mother with newborn tired wallpaper

10 Ways to REALLY Help Someone Who Has a New Baby – by Shelly Lopez Gray (Registered nurse)

mother with newborn tired wallpaperI would have given a kidney if someone would have done any of these things for me after the birth of my second child. To the people who brought my family food while I was so busy with my baby, you will never know the full extent of my gratitude!

1. Take their other kids somewhere.

Anywhere — just get them out of their house. It’s so much harder when you have to tend to a new baby and to your other kids. So take out her other children as often as you can!

2. Bring food.

And I mean food that comes in a disposable pan or food that you can dump in a crock pot. Do not bring anything that she’ll have to wash and worry about getting back to you. If you just don’t cook, bring paper plates and silverware… so if she’s forced to cook for herself, at least you’ll help her minimize how many dishes she has to clean up.

3. Fork over the money for a stranger to clean the house.

Best. Gift. Ever. But you have to pay for someone else to come clean their house, you can’t be the one to do it. There is no way in hell I’d feel comfortable watching a friend clean my house and sort my dirty laundry. Or put things away in my drawers. Who knows what they’d find! But I wouldn’t feel guilty lying around in my pajamas, nursing a new baby, while watching a stranger clean up my hot mess.

4. Watch their baby while they take a nap.

Before coming over, you have to say… I’m going to come over to watch your baby while you sleep. It doesn’t work if you just show up and say you’re going to do it, because then she’ll play the “oh-no-I’m-fine” game.

5. Recognize signs of postpartum depression.

Although it’s common for women to have “Baby Blues,” it can quickly turn into postpartum depression. If you begin to notice that a new mom does not really want to take care of herself or her baby, encourage her or her family to seek additional help. Be on the lookout for telltale signs that moms might need a little extra help.

6. Get them out of the house.

Sometimes both mom and baby just need to get out of the house. Find a way to encourage everyone to get some fresh air, even if it’s just to take a walk around the neighborhood.

7. Be extra attentive if their baby has any sort of issue.

I once watched a friend’s baby who had really bad reflux. After watching her all day, I thought, “There is no way her mom doesn’t need more help than she’s letting on.” Her baby was so much work! So if a baby has any other issue that makes him or her a little harder to handle, try to go out of your way to help — mom and dad may really need it!

8. Go to the grocery store for her.

Or watch her baby while she goes to the grocery store. I really enjoyed this after I had my baby. I spent two hours at the store once, and when I came home, my friend was like, “and you only came back with two things?!?” But it was so nice just walking around a familiar place with no one to feed or hold…

9. Make a sign for their door that says “Baby Sleeping.”

It never fails… you just put the baby to bed and FedEx or UPS or your neighbor comes over and rings your doorbell, waking up the baby. I always wanted to make a sign, but somehow, I never got around to it. I can’t count how many times I’ve given someone the evil eyeball for just ringing the doorbell. Somewhere out there, there’s a group of Girl Scouts that will never knock on my door again…

10. Always come with a package of diapers or wipes.

Let’s be honest — our kids don’t need more cute clothes! But you know they’re going to go through those diapers like they’re not $23 a box. A less expensive alternative? Bring wipes! You end up using them for everything from wiping a baby’s bottom to wiping up a spill in your car to wiping the makeup off your own hand when you’re in a hurry and can’t find your foundation brush. Always a useful gift!

Until my next delivery ♥


Author Bio:

Shelly Lopez GrayShelly Lopez Gray is a registered nurse behind the blog Adventures of a Labor Nurse: the Highs and Lows of Labor and Delivery. She writes about the secret (good) work of nurses and provides information for women before, during and after their pregnancy as well as resources for nurses for professional growth and development. She works in the Houston Medical Center and in a suburb of Houston. Shelly volunteers teaching prenatal classes to women at a pregnancy crisis center and provides breastfeeding information to mothers at a teen clinic. Shelly is dedicated to the health of moms and babies and genuinely believes that every nurse has the potential for greatness.

Find Shelly on Facebook.


