So often I see excited friends and family visiting new parents in their hospital room. The visitors are so thrilled to finally hold that new baby they have waited so long to meet, that they seem to forget the new mother is even in the room. It is no joke having a baby, no matter what the delivery route, it's work and recovery for mom.
Here are some ways to really help new parents after the baby arrives.
FOOD! Bring food, snacks and drinks. Hospital food can be, well, not that great. Give Mom & Dad a boost of much needed energy by providing something you know they love to eat! The gift of food doesn't just happen in the hospital, there are many online meal train sites that can be set up for families. Friends can pick what day to drop of a ready made meal and it is very easy to use.
LAUNDRY! Wash, fold & put away any laundry that is lingering in the laundry baskets. This will give mom and dad time to bond as a family and will be much appreciated.
CHILDCARE! If this isn't the family's first baby, offer to come play with the older kids. Bring a new toy for big brother or sister, take them out for a walk or out for the day. Big Sis will feel special and the new parents can get some peace & quiet.
HOUSEKEEPING! Offer to make beds, vacuum, do the pile of dishes in the sink. What ever the chore, the new parents will be thankful for the help.
POSTPARTUM DOULA! So you thought Doulas were only for labor and delivery, well so did I. Nope, these wonderful people are available to you after delivery as well. Many postpartum doulas have training in other areas as well like breastfeeding, childcare, newborn care, and massage. Check with your local birth circle for reputable doulas and find one that fits with your needs. Many are available day or night. Doula service makes a great baby shower gift, so plan ahead and let the new parents know this is your gift to them so they can interview and hire the best fit for them.
PLACENTA ENCAPSULATION! Of course I couldn't over look this one! The best baby shower gift I received was the gift of placenta encapsulation. The only work I had to do was deliver the placenta and my family and certified placenta encapsulation specialist took care of the rest. I arrived home to my pills and instructions waiting for me on the counter. Yes, your father-in-law may get a funny look on his face when you ask him to be in charge of the placenta cooler (which is a very important job), but he will be happy to know he's helping you have a happy postpartum!
New parents are often excited and nervous, be patient, they are learning!