Posted by Debbie Whitehill, Director of Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms®
When friends or family members welcome a baby, they are eager to visit, bring a gift, and meet this new little person. These are wonderful ways to celebrate this special time, however, in our professional experience, through over 20 years of working with new mothers, we have learned there are also practical ways to be supportive in those early days and weeks. The following are our top five:
Bring food! New parents often don't have time to prepare food. Whether they eat it immediately or store it for later, store bought or home made, it will be eaten and appreciated.
Leave a caring message on their voice mail or email. Most new parents are too overwhelmed to return a call or message, but it's always comforting to know that others are thinking of them.
Listen. Allow the parents room to share joys and challenges without feeling you need to solve their problems.
Offer to wash a load of laundry or a sink full of dishes. Your loved ones might protest at first, but usually not for long! Ask the new parents to make a list of tasks or errands that you could do for (or with) them. Find out what they need from the supermarket or drug store.
Offer to hold or watch a baby while the parent takes a shower, eats a meal, lies down, or even checks email. New parents have so little time that visits can be draining. Allow them to make some use of your visit, if they would like.
What would you add to our list?
Debbie Whitehill, LICSW has been with the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support for 18 years, leading both the Lauren and Mark Rubin Visiting Moms and Support Group programs. Debbie has completed a comprehensive program manual to facilitate replication of Visiting Moms, which has already been replicated nationally and internationally.