79 comments

  1. A friend of mine had maid service when she had her third child. Her family chipped in and paid for two months of cleaning. It was such a blessing. Best gift ever. She could concentrate on her new baby and give time to her four year old twins. One of the best parts was when they slept so could she. With her twins she would take advantage of that time to clean which as we mothers know means no sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Shelley, this is the greatest post EVER for new mothers and/or new parents in general! I have been doing all I can to be there for my daughter-in-law who recently gave birth to preemie twins, but I can say it is not nearly enough! She asks for nothing, yet is overwhelmed in baby care. I thank God for friends who have ordered frozen delivery meal services, her mother who helps often with the ‘older’ 17 month old and my son who seems to be “Superman.” Still, it’s all I can do to try to keep up with house, laundry & loving my grand-babies in order to give this deserving & nursing mother a nap, a trip to the store or a breath of fresh air. How I wish there were more ‘troops’ to call in! Bless you for helping to get the word out, Shellie! ❤️

    Liked by 4 people

    1. What a lovely Mother in law! You make me feel quite envious, even though my mother in law lives in the same city we only see her 3 times a year – kids birthdays and Christmas! And when we have asked if she can baby sit she wants to be paid! My own excellent parents dont live in the same city but they see and look after the kids more than what she does! School holidays they pay for the eldest to fly unaccompanied to them to spend time with him and in 2 years the other one can do the same! But we have no one else in the same city to look after our kids for x amount of time. All our friends have kids as well so dont like asking, as they already have enough on their plates! We havnt been on a ‘date’ in 6 years!! Wish there were more mother in laws like you!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, that means so much to me! My parents and my in-laws were the same. Never, ever babysat. Perhaps it was because they both had lots of kids, I truly wanted to be the grandma for my own grandchildren that my children never had. Our grand-babies are so very special to me and I love them more than ever could have imagined. I know that my sons and daughters-in-law do appreciate everything me and my husband do. We are as lucky as they are, probably more so! Hopefully, your situation will get better in the future with your mother-in-law, and thank God for your own dear parents. Sadly, in the end, it is the children who really miss out on how special grandparents can be. So sad for them. Hang in there, and perhaps reach out to your mother-in-law with an offering for lunch or tea (no strings attached). Hard to take the ‘high road,’ I know, but sometimes necessary. I wish you many blessings and all good luck.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thankyou so much, sadly I tried the high road a long time ago, and have since just given up, you cant make people want to spend time with you, and in the end she is really missing out, its not just our kids that get it but my brother in laws too, who are a lot older and have started making jokes saying things like ‘nana who?’ But I also know it really hurts them too when they dont get birthday phone calls or things in the post. Oh well at least they have a fun Aunt! 😀

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I am Sooo sorry and can relate. Sadly, I actually remember my six year old asking me when I tucked him into bed one night, “Is Nana ‘X’ still alive, Mama?” Broke my heart. So right you are! Look how much they miss in life? On both sides. We do try to ‘cover’ for them, but it’s hard for everyone. Sad for the children. 😢

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  3. As a single childless friend I’d like to add Please just tell me what you need/ want when I offer to help. It is frustrating and embarrassing to learn my good intentions made more work for you. When I offer to help it really is about my being a friend trying to make things easier for you, not about you “letting me feel helpful.” Just be honest with what you do and don’t need/ want from me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, this! Even someone who has had children may not know what you personally want. I have friends who just wanted to be left alone with their babies for a while. I, on the other hand, would want to cry anytime a friend left my house after an extremely brief visit. I just wanted company! I learned to communicate this with my second baby, and everything went a lot better.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi there. I loved reading this article! It was very helpful! And now that I’m about to have my own baby, I totally understand this. I wish I would have bought to bring a pack of diapers or wipes when I would visit friends and their new baby. I do have to say, I had to get past the first line of your article, though. I say this for a few reasons. My brother had several several people say they would get tested to see if they were a kidney donor match and literally all but 2 people followed through. It was really tough on me and my family to hear that as it came across wrong when my family/brother needed hope he could get that life saving kidney. I later found out this was true of another kidney failure patient I watched go through the process. The opening comment just comes across insensitive when you say you’d give your kidney. It just sounds tossed around flippantly. You can totally delete my comment after reading this. I just wanted you to know since I very well might not be the only person that feels this way. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I donated a kidney 13 months ago and also reacted at the first line. My reaction was somewhat different: I read it as “donating a kidney is an extreme thing to do.” And I think that emphasis is wrong. Yes, it’s a major surgery for the donor, and no, not everyone can do it, but implying that it’s a huge sacrifice does a disservice to all the people waiting for a transplant.

