Before having children I didn’t ever know what to do for people who had just given birth. It is such an exciting time for lots of reasons but it can also be a hectic time, as the family adjust to their new addition. I know first hand how amazing it is to have the help and support of family and friends after giving birth, but it can be difficult to know what to do, particularly if you don’t have children of your own. I’ve put together a few ideas that hopefully you will find useful.
Don’t just turn up – always check it is ok to visit. Don’t be surprised if it is a random time window, if your visit is cut short by a fussy baby or if they say no.
My sister brought me loads of tasty healthy M&S ready meals which was honestly the best thing ever. With a new baby it is often a toss up between eating and sleeping…for me, sleeping always wins. It really can be hard to remember to eat, or it can just seem too much effort. Another option is cooking them a meal and dropping it off.
My Mum brought me a massive basket of fresh fruit and vegetables. We tend to have a stock of staples in the cupboards, so it meant we didn’t have to think about shopping for a while.
Offer to look after the older child if you can – overnight or take them out for the day. My Mum had Winston for 3 days after I gave birth and I felt like we’d been on holiday!
If you’re anything like me you find it hard accepting help. Rather than saying to people: “Let me know if I can help”, say: “I’ll cook for you next week, which day would you like it?” Make it definitive and non negotiable!
When you’re visiting (particularly if it’s a few days after) don’t let the new Mum do much. Everything can be a little sore after giving birth and getting up and down can be quite an effort. If you’re offered a drink – always offer to get it yourself. Don’t put any pressure or expectation on the host.
If you’re comfortable with older children – play with them and pay them lots of attention. Winston loved playing with all the visitors we had.
Ask if they need any little jobs doing, such as a visit to the Post Office, a few bits from the shops or even a bit of washing up.
…and of course enjoy the lovely new creature!