1. Help her get some sleep
Sleep deprivation isn’t just a nuisance, it can be catastrophic. Exhaustion is the top trigger of perinatal depression and can lead to other issues including breastfeeding failure, accidents, marital tension, and more. Unfortunately, naps are hard to come by in those early days. So, one of the most critical things you can do to support a new mum is to offer to hold and tend to the baby so she can get a few hours of shuteye. If you don’t live nearby, you could always chip in to get the new mum a SNOO, which expertly soothes babies in the same way an experienced caregiver would (think of it like giving a long-distance hug!)
2. Grocery shop
Grocery shopping is getting easier thanks to pick-up and delivery services but because those types of services don’t exist everywhere yet, having a friend help out can be huge for a new Mum. Offer to buy off her list or, better yet, since coming up with a list takes precious mental labor, go ahead and buy the staples that you think she’ll need. A few items to consider stocking up on:
● Fresh fruit, nuts, pretzels, yogurt, and other ready-to-eat healthy snacks. These are great to have within arm’s reach, especially if she is breastfeeding
● Coffee, tea, creamer (caffeine is a must)
● Pre-made meals that don’t require prep
● Protein shakes
● Over the counter pain relievers
3. Do some light housework
From loading the dishwasher to running a vacuum across the floor, there are so many helpful things that you can do around the house to help a new mum who is still recovering from delivery. A few ideas to assign a trusted friend include loading and unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, taking out the trash, dusting and wiping down surfaces, general pick-up, or light yard work.
4. Start a meal train
When a new mum comes from the hospital the very last thing she’ll want to do is cook for everyone. Before her sweet bundle arrives, coordinate a dinner chain among the mum’s friends and family. Ask each person to cook a dish to be delivered on a certain day, that way she won’t have to prepare a meal in her first days after giving birth.
5. Lend a listening ear…and lots of encouragement
Motherhood can be an overwhelming and isolating experience, emotional support can go a long way to bolster a new mum’s mood and confidence. One of the most helpful things you can do to support a new mum is to really listen to her, validate her feelings, and remind her that she’s already an amazing mum.