Having a newborn baby is exhilarating. And exhausting. It is a complex stage – longing to savour every minute while battling sleep deprivation and hormonal changes. With each of my children’s births, I became better at knowing what I needed to help me during the newborn stage. Here are a few suggestions to make sure you receive the help you need too.
5 Tips for Receiving Help After Baby Arrives
Ditch the Cape
I’m not sure why we mom feel that we have to be superheroes. But one of the most important things to do in those early days is to be kind to ourselves. The first stage is to acknowledge that the exhilarating stage of having a newborn is also exhausting. We don’t have to pretend that broken sleep and transitions are easy and we don’t need to do it on our own. The physical and emotional intensity of this stage can be lessened if we let others help.
Think about your circle of family and friends. How would they most enjoy contributing to this new little life in your home? Try to make your requests based on what their gifts are. Would they like to hold the baby while you have a shower or nap? Would they be able to run errands or pick up groceries?
Be a Team
The early days are great opportunities for you and your partner to parent together. My husband became an expert swaddler in the hospital, while my attempts were rather pathetic. He would also watch our babies in the evening so I could have an uninterrupted block of sleep before midnight.
Make Yes Your Quick Response
Before I had my third child, another mom gave me great advice. She said, “When people ask when they can do to help, let them help. ” So often we try to do things ourselves (but remember we’ve already hung up that cape!). Rather than turn down offers of assistance, be grateful that friends care and accept their kindness. Simple tasks like picking up diapers can be overwhelming with a newborn, yet so simple for others.
If you do not have a large support system readily available, you might need to get creative to help with the newborn transition. If possible, budget and organize these items in advance.
- Prepare meals in advance. A well-stocked freezer is a mom’s best friend. Try:
10 Slow Cooker Soup Recipes
25 Delicious Freezer-Friendly Meals
- Pay for a cleaning service to come a few times in the early months
- Order groceries online (try Loblaws’ new Click and Collect program)
- Join a mom’s facebook group for your city – best way to find quality, frugal ideas for hiring help
- Hire a mother’s helper – there are some fabulous teenagers who can entertain older children, take the baby for a stroller ride or do odd jobs. Hire someone like this before the baby arrives so you can train her on how to do particular tasks.
Many of us in North America do not have the benefit of having extended family living with us or even close by. This makes the newborn stage uniquely challenging. But there are practical ways to prepare for baby’s arrival and make sure you get the help you need.
What is the most valuable way others have helped when you had a newborn? Please share.
By: Karen Gauvreau