Parenting

How to really help a new mum (in the early days)

Really help a new mum

If someone you know has just had her first baby, then they need your help now! But they may need things you hadn’t first realised. If you want to know how to really help a new mum (or mom, US friends!) read up on the ways to support her.

Your friend or family member has just gone through a gigantic lifestyle change and many don’t know how to ask for help. Every little thing you can do will likely be well received.

You already know she is exhausted, but there are lots of ways you can help a new mum to make it through those tough first weeks and months. The below will put you on the right track to really help a new mum in this amazing new stage of her life.

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Bring her food

This has to be the best way you can really help a new mum! Make her some of your most delicious food as she will struggle to cook for herself and she needs good nutrition now more than ever.

If you can do a batch cook and bring in Tupperware so she has a few meals, even better! If you’re cooking isn’t the best, bring her a favourite takeaway.

Alternatively, bring her bits that are easy to heat up or eat cold. Just don’t show up empty handed. It’s not about bringing flowers or wine for now. It’s all about good food and snacks to keep her going.

Offer to take the baby on a pram walk

The new mum in your life will be desperate for a nap, shower or just a bit of time for herself. But it’s tricky when the baby needs milk and sleeps around the clock. If you can offer to take the baby on a walk in the pram or buggy after a feed, a new mum will be so grateful.

It’s really hard to get headspace or get anything done when your new baby is permanently attached to you. Often partners need to get back to work quite soon which leaves new mums alone at home.

They say sleep when the baby sleeps, but it’s not always that easy. You sometimes need to use that time to clean up, take a shower, get dressed, stick the washing machine on or fold clothes away. If you can pop out with the baby for a bit, a new mum can get some bits done or just collapse and get some rest.

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How to really help a new mum

Listen to her

Ask her how she is and listen. She is likely overwhelmed by all this change. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true, it’s all so much harder than you imagined.

Show up with some biscuits, make some tea and let her talk it out. And after you’ve listened? Remind her how well she is doing!

Even if you’re not visiting, you can give her an old-fashioned phone call. Check in with her regularly via messages too so she knows you are thinking of her and keen to hear how it’s all going.

It can be quite lonely as a new mum. Even if she has other mum friends, it’s nice to also have non-baby related conversations! She will want to hear all about you too and have some distraction.

Do some shopping and cleaning for her

Before you head over, call or text to ask if she needs you to bring anything over. Food? Household bits? Nappies and wipes? Sometimes it’s hard to get out when you have a new baby and I was always running out of things.

I’d regularly have to ask visitors to pick up a pint of milk on the way if they wanted tea! You can never have too many nappies or baby wipes when you have a new baby. Even if she prefers reusable nappies, she could probably still do with more of those, or gentle washing powder to deal with all the extra washing!

Treat her with a present or outing

A new mum may not want to leave her baby for long but if dad or someone else can feed her baby, treat her to lunch or coffee and cake. She probably won’t be up for a night out for a while as she’ll be too focused on getting some sleep in, so something in the morning or afternoon could work well.

And of course, bring your new mum a lovely present so she feels treated and to show you appreciate her. For some great ideas please read the post on gifts for new mums (that aren’t for the baby)!

She will really appreciate things like a recovery kit and you can also browse my list of best books for a new mum to help her through that first year.

Help a new mum

Take lots of pictures of her and the baby

Make sure you offer to take pictures of her with her new tiny little baby. I have so many pictures of my baby but I wasn’t keen to be in the photos too as I felt I looked so bad in those early days! Now I regret it as those are memories you want to keep forever, even if you look like a zombie.

You can always offer to take them on her phone so she can decide whether they are acceptable! If you take them on yours, you could have a photobook of memories made and surprise her with it.

Don’t overstay your welcome

When you visit, check in with her in case she’s super tired and wants to rest. You may just pop in for a short while to hand over some bits and see that she’s OK. If she wants company and feels chatty that’s great, but just stay alert to her needs, and don’t overstay your welcome.

I was often trying to keep my eyes open on some of the early visits. I appreciated them coming around but I wasn’t able to chat for hours like in the pre-baby days. A new mum may not want to seem rude by asking people to leave, so let her know it’s fine if she needs you to go earlier than planned.

Q&A’s on how to really help a new mum…

How can I help a new mum from a distance?

If you are too far away or overseas and want to help a new mum, try offering a listening ear. She may be on a chaotic schedule so tell her to call you when it suits her. Send check-in messages and remind her she’s doing an awesome job.

