When I became a new mom, I couldn’t believe how much my world felt turned upside down. I know not everyone feels this way, but I was so overwhelmed and bluesy, too. Of course I loved Turkey Burger; I knew that from the early days of the pregnancy. I just wasn’t sure she loved me, and I wasn’t confident I would love motherhood. It was a complicated time for about 3 months. There are tons of heartwarming ways to support a new mom, no matter how she might be feeling about her permanently changed identity.
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One of the ways to support a new mom is by suggesting specific ways you might serve her.
In the days after a new baby is born, so many well-meaning people will off-handedly remark, “Let me know if you need anything!”
New moms are never going to take someone up on that offer. First of all, it feels a bit insincere, even if the person offering never meant it that way. Second, she doesn’t even really know what she needs, and if she DOES know, asking for that specific thing feels like too much.
Offering to help in a non-specific way on no particular timeline isn’t helpful. Keep reading for concrete ideas!
Help meet her physical needs with a recovery kit.
While some women have very uneventful first births, others aren’t so lucky! Parents.com states that 95% of first time moms with vaginal births experience some tearing. For the women with second-degree tears and worse, this can be an incredible challenge on top of everything else (ahem, hormone changes) they’re managing. Many of these supplies are amazing at mitigating that problem.
The other products are geared toward postpartum bleeding. You’re not allowed to wear tampons or menstrual cups after delivery, and it can be totally normal to bleed all the way until the 6 week postpartum visit.
Postpartum Bath Herbs
This little box of herbs for a sitz bath is a game changer. At the end of a long day of constant nursing, aching all over, and fatigue, there’s nothing better than a bath. Except perhaps a bath with special herbs geared toward healing and postpartum comfort? These made every bath feel like spa night to me, at a time when I felt like I was neglecting myself otherwise.
Always Discreet Undies
Some women just bleed A LOT postpartum, and pads, no matter how grande, are messy. They slide around, it’s possible to have leaks due to positioning, and overnights are dicey. Why deal with extra parts in those first couple of weeks when having everything in one solid piece is much simpler?
It’s possible she told herself this product was ridiculous and embarrassing in the final weeks of pregnancy, when she was packing her hospital bag full of lovely postpartum underwear and elegant new mom robes and nightgowns. And then she had a baby, and all dignity went to the wayside anyhow. Now, she’s at home with her husband, not really wanting to send him to the store for such an occasion. Help a sister out. Just deliver them with a wink and a hug.
Baby-Friendly Nipple Cream
When Turkey Burger came home, I immediately pulled out the Lanolin cream I had been gifted at my shower, as nursing was causing agonizing pain. But being an opinionated little one, she HATED it.
After a quick internet search, I found this product and decided to give it a try. It offered immediate relief and didn’t offend my little newborn. While I had far fewer problems with the next two babies, I made sure to have some on hand before delivery in future deliveries.
Lots of women love Dermaplast, the spray used in the hospital. But I found this spray by Earth Mama much more pleasant, and it had other uses, too! I read about using it for soothing under-eye bags in the morning, and it really did help! It’s just a very calming product.
Earth Mama is a natural care company, so you’re not spraying weird chemicals down there. You can also use the spray to make “padsicles” which are described below.
This is a hugely popular product amongst C-section mamas. The belt helps your uterus contract back down to normal, and provides support for your core muscles which are weakened. Many women note big improvements in back pain and just generalized weakness.
Make sure the new mama knows your intentions; this product is not to help her “get her body back” as quickly as possible. It’s for helping her feel more stable and supported as she slowly resumes activity.
It’s possible and normal for new moms to bleed all the way until their first postpartum visit at 6 weeks. If that’s the case, using paper products is going to get old. Honestly, wearing them for the full six weeks with Turkey Burger is what further entrenched my preference for cloth diapers. Wearing paper products 24/7 for weeks became pretty miserable and I couldn’t help but wonder how my new baby felt about it. Switching to cloth postpartum products makes a lot of sense if heavy bleeding continues past the first week or two. These work great.
