It’s a common question you will hear in the early days as a new mum – do you need anything? People really want to help, but don’t always know how to help a new mum that will make a difference to you in those early weeks. You’ve probably wondered, in the days before kids, how to help a new mum? Try to ban yourself from saying ‘no thanks, I’m fine’ and have a list ready of things that friends or family can do to help, even if they are far away. People really want to help, so don’t feel guilty for a second for saying ‘actually, there is something you could help with.’ Here are nine ways to help a new mum that will make a real difference. Send this link to friends and family so they have a better idea of what will actually help you!
- Food. Make the new mum and her family a meal that can be frozen, easily defrosted and heated up. Make mum lunch; something healthy and delicious that she can easily eat with one hand; maybe a bagel or a sandwich. Check if she’s had any breakfast. Make her a cup of tea and offer to hold the baby while she drinks it.
- Laundry. Ask if you can empty the laundry basket and pop the washing machine on. Or if you see that it’s finished, empty it and hang it out, or pop it into the tumble dryer.
- Washing up. Wash up the dishes, or empty and refill the dishwasher.
- Vacuum. Offer to run the vacuum cleaner around.
- Watch baby. Offer to hold or watch the baby while mum has half an hour to have a shower, a lie down or whatever she needs.
- Entertain older kids. Bring a little present for older siblings – nothing too noisy! You could play a game with them, sing songs or draw pictures with them. Leave a gift that they haven’t seen that mum can give them at another time when she needs them to be occupied (depending on their age, maybe a colouring book, jigsaw, magazine, book, puzzle).
- Meal train. Ask a few local friends and/or family if they would contribute a meal for the mum and her family, and set up a rota, perhaps for the first week or two after the birth. You can ask them to drop off their meal on the doorstep at an agreed time. There is a Meal Train website if you need support with setting this up. This is something that you could offer again, several weeks after the birth; a week of not worrying about an evening meal could make a huge difference to new parents struggling with the effects of sleep deprivation.
- Gift her a copy of The Mama Diary to help her prioritise her own needs in those chaotic early months.
- Order food to be delivered/groceries. Ordering a week of groceries for the new parents could be just what they need. You could also order a week’s worth of ready meals that they just have to put in the oven or microwave for an easy dinner.