I know how it is. Your girlfriend has a baby and all you want to do is speed over to her house and snuggle that little nugget. But now that I’ve been in those “new mom shoes” myself, I know that not every new mom wants to be bombarded with visitors that may over-stimulate their already sensitive child. Being a good friend to a new mom means celebrating in ways that will help them, not add to their stress. For me, when my friends were anxious because they had not yet met Mr. Cutie, I assured them that between being too tired, overwhelmed and covered in baby mess, I was quite alright without the company. So instead of just making a date to show up and hold the baby, here are some ways to make sure that mom actually enjoys your visit and will invite you to come back.
Wait for an Invitation
Let her know that you cannot wait to meet the baby, but let her suggest a time to come over. Don’t expect a quick response either. Feel free to check in with her and ask how she’s doing, but when she is ready for visitors, she will reach out.
Be on Time
New moms are a combination of exhausted, overwhelmed and emotional, so when you do finally set a date, PLEASE, be on time. Don’t make a new mom wait for you when she could otherwise be taking advantage of a spare moment to sleep or shower.
Bring her Favorite Food
Ask her what she is craving and pick up something from a decent restaurant (no fast food). If you’re a good cook, consider making a dish that will last a couple of days. Be sure to bring enough food for dad, so he has something to eat when he gets home, too. If you do cook, ask if she has any dietary restrictions, because if she’s like me, her baby was blessed with a sensitive stomach that can’t handle dairy. Oh, how I miss ice cream and queso. Back to my point…top off her favorite meal with her drink of choice, which a lot of times equals a trip to Starbucks. Oh, and throw in a cake pop for her while you’re there!
Don’t Forget About Mom
After a long pregnancy and exhausting labor, the focus seems to always turn to the baby. Make sure to give your friend a lot of love, as well. Ask her how she is feeling and about her birth experience. Make sure she has plenty of support, as it’s important that mom is doing well emotionally. Coming from someone that suffered from ‘Baby Blues’ for about 2 months, the best thing for me was talking about it. If you’re feeling extra generous, bring her a gift certificate for a pedicure from her favorite nail shop. Pampering is key for a new mom and it will encourage her to get out by herself.
Don’t Give Advice Unless Asked
If you are asked, tread lightly. This is new for her and having too many ‘experts’ weigh in can wreak havoc on an already foggy brain. There will be many-a-text-message down the road, with her asking for tips and advice. She needs time to figure out this new human before she really knows what she needs advice on.
And I don’t mean of you and her baby. Yes, you can do that, but help your friend capture some early memories of her and her baby, as well. She will spend most of her time behind the camera, and will treasure any pictures she has with her in them.
If you see dishes in the sink, rinse them off and load them in the dishwasher. If there is a pile of laundry on the couch, start folding. If you live close, come over and mow the lawn. Don’t ask her (because she will say ‘don’t worry about’), just do it.
Seriously, don’t stay long. One hour tops, unless your friend invites you to stay longer. Make up something you have to do and let yourself out. And if the new mom is very tired, don’t stay at all – just drop off the food and go. It’s hard work for a new mom to be sociable, entertaining and to put on a smiley face for too long.
And last, please wash your hands when you arrive, and save your friend from having to make that awkward request.