How to support new parents

written by Bella Drew 26 February 2018
support new parents

We’ve all been there’s (or are going to be there very soon) so I thought I’d talk a bit about how to support new parents, using our own experiences of new parenthood.

 

Do’s

24hrs notice-

Let them know in advance before coming round, don’t just drop in. If you can’t give 24hrs at least ask before showing up.

The first few weeks Conor and I lived in PJ’s and slouchy clothes because 1) we didn’t fancy going out anywhere in the rain with our little baby and 2) because we were so tired.

 

Offer to bring food –

So this one is so essential. Although we stocked up on postpartum freezer meals (which were super convenient and yummy) they only lasted about a week and we had no time to order our shopping online like we usually do.

When you have family over ask if they can bring dinner or lunch or even just pop to the shops beforehand and ask if you need anything before they visit. It will help out so much.

 

Ask before you do –

Ask before you pick up the baby, even if it’s with the best intentions don’t take away the decision from the mother.

 

Ask how mum is doing –

So everyone is guilty of this. Everyone comes round to see the baby but make sure you acknowledge the mum. Ask how she’s doing, Not “how she’s coping”.  Mum is just as important.

 

Ask if the parents want a nap whilst you watch the sleeping baby –

This would have been heaven, but no one offered or seemed keen. Disappointing.

 

Help around the house –

I know it takes 5 minutes to quickly wash up those few plates and cups, 3 minutes to hoover the lounge, 2 minutes to take the bins out.

Seriously why don’t family offer to help a new family out?

 

Don’ts

Compare to themselves or others –

Urgh, why do people do this? “I used to keep the house spotless when I had you” “oh thingy does things like this and it works better” blah blah blah…

Stop. Please. You’re not helping me or anyone. How is comparing me going to help?

Most new mums spend the first few weeks-months adjusting to their new life with a baby. They’re pretty fragile due to all the hormones going haywire in their bodies so don’t bring them down.

Just because I have a single load of washing on the floor ready to go in the machine or we have a few dinner plates not washed up because hey, we have a newborn to look after. The house is no longer a priority.  Our main concern is our little baby.

 

Judge their parenting –

Right so everyone has been here before, especially women. Thrown in at the deep end, no instructions, no lessons just handed your baby at the hospital and expected to take care of him/her whilst you haven’t got a clue. Also, you yourself are recovering, so not only do you have to learn about a newborn and all their needs, you have to learn about your new postpartum body and all the little aches, pains and weird things that it brings.

Don’t forget it’s their learning curve and mums and dads can do things differently.

There’s no one set way to breastfeed. No set way to burp a baby. Everyone knows to support the head and to wipe front to back. Seriously, new parents don’t need to be doubted.

 

Don’t ignore hunger signs –

So it’s difficult to tell when a baby is hungry, but most people know that if they chew their hands, suck with their mouth that they’re hungry. This is mainly a problem when breastfeeding, as anyone can give the baby a bottle but breast is a little more difficult.

Now Primrose is very impatient and I struggled with breastfeeding during the first week so getting her latched on before she started screaming and kicking up a fuss was essential. People used to be having a cuddle, see the hunger signs and ignore them even though I mentioned that she’s hungry and hoovered to get my point across they ignored me and her and continued to cuddle her.

 

Don’t forget to wash your hands –

This one speaks for itself. Stay hygienic around a new baby.

 


Obviously, every family is different but for us, these were our main pet peeves.

What advice would you give to support new parents?

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