Jen from withHEART here! I was so thrilled when Melissa asked me to guest post during her maternity leave. I am also a first time mom and when I was narrowing down topics to discuss, ways to help a new mother kept coming back to me. I was so grateful for every kind act, gift, and gesture in my direction as I was figuring out the brave new world of motherhood and I wanted to make a few suggestions for others of kind acts that were performed for me and my little one. Here are my top 5 ways to help a new mom.
1. Up first, hospital visits. My situation was a little unique, as my baby had a scare on her second day of life and ended up in the NICU for a week. My first suggestion is food— and really good food. My sister-in-law was a dream come true during my week long hospital stay. She made me chocolate croissants, scones for the nurses, and brought me a care cooler from Whole Foods with fresh fruit, yogurt, Naked Smoothies, and the most amazing Blue Diamond nuts. It was seriously amazing. I would grab something on my way to the NICU to nurse, and I didn’t have to worry about waiting for meal time, as I was often away when the food cart came feeding Ruby. Another suggestion is flowers. I loved the way they made my room smell— less clinical and more like home.
2. Once they get home, that’s when the real help is needed. My next suggestion is meals. A group of women from my church brought me food for a week, and the next week my neighbors brought me meals. It was HEAVEN. I didn’t have to think about it, there were leftovers for the weekends, and I was blown away by how delicious everything was. I am so eternally grateful for this! Give a mama a meal, people! She will love you forever.
3. Another suggestion for what to bring over— a gossip magazine, a diet coke, some candy, and a gift for the baby. I had a friend do this and it was awe-some. As I nursed, I sipped and got caught up on my Kardashian news. Made me feel a little less like a cow and more like a girl.
4. Come over and hold the baby while the mama showers, paints her nails, sits in a room alone for a few minutes, whatever. My baby was/is a cuddled and had a really hard time when I wanted to put her down for longer than a few minutes at a time. It was really wonderful when someone would offer to rock her for a bit and really, it’s a win-win. Who doesn't want to snuggle a perfect, beautiful, cuddly sleeping newborn? I mean…
5. Offer to go with her to the store/mall/post office/any other errands. Sometimes motherhood is kind of solitary and it’s nice to have some company and also help getting life stuff done.
Those first few weeks with a newborn are wonderful and exhausting and amazing and overwhelming. I still can't believe how generous people were with their time and talents. I will always try to pay it forward.
Life is beginning a new, Melissa! Soak up every second! -Jen
Big thanks to Jen for sharing these tips along with some sweet pictures of her own experience as a new mom. Take a few minutes to stop by her blog, withHEART. Jen writes about home improvement, DIYs, motherhood and more, and her pictures are gorgeous. My maternity leave is winding down (it's been a short one, but life goes on, new baby or otherwise), so you'll be starting to see me back around here on a more regular basis over the next week! xo, melissa
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