My sister just brought home two new baby girls. She lives far away, so I can’t be there to help her out right now, but luckily there are lots of other family and friends there for her. But what does that “help” look like?
For most new parents, getting home with a brand new baby is overwhelming. You’re in your home, it’s still the same place, you’re still the same person, except for this one little tiny HUGE difference: baby.
When you bring your baby home, everybody in the fucking free world wants to “help” you. They will offer themselves up if you need “anything at all.” But mostly, they’re full of shit. Not everyone, of course, but mostly. Here’s why: They want to “help” you, by holding your baby. And that is NOT the help you need.
The first few weeks should be focused on momma and baby, and dad too of course, where applicable. This time is for baby to bond with his/her primary caregivers (usually mom and dad). People shouldn’t be passing baby around while ignoring mom. So for those of you who truly want to help a new momma, here’s what you can do:
– Make sure she is comfortable
– Give her time to cuddle and love on her new baby
– Make sure you’ve had a pertussis booster, and that you wash your hands frequently
– If you are sick, stay away!
– Help with housework; dishes, laundry, meal prep, etc.
– Make sure mom is eating, and staying hydrated
– Let mom nap when baby is napping
– Run errands
– Keep the home environment quiet
– Let mom take a shower
– Help wrangle siblings
– Be a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on if need be. A new baby brings on a ton of emotions
– If her birth didn’t go as planned, it can be really traumatic. Listen to her birth story, and help her process it
Moms, before baby arrives, make some plans:
– Change your outgoing voicemail to say you are bonding with baby, therefore not answering the phone, and essentially, “Leave me the fuck alone.” Then, turn off your phone.
– Have a press secretary, a friend or relative who can field questions, and give updates
– Have a “safe word”, yeah, a safe word. Something you can say to a trusted friend or relative that means, “Get all of these fucking people away from me before I slap they ass.”
Moms, once home, let yourself fall into a routine. Take it easy, don’t try to force yourself back into your old life. Things will be different now. Take it slowly, and you will find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to tell people exactly what you need from them. People like to feel needed and helpful, so speak up. If guests are becoming more of a hindrance, than help, kick them out. This is your time to be with your baby. You’re forging a new relationship, and it should happen on your terms, not your neighbor’s or best friend’s.
I’ve always said, if I have a baby, good luck to anyone trying to pry it out of my arms, I will eat their face off, like that Chimp in Ohio.