Hospitality Hints is a monthly feature on our blog (this is the first one!) with some helpful hints for being hospitable in everyday life. Our hints may involve inviting people over, but not always! Most of the time, they will be about having a posture of hospitality—welcoming others into our lives.
Ways to Love New Moms
We don’t know about y’all, but our Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of little babies these days and we aren’t complaining! We know that parenthood can be extremely fun and rewarding and beautiful, but it can also be difficult, especially when you’re adjusting to a newborn. So, we wanted to offer some hints for being hospitable to new moms (or maybe moms who aren’t new to motherhood, but have a new baby). We asked around and got some hints from our office and our friends. If you have an additional tip, please let us know in the comments!
- Some moms are sick while pregnant. Offer meals and assistance before the baby comes, too!
- Offer to go with them to run errands, maybe just ride along so the baby can stay in the car with you—it’s difficult to wrangle a car seat in and out.
- Offer to clean house or pay someone to. Perhaps a group of you could go in together and get a few months’ of house cleaning services (for before and after baby arrives). What a great gift that’s not on the registry!
- Take older siblings somewhere for the day, the afternoon, or even half an hour. Or watch the baby so the mom can take out the older kids. They are probably missing quality time with her.
- Ask the mom if you can come over and just hold the baby while she showers. You get baby time and mom gets uninterrupted time to shower, get dressed, and dry her hair, which may be a rarity in her life right now.
- Come over and wipe counters, clean bathrooms, fold laundry, etc. The mom might protest, but just say, “You can return the favor sometime!” and let them rest.
- Ask when the baby normally sleeps (or tell her to text you when she gets the baby down for a nap) and come over then. Moms may be nervous about babysitters, but will be less nervous if you watch the sleeping baby while they run out or even go for a walk around the neighborhood to get out of the house for a bit.
- Text, don’t call. Texting doesn’t tend to wake up babies like phone calls do.
- Provide a Redbox giftcard or Netflix subscription or an audio book subscription. Moms who can’t go anywhere (and may not feel well) would love something new to watch or listen to while they rock and nurse babies. This may not apply to moms who have older children!
- Starbucks giftcards and wipes and diapers are always welcome.
- Schedule a 1-hour visit a few weeks after baby is home—after dad has gone back to work and the grandparents have gone home. Mom would probably love some company.
- Bring clothes your kids have outgrown—especially larger sizes. They get a ton of the tiny sizes at showers, but don’t have stuff once their baby (quickly) grows out of those.
- Bring a present for the older siblings. They’re probably feeling a little left out.
- Go pick up mom and take her to Sonic (or another drive-in kind of restaurant). No one has to look great, because you stay in your car! Baby can come, too. Just sit and sip Cherry Limeades while having adult conversation.
- Walk the dog—or take the dog to the dog park. Rover may feel a little neglected, too!
Taking a meal is one of the most popular things we do for new moms—and it’s super helpful! Here are a few tips for providing food:
- Order pizza and have it delivered. Just call and let them know it’s coming so they don’t worry about putting together a meal.
- Consider throwing in breakfast or lunch foods with your casseroles. Those meals often get left out and mornings can be more difficult than evenings when you’re adjusting to little-to-no sleep.
- Meal trains and Care Calendars are great, but please follow the system. You don’t want the parents getting three meals on one night and then none for a week, or getting chicken tortilla soup for two weeks straight! It’s also important to pay attention to allergies.
- Don’t forget about the family when the baby is older. They’ll get a lot of meals the first few weeks, but they’ll be even more sleep-deprived about 2-4 months in. Consider running over a meal or two then, or taking something that can be frozen so they can save it for later.
- If the baby is premature or can’t be around people, drop the meal off at the door and tell the parents it’s there. It protects the baby and you still get to help.
- Don’t think you have to cook! Lots of parents would love to have a Chick-fil-A sandwich or a pizza amidst all the casseroles. Take their order and hit the drive-thru!
- Easy meals to take:
- Rotisserie Chicken and premade veggies (potato salad, baked beans, etc.);
- lasagna and salad;
- Taco Soup;
- Pick up BBQ.
- If you make a meal, don’t stay and visit. We know you want to see the baby, but new parents don’t always feel up to entertaining, the house might be a mess, and the baby may need to nurse.
Above all, new moms need encouragement. They’re exhausted and overwhelmed. They’re dealing with hormones and physical healing, along with not getting much sleep and learning how to take care of a tiny baby. They need someone to tell them it’s going to be OK. Most of all, they need you to say, “You’re a good mom.”