Our dear friends [the baby shower] just welcomed their first baby earlier this week and it got me thinking about our first weeks as new parents. Those were some amazing days but also some utterly stressful ones. We had family and friends offering to help but I really didn’t know what I needed or when to ask…
•Feed Them: I cannot tell you how many days [and nights] my husband and I would look at each other after putting the kids down and say, “What should we eat?” You’d be surprised how far down the list you fall when you have a new bundle of joy to spend all of your time caring for. Most of the time you don’t even notice, babies are incredibly mesmerizing … So bring them food, anything you can… make it yourself or if you are cooking impaired bring them something from their favorite take out place. Another friend of ours showed me this AMAZING website called MealTrain. Its a great way to pool a group of friends and family to help out with meals. I love this idea and really wish we had known about it when we welcomed our twins. [Some of my favorite dinners to bring are: Crockpot Risotto, Roasted Chicken, & Mimi’s Corn Chowder]
•Do More than Visit: New babies attract all kinds of guests; I mean who doesn’t love to cuddle a sleeping newborn? While you are visiting with the new family find something you can do for them and do it … don’t ask what they need or wait to be asked to do something. At some point during your visit there may be a diaper change or a feeding, while mommy and/or daddy are busy do some dishes, take out the trash, make them a snack or mop the floor. You get the idea. I had a few guests do this for me and while it was slightly awkward having someone else do my dishes it was really nice to not have to do my dishes or worry about my “guests” being entertained while I was busy with the twins.
•Lift Spirits: While you are visiting if you notice something mom or dad is doing really well or making look incredibly easy, then you should tell them. Compliments or words of encouragement go a long way when you are sleep deprived and stressed. My heart honestly melted when I heard, “You are doing such a great job!” I may or may not have cried…. You may make their day.
•Run Errands: If you live close to the new parents and are making a trip to the grocery store, or some kind of superstore [IE Target, Walmart, etc] ask them if you can pick them up anything. Its a small gesture but sometimes can be a lifesaver. Especially if they are about to be out of something important like diapers, wipes or even toilet paper. I had my husband make multiple trips to the same store in the same day at times. No sleep and extra stress really hinder your efficiency.
•Love Their Pets: If they have a dog [or dogs] take them on a walk. Even if the parents walk their dog already, showing their dog a little more love can help them be less nagging towards mom and dad, letting them spend more time cuddling their new bundle of joy without feeling bad about their first baby getting jealous. Especially if their dog is anything like my whining dog … a quiet house is great for little ones. If they have cats, eh they can take care of themselves.