Hooray for padsicles! LOL. It’s a silly name for an excellent product: it’s a pad, doctored up with some special healing ingredients, and put in the freezer. If the new mama has any measureable pain, these are a lifesaver. Let’s Mama and Naturally Made Mom both have excellent recipes, but you can customize it with the Earth Mama spray mentioned above, too.
I’d recommend you get all the supplies on hand, and pop them in the freezer when she goes into labor. Once she’s at home and trying to settle in, drop them on her doorstep and shoot her a text so she has them immediately, even before she might be ready for company.
Consider her personality, and it’s always a good idea to ask how she’s feeling before making a plan to help.
I’m such an extravert by nature, so I think people assumed I would want lots of visitors when I had Turkey Burger. Plus, I was working for an older church positively thrilled to have a new baby in the congregation.
The truth is that I was not ready for company. I was crying at the drop of a hat, embarrassed about it, and feeling insecure about how often (and how loudly) Turkey Burger was hollering. She was nursing CONSTANTLY and I wasn’t confident in my ability to feed her yet. I wasn’t even confident in my ability to be a decent mom. Truthfully, I was 30 years old and changing my very first diaper on her THIRD day on earth! Having company over was just too overstimulating, and there was too much room for something embarrassing to happen.
Conversely, after having my second and third babies, I would have been thrilled for company! I was feeling pretty comfortable, and eager for a good chat with friends, both old and new.
Prepare freezer meals to support a new mom (and her family).
There’s a reason this one is such an oldie but goody. There’s nothing like a hot, home cooked meal in the aftermath of having a baby. Chances are good that she wasn’t eating particularly well before delivery thanks to crazy hormones.
After delivery, Mama’s body goes into overdrive trying to make milk. Nutrition is so important, and there’s something about a new baby that always made me want to eat lasagna in bed and watch heartwarming t.v. shows and take long baths.
So preparing freezer meals that she and her family can eat on whatever day works best is really helpful. Scrawl out the instruction in sharpie on top of the foil. Make them idiot-proof because some new moms like myself have brain farts every 10 seconds as their brain attempts to recalibrate. Mom brain is real.
Finally, before preparing ANYTHING, text her spouse/partner, or her mama, or anyone else you know asking for dietary restrictions. Of course, you can ask the mama, too.
But to be honest, I always felt like I had to seem eternally grateful, so I wasn’t clear about needing the food to be gluten-free. It felt bad to say, “Oh yes! I would LOVE for you to bring over a meal! But I only eat gluten-free.” See? It sounds bratty and she might not do it. If possible, ask a family member of hers. If someone texted my husband or my parents or sister, they would have mentioned my dietary restrictions on my behalf.
Treat a new mom to super soft nursing pajamas.
The best nursing pajamas are made by Kindred Bravely. I especially love the Jane style. The nutty thing is that even though I went all the way to 41 weeks with Chicken Nugget, I was able to wear the Jane pajamas in the last month of pregnancy, too. They were a Godsend in those sweaty days, hah!
The material is just so buttery soft. I don’t often treat myself to quality pajamas, so fortunately, my husband saw fit to pick these out for me. I looked pretty hilarious in them (see below), but it didn’t stop me from wearing them, immediately washing them, and then wearing them again the very next night. They were THAT fabulous, and I wasn’t even using them for nursing yet!
Of course, when Chicken Nugget was born, these got even more use, for their intended purpose. That handy boob flap (snort*) made overnight feedings a breeze. Good eye, hubs. You da best.
I’m not a beauty blogger, lol. I’m just trying to show you the glory of these pajamas. Here I am, 40 weeks and 5 days, one night before she decided to finally arrive. They were even better for nursing once she arrived. Also, please don’t judge my unmade bed and messy dresser.
Deliver good coffee in the morning.
Here’s another great option that doesn’t require you to intrude on her personal space if it’s early days and she needs space. There’s always the front porch drop-off.