      Like

  5. These are good tips for any new parent. As a foster parent, almost all of these things apply when we get a new placement…infant or bigger kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great blog and so true, I would add one more thing to the list. Clothes washing. That was something our mothers did for us which was such a help too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I found a delivery service that sends disposable diapers, your choice, and baby wipes, again your choice, for a year for my daughter on the birth of my first grandson….You get twelve deliveries, when you call them. They loved it!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can’t afford to pay someone to clean my house let alone pay someone to clean a new mothers house but I can offer to help with new Mom with chores. I should also be able to visit without showing up with diapers and wipes. I couldn’t afford to have a third child, why should I pay to diaper someone elses child. Rotten, greedy advice.

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    1. Hi Mary,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Perhaps, with these types of ‘advice’-based articles, we can extract what is useful to us and discard the rest?

      Kind regards, Mike.

      Like

    2. I’m fairly certain there were lots of different types of advice, and all of them were good. Mary, you’re just coming across as bitter. Yes, it’s great that you can offer to help, and that works for you as long as it works for the new mom. Some new moms just want company — that was me — and I was thrilled when people came by, as long as they called first. No one is saying you have to spend money. Do you really read everything on the internet and expect it all to apply to you?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I admit for some of this advice I totally agree with you (I am about to have my first child and would never expect my friends to always show up with wipes, diapers, etc.). However, when I read the title of the article – how to REALLY help someone … – I read it as advice for the people who are always asking HOW they can help, but don’t know what to do, and often people aren’t always great at communicating their needs, especially if they feel they would put anyone else out. Obviously all these things would be extremely helpful, and if I, or anyone else were lucky enough to have even one of these things done for me I would be so so grateful. i don’t think it was meant to come off as rotten or greedy, but again, I can see how it could.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Perhaps you could try reading this as the list of possible suggestions it is clearly intended to be, rather than as a list of “must-do to be a good friend” commandments. If you have friends who expect you to spend money you don’t have, they shouldn’t be your friends. For people who DO have the money, those are nice things to do – how much would it have meant to you if your friends who had the financial ability had done that for you? If you don’t, no one is suggesting that makes you a bad friend. Do something else from the list – like watch the baby while mom takes a nap or runs some errands, or do some of the errands for her. That’s free and at least as helpful as anything else on the list. What it DOES say is don’t do things like heavy cleaning and laundry yourself (and I will add unless you are a very close friend and know she’d be comfortable with that that) because that becomes awkward. Now, what would perhaps not be awkward for some new moms would be to get a group of friends together and tell the new mom “we are taking care of the cleaning, you just sit and enjoy this cup of tea or a nap or a hot shower or whatever” … somehow then it becomes a party instead of watching someone doing your chores for you. That said, I personally cannot think of a single person on my list of friends I would want doing my dirty laundry for me. Other cleaning and baby laundry would be fine – washing my dirty underwear? heck no. The key is to figure out what will help THAT mother. Not everything on this list is right for every mom or for every well-meaning friend (and not just for financial reasons). As another example, not all moms want a ton of throw away stuff – there are still moms who use cloth diapers and care about not filling a landfill all by themselves in the first year of their child’s life. That there are things that don’t fit everyone doesn’t mean it’s not a good list of ideas.

