Everyone waits on pins and needles to hear that a new baby has been born. Whether it's your family or friends, people often want to rush to see the newborn and (hopefully) find out if the mom needs anything.
But sometimes visitors can be really annoying, especially if they forget (or don't know) what it's like to be a new mom. So you're not an unwelcome visitor, I found some fantastic tips on There Are No Ordinary Moments and came up with more after my friends discussed what kind of help they'd want postpartum.
1. Find out dietary needs before you bring food ... on disposable dishes.
Nothing sucks more than to be gluten-free and have someone with a big smiling face hand you a glass dish of their favorite gluten-packed meal. You can't eat it, have to wash dishes, and remember which ones belong to who. Healthy pre-made snacks the new mom can eat are awesome for when she doesn't have time to heat something up.
2. Schedule a time and stick to it.
Call and ask when you should come by. She might say today, or next week -- do not be offended. Remember, it's not about you. If she gives an open invitation, set a time anyway, then show up on time and keep it brief. Lingering around when a new mom is learning to breastfeed can make her uncomfortable.
3. Ask what kind of help she wants, don't assume.
Some moms would love for people to hold the baby while they shower or cook, but others would much prefer someone offer to do the work, not take the baby. If she says repeatedly to your offers, "No really, that's okay, you don't need to," she's trying politely to tell you NO -- she doesn't want you to do whatever it is you offered.
4. Keep yourself chemical-free.
Don't load up on perfumes that could irritate mom or the sensitive newborn, and if you're planning on cleaning for the mom, do not bring in your own cleaners -- use what she has, or buy some baby-SAFE cleaners, such as Seventh Generation, or even baking soda and vinegar. This also means wash your hands without being asked. And remove your shoes before entering the house so you don't bring unwanted germs in.
5. Consider coming when baby is a couple weeks old, too.
New babies are adorable, we know, and it's okay if you want to see them. But also consider that mom is often swamped with people in the first few days home ... and then totally left alone after that. That's when things may start to pile up and she may really need the help.
6. Entertain older children.
One of the hardest things about being a new mom is the adjustment with older siblings. Offer to take them to the park for an hour while Mom rests, or bring them some new toys and quiet activities so they're off mom's back at home, too. Easy, one-handed, and quiet board games such as "Guess Who?" can give Mom something to do with her child while nursing a newborn as well.
Before your baby is born, start posting guidelines like this to your Facebook wall or Twitter feed, so people get the hint. Or just outright tell people you've got some rules.
What are you hoping people will do for you, or if you're not a first-time mom, what did and didn't you appreciate?
Image via Dekcuf/Flickr