6 Powerful Ways You Can Help Brand New Parents
We have the greatest jobs in the world! We visit families with brand new babies.
Our jobs give us a glimpse “behind the scenes” as families adjust to the reality of life with a newborn. Families are tired! And almost without fail, they tell us they have had too much company!
Here are our suggestions for showing a new family that you care — without overwhelming them.
1. Send congratulations via text or Facebook but be sure to wait for an invitation before dropping by to visit. New parents are sleep deprived; while they would probably love to show off their new baby, even a short visit can interrupt a much-needed chance to nap!
2. Please do not visit if you have a cold or are unwell in any way. This will not only protect the newborn; it will protect the health of the new mom and dad as well.
Wash your hands before holding the new baby — without being asked!
3. When you receive an invitation, try to keep your visit short. Unless you are cooking or cleaning, 20 minutes is likely long enough.
When you visit, don’t let the new mother serve you coffee or tea. (We have visited moms who were expected to serve an entire holiday meal to their guests!)
4. Please don’t give advice unless you are asked. Parent’s hearts are tender as they learn their new role. Help them to feel confident by pointing out the things they are doing well.
“Look how your baby calms down when you hold him.”
“You are so loving with your baby; I know you are going to be a great parent.”
5. If there is an older sibling, bring a small gift for them as well. It can be difficult for an older child to watch a new sibling get all the gifts and attention.
6. Offer to do one or more of these practical things:
- Cook a meal for them. Deliver it in a disposable container so there is no dish to return.
- Get their groceries for the week.
- Take their dog for a walk.
- Drive an older sibling to and from school.
- Invite an older sibling for a special play date.
The birth of a baby is a great opportunity to show a new family how much you care. Being sensitive to their need for rest is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
What would you add to this list?
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.