Motherhood is hard. End of.
I’ve been attempting to write this post for quite some time now. It’s been in the back of my mind constantly but even in any free time i’ve had, i’ve just not been able to bring myself to write it. It’s not like it would even take me a long time to write… most of it I’ve had pre-written on my phone notes!
I took to instagram to apologise for abandoning my blog and to rant about how it’s hard to find the time. A lot of you messaged me to say not to worry and that the time will come. Thank you to those people by the way! I’ll forever love my little community on Instagram.
However, since my little one is resting on his Nonno’s (Grandad) chest, sleeping soundly, i’m going to make a start, even if i don’t finish it. I’ve nothing else to do currently so it seems like the right time to. Taking advantage of grandparents is highly recommended!
It’s quite funny because the topic of this post is all about ways you can help a new parent. If you’re reading this and you’re not a parent, I hope you find this useful. These are all ways I’ve either been helped in the early days or ways I wished I had been. The things that matter the most. Presents for the newborn are always lovely but offering your services to a new parent can make much more of a difference. Do let me know in the comments if you are a mum too and if you know any other ways a friend or family member can help out. Would love to hear!
10 ways to help a new parent
Bring them food or batch-cook a few meals for them to freeze
In the early days cooking went almost totally out the window for me. Thankfully my husband was pretty on it and took over this duty for me! Plus I had batch-cooked and frozen plenty of meals ahead of time, so all he had to do was defrost and heat. I’d also done a massive food shop the weekend before, so we didn’t have to worry too much. Meals I’d suggest to cook: lasagne, curries, stews/casseroles, bolognese, chilli…anything that can be easily placed in tupperware and frozen. Trust me, any new parent will highly appreciate this! And if you’re not a confident cook but still want to help out in this way, i’d recommend buying a few meals from Cook – they sell high quality frozen meals so you don’t have to worry about the cooking!
Offer to top-up their water/bring snacks when feeding
A mum who breastfeeds will become dehydrated and quite tired if she doesn’t stay hydrated and keep her energy levels up. If you’re around whilst she is feeding, offer her a glass of water and a snack. I know she will appreciate it! My husband was always on hand when on paternity leave, ready to top up my water and bring me plenty of biscuits! It’s an excuse for her to eat extra calories too…500 to be exact!
Offer to do any jobs that need doing around the house
In the first few weeks postpartum, there’s nothing worse than having visitors and having to clear up after them too. You’ll probably find that there are plenty of jobs that need doing from pre-labour. I know that I found having my parents stay at ours the night I had Joseph (to look after the cat!) really helpful. It meant we came back to a lovely, clean house. Gone were the dirty dishes we’d left in a panic when I went into labour! Ask them what would be most useful and do it. I know they’ll appreciate it tenfold.
Or ask them if they’d like the opportunity to do it (and look after baby for them)
Stay with me! For me personally, in the early days, there was nothing more I wanted than someone to just take the baby for an hour so I could give the house a quick clean! It sounds odd but I don’t function well when the house is upside down. It has to at least be tidy! So you never know, your friend or family member might be pining to do some cleaning themselves, so just ask. If they refuse, then you know what to do (see above!)
Take the baby for a walk and let them nap
Oh my gosh, the tiredness!! I’m still in the this stage of broken sleep in the night, as my baby is only 2 months old and I know that whenever someone is offering to take him so I can nap, I don’t refuse! In the first few days I really found this hard, so make sure you don’t force the naps on them. I didn’t want to leave Joseph as I felt like I was missing out or being a ‘bad mum’ for not being present for him all the time. I had to force myself to go upstairs and sleep, for both him and me. If I hadn’t napped, I would have been seriously flagging and would definitely not have been able to look after him properly. It’s so important to sleep, so remind them this. They may be in their newborn bubble like I was and think they can do everything! A few hours sleep might be all they need to re-boost and feel a bit more energised again.
Babysit so the parents can spend some quality time together
Joseph was about a month old when my husband and I first spent time away from him… it was only a few hours but it felt like longer! My parents offered to have him at ours while we went out for a meal for my Birthday. We went to the Ivy and had a wonderful time, however we spent most of our time talking about Joseph, wondering what he’s up to and if he’s ok! If you’re a parent you’ll understand! But quality time is so important for two new parents, so if you can offer them a few hours respite, even between feeds, I know they’ll appreciate it.
Feed the baby!
This one sort of goes in tandem with letting the parents nap. If the mum is not exclusively breastfeeding and has either expressed milk or formula feeds, then offer to do the feed for them. Again, don’t force it on them as this may be something they don’t want to give up yet or feel strange letting someone else do it, but if this means they get to rest for longer, then give them the opportunity to.
Encourage them to do something for themselves
It took me a month to finally get round to booking a haircut and eyebrow wax! They both majorly needed doing and I felt so much better after the appointment! I felt a bit more like myself again! Most new Mums get caught up in the newborn bubble and forget about their own needs. Of course this is highly understandable as they suddenly have a new life to look after which they’re learning about on the job, but its so important that they attend to some of their on needs too. A bit of self-care can do wonders. If you can offer to have the baby for them for a few hours, push them to book that hair cut they’ve been meaning to book, or why not book them a surprise massage? It doesn’t have to be for long but i know any amount of ‘me’ time will be appreciated!
Offer to accompany Mum on first outing with baby
The first outing in the ‘real world’ with a new baby can be daunting. I had my Mum with me when I first ventured out on the bus for the first time (I had been out before with my husband but in the car). It’s nice to have some support for the first time, so why not ask if they’ve been out yet and if they want you to come with them. I’m sure they’d love you to even if they already have been out with baby before! Most new mums love to be busy once baby has settled!
Don’t force advice
I know from experience that it’s not helpful if you force your own advice onto a parent. All parents need to find their own way in this world, so let them. Of course you can advise if you’re asked but please don’t impose. I know it won’t be welcome, even if they seem like they are accepting of it.