You could also send her a present, meal or voucher if you’re unable to visit in person.

She says she’s lonely and doesn’t have other new mums to share experiences with?

Do some investigation for her and see if there’s anything available in her local areas such as mum & baby groups which might be yoga, baby massage, baby music/sensory classes, stay and play, breast-feeding support and so on.

It can feel daunting to go to these classes the first time but everyone’s in the same boat. The babies aren’t that bothered about the activities and often sleep through the classes, so it’s really about bringing new mums together.

Encourage her to go to the park, playground etc. and go with her and help start conversations with other new mums if she’s a bit shy. Most mums are craving the same need to connect in the early days while everyone else in their life is at work or carrying on with their routine.

Check out websites, Facebook groups and apps (such as Peanut) that bring new mums together in her local area.

If I’m not a mum and haven’t experienced what she’s going through, how can I help?

Your new mum friend or family member will love to have non-mama conversations so don’t underestimate that. It can be fun to live vicariously through others when you’re going through a major life shift as a new mama.

Sometimes it’s comforting to talk to a non-mum about how she’s feeling about motherhood without fear of judgement so offer her an ear. A lot of mums and non-mums can be heavy on the baby advice so be that person that is just focused on her right now.

Some new mums get caught up with constant comparisons of experiences and milestones with their new baby, so she may appreciate talking to someone who won’t bring that dynamic to the conversation.

Final thoughts

Those are some easy-to-apply suggestions on how to really help a new mum! They should give you the confidence to help your new mum friend or family member out as soon as possible.

Share below if you have any more ideas on how you helped out first time new mums in your life or what you needed when you were a first time new mum. We need to help new mums out more during those intense early days and beyond.

If you think your new mum friend or family member is struggling and needs more support, then she can reach out to her midwife, health visitor or GP. She can also check out organisations and charities in her area.

In the UK there is MumsAid and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, in the US try an organisation such as PSI and in Canada try The MotHERS program. You are sure to have more options near you. Ask your health provider to direct you to the best options.

For gorgeous baby items that mama and baby will love, see personalised gifts for little ones and main essentials for a newborn.

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How to really help a new mum

19 Comments

  • Rae

    Great article and definitely very helpful to those who have no idea how to help new mommas. I remember taking my nephew as much as my sister would let me so she could sleep or do what she needed.

  • Krystian | With Love, Me

    The best thing ever was my hubbys co workers came over and cleaned my house while I was in the hospital after the birth. I came home to a clean home, folded laundry, and a stocked fridge. I could focus on my new baby and not worry about much. It really helped relieve my anxiety.

  • Catia

    These are all such helpful tips. I remember after my c-section, my mom and sister-in-law would come over often to help clean, do dishes, make meals, etc. It was such a blessing and they loved it too cause they spent time with the little one!

  • Debbie

    Very helpful list of tips for new moms. I really like the tip of having non-mama conversations. I remember my sister really appreciated hearing about life outside of her home.

  • The Yorkshire Dreamer

    My sister is due to have her first baby next month, my first niece/nephew, and I was wondering how I could support her without overwhelming her. My brother and I have already offered to come over, go grocery shopping, cook and clean for her, so it is nice to read that we are on the right track.

    My sister lives a three-hour train ride away, so an old-fashioned phone call will definitely be on the agenda. Taking lots of pictures of her and the baby is a good idea, and I will make sure to do that with her permission. 😊

    Thank you for all these tips on how to help a new mum; I will keep them in mind. 😊

  • Karen Kasberg

    While it has been many years since I was a new mom I can remember how it felt to be at home with a new little one. All of your tips are on target. One that really stands out is taking photos of mom and baby. Often people will take photos of just the baby and not include mom. This is her special time too and despite how unattractive she may feel due to lack of sleep, she is glowing and these moments should be captured.

  • krystian

    One of the best things anyone did for me is do my laundry, and take my dogs for a walk. I was so grateful to have just a little bit off my plate.

  • Chantal Looyen

    All very good points! I would add not to forget the mums with a new baby that also have an older child or more. On weekends and during school holidays offer babysitting time for the other kids or take them on an outing. I’m currently visiting my sister during the school holidays (with my own child along). Her third child is 5 months old, and with the older 2 at home, there is some chaos. My mom and I have been doing lots of holiday activities with the kids, and helping with meal times, laundry and dishes.

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