My doctors always told me that even while nursing, one coffee daily was perfectly fine. You can always check to see if it’s a treat she’d be interested in.
Some mamas just love to whip through a McDonalds or Starbucks drive through, but it’s just not worth the trouble if it involves timing a departure just right and loading baby into the car.
Support a new mom by washing and folding her laundry in your own home.
Some people are uncomfortable with others handling their laundry, but if you’re fairly close and she’s not super modest, it’s a great idea.
Laundry pick up and drop off allows you to help her in such a practical way while staying out of her hair.
Again, plenty of women would love the company, so you can always offer to come clean her kitchen or vacuum or whatever. But if you get the feeling she’s wanting privacy, what a wonderful way to show you care! Just be sure to use her detergent in case there are sensitive noses or skin involved.
Organize a meal train, and ask about dietary restrictions or preferences.
If you’ve got a big network of friends and organizational skills, this can be such a wonderful thing to do!
I mentioned this before, but make sure to ask her about dietary restrictions. It can also be awesome to check with her partner or family in case she’s not being forthcoming about her own food preferences (due to not wanting to seem demanding).
Also, this post was written mostly with first time moms in mind. However, if you’re reading this with the intention of serving a veteran mom, find out what time her older kids normally eat dinner, and ask volunteers to send dinner on that schedule. It can really make older kids nutty to change meal time, and they might already be struggling with disruptions to family routines.
One more thing about the meal train option: make sure to check with her family calendar before scheduling volunteers. It’s possible that there are better and worse times to be a big help.
For example, if a mom or mother-in-law is staying with her for the first week, it would be better to start the train once her helpers go back home. Then she’ll really be thrilled for reinforcements!
Send her a beautiful new devotional to support her spiritual well-being.
Here, I’m just linking you to Amazon search results, because I haven’t personally delved into mama-specific devotionals.
I think devotionals are a great choice for beary-eyed, exhausted moms. It’s just a sweet little moment of peace in a very short, digestable format. She’s probably not up for novels (even juicy ones) and might even be struggling with her regular Bible reading schedule, if she had one before.
If she’s struggling with breastfeeding but committed to sticking with it, offer to locate (and pay for) an in-home lactation consultant.
It’s so dicey to talk feeding because first-time moms already feel so much pressure to breastfeed. If you’re really close to her, you’ll know the words to say, though. If she seems very committed to breastfeeding but is struggling to get confident with breastfeeding, offer to do some research about lactation consultants that will come to her home.
I barely made it through the early days of nursing Turkey Burger, but we soldiered along and fell into a rhythm.
Things were great with Chicken Patty, and I probably became overly confident with him. Sure enough, I got a terrible case of mastitis in the aftermath of his delivery.
Fortunately, I lived in an area of north Texas where the local WIC office sent lactation consultants into your home free of charge if you needed them – at any time, night or day! We didn’t qualify for WIC, but I called for help when I got terrible mastitis and the antibiotics weren’t working. In my particular area, WIC lactation consultants serve ALL women, whether they qualify for other WIC services or not.
It was 8 p.m. one night and my fever climbed to 103 degrees – which is crazy high for me. It was the sickest I ever felt. The lactation consultant showed up and offered to take care of the block that was causing problems. She cleared it for me by brute force! A couple of ibuprofen later, I cried tears of gratitude, and fell asleep. I woke the next day, a brand new woman!
Deliver a pretty new water jug to her home.
New moms need hydration – lots of it! A pretty new water bottle can be a helpful reminder to keep the liquid flowing.
Help update her new mom wardrobe.
New moms need a totally different wardrobe. Even if they’re going back to work in fairly short order, that first month or two at home requires comfortable, supportive clothing.
Yoga pants, of course, are the gold standard of mom wear, for better or worse. They’re supportive on the tummy, look good paired with a cute tee shirt and favorite sneakers, and can be worn out of the house if going for a walk. If you want to REALLY impress her, gift her with a new pair of yoga pants with thigh pockets! I can shove my phone into my thigh pocket and listen to music or podcasts while I move around the house.
