Caring for a newborn and older children is a big job. Every mom can use a little help. Who will you help?
A Big Job
If you’re a mom of more than one child, you have experienced the challenge of taking care of yourself, a newborn, and your older children. There is nothing quite like being pulled in all directions, when you are exhausted and trying to recover yourself.
A newborn’s needs cannot be ignored, and those precious first days and weeks still need to be savored. And yet, the needs of older children are equally important and don’t go on pause when a baby is born.
It’s a big adjustment for the entire family.
One of my biggest downfalls is the inability to ask for help. I am almost hopelessly self-relaint, and determined to get things done on my own. Everyone else is busy, and has their own family to attend to, right?
While I realize not all of us are unable to unwilling to ask for help like me, many of us are. But one of the things I’ve been working on is accepting help when it’s offered. Honestly, I’ve been accepting ALL help offered, because we desperately need it.
We have been so blessed.
In the past 2 months since our third child was born, we have gratefully received help from family, neighbors and friends.
Help from others has been key to helping our family adjust and survive.
I’d like to share 10 of my favorite ways people have helped our family.
Every new mama and her family deserves to be blessed as we have been!
10 Practical Ways To Help A Mom With A Newborn and Other Children
1. Bring Food
Bringing a meal is a great way to bless the whole family.
Not a great cook? It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t have to be dinner. You could bring muffins or donuts for breakfast, sandwiches and soup for lunch, fresh fruit and veggies for healthy snacks, or dinner.
ALL will be appreciated and helpful. Remember to ask if the family has any food allergies before you shop.
2. Do Chores
Ask if you help around the house. If the mom you’re trying to help is like me, don’t take ‘No’ for an answer!
The answer may be “I don’t know.” A new mom’s brain is focused on her baby and family, not housework.
If nothing comes to mind, find something to do before you leave. Empty dishwasher, wash dishes, sweep or mop the floor, clean a bathroom, take out the trash, water the flowers, fold laundry, or mow the lawn.
Taking something off her plate will keep her from feeling like she can’t sleep when the baby sleeps.
3. Bless Older Children
Baby requires a lot of mom’s attention. This attention used to be spent on other children. It’s a big adjustment for older kids, and being pulled between her children can leave any mama feeling guilty.
One of the best ways to bless mom is to bless her children. Just show up! Play with them, take them on a walk, to the park, or out to lunch.
The kids will soak up the love and attention. Mom will know her children are being poured into while she focused her attention on baby.
Consider coming to lend a helping hand at dinner or bedtime (or both!). Babies are often fussy in the evenings and evening is also when mom is often in the most demand from other children.
4. Help Run Errands
A baby car seat in the shopping cart really hinders what can fit in the cart.
If mom can’t fit it all, she’ll have to do multiple trips per week, or struggle to pull a cart while she pushes the stroller. I can tell you from experience, neither option is a good one.
Offer to go to the store with her and push an extra cart. Then, help unload and put away groceries while she feeds the baby. Or, ask if you can run an errand for them.
5. Babysit for Doctor Visits
Taking older, healthy children to the pediatrician’s germ infested office for a healthy baby visit is almost guaranteed to produce a sick child within the week.
And, it’s hard to listen to the doctor or ask questions and have a conversation about any concerns with other children who need to be entertained, taken to the bathroom or told to stop touching everything.
It’s a real gift when you offer to watch older children for an hour while mom and baby go alone to the doctor.
Prayer for the new mom and family is a gift with eternal value.
Pray for a peaceful baby and household, for mom to heal quickly and fully after delivery, for baby to eat well, and for the whole family to adjust quickly.
Oh, and for sleep. Lots of sleep.
The family may never know you are praying if you don’t tell them, so bless them even more by letting them know you are faithfully lifting them up.
Instead of jumping in with advice, just listen.
Advice may be appropriate, but often, a new mom just wants to be heard. They want to know someone else knows what they are going through.
Don’t assume you know what they mean by things like ‘the baby never sleeps’ or ‘cries all day’. Ask questions to really understand so you can respond appropriately. Sometimes a new mom does needs advice, but some times they just need a hug or other practical helps.
When tired, and feeling overwhelmed, it’s easy for new moms to feel discouraged and inadequate.
After listening, share what you see mom doing well. If you know a new mom is struggling, send a text message or email. Call them often, whether they call you back or not.
Tell them you are proud of them, cheering them on, and praying for them.
My favorite words of encouragement have come recently via text. Family and friends have told me they were praying for me, and have shared scripture to encourage me.
Words are powerful! Use them!
9. Extend Extra Grace
When a new mom doesn’t call, text or email back, be ok with it.
They are tired and busy and you aren’t being singled out. If they are like me, they are investing in their older children or husband when they have a free moment.
Rest assured, normal communication will resume once they get their feet underneath them again.
Oh, and some sleep. Zombies can’t carry on coherent phone conversations. Be gracious, and don’t give up on them.
10. Car Pool
If your children are in the same activities, offer to give a new mom’s kids a ride to and from so the parents can have a little break.
OR, offer to go with the family and help load the kids in the car.
Cheering for the kids will give them a boost and mom will appreciate the company and help with logistics.
Now, go find a new mama to bless. She will be oh, so grateful.
What is your go-to way to help a new mom?
Bringing Home a Baby – 30+ Ways to Bless A Family, Faithful Moms
10 Ways to Support A Family With A Baby In The Hospital, Yummy Toddler Food
10 Ways to Really Help Someone Who Has A New Baby, Shelly Lopez-Gray,
MSN, RNC, IBCLC, Contributor, HuffPost Parents