If you are expecting a new baby or if you know someone who is, this post is for you! The birth of a new baby is just about one of the most exciting times, and should be celebrated! However, there are some rules for what is appropriate and what is not, what is super helpful, and what isn’t. As a mom who has been there, here are 5 great ways to celebrate a new baby. Make sure to share this with your expectant friends and family…
If you’d like to visit the hospital, make sure it’s okay with the family first. Labor and delivery is exhausting on everyone and unexpected visitors can be overwhelming. If the family is okay with you coming to the hospital, there are some things you should know..
- Don’t come if you are or have recently been ill. This is a no-brainer. New babies are at greater risk for illness and infection, so don’t even take a chance.
- Don’t stay too long. 15-20 minutes should suffice. Visitors are great, but exhausting. Come and say hi, hold the baby for a second, and be on your way. Mama is recovering and needs rest!
- Make sure to wash your hands. Before you hold the babe, be sure to wash your hands well. Most hospitals have a soap dispenser in the room, so use it!
- Bring a gift. (More on this below!!)
- Don’t ask weird questions or say weird things. Unless you are BFFs, don’t ask about the delivery, whether or not the mom had drugs, how the baby is nursing, etc. Don’t comment on how “weird childbirth is” or make jokes about it, (GUYS!) either. Both of those have happened to me and they didn’t make me feel too good.
Meals are crazy helpful during the first month or so of a newborn’s life.If you live close and are the cooking type, a homemade meal is the most glorious thing ever. If you live far away or don’t cook, send a gift card or deliver take-out.
- Make sure you are aware of any allergies or dislikes beforehand.
- Pack the meal in disposable containers so no dishes have to be cleaned.
- Think healthy + hearty. No junk or processed stuff. Mama is recovering and needs a well-balanced diet to support her breastfeeding efforts.
- Bring courses – a salad, an entree, and a dessert are all things a new mama would love to have for dinner. A pitcher of tea or a bottle of wine would be an extra treat!
- A snack basket is another thoughtful way to help out. A basket full of fruits, granola bars, trail mix, good juice, etc. would be AMAZING, especially for a mother who is nursing around the clock.
- Think about the big kids. If they have older kiddos, make sure you what you bring is okay for them, too.
Gifts are another great way to celebrate a new baby. Bringing a small something for baby, mama, or the entire family is a nice gesture and will be so appreciated.
- Go for unique instead of easy. This means instead of picking up some generic onesie from Target before you head over to meet the baby, head to your favorite local boutique downtown and pick up something handmade.
- Mamas deserve a little pampering, too. Consider gifting mom a new magazine, a bottle of nail polish, a nice thing of lotion, or even a meaningful card. Ever heard of a nursing basket? This is a fabulous idea for a new, breastfeeding mama.
- Bring something for the big kids. The hardest part of bringing home a new baby is helping the older children adjust. Bringing something for them would make their day! A great picture book, art supplies, or even a new movie would make those older siblings so happy.
- Bring “stuff” the family will need. Someone did this when my grandmother died and it was so nice. Things like dish soap, toilet paper, kleenex, milk – these are always things we seem to be running out of and having an extra stash would be so helpful.
If you are super close with the family, (like if you saw the new mom un-showered in a t-shirt, leaking breastmilk and she wouldn’t be freaked out) offer to help out. Don’t offer to help with the new baby unless she asks. New mamas want to spend time with their newborns. What they don’t want is to do laundry, wash the dishes, take out the trash, etc. Here are some ways you could help…
- Tidy up the house. Do a load of laundry. Clean the bathroom mirror. Load the dishwasher. These things take barely any time but will bless a new mama so much.
- Offer to do an errand or two for them. While you’re out, see if they need you to pick up anything from the store. Maybe they need something taken to the Post Office or picked up from the dry cleaner’s.
- Take the big kids to do something fun – go to the park, take them for pizza or to see a movie. Getting them out of the house can be a life-saver.
- Let mama shower. If she’ll hand the new baby over to you, let her take 10 minutes to shower while you read or rock or sing to the babe.
Lastly, make sure to check in with the family every now and then. It seems that after the first week or two, all the excitement dies down and the family is left to fend for themselves. Here are some ways to check in on mom and baby…
- Bring coffee. Text or call first to make sure they’re home, then bring mom’s favorite drink over and chat for 5-10 minutes. A friend of mine did this when Ingrid was just a baby and it was so touching.
- Send a text or email. A quick “Hey mama, how’s that sweet babe doing?” can mean the world to a mom who probably feels exhausted and a little overwhelmed.
- Invite them for a quick outing. No, don’t invite them for bowling and barhopping on a Saturday night. (They won’t want/won’t be able to go.) Instead, invite them for a walk in the park or a coffee date at the mall. Something easy and quick and that can be done with a newborn in tow.
- Spend a Friday night with them. Order pizza and bring wine to their place. Enjoy a game night or even a funny movie with the new parents. Mama can still nurse her little one and the new parents don’t feel like they are missing out on life with their friends.
The birth of a new baby is just about the greatest thing in the world, so make sure you celebrate well! Parents – what was the BEST thing that someone did for you after your babe was born? Am I missing anything?