The day has finally come. Your friend who’s been baking something in the oven for nine months has finally popped and now proudly carries a new label that she will carry for life – she’s a new mum!
Like any good friend, you’d be dying to go over and share in her euphoria at this momentous milestone. But hold on, there would be a tonne of things that your friend would be preoccupied with and if you rush headlong to see the new addition, you could be more a burden than a welcome presence.
So, what are the best ways that you could help your friend navigate these new waters called parenthood? Here’s a handy list for the uninitiated:
New Mum Friend Tip #1: Hold off on making that first visit
It’s a very delicate period of time for new baby and for the new parents — the mum, in particular — this would also be a very emotional period of time as she adjusts to her new role. By all means, call or message her but wait until the new mum is ready for visitors before coming round.
New Mum Friend Tip #2: Food for mum is always welcome
With a new baby in the house, the new mum would have her hands pretty full and may not have the time or energy to do any cooking — so any food that can be popped into the microwave for mealtimes would be a great help. For new mummies who are breastfeeding, snacks are another good option — breastfeeding makes for a thirsty and hungry mummy!
New Mum Friend Tip #3: Lend a sympathetic ear as and when the mum needs it
A new mum’s hormones would be wreaking havoc on her right about now. While she would be ecstatic about the new little person in her life, she would also be going through some pretty low downers. The best way to support her at this time would be to allow her to vent and to assure her that whatever the case, she is the best mother for her kid and that she would find her own way in raising her child.
New Mum Friend Tip #4: Avoid making comparisons of her baby and her situation to others
There are many examples of celebrity mums who appear to have motherhood down pat, which can cause anxiety in new mums about their own abilities, and about whether she’s “doing things right”. She doesn’t need comparisons made to people she — or you — know added to the mix. All babies are different — and how their parents raise them is highly subjective. Just enjoy the bub for who he — or she — is, and assure the new mum that she’s doing things just fine.
New Mum Friend Tip #5: Roll up your sleeves and lend a hand
Mummy would have her hands full learning to care for the little one so an offer to help with the housework, the grocery shopping and other errands, or even to care for the baby while she takes some time for herself would be greatly appreciated. As little as a couple of hours’ break from baby, every week, would certainly go a long way to helping new mum keep her sanity.
New Mum Friend Tip #6: Cut the negativity
Things may be going to hell outside but allow the new mum to stay relatively sheltered in a cocoon of positivity. After all, with major mood swings already on the cards, depressing news is the last thing she needs to hear. Share positive bits of news, or cute baby animal pictures (she’ll most likely see her baby in them and get warm fuzzy feelings).
New Mum Friend Tip #7: Be her ‘door bitch’ (think nightclub bouncer)
If you’re really close friends, you could offer your services as a ‘bouncer’ to deflect unwanted visitors in the earlier days when she’d want her space. While well-meaning relatives and friends would be eager to meet mum and baby, very often this deluge of attention would end up making both uncomfortable and drained.
New Mum Friend Tip #8: Offer her timely resources
Whether it’s the contacts for baby or toddler play groups, or baby-friendly eateries or places where mummy can bring baby to catch up with friends, getting this info — and offering to go with mummy — would help the new mum from succumbing to the tendency to be a shut-in. If you are arranging to meet up, try and keep it to places that have a decent baby room for necessary nappy changes.
New Mum Friend Tip #9: Be part of her support system
No matter how supportive her husband and family are, sometimes a woman needs the company of her girlfriends. She may have become a mummy but she’s still a person with her own hopes, dreams and personality — just that she’s now also a mother.
When it comes to helping a new mum, what matters most at the end of the day is to just be there for her in whatever way she needs you to be, and share her happiness in having a new little person to get to know.
By Nura Bee
Nura Bee battles the corporate jungle on a daily basis. When she’s home she faces a tougher challenge in raising and entertaining her precocious 3-year-old — she’s adept in performing ‘The Wheel on the Bus’ and other baby songs.
Read also: The Hands-on Father Quiz
Here’s another way to help a new mum – get your partner to try out our hands-on father quiz here!