      That said, new moms: LEARN TO ASK FOR WHAT WILL HELP!!! There is nothing more frustrating than trying to be helpful and realizing you made things worse. Don’t expect your friends to be mind readers. Obviously, you can’t ask for gifts, but you CAN say “is there any way you could watch the baby so I can just take a walk?” Don’t ask the friend who hates kids to play with your tantrumy 2-year-old, but within the parameters of common sense, just ask! If I offer and you say “thanks, but I’m fine”, my assumption is that you don’t want my help for whatever reason. If that’s not the case, answer differently. “I’m okay if you can’t, but it really would be helpful if you could …” for example.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like to give new moms the gift of a long shower. I can remember trying to wash both shampoo and conditioner out of my hair at warp speed because I thought my firstborn was crying. I wish I had thought to ask someone to spell me for a shower 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Um, this is actually terrible advice as they are not linking many pertussis cases to the pertussis vaccine. You should never give medical advice if you are not a doctor.

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      1. My son’s doctor didn’t want anyone caring for the baby without an up-to-date vaccination. His friends had received the same instructions. Of course everyone should consult their own doctor for medical advice.

        .

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  10. Also, this should be common sense but DO NOT VISIT A NEWBORN IF YOU ARE SICK. I literally had a family member come over who had the flu. I mean, how stupid can you be. If you have the sniffles or a cough stay away. Also, before you pick up the baby wash your hands! I organized a meal train for my friend when she had her baby and she loved it. Instructions were to drop off the food at a specific time, give a hug and kiss and leave. Visits are better when Mom has a little time to recover.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is for all those that entered negative comments: for Gods sake lighten up! Do you just look for bad things to write? Are you that miserable of a person that you have to put others down? Sure glad not to know you. These people were just trying to offer GOOD advice in hopes of making someone else’s life better, or many this is foreign to you. You have a nice day now.

    Like

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  13. My Mom offered to pay for a housecleaning, but found it was actually about the same price to buy a Roomba instead. I’ve used it for 3 years, while that one housecleaning would have been long gone. It vacuums for me while I’m doing other things. Best gift ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. How about keep visits short? I always have issues with people who shall not be named staying forever. I have to go hide in the next room because I’m not a good nurser (even three babies later) and it’s SUCH a pain. I don’t really want to feel like a hostess when I’m so exhausted.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. These are good suggestions for a lot of moms. But I feel a lot of separation anxiety in the first weeks postpartum so neither 1 nor 4 would be helpful to me and would actually offend me and my mama bear hormones.

    Like

  16. She also may be still recovering physically … I remember having some dear ladies come and visit and sit down for a quick chat.. I could not sit down yet due to stitches, but felt obligated to sit with them so I sat anyways and oh the pain!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on theraineyview and commented:

    We always want to help when a friend is learning the ropes of caring for a newborn, but how often do we know what to do? It’s always good to know what someone would really appreciate.

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  18. Excellent suggestions. My wife chose to end her career and be a stay-at-home mom (a much higher calling) and later home schooled our kids. I cannot possibly express my admiration for her sacrifice for our children. She needed someone to do some of these things and seldom received any help. People too often ask ‘Why doesn’t someone do something?’ Aren’t YOU someone? Is not this the type of sacrifice and service believers have been called to? Please make the difference that only you can.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Good heavens, I had two sons born 12 months apart, I had no maid worked half day no family or friends to help me with the youngsters, a useless husband, I did everything cooked meals washed ironed and even tended my garden.
    I survived, and didn’t complain once. What is wrong with the woman today they are just dam lazy,
    Just get on with it ………….

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    1. That certainly sounds like a complaint to me LB.
      Most of us would survive, but sometimes its nice to help. Maybe if your friends had some pointers, they would have been able to help you better.

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    2. I was thinking something similar. Not entirely as much as you said, but one lady commented saying it takes a community to raise a child…. uhm no it doesnt. And it shouldnt. I dont want other people raising my children for me. Thats my job, and it definitely doesnt take that many people to do it and do it well. Im a single mother, had no friends because i just moved to a new state. Was working and had a one year old when i had my youngest daughter, and i was just fine. To be honest i dont like other people watching my children because people cant be trusted. Secondly i dont like people cleaning my house for me because then when i need something in a hurry i cant find it, or i have to sit there and tell the person where everything goes and its just awkward and seems like the same amount of effort to just do it myself. Women in africa (some parts) literally squat, have their baby, put it in a sling and go back to what they were doing ), they are awesome and strong independent women and they dont need people to do things for them. Im sure it would be nice for someone to help them but they also recognize that they dont need it. And i think the same should be said in this list, that getting help is not something you should rely on to be a good parent. Some of you understand this, but im sure theres a good portion of people who read this and get angry that their friends never did things for them because this article does easily come off as what friends should do, rather than what friends might be interested in doing.

