These last couple of weeks have been both incredibly joyful and incredibly tiring too. I am loving life but forgot how caring for a new baby and trying to recover yourself from delivery too really is a full-time, round the clock job. A new baby, however many times you have done it in the past, brings a new dynamic and change to life and the home. I have found that there is this adjustment period and learning to balance everything, that I feel we have been in where we need to find the time and the energy to balance everything else around watching her and meeting her needs. Things like feeding the family, doing laundry, keeping the home in some kind of order, school runs (thankfully over for a few weeks), family time, time for us …the list goes on, but I have found with each baby I have had, that friends and family can offer a lot in these initial weeks to help lighten the load, the mummy guilt and generally help you adjust to a new phase. It means that you can let go of the mundane day to day for a brief moment and enjoy baby and being a new family!
These ideas, whilst many I have done in the past for friends and family, come from what we personally have received by others this time round. They are examples of friendship, love and random acts of kindness over the last 2 weeks and they make you feel special and truly are a huge help! I am grateful for every single one of them, and I hope they inspire you in some way next time your friend, family member, neighbour or colleague has themselves a new bundle of joy!
- Bring Food – We have a tradition at church that whenever a family has a new baby people from the congregation provide a meal for their family for the 1st week or so. I love to be on receipt of this simple yet hugely appreciated act of service and I love to cook and treat new mothers myself. Its such a big thing, when in the new born phase, to not be thinking of cooking or having to. We have had pasta’s, lasagnas, curry, casseroles, soup and salads…often with tasty home baked goods to accompany it and all were gorgeous and more than enough for the 4 of us that meant left overs for lunches too.
Do not underestimate how helpful an offering of dinner is for a new mother and her family. It ensures a nutritious feast and a burden lifted, even if they have food for that night it can be stored in the fridge or frozen for a later and chaotic date!
- Help with the School run – obviously if they have older kids and obviously if it is term time, but this is massive! I am very fortunate to have a good friend of mine and Ethans living just a few doors down, and with out hesitation offered to do the school run for me whenever I needed it. She wasn’t the only one either – several mums from school on several occasions have said they would be more than happy to pick him up or drop him off for us and we graciously accepted. It was a huge help as in the early days with feeding hourly and having just given birth, there was no way I could function to get out the door with 3 kids for 8.30am! Afternoons were a little easier but again having a friend fetch him home when I was tired and sore, meant I had longer to rest and time to feed too.
- Watching other kids so mummy can rest – This isn’t always easy if you have kids of your own, though a couple of hours in a soft play and you forget how many you had anyway! I think this was one of the biggest helps in the 1st week when Nathan’s mum took Megs for 3 nights. Because Ethan was at school all day it meant I could have days with just Alice and I, rest when I needed to… no little chatterboxes and I could watch and do the things I wanted to to unwind and relax. It was so quiet and peaceful during the day and helped TONNES to establish feeding, rest and bond!
- Treats for mummy – because after all she does HUGE things! Its nice to get gifts for baby, but I love it when people remember mummy too… It was so nice that friends baked for us all and some brought treats just for me. After having minimal sugar for the last chunk of my pregnancy due to diabetes and then breastfeeding I have found that I have really fancied chocolate (more than usual) and it was lovely to have so many options in the fridge that had been given to us from friends and family!
- Offering to help in the home or just doing it whilst you are there – I have been fortunate again to have so many people offer to help me with house work, I could be offended by what this implies, but quite the opposite. These other mothers know how hard it is in the 1st few weeks to balance everything and how easy it is to let those things slide when your time is taken up with baby. Not only that but depending on how your delivery was it can be uncomfortable to bend and do things or stand for long periods! As of yet I haven’t had anyone clean my home, we are managing pretty okay with Mr Smith hoovering, keeping up with the kitchen, sweeping round, and me doing laundry after the 4-5am-ish feed to be hung out at breakfast and using my trusty anti-bac wipes to maintain the bathroom and other surfaces! It has been nice though to have the offers there, and to see family members cleaning my kitchen/doing the dishes when they have visited!
After I had Poppy, I returned home to all the laundry done and house spotless – Its such a wonderful act of service to do the mundane so the mother can rest in a peaceful environment and soak up these precious early moments. Thanks to everyone for their love and support!