It is no secret that the early post-partum days are extremely tough on new mothers.
Well. Kind of. It might not be a secret, but yet it has this amazing way of cataclysmically redefining her life whilst also simultaneously not being talked about enough.
Anyway, regardless of whether she knew it was coming or if it b*tch-slapped her right in the face…it really is not easy. That being said, it can be made slightly easier if she receives the right kind of post-partum care.
If you search the internet for ways to support or care for a new mother you’ll be spoilt for choice. The listicles are endless and will soon have you fantasising about popping over with a freshly baked lasagna to oooh and aaah at the new bundle of joy.
However, before you bring out the pasta sheets, here’s my take on a short guide of the dos and don’ts of new-mum care you might want to read.
Disclaimer: As always, what you’re about to read is purely my personal opinion, based upon my own experience as a new mother.
10 Dos & Don’ts of New-Mum Care
1. Contact Her: We live in the 21st century where communication is easier than it ever was before. Send her the text. Do not send it on a group chat. Do not pass on your regards through another friend, or the father of the baby. Send it to her.
2. Contact Her More Than Once: The first couple of nights at hospital will be intense. Her hormones will be all over the place, she’ll probably be alone with her newborn for long stretches of time. Send some more texts. Ask her how she’s doing. Keep this up.
3. Send A Congratulatory Card: This one doesn’t take much but it can mean SO much. I kept every single note or card we received when our little Kate was born. They reminded me that even though other people might be in different phases of life, they still took time to acknowledge the dramatic change to ours.
4. Do Not Send Packages By Post unless you are 100% sure that this package will be received with ease. The last thing a new mum wants is to have to drag herself and her newborn down to the post office to pick up a missed parcel, or to open the door to a postman requesting that you pay duty on a package shipped from another continent…or to have a delivery man call you whilst you’re at the hospital for a routine check up (4 days after you gave birth) demanding that you return home within ten minutes because he is delivering a cake that someone ordered you (#truestories).
5. Visit On Her Terms. Do not ask her to accommodate your schedule or your desire to avoid traffic. Visit when it’s best for her and baby. It will mean a tiny sacrifice on your part but it will make a big difference, believe me.
6. Do Not Overstay, Do Not Understay. Read the room. Is she lonely and needs company? Extend your stay a little. Is baby fussing/tired/hungry? Is she tired or hungry? Offer your assistance but know when it’s time to leave.
7. Bring Food. If your new-mum friend is breastfeeding chances are she is ravenous all the time. Bring healthy snacks she can eat, or a meal you know she loves. Avoid the junk food! Mama needs nourishing!
8. Wash Your Hands the minute you enter her home. Especially if you intend on holding the baby. Bonus points for the friends who actually bring a change of clothes. REMINDER: Your phone is probably the dirtiest thing you own, so avoid touching it if you’re going to hold the baby. DON’T show up if you’re not 100% well.
9. Offer Assistance. Laundry? Ironing? Groceries? Whatever it might be, she might need your help. Don’t be pushy and please don’t start tidying the minute you walk in. Offer help in small ways.
10. Don’t Forget Her. This might be the most important one. She might not look or act the same, but your friend is still in there somewhere. She’s trying to make sense of what’s going on…and is doing it all whilst sleep-deprived. Please don’t forget her…even though it might seem like she’s forgetting you. It’s not the time to be offended by her lack of texts, but it is the time to make an effort to text her more. It might be you one day, it might have been you once. Whatever the case, keep reaching out.
This might sound like a lot but in actual fact the new mother is probably the least ‘high-maintenance’ person you might ever meet. She fades into the background, holds it all in, pushes past the pain (physical, mental, emotional) and cares for another person, round the clock. She definitely does not expect the world to stop in its tracks because she’s had a child. But her world as she knew it has stopped, and you could help it get back up and start spinning again if you took a little time to make her feel a little seen.