Help! I’ve had a baby!
Doulas, nursery nurses, nannies – there are plenty of people who will come and look after you and you baby post-birth. For a price, of course. Unfortunately, my budget only stretches to a bunch of flowers to ‘persuade’ my mum that it would be a great idea to take several weeks of work, virtually move in and help out with everything. A lovely holiday for her, time to bond with baby, and spend quality time with child 1 and 2. Not entirely sure she’s fully on board with the plan yet, but I’ll keep at it.
In the meantime, I was thinking about the things I’d most like when baby 3 arrives, now I’m finally able to come at this with a little bit of previous knowledge. So, what are the best things you can do for a new mum, whether she’s your friend, daughter, neighbour, girlfriend, or wife?
Make cups of tea. I can’t emphasise this enough. New mums basically mainline tea for the first few weeks. If she doesn’t like tea, make coffee. Or hot chocolate. Or squash. Whatever her choice of soft beverage is. Make it in huge quantities, and without being asked.
Ditto biscuits. Bring Cash & Carry size packs of biscuits. New mums inhale biscuits. All those broken nights induce a desperate sugar craving. Biscuits are mummy-crack.
And cake. Not wanting to labour the point, but ditto cake. I think you get the picture by now. If it contains sugar and trans fats and is fundamentally bad for you, bring it round. Just for a few weeks, anyway.
Bring some food that doesn’t contain sugar. Controversial, I know, but she does need to eat something sensible, and even she knows that in her heart. So a lasagne or pizza or cottage pie, something that just needs heating up, and if there are other children already, something they can eat too.
Wash up. If there are any dishes in the sink, just get stuck in. Same goes for packing/unpacking the dishwasher.
Tell her she’s bloody brilliant. Make her feel like she’s the only person to have ever popped out a kid. Because she deserves it, and she’s probably feeling a little overwhelmed.
Reassure her she will read a book/watch a film again, and sooner than she thinks. New mums think that they will never ever be able to do anything normal again.
Put a load of washing on. Especially the new baby’s stuff, which first time mums in particular will be in shock at how quickly is filthy. Several outfits a day, they can get through. It’s like living with a mini Elton John.
Make her bed. But only if she’s managed to get out of it. Don’t compound her sense of uselessness by trying to make it around her.
Take the baby off her hands. Make her shower/bath/shave legs/armpits/sleep/put on a face mask… anything. Make her take a break.
Bring shopping. Milk, bread, eggs, chocolate, tea bags, ready meals. That sort of thing. Possibly not vodka, though. Not just yet anyway.
Tell her she looks amazing. No make-up, sleep deprived eyes, bed hair, probably greasy too, tracksuit bottoms and any top that allows quick access to the boob probably isn’t her best look or finest hour. She knows that. But tell her she looks wonderful, peaceful, calm, at one with motherhood. And try and sound sincere!
So there you have it: all things that I think a new mum will appreciate. And I know we’re all different; some women pop out a baby and get back to life uninterrupted. I salute ladies of this ilk. It’s not me though, I’m just not capable – and I’m on baby number 3! So, in the absence of any hope of enjoying the services of a maternity nurse, I just have to cross my fingers that the flowers for mum do their magic, and make sure I leave this list lying around somewhere obvious…
Written by guest blogger Treading Water Mum