So your friend just had a baby? Want to know what the best gift you can give is? YOU. Wrapped up in a bow, if you like. A good friend is essential for the postpartum period, and as any new mum will tell you, good friends cannot be store bought. Here’s a quick guide in how to help a friend who had a baby.
Aim to be the best visitor ever
This is not as easy as it sounds! Your friend just had a baby. Her life has changed beyond measure literally overnight. Her needs as your friend are a little different now, so before you visit, call her. Or text her, if you’re worried about waking the baby. However you do it, get in touch before you call round. And make sure that you arrange a day and time that suits her, not you. Other ways to be the best visitor ever:
- Ask her what you can bring to be useful. Yes, take a gift, but take something with a purpose too. A cake, perhaps. Or some busy packs to keep older kids entertained. Or some nipple cream if she needs it. Be useful!
- Bring food. Your friend may not have had time to go shopping, or she may be craving cupcakes without realising it. Bring your useful food items, and brings some frivolous food items too. It will all be appreciated.
- Check before you bring older children with you. Sometimes, the chaos of a new baby is enough for a new mum to cope with in one sitting, so either use your judgement or check first. If your friend has older children, your children might be welcome entertainment, but if they don’t they might be an unnecessary stress.
- Don’t stay too long. But be polite. Don’t dump your gifts and run! Spend some time with the baby (give baby back to mum if she cries!) and talk to your friend about how she is feeling, how baby looks like her etc. But be mindful of the time. Newborn babies are very time consuming, and tiring work too. Don’t add to the sleep debt by over staying your welcome.
Your friend just had a baby. She may want to tell you all about the birth- after all it was a HUGE occurrence in her life, and one that she will never repeat with that baby again. She may want to sound off to you, so listen. Don’t interrupt with your own stories. And on the other hand, she might not want to talk about it at all, so don’t go probing. Let her talk, and guide the conversation if needs be. Some women may find the whole birth/ postpartum hormonal hotbed a tad confusing and/ or emotional. Your friend might want you to stay and talk to her so let her know you are there- a shoulder to cry on and a friend to rely on.
When you see your friend, offer to take the baby while she takes a shower or a nap. Or offer to wash the dishes while she puts her feet up. Take the dog for a walk. Pick the kids up from school. Offer her specific things: “Shall I bring lasagne over? Shall I take the kids to the park tomorrow? ” etc. Be useful.
Forget your own worries for a while
Having a baby is enormous. And so are your worries, but try to keep a lid on them for the first visit or two. Your friend will be ready to listen and sympathise soon, but right now she is busy (and rightly so!) with her baby and you need to respect that.
Give her time
Your friend is likely to be very busy and a little sleep deprived for a few weeks or so. Or longer. You know how it is. So give her time. Text her, but await her response with patience. Don’t stop inviting her places either, just bear in mind that she may take a rain check. And allow for lateness too- babies take up a lot of your time when you’re getting ready to leave the house!
Don’t compare your baby to hers
It’s so hard not to! But try not to start your sentences with “My baby always used to…”
Don’t judge her
Too important. So what if you don’t co-sleep? If your friend has decided to do it, then do not judge her. She knows what is best for her baby.
What was the best thing your friend did for you when you had a baby?