On Thursday, my cousin and my best friend welcomed their first baby into the world, a darling baby girl named Ava. Despite being pregnant, my best friend did all she could to support me and help out during my pregnancy and in the early months after Sophie was born and so this weekend, I’ve been thinking about all the kind gestures I really appreciated, some of which I hope to do myself with my friend. I thought I’d share some of these with you all…
Feed Your Friend – In the early days, feeding your baby and getting precious sleep will become priorities and so feeding oneself is never high on the ‘to do’ list. Preparing a meal will help your friend immensely. Frozen meals are great (think soups, pasta dishes, casseroles, pies etc.) but fresh salads and the like are welcomed too. I’m also planning on making our friends a batch of Lemon Slice which can be frozen and is quick to defrost so that they have something on hand to offer with a cuppa should any visitors pop in unexpectedly. Bringing over lunch for your friend is also a great idea.
Just Do It – When you do visit your friend, don’t ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you out?” Your friend will either be too tired to think, or too polite to answer. Look around and take action yourself. If there’s washing on the line, bring it in and fold it. Dishes in the sink? Pop them in the dishwasher or wash them by hand. Find the vacuum cleaner and do a quick whip around while your friend is feeding her newborn. Trust me, all these gestures will be greatly appreciated.
Message Don’t Call – Phone calls can be difficult with a newborn. Your friend will either have the phone off the hook in an attempt to avoid waking up bub, be pre-occupied when the phone rings or have limited time to actually talk. Messages are much easier to respond to. Don’t expect a reply straight away though. I often replied to my messages when I was breastfeeding in the middle of the night as I found it helped keep me awake. I’d just save them under ‘Drafts’ until the next morning when I could send them at an appropriate hour.
Short And Sweet – When you do visit your friend (always ringing to check it is okay first), keep your visit short. Your friend may not feel like entertaining all afternoon, nor will she have the energy to do so. She will however appreciate your company. On this subject, when it comes to your friend’s post-baby hospital stay, don’t rush to visit her in hospital the day after she’s given birth (unless we’re talking about your best friend). While everyone is different, I found I preferred to see my friends once I’d returned home and life had settled down a bit.
Out and About – After those first few weeks, offer to get your friend out of the house. Either invite her to your house so she has gone for an outing but still has your assistance, or offer to help take her and bub out somewhere such as for a coffee or a walk. You can start to get 'cabin fever' with a newborn so getting out of the house will be welcomed.
Toddler Treats – If your friend has other children, think about spoiling them too. Often, all the focus is on the newborn and it’s easy for siblings to feel a bit neglected. Either bring a small gift for the older child (I had friends give Grace things like a new colouring book, story books, clothes, a teddy etc.) and when you do visit your friend, give the older child some one on one attention. Sit down and do a puzzle, colour in, go outside and play with a ball. Your friend will appreciate knowing their older child is being entertained and being treated to some special time. I even had one friend come around with lunch for me one day. She then took her pram and treated Grace and her two boys to a picnic and play in the park down the road, leaving me to have some quiet time at home with Sophie.
So that’s my little round up of tips to help those you know who have a newborn. I hope one or two may give you an idea of ways you can help your friends and family in those tricky and tiring early days.
On the subject of newborns, check out this stunning trio of photos fellow blogger Bron of Baby Space shared the other day. I just love them!