When our little Bean was born, we were inundated with advice and offers of help. Some things that were said were very helpful and other less so. Seeing as the theme on the blog this week is advice, I have decided to make a list of all the wonderful things people said to me during my son’s first few weeks of life which helped me immensely and for which I am eternally grateful.
So, if you have a friend or a family member who is about to have a baby or just had a baby, here is a list of things which you can say, should you want to help out:
‘I will take care of the baby so that you can get some time to yourself’
Contrary to popular belief, a new parent does not have time to sleep when the baby sleeps. Well, I didn’t anyway. While Bean was sleeping, I was expressing milk, washing and sterilising the pump and bottles, feeding myself or having a shower. If I had 5 minutes left after all my chores were done and before Bean woke up again, I allowed myself the luxury of a warm cup of tea.
Being able to have my hair done and to focus on myself (even if it was only for 1 hour) really helped me recuperate some of the inner strength needed to take care of a little newborn.
‘I will do the chores while you get to spend some time with your baby’
Now, nobody really offered to do this for me. When family came to our house to help out, I invariably ended up doing chores while they looked after the baby. Although the rest of the family of course also need and want to spend time with the new addition to the family, I at times became quite resentful of having to run around while someone else got to spend the precious little time Bean was awake and happy during the day, with him.
I have to add here, that I am very proud and quite a busy body, so I also never asked anyone to help with the chores. I did not want to seem like a useless woman / wife who cannot manage her own household. I therefore only had myself to blame when I did become resentful.
So, if your friend / daughter / sister is like me, just go on over and do the chores. She will be eternally grateful!
And if you are a first time mom, do not be afraid to ask for help with things around the house! Being able to just spend time with your little bundle without having to worry about chores or what needs to be done next is really wonderful.
‘I have cooked some freezer meals for you’
I cannot begin to explain how much this helped. It was one less chore to worry about and it ensured that we got at least one decent home cooked meal a day.
‘I am going to the shops, can I get something for you’
Family would every now and then drop off supplies from the shops. Trying to go to the shops with a new baby is daunting enough as it is and nearly impossible during one of the many growth spurts which newborns go through so this was a huge help.
‘We will give you some space to just be – let us know when we can visit you’
Everybody allowed us some space so that we could find our feet with our little newborn. This was very important to me: my husband and I needed the time to get used to a little baby, to start to get to know his cues and to establish some sort of routine before we could face the world as a family of three.
‘We will bring the cake and some snacks when we visit’
Being a parent to a newborn is exhausting enough without having to worry about entertaining everybody who wants to meet the little baby. Whenever our family came to visit, they brought everything with them, i.e. food, and they would help to make the tea and coffee.
‘Keep calm, your baby feels what you feel’
This is so true. When I cried, Bean cried harder, yet when I managed to calm myself down, Bean calmed down to.
I never thought this would work, but whenever Bean was upset for whatever reason, I sang and it immediately calmed him down. It also made me happy as I started remembering all the nursery rhymes from my own childhood. I still sing. All the time.
Photo Credit: http://www.canva.com