Friday, April 15, 2011

brand new moms...a must read for you!!!

somehow i stumbled onto this blog as i often do so many blogs.  links lead to links leading to more links.  there are some absolutely fabulous and beautiful blogs out there.  you people are talented.  mostly, i just fill my eyes up with pretty things and browse, but this post caught my eye.  it is titled "how to be the best post partum visitor in 15 minutes or less."  it is a must read for new moms and for people who plan on visiting friends or family who have just had a baby. having just been through this myself (a mere 7 months ago), it resonates so much with me.  people are not mind-readers and often don't have a clue about what a new mom (or dad) needs.  

so i have formed my own list for post partum visitors:

1.  refer to aforementioned post.  i would omit #4 because i would just feel a little embarrassed if someone cleaned my bathroom.  i know it was dirty...but just pretend it is the cleanest bathroom ever!  also, 15 minutes seems short so if mom seems earnest about having you stay longer, please do...but not too long.

2.  if you are sick...stay home!

3.  do not show up unannounced.  make sure you let mom know when you plan to visit and then be on time.  she may have planned her nursing around your visit so try not to disrupt her best-laid-plans.  call her just before arrival and ask her if there is anything last minute that you can pick up.  she may need diapers or some wipes or a gallon of milk.

4.  make sure mom doesn't even get off the couch.  let her sit there and bring her a full glass of water or some tea.  

5.  washing hands is KEY.  do it.  and do it RIGHT before you touch the baby...not when you come in the house and then do (and touch) a bunch of other things.  do not ask to hold the baby.  if mom offers, than  enjoy!

6.  do not EVER kiss the baby on the lips, cheek, hands, etc.  just kiss the baby on the top of the head if you cannot stop yourself.
7.  don't bring small children unless the mom specifically asks you to.  small kids, though fascinated with babies and adorable when they hold them, are notoriously filthy creatures.  no new baby should be around kids other than their own siblings.  and if your kids are invited, let them know beforehand that the likelihood that they will be able to hold the baby is zilch, nada, zero.  if the mom allows it, they will just be in for a fabulous and unexpected surprise.  

8.  ask if you can do a load of laundry for her.  babies poop and spit up all day long.  she may be down to her last burp cloth and onesie and you show up right on time to help her out.

9.  announce to mom that under NO circumstances do you want to receive a thank you note for any gift or meal.  she has a get-out-of-jail-free card on that one for at least the first few months.

10.  try not to give mom too much advice unless she asks for it.  new moms feel overwhelmed with information already and are trying to feel comfortable in their new skin.  chances are, they are questioning everything and worrying and are generally unsure.  but the well-meaning opinions of others can be difficulty to hear at such a fragile time.  so wait to be asked.

10.  remember that there is an influx of visitors, help, and meals right after the baby is born.  a few weeks (or even months) later, she may need the help even more.  still tidy up the kitchen, load the dishwasher, or make her a snack.  she will LOVE you for it.

11.  lastly, take your cue from mom.  stay longer if she really needs to talk.  offer to hold the baby so she can nap.  tune in to how she is feeling.  baby blues and post partum depression are all too real so look for signs that she may be having a difficult time adjusting to her new role. 

please excuse what may seem harsh.  i am writing by stream-of-consciousness and the rules are just pouring out of me.  thank you mama vee for the original post that got me thinking.    


  1. I totally agree with #2. I just stumbled across that post also, and loved it!

  2. yes. even a simple sneeze or cough can send a new mom over the edge sometimes!

  3. from a mom who has raised her children and is now PROUDLY watching her own daughters have their babies -- I can add a couple more tips:

    -- never apologize for appearing to be crazed when you are protecting your baby from maruding germs
    --no need to try to be supermom. appearing to be valiant will get you nowhere!
    -- don't forget to check in with your local LaLeche League Leader. their help can be invaluable--any time of the day or night
    -- stay in your pajamas -- you may want to rush into trying to get things back to normal, but more will be expected of you when you get dressed
    -- Daddy can be a huge help when instructing family and friends on the rules of the postpartum household!!

  4. one more thing: let your house be messy! it only means you are taking care of what is ACTUALLY important - yourself and your new baby. the house can be cleaned later...say, when the baby starts preschool.

  5. I LOVE the list. I wish that list was around when I had my babies. My first baby was 4 days old when we picked my mother in law up at the airport. She went to hold the baby and I said..Oh please use a wipe....she said.... what for?? I knew I had a long road ahead of me..hehehe God Bless all you New Mommies!!!! You can speak UP!!!!

  6. Thanks for linking to me! I wrote that little list late one night, and it exploded on the internet and has had about 100 times more views and comments than my entire blog all combined in its ten years of existence. Clearly it hits a sensitive spot. I like your list a lot! Now when I work with parents, I encourage them to make their own list, and then get a close friend or relative to distribute it, or give people the heads up at a baby shower or such. And that support in month two or three or six is so valuable too, isn't it? I totally die of embarrassment when someone comes over and cleans my kitchen for me, but I also love them to pieces and will be their best and most loyal friend forever.

  7. My mom came over and cleaned for me (while I was there) before baby came and I was just mortified and upset etc. But while we were in the hospital she and my bff came over and cleaned and I just felt relieved to not have to worry about it.

    I agree with all of it. lol