH appreciated!
(Editorial note from Rachel: Before having kids of their own, Polly and her husband babysat our little ones a few years ago so we could go on a much needed date. Truly priceless!)
Sounds obvious and not very tangible but seriously, this is what I needed most from people. Being a new mom is hard. It’s a huge transition. It’s tiring and filled with crazy hormones. It’s stressful at times and can wear a soul thin. What I needed more than any of the things above was strength from the Lord. I needed an eternal perspective of my new role as a mom. I needed truth in the hard moments. I needed the Holy Spirit’s strength and guidance on an hourly basis. I needed prayer. So if you know a new mom, keep them in your prayers.
8. BONUS IDEA #1: Nursing Time Box
If the mom has any other small children at home, you could take her a Nursing Time Box. This is a thrifty yet super helpful gift that keeps the other kids entertained while she is nursing the baby.
9. BONUS IDEA #2: Print these 25 Encouraging Verse Cards for Moms.
Another great little gift to include along with the Nursing Time Box just for mommy is a set of these 25 Encouraging Verse Cards for Moms.
This printable verse card set also includes our most popular freezer meal recipe cards and a matching “A Gift for You” card. You can print them again and again for all your mom friends!