I asked on Instagram what kinds of post-partum posts you’d like to read and so many of you said you’d like some tips for friends and family of newborns (and their parents). 2 months into life with our little love means we have had lots of family and friends over to visit and have been SO well looked after. So, here are the best things you can do to support a new family (and a few things to avoid) particularly when visiting…
What can you bring?
We were fed and watered for over a month when Baby B arrived and it was SO lovely. I know meeting such a basic need can feel unimportant but trust me, we’re operating on pretty basic levels! Bring a meal (with instructions if it needs heated etc) or some ‘grabbable’ snacks and you’ll be loved forever.
Something for baby –
Baby B is kitted out for the next year of his life thanks to kind folks who brought clothing! Parents will probably have clothes for the first couple of months covered, so buy something for when the baby is older (and be mindful of seasons! I’ve definitely bought summer clothes in 6-9 months for a baby born in July. Oops.) If clothes aren’t your thing, ask the parents if there’s anything they need: for example, we only realised we could use a white noise machine after a few weeks.
Something for mum –
If you’d like to buy something for the new mama, nice jammies or cosy slippers are great comfort during the night shift – and things like fancy face wipes or pretty pants will make us feel a little more human while being super necessary! Little luxuries are great, too. We are surrounded by functional things (and can feel very ‘functional’, too!) My mother-in-law brought me my favourite flowers the other day which was such a treat.
Timing is everything
Parents of newborns are operating on little/zero sleep (depending on the day!) and are trying to work their new life out which takes time. They also need time to bond together as a new unit. They will absolutely love seeing you and showing off their new addition – just make sure you time it right. Text/call before visiting to arrange a good time to pop in and don’t stay too long. Be sensitive to cues like a fussy baby and anxious/drowsy parents!
When my friend Charlotte visited she headed straight to the kitchen having taken our drinks order. New parents may be on top of this but if you aren’t offered a cuppa, feel free to make one yourself (and bonus points for doing the dishes you see lying around while the kettle boils – thanks, mum!)
Wait until you’re offered a cuddle
It’s a biological instinct for parents to want to protect their babies in this big new world. And little tinies who are just out of the womb need familiarity and warmth in their ‘fourth trimester’ – they’re also constantly needing fed/burped/changed etc – so while cuddles are lovely, always wait til they are offered to you. Thankfully this hasn’t happened to us, but friends have found visitors taking their babies from their arms…a big no-no!
Tell us we’re doing a good job
Particularly for us first-timers, there is so much learning to be done that we can sometimes feel like terrible parents (“what do you MEAN I need to file his nails already?!”) Now’s not the time to question our parenting/feeding/sleeping choices: tell us we’re doing a good job and it’ll sound like a symphony to our uncertain ears.
Bring the world in
Talk to us about your life and what’s happening in the world. It’ll remind us of the bigger picture and help us to feel a little more normal. My uncle came over today and we giggled about our mutual guilty pleasure, Derry Girls: *sometimes* laughter is better than an hour’s sleep!
If you’re a parent, what else did people do that helped support you in those early days? Would love to hear!