Ask if you can walk her dog.
There’s a great opportunity to alleviate her new mom guilt, if she’s also the mama to a furbaby! I remember how bummed I felt when I looked at my old pal, Grover, and realized his walks had been cut short or simply become less frequent.
Especially if she’s not feeling well enough to walk long distances yet, this can be a huge help!
If you’ve got a flexible schedule, offer to come at the drop of a hat when baby goes down for a nap.
It can be hard for new moms to accept help that involves being apart from their baby for any length of time. They’re often afraid that even if they’re away from home for 15-20 minutes, the baby will be hungry or inconsolable for some other reason.
Further, it’s just hard to know WHEN you can accept help, because babies can sometimes be so irregular with their naps and feedings.
If you live close by, offer to stop by without much notice when the baby goes down for a nap, or immediately after nursing or pumping. Sometimes, a breath of fresh air and brisk walk for a new mom (without having to worry about the baby) can make a huge difference in her mental health. She’ll keep her phone on hand and you can call as soon as you need her to head back home.
A new mother needs friends and family to watch her mental health like a hawk.
Don’t worry about prying. Just look her square in the eye and ask, “This is a huge deal. Becoming a mom is really hard. You haven’t gotten enough sleep and your hormones are probably out of whack. So, are you doing okay?”
Then, just wait and listen closely. No matter how she responds, be careful not to minimize whatever she’s feeling or dismiss her experience. Don’t immediately begin telling her your own experiences for comparison.
Make sure she knows the difference between “baby blues” and postpartum depression.
Note: if you’re visiting her around day 3-5, she’s in the worst of the baby blues as hormones shift and milk comes in. Check back in a week later, and make sure to follow up each week. If she’s not better by the 6 week appointment, remind her to be honest with her doctor.
Offer to support a new mom by helping with those first few doctor’s appointments.
I remember how overwhelmed I felt at the prospect of getting Turkey Burger to her first doctor’s appointment.
- How would I get a shower and makeup on my face when she wouldn’t quit crying?
- What if she wanted to nurse in the waiting room? (I was barely succeeding at nursing at home).
- What if she wouldn’t stop crying in the doctor’s office and they thought I was a bad mom?
One idea is to come over before the appointment and hold/bounce/soothe the baby while she dresses herself. It seems like it should be easy, but when you’ve got a third-degree tear and you’re only 4 days post partum, moving around the house and getting to the doctor feels like a huge challenge. I also remember being nervous about her first weight check.
Better yet, if you’re close enough friends, offer to stick around and tidy the house while she’s at the appointment with the baby!
Help with holiday errands and chores.
If her baby is being born in November or December, offer to be a big help for holiday preparations. New moms LOVE having a brand new baby at Christmas, but depending on her physical condition and how needy her kiddo is, decorating and wrapping gifts can be difficult. One really fun idea is to encourage her to sit in her rocker and cuddle with baby while she gives decorating orders. Executing someone else’s holiday vision can be a hilariously fun time. Go crazy and make some hot chocolate to share!
Alternatively, load up her gifts and packaging materials in your trunk and go to work for a few days wrapping and labeling her gifts so she can cuddle her baby in privacy. What a brilliant way to help out!
Think twice before purchasing or offering…
Spa treatments and massages are the ultimate treat, so it’s easy to understand why people want to give the new mom this special experience.
If mom is using formula feeding, you can offer to come over and babysit while she spends her gift card on herself.
The trouble is that for nursing or pumping moms, timing normally makes this pampering experience feel more like a logistical hurdle. Babies feed so often that a 60 minute treatment can be really cutting it close by the time you factor in drive time, payment, dressing and undressing.
That's It, Folks! Comment Below...
If you’re a new mom, what’s the most amazing way people have supported you during this transition? If you’re an awesome friend, what have you tried to do to help a new mom?