Stop Saying This to New Moms
Updated: Dec 28, 2019
Stop telling new moms to let you know if they need anything
You know what I’m talking about.
When someone has a new baby everyone always says “You just let me know what I can do to help.” But usually, no one ever calls asking for that help. It’s an empty promise that you know she won’t take you up on. It’s easy to blurt that out at every new mother because it sounds really great and helpful. The problem lies in the fact that we don’t have to take any action on it. I mean, you told her to let you know, she didn't, and so you’re good. You’re in the clear. Your social obligation to offer help is complete, and you can move on with your day.
But what if we changed that social obligation to a real one?What if we put ourselves out there just a little bit. Sacrificed our comfort zone, to directly benefit another human being… Still with me? Keep going, it’ll all come together, promise.
Instead of saying “Let me know…”
We just say, “Should I bring dinner on Tuesdays or Thursdays?” “What time does your dog normally need to go for a walk?” “What type of laundry detergent do you use? I’ll bring a jug and start a load on my way home from work.” “Do you like dry or sweet wine?” These questions each have a follow-up action, they hold you accountable. You aren’t going to ask these things and then not do anything afterward. Train yourself to ask these, and other similar service-based questions when a friend has a new baby.
Oh and another thing… Going to her house to “visit” and see the new baby is great, you’re totally allowed to do that, but do something useful while you are there. The mom usually doesn't need you to hold the baby for her so she can get things done, she wants to snuggle her baby while YOU get things done. If she looks like she needs a shower, that may be an appropriate time to hold the baby so she can go freshen up. Other than that, hold the baby for a few minutes, then do a chore, then leave so she can bond.
Moms who have REAL postpartum support have less PPD (Postpartum Depression), have higher rates of breastfeeding success, and are less likely to lose their ever-loving minds (true fact).
Mothers need to be brought nutritious meals in bed, given massages, treated like the queens they are. Yet what do we do? “Let me know…”
She isn't going to let you know, she doesn't want to bother you or disrupt your daily life. If you really care about her or her mental well-being you won’t ever say that phrase again, it’s lava, don’t let it touch your tongue!
You have the power to influence her early parenting success. If you have kids of your own, think back to when they were first born, how many people came to visit, and how many of those people actually did anything useful for you? What if you could look back and say “Wow, everyone just swooped in and took care of everything, all I had to do was feed and bond with my baby, it was so relaxing.”
We put so much pressure on new moms to perform, to be the best, live in a Pinterest worthy home, cook gourmet meals, have kids who behave like saints and get back to their pre-baby body in record time. What if we started putting a value on how much time they were able to snuggle with their baby right after birth? Doing lots of skin to skin, and getting to know their baby on a deeper level, creating a strong bond, and allowing her motherly instincts to kick in.
When it really comes down to it, in 20 years when the baby is grown and gone, will she really care that on a random Wednesday, when her baby was 9 days old she had dishes in her sink, and the floor needed to be swept? Will she really remember that and be bothered by it, or will she think about that Wednesday when her baby was 9 days old, her best friend came to visit, casserole in hand, and while it warmed up in the oven she cleaned the kitchen without judgment, then sat and had a real conversation with her.
You can change things, let it start with you. Someone else will notice what good care you take of postpartum mothers and they will want to do the same. It can make a huge difference in your community to adjust the standards for new moms.
Below I’ve given you 25 things you can do that will help a newly postpartum mother.
1. Bring a meal, any meal, but ask about food preferences first! 2. Empty all the trash cans in the house and take it out.
3. Do a full load of laundry while you are there, and then leave. 4. Do a load of dishes, if you don’t know where something goes, just guess. 5. Sweep the common areas of the house.
6. Mow their grass.
7. Do a quick once over in the bathroom, while you pretend to pee. 8. Bring a small gift for any older siblings. 9. Offer to take older siblings on a day trip, or overnight if they are comfortable with it. 10. Wine, always bring wine. 11. Organize their shoe rack. 12. Pick up older children's toy area. 13. Buy mom a gift certificate for a postpartum massage, redeemable when she chooses. 14. Go eat with her on your lunch break. 15. Send her a card or gift card if you are too far to visit in person. 16. Pay for a maid service, that she can use when she’s ready. 17. Make several freezer meals for her.
18. Ask her for her grocery list next time you go for yourself, drop them off and put them away for her.
19. Ask if she needs any other errands ran out of the house that you can help with. 20. Clean out her fridge. 21. Vacuum the floor if it won’t disturb the baby. 22. Take pictures of her with baby, send them to her and then delete them so she knows you aren't posting them to social media. No matter how she thinks she looks, she will cherish them later. 23. Bring her a fancy glass water bottle to encourage her to stay hydrated. 24. Detail her car.
25. Find the hot spot or catch-all place in the house and put everything where it goes.