Anytime you add a new child to the mix, there’s a period of adjustment for the whole family, and having someone step in to offer help is hugely appreciated. When Ani was born, I was intensely grateful for all the friends who were quick to lend a hand in various ways.
Here are a dozen ways you can help out someone who’s just welcomed a second (or third or fourth!) child:
12 Ways to Help Out a Second-Time Mom
These are the things I found most helpful. Leave your suggestions in the comments – I’d love to hear them!
Take the older child
I asked on twitter and this was by FAR the most popular response. Not having to worry about the older child for a couple hours makes all the difference in the world.
Bring a meal
By the end of the day, getting dinner on the table is a pretty enormous task when you have a new little one. Everyone appreciates dinner being brought over.
Run an errand
Leaving the house with two children can be daunting at first. Call and ask what errands you can help with, whether dropping off library books, mailing a package, or returning something to the store.
Take along the older child
If you have kids yourself and are going to the park or storytime, offer to take along her oldest child. My toddler was SO glad to get out of the house and go to some of our standard places. And I was glad for her to come home tired and happy.
Come by (announced!) for a visit
With my first child, I didn’t want a lot of visitors, but after my second child, when I was home all day with a child to entertain and I couldn’t nap any time my baby slept, I was SO happy for someone to come talk to me.
Bring some snacks
If you’re not much of a cook, this is a really helpful thing. Nursing made me SO hungry and this time around, I had a toddler who needed feeding too. A box of easy, nutritious snacks was a lifesaver!
Take both kids for a walk
Load the baby up in a stroller and let the older child walk – they’ll come back worn out from the fresh air and it gives Mom a few minutes home alone. No fussing with carseats, and you are just a few steps away if the baby really freaks out.
Watch both kids for two hours
Most babies can go two hours between feedings pretty quickly, so watch both kids for 90 minutes or two hours and let the parents go get a quick dinner together.
Make an activity kit
In the early days of a new baby, there just isn’t a lot of time for playing with your older child — a few simple activities he or she can do alone will be a life-saver while you rock the baby or prep a bottle or change a diaper.
Drop off some groceries
Grocery shopping seemed a huge hurdle the first few weeks, so I was really grateful for friends who dropped off basics like a gallon of milk or dozen eggs so I could postpone that first outing (which was MUCH less difficult than I’d anticipated) a few weeks longer.
Entertain the older child
When my mom came to stay after Ani was born, the most helpful thing she did was play endless hours of bingo and Candyland with my older daughter so I could shower, nap, and nurse in peace.
Drop off freezer meals
Whether they are homemade or from the freezer section of the grocery store, having a stock of quick dinners on hand gives me a huge sense of relief that, if I don’t get around to making dinner, we won’t starve and we won’t have to leave the house.