Visiting a new mama
Having someone close to you give birth is very exciting, and it is fabulous to celebrate new life as well as celebrating the new mama. A baby is often the centre of attention when you visit after the birth, but the new mum deserves your attention too. While mama is caring for her new baby, she needs you to care for her. Don’t forget she has grown bub, birthed bub and now feeding bub, she needs all the love and support she can get.
First and most important piece of advice
When visiting mama and the new family member, please don’t show up unannounced. Call or text the family and ask what day and time suits them for you to visit. Also, respect if they do not want visitors yet, or they prefer you only visit if you have had the whooping cough vaccine. If they are happy for you to visit, call the new mum on your way and ask if she needs any groceries or food picked up. When visiting, don’t expect to be entertained, be a help to the family when you are there. It is also really polite not to overstay your visit, so after 1 hour or so, say your goodbyes and let mum and bub rest.
Things to remember when visiting a new baby:
- Wait until you are offered a cuddle
- Be respectful and ensure to wash your hands before holding bub
- Please do NOT visit if you are sick, even if it is a slight runny nose or cold
- Always remember mama and spoil her with gifts and cuddles too!
Just as babies need love, food, warmth and sleep, so does every new mama. Sometimes these simple necessities of life are difficult to achieve in the early phase of the postpartum period.
Below are some points to remember when visiting a mama, and some ideas of ways you can support and help her in this new role.
Remember you are her village; hold her, support her and love her.
You don’t have to spend much to be thoughtful and show the new mama some love. Don’t just turn up with gifts for bub, mama has worked hard for this baby. This might be as simple as bringing her favourite flowers or buying a nice coffee on your way to visit. Spoil mum during your visit; make her something to eat and drink and let her put her feet up.
Giving birth, feeding and carrying around a baby is physical work. You can even give the new mum a foot rub, shoulder massage or a pamper package to let her know she is loved. Always remind her that she is doing a great job and you are proud of her.
The new parents will be busy adapting to their new roles and caring for bub, so having pre-cooked meals ready to reheat is a fantastic way to help out. New mums need regular nutritious meals and snacks to recover from birth and fuel their body, especially if they are breastfeeding. Bring over a simple meal cooked with love for the new parents. Consider meals that are nutrient-dense, easy to digest and can be eaten one-handed for the busy mama (one of the reasons we created our delicious cookies). Try to divide meals into containers that can be frozen and reheated. You can even organize a meal train, where there is a rotation of family and friends taking in turns to drop a meal off every day, that way the new parents always have food made for them. Healthy snacks such as protein balls, muesli bars and muffins are also convenient and necessary with a newborn.
Rest looks different for everyone, and for a new mama, this may be a nap or just having time to herself. When you visit, ask how you can help so she can get some rest. That might mean doing some housework, looking after older siblings or bub so she can relax and put her feet up. Even offering to prepare meals for her (as discussed above) so she can save time in the kitchen making lunches and dinners. Encourage mama to take a bath or long shower, read a book, listen to some music and recharge her batteries while you are there to help out.
Every mum wants a good friend to chat to, laugh with, cry with, and sometimes just to be around adult company. The new mama might want to debrief about her labour and birth, vent about bubs sleep or celebrate that her boobs aren’t sore anymore. Remember you don’t have to fix or change anything, just listen to her lovingly, be non-judgmental and don’t give advice unless she asks for it. If mama is feeling down, talk to her about how she is feeling and what you can do to help. Encourage her to seek support from a healthcare professional if she has been feeling down for more than two weeks. Always be positive and only say nice things.
There is always something you can do to lighten the load of a new mama.
Be useful when you visit; run the vacuum over the floors, do the laundry, wash up the dishes in the sink or any other housework that needs doing. Even if a new mum declines your help, trust us she’ll appreciate you doing it. Keep in mind second and third-time mums need just as much support, so offering to pick up or drop off older children from school is another way you can help out. If you are not able to provide physical help in person, you can always send mama a food hamper or organize a regular cleaner for her so she has one less thing she needs to think about.
What helped you as a new mama?