Let’s just say that my nesting instincts are strong because from basically the time I peed on a stick to the time Eli was born, I was in full-on baby preparation mode. I researched all the things. Bought all the things. Set up all the things. And now, I am realizing how many of those things proved to be completely irrelevant in the first few newborn months. For example, the crib? What crib? The bassinet? Used it for maaaaybe 6 hours. The stroller? He hated it for the first 4 months. I have, however, compiled a list of ten things that are actual must-haves for any new mom. It may not be your traditional list of “must-haves” but I’m realizing that I’m not that traditional anyways. Mamas to be, take note so you know what to really ask for. Friends and family of mamas to be, take more notes and make a new mama’s day.
1. A shower. She stinks. She’s wearing baby puke and old clothes. Offer to take the baby while she showers. (She
probably definitely will hear phantom baby cries the whole time so make an arrangement before-hand that you will knock on the door if the baby is actually crying. That way she may even relax enough to use shampoo annnnd conditioner. Mom win).
2. A shoulder to cry on. Being a mom to a newborn is hard work. It’s physically and mentally exhausting, her hormones are crazy and sometimes a new mom just needs to have a good cry. Pat her on her greasy head and tell her she’s doing a good job (then offer #1, 3 or 4… you really can’t go wrong with that combo).
3. Sleep. Duh. And ya, she’s heard “nap when the baby naps” 10,000 times, but it’s much easier said than done. So, just offer to take the baby while she rests.
4. All the food. I’m not sure what’s worse… pregnancy hunger or breastfeeding hunger. In both cases, the way to her heart is definitely through her stomach. My friends who brought us meals in the first few days will always have a special place in my heart. When hubs once came home with a chocolate bar I literally cried. Just feed the woman, k?
5. Friends. She needs friends who will come over when she needs company. And friends who will leave when she needs space. Friends that will come over in pyjamas because her husband had to go out and she’s scared to be alone with the baby (true story, happened to someone I know… 😉 But, for reals I cried every time hubs left for approximately 3 weeks after Eli was born).
6. An open-ended question. Ask her what she needs, what she reeeeeally needs, and then do it! Some mamas might need some prodding, she may be too proud to tell you that she really needs for you to wash the sheets or unload the dishwasher… but just ask.
7. Advice… NOT. Okay, I already said she is exhausted and her hormones are all outta whack… add onto that she is trying desperately not to mess up at being a mom and then some seasoned “pros” come on over with their expert advice which just feels like too much to handle. If she asks for advice, give it. If she wonders how you handled something, tell her. But for the looove, keep your tips, old wives tales and weird tricks to yourself. K, thanks.
8. A small gesture. Bring over a latte, text her a heart emoji, buy her some nipple cream (Lord knows she’ll need it!)… it doesn’t really matter what it is, but that small, little gesture can sure go a long way to making her feel seen and loved amidst her new reality of caring for a newborn.
9. Grace. She needs your grace in those first few months. She might forget your birthday, cancel plans at the last minute and forget to text you back, but she is trying her hardest to keep a newborn alive so just give her some grace as she figures out how to be a mom AND your friend.
10. Encouragement. Moming a newborn is hard. It’s a daily sacrifice. It’s waking up at all hours of the night, being covered in so many bodily fluids, and consistently putting a tiny human’s needs above your own. Just tell her that she’s doing a good job, that her mom bun game is on point, and that it actually does get easier. She might not believe it then, but it’s true.
There you have it… 10 things that new moms actually NEED. Big shout-out to my peeps who helped me through those first few months… my hubs AKA the most supportive man in the world, my mom who stayed with me through the all the tears in the first couple of weeks, and all my friends who called, texted, brought meals, delivered coffee, etc. Thank you!