Author Topic: Advice for friends of new mums?  (Read 4540 times)

hackneylady

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Advice for friends of new mums?
« on: Jan 08, 2007, 06:39:26 PM »
A friend of mine had her first baby yesterday - very, very exciting!  :D

I'm interested to know from people who already have children, what tips would you give the friends of new mothers? I want to be helpful and supportive without being annoying and pushy.

What were the best things your friends did for you when you had your baby? What really didn't work? What do you wish they had done more of?

Of course, the new baby is only the beginning, so feel free to chip in about the later years too!

Thanks very much.

TravelBug

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #1 on: Jan 08, 2007, 06:47:51 PM »
Best advice I can think of is to sleep when the baby sleeps!  That tip is for the mum not you!

Make her dinner, tidy up and then quietly leave.
Do the shopping.
Hold the baby.
Generally help with the endless tasks, trying not to get in the way.

Expect her to be tired, tearful, confused, overwhelmed, not very interested in you and your life (without being rude).  Or none of the above, new mum's are variable. 

Enjoy the ride, and smile lots.

scorp

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #2 on: Jan 08, 2007, 08:30:05 PM »
Be there just to chat about anything and everything - not all about the baby  ::)

A very special person bought me a wonderful neals yard kit.  I was very sore and she got wonderful creams and lotions to help.  The reson why this was so special was because it was purely for me, making me feel cared for and helping my pains go away - its not all about the baby ;D

Housework - simple things like washing up, making drinks

Personally I think just making the effort adn visiting is initself special.  I didn't have truck loads of family visiting, which made the friend that did visit extra special - especially those who travelled a distance  :-*


Rosie

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #3 on: Jan 08, 2007, 08:47:49 PM »
I was going to say the bit about making dinner - or, actually, taking lunch. When visiting new mums, I usually say I'll come for lunch - but I'm bringing lunch. If I don't know what their favourite foods are, I'll usually ask for requests.

Take a little pressie for mum as well as baby - 'pampering' products are nice like decent toiletries (or a box of chocs) and if there are any siblings (speaking generally now, I know you said it's your friend's first) you should take a little something for them, too.

There is often a lot of fuss at the start when the baby is very new and parents are flooded out with flowers and gifts and stuff and family is often on hand to help out at that time so don't forget that it's often later - in the early weeks - when help can be much appreciated. It's usually after the first month or so that lack of sleep really starts to kick in and if there are painful stitches or other aspects of physical recuperation taking place, it often feel worse at around 5-6 weeks. Your help and support is likely to be really appreciated once all the initial fuss and excitement has died down :)

What really works - specific rather than vague offers of help. Not 'is there anything I can do?' but 'why don't you go have a nice bath/blow dry your hair/have 40 winks and I'll mind baby' or 'why don't I do that spot of ironing while you're feeding the baby' or 'I've got to nip to sainsbury's before I go home so give me a list of what you need as well' or 'Why don't I run us all to sainsbury's - it will be much easier if there's two of us, one to push the pram and one to push the trolley' etc etc

Once baby is weaning and able to be left for a little while, babysitting so your friend can go to the hairdresser or have a night out with her partner etc is often very welcome esp. if there is no family close at hand.
That applies to later years, too of course! When your friend's little one is old enough to be away from home for a while, you could take her out on, say, a sunday morning to give your friend a romantic lie in with her partner - or even have him/her over to yours for an overnight stay. Once babies have reached the inquisitive, restless toddler stage (and from then on until they leave home!) it is nigh on impossible to get intimate, uninterrupted 'together' time as a couple so your help may well be much appreciated then.

How lucky is your friend to have such a nice considerate friend as you :D


Arctica

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #4 on: Jan 08, 2007, 11:48:46 PM »
Make a cuppa - and everything else Rosie said.  Also ask when's a good time to go round - you may have to be flexible cos if she's only just managed to fall asleep after being up all night.......

huggles

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #5 on: Jan 09, 2007, 04:52:38 PM »
I hated friends visiting in the first couple of weeks.  I found it really hard to get breast feeding established and having friends there just stressed me out even more.  To top it off my in laws came to stay two weeks after the birth in our one bed flat and that was pretty much the end of my breast feeding.  There was no way i could breast feed infront of my father in law and it seemed like i was being so unsociable by shutting myself away to feed.  Each feed was taking about an hour as my son an i just couldnt get to grips with breast feeding.  So about an hour after each hour long stint i'd have to shut myself away in the bedroom again.

So....  I'd say ring up your friend and say when you feel ready for me to come round please let me know.

gadgetgals

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #6 on: Jan 09, 2007, 09:46:26 PM »

*neighbours did a rota for the first week and delivered meals

*family did a 'useful items' baby box including practical things like nipple cream

*mother-in-law took full responsibility for all laundry (offer was time limited though!)