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  20. I have done every single thing on this list n lol! She couldn’t even give a toss! Laughing at my own stupidity! Ha bloody ha!

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  21. Thank you for the post. Here, we usually have family members helping out for the first few weeks if we don’t have a helper. I’ll certainly do as you suggested the next time a friend gives birth. It’s always a wonderful feeling to be offered help and to help out.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Agree with all of these…

    Except for the notes on #2. As a nation (and as a global population) the pollution we collectively cause through the use of disposable consumer goods is horrendeus. If we want a good life rich with engaging opportuntiies for our future generations (i.e. our children – what this article is about) we really need to encourage sustainable actions even during times of stress and difficulty.

    Like

  23. From experience…and lots of it ( a mother of 4, a (young) grandmother of 5 and a registered nurse) I would advise 1. Cook a few meals. 2. Entertain the older siblings, if any. Either by taking them out or in the home.3. Let mom take a nap and offer to make her a good cuppa. 4. Offer to take siblings to school and collect. 5. Be available if possible, either by phone or proximity. 6. Babysit while mom goes to the shop/hairdresser etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hmm…call me old fashioned but this list is ultra needy….like duh you have a newborn what do you expect? Sleep filled nights,a clean house, anything other than take out, or some frozen meal? Women yearn and yearn for babies…spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on them and then as soon as they’re born expect the queen treatment…..the queen treatment happens when ur pregnant…after you give birth go and be a mom, embrace a little bit of sleep, some dirty dishes,and having to take your kids everywhere…..i was never asking for stuff like this…..except someone to watch my oldest when she couldn’t go to the NICU other than that….i managed…..why? because that’s motherhood managing. So many women don’t know how to do this anymore…….because of lists like these.

    but again…i guess I’m old fashioned…..

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  25. It seems to me that this list is for those of us who would like to help but don’t know what to do. It is not a list of things a new mother should expect or ask for. None of my friends expect queen treatment and would never ask for these things. They plug on through sleepless nights, caring for hyper 2 year olds, living in messy houses. However, I, as a woman without children, love having ideas of things I can do for my my friend who just had her second child and another who will do so in July. I would not think of these things on my own because I have no idea what it is like to be a new mother. I don’t feel obligated to take my friend diapers or wipes but I plan to do so the next time I see her.

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    1. I think the reason its being upsetting for some people, is that nowhere in the article does it say, suggestions, or thoughts and ideas, it just gives a list of things to do. AND she even compared her desire for these things to giving up a kidney. It puts a lot of pressure on people to read these things and think that its something they need to be doing. When theres nothing in here that even hints at the idea of the new mom being ok if these things dont happen. If that makes sense.

      I am physically disabled and took care of my newborn all by myself whilst having a one year old and working and being a single mother. And i wouldnt trade that, the process of raising your children is supposed to be done by you, its what gives it meaning and helps you realize the blessings and little things. And its a way to build that bond between you and your child, by sacrificing your sleep, etc. Everyone knows thats what happens going into pregnancy, but yet a lot of women complain and expect others to help them non stop. And this list doesnt do much for making new moms more independent, it kind of instills the idea of needing these things that are hard for them, when in reality its all a process. The hard times now are preparing you for the harder times and for the better times. You have to experience it all to be able to truly understand what it takes to be a mother.

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  26. These are awesome ideas. Having gone through being a new mom, I totally get the items on the list. I was so grateful when some friends from church came over to watch my daughter while I slept. I pumped so that they had milk to give her should she wake up while I was asleep. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift at that time seeing as I was COMPLETELY sleep deprived.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. One of my closest friends has given birth to her first child this week and I want to be as helpful as possible (I don’t have my own kids so I can’t really think from experience as to what I’d like someone to do for me), so this is really useful find and great read!

    Liked by 1 person

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