10 Ways to Help a Friend with a Newborn


I’ve been the friend with the newborn three (four?) times. I’m not actually sure if the third time counts as the fourth, too, since I gave birth to twins. I loved when my friends and family came to the hospital to see me when the babies were born, but I was not a fan of them coming to my home. See, I’m an uptight, anal retentive schedule-oriented neat freak, and nothing annoyed me more than people coming over to play with the baby and interrupting our schedule. Why? Because all those people that came over to “help” did nothing of the sort. They came over when the baby was asleep and woke the baby up to play with him or her, immediately handing the baby to me if she or she began to fuss. They came over and stayed and talked and visited – which I love, but then they left and everything that I should have been doing when they were over was still undone and the baby now needs my attention.

See, friends and family have such wonderful intentions, but showing up to ‘visit’ is typically not helpful to a new mother in the first few weeks. What’s helpful is actually being helpful – or waiting a few weeks until everyone has established a schedule so that your friend can tell you precisely when a good time to visit actually is. If you want to be a helpful friend to your new mommy friend, follow this advice. I don’t want to call myself a pro or anything, but I kind of feel like one after having so many kids and so many friends with kids.

Visit in the hospital

There are some new moms that don’t love this, but then there are those of us that prefer this. This is not our home; come and visit all you want when I have someone else cleaning my room and bringing me what I need. I don’t care how long you stay, how much of a mess you make; it’s not my problem. But just remember this; you should bring food. Ask the new mother what she wants. I wasn’t about to touch hospital food, so I appreciated everyone coming in with my favorite items so that I didn’t have to send my husband out every 15 minutes.

Bring good food

If you’re going to drop off something for the family to freeze and eat later, make sure it’s stuff they actually like. Too many friends think that they are being helpful in dropping off their favorite go-to freezer dishes, and some people don’t love all that stuff. Maybe your friend would be much happier if you just dropped off her favorite lunch meat and bread from the deli and bakery so that she can make a sandwich instead of a casserole. Just ask first.

Run errands for the new mother

Sometimes going to the grocery store or post office with a new baby in tow is not all that fun. I mean, who wants to bother with that when there are so many other things she could be doing, such as enjoying her new baby or napping? Do these things for her, because that’s what is really helpful.

Take her older kids out and about

When the twins were born, nothing made me happier than a friend that came over to visit and then took my older daughters with her when she left. Not because I wanted them out of the house so much as I wanted them to get out and have some fun. Our twins were born prematurely and spent a week in the NICU, and we wanted to keep them home for a few days before we took them out after getting home – but we didn’t want our girls to end up bored.

Ask to do a load of laundry

I loathe laundry on a good day. With a new baby in the house, I loathe it even more. If a friend asks a new mother if she can help fold or put away laundry while she rests, it’s going to go over quite well.

Load or unload her dishwasher

This is another of those things that’s so much less than fun. Unloading the dishwasher is no one’s idea of a good time, so do it for your friend so she doesn’t have to. Let her cross it off her to-do list without any issue and she’s going to love you forever.

Ask if she’d like you to hang with the babe while she naps or showers

There’s a concept; so many people offer to come over and do this when you are pregnant, but they never show up to do this when you’re not. They want to sit and socialize, and perhaps you’d just like a nap and a hot shower that lasts more than 30 seconds.

Bring things she loves

Everyone brings things for the baby, and that’s perfectly fine. That doesn’t mean you can forget about your friend, though. Make sure you bring her something, too, so that she feels the love. Bring her a new robe or her favorite treat. Bring her some magazines or a DVD she can read or watch while she’s nursing the baby. Bring her something for her, so that she feels some love, too.

Don’t wake a sleeping baby

Anyone looking to be helpful when visiting  a new mother should put this at the top of their list; I know you want to hold that baby. I know you are itching and dying and literally salivating at the mouth to hold that baby. But do not wake a sleeping baby. Do not do it. Ever.

Help her wash and put away all the new baby stuff

There are so many baby things that come home with a new mother when she’s given birth; gifts friends and family bring her in the hospital and so on. Ask if you can help her wash these things, unwrap them and put them away for her since it’s a job she probably doesn’t love leaving undone in the first place.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


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