*baby-sitting vouchers to be used when new parents are ready

*saying that you're doing a good job

*friends being patient with 'baby obsession' and letting us talk

all useful I found

hackneylady

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 09, 2007, 09:58:51 PM »
This is all really helpful. Thanks hugely. I'm going to copy your posts into an email and send round my friends so we're all primed and prepared. Keep 'em coming!

I went to see him last night and he's gorgeous. Just the tiniest, newest, most perfect thing in the world. He was only 24 hours old, but already had learned how to stick his thumb in his mouth!

My friend is completely exhausted (they were stitching her up for an HOUR after the birth  :o) but completely in love with him and breastfeeding no probs. Her mum has come to stay for the first little while, so she'll have a lot of support initially.

scifisam

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #8 on: Jan 09, 2007, 10:59:11 PM »

*neighbours did a rota for the first week and delivered meals

*family did a 'useful items' baby box including practical things like nipple cream

*mother-in-law took full responsibility for all laundry (offer was time limited though!)

*baby-sitting vouchers to be used when new parents are ready

*saying that you're doing a good job

*friends being patient with 'baby obsession' and letting us talk

all useful I found

Wow, what a supportive circle of friends and family you have! I was completely on my own from the day I left the hospital.

Hackneylady - sounds like your friend is going to have an equally supportive network; bet she'll feel loved. Very thoughtful of you.

Offline merce

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #9 on: Jan 10, 2007, 05:00:57 PM »
How lovely! The best thing anyone did for us was leave a homecooked casserole on the doorstep and go away without knocking! Also good would be offer to take baby off in buggy/ baby carrier for an hour (if she'll let you...) , especially in the mornings so she can grab a bit more kip. Back/shoulder rub very good for new breastfeeders. Foot rub likewise (Yes, yes, baby massage is great but what about new mum massage!). Clean bathroom . Clean kitchen. Pop in for quick visits, don't stay too long. Don't ever, ever say 'Is he feeding AGAIN?' , or 'is he feeding or sleeping?' or 'how often did he wake up last night?' Take lots of pictures of the parent(s) and baby - suprising how easy it is to forget this one! And have fun. It is so lovely to know a baby from the start, and I know ours has really gained from having a couple of friends who come to see him really regularly and who he never forgets.

Offline pinklucy

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #10 on: Jan 11, 2007, 10:07:59 PM »
I know lots of others have said this but just to add that the 'housework fairies' were just the best. The people who just get on and do stuff around you are so invaluable in the early days. At the least, never ever leave any more mess than was there before you arrived remember someone coming round once and she left a couple of plates on the table and I felt so angry and upset I think I cried about it later! (it seemed reasonable at the time!)

Homecooked healthy food that you know she likes, especially if she's breastfeeding as both her and the baby will benefit from eating well and you can bet she won't be up to gourmet cooking for a while!

I'd say don't put any pressure on a Mum for her to leave the baby in the early months. I know that it makes a lot of Mums feel uncomfortable, particualrly if they really don't want to leave the baby. There is enough social pressure to be out without the baby very soon after the baby is born to not worry that she won't feel she can say if she would like to leave the baby, but suprisingly people can find it hard to get support when they just want to stay with their baby all the time.

Someone else mentioned it, but it's worth reitterating - she may not have any interest in anything other than her baby for a while to come, and her old interests and priorities are likely to shift a lot, so be patient as your friendship may change and she may not have the same time or interest in your personal life anymore for a while. This doesn't mean she won't still like you as much or really appreciate you, it's just that having a baby is so all consuming! This doesn't happen to everyone though.

Well, I've rambled again - what a surprise!  ::)
"Don't Dream It, Be It" - The Rocky Horror Show

hackneylady

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #11 on: Mar 09, 2007, 11:25:01 PM »
Thanks you all very much again for your advice. They're having a bit of a rollercoaster ride - the baby is crying and crying and crying and just does not stop. I think it's colic. Or possessed. Either way, not good.

It's also been a bit difficult to lend a hand  :-\. When you go over she insists that you sit down, and has baked cakes in honour of your impending arrival. I think she really wants to show that she's coping, but it's difficult.

From talking to her, I think what she needs most is a little bit of time away from the baby every now and then, being 'normal'. It's what seems to work for her. So, she's expressing and...I'm doing my first night's babysitting tomorrow night!  :o  So exciting, though also terrifying (see my earlier comments re: colic/possession)..

Anyway, I've actually come back in here with another question about the whole thing. (And I promise I won't be so rude and leave it such a long time to reply next time  :-[). My friend feels really isolated and lonely during the day when she's on her own with the baby. So a mother and baby group would seem like a good idea. The trouble is, they're surprisingly difficult to find.  She has one other friend who's just had a baby, but is in an NCT group that only lets you join when pregnant. Which seems a bit mean to me.

So my question is - does anyone know of any mother and baby groups in Hackney/