How to be a Postpartum Bestie
There are a million blogs and checklists out there telling you all the things you need to buy for the baby, but I’m going to be real with you, it’s not about the baby, it’s about the new mum that was just birthed.
Firstly, let me clarify, if you are a trusted friend to the new mother this blog is for you. If, however you are not, read on and learn BUT gifts of service may be more applicable for you (rather than the acts of service I mention).
So, how to be what your bestie needs right now?
She needs to be nurtured.
She is healing physically from the birth whilst trying to care and keep a baby alive. Her emotions are heightened. She is experiencing a new love and a new version of herself. She is learning. It’s a lot!
If only we lived in villages and supported new mums together as a tribe. But wait, you are her tribe, and you can help! Here’s the breakdown for you:
0-6 Weeks Postpartum
This is the period of time only trusted family and friends should be visiting. She is raw (literally), she is working it all out and add to that, some sleep deprivation. This is not the time to hold the baby, but instead to hold the mother. What does she need right now? She needs decisions made for her that are helpful!
Like see that washing sitting in the machine - hang it out (without asking because of course she is going to say ‘you don’t need to do that’). Empty the full rubbish bin, wash & sterilise those bottles/pump parts or throw out the pile of nappies you can see. Bring over cooked meals or arrange for a delivery from the Grocery Store so she doesn’t have to leave the house.
Maybe she needs some things she didn’t expect (like more pads, Panadol, breastfeeding friendly tops, more bras, some things for the baby). Offer to pick up any click and collect orders she wants to place so you can get them to her asap. This is helpful so she can order what she likes from her phone, but you can still be helpful in delivering them to her. Offer a contactless drop off if she likes. You don’t need to come in, you can leave the goodies at the door so there is no pressure on her to ‘show up’.
Some useful gifts to help her in this new phase:
- Splash Blanket for any bleeding/discharge, nappy changes or if she is breastfeeding to help catch any letdowns/spills (breast feeding is messy to start – there is milk everywhere!)
- Womb Heat Pack. Regardless of whether she gave birth vaginally or if she had a cesarean, she is healing from the wound internally left by the placenta. A womb pack helps with any postpartum pains and discomfort. It’s also great for helping with breast engorgement and relieving any blocked ducts.
- New PJ’s. Whether she is breastfeeding or not, she will most likely be spending a bit more time at home now, especially with some slower mornings. Get her a new pair of pj’s (buttons help those that are breastfeeding) so she can feel comfy, snug, and nurtured.
- Postpartum/Period Undies. Maybe just get her an online voucher but these can be life changing in her healing/recovery.
- Food - literally all the kinds – just make sure it suits her dietary requirements if she has any.
As her trusted person, she may want a break and that’s a way you can support her as well. It may be for a quick minute to pee, or a bit longer for her to shower or eat. Another great way is to come over in the evenings (bring dinner of course) and take the night shift for her. This means she can go to sleep knowing you will try your best to settle her baby just like she would. Maybe it’s just in between feeds if the baby prefers contact naps or maybe the mother will want to have you feed the baby as well (formula or expressed milk) so she can have a longer sleep. Even just for a few hours, this is a helpful way to care for the baby which in turn is caring for the mother. Enjoy those snuggles bestie!
Check in Often.
Don’t be offended, but she is busy right now and maybe not messaging or calling as much as she used to. At a minimum she may find some time to respond to the messages she has received (rather than reaching out to those she hasn’t) so make sure you are in her inbox!
Don’t forget to greet the parents when you arrive & ask how THEY are doing before greeting or checking in about the baby. Often mums put themselves second for a while when they have a new baby, but by acknowledging the mother first, you are letting her know she is important and is the priority to you!
It’s also super important to check in and greet any older children too. They are not just ‘Big Sisters’ or ‘Big Brothers’ now. They are individuals who have a whole new person living in their home with them now. Maybe they have some needs or emotions you can help them with (like playing with them, helping them with homework, having a chat about how they are feeling etc.)
You know your bestie best so I’m sure you will be mindful of their mental health. Maybe they want to chat/vent or maybe they don’t but just remember there are plenty or resources to help them like Panda who supports the mental health and well being of expecting, new and growing families through a range of information, services & programs – 1300 726 306.
So bestie, are you ready for your new role as ‘Aunty/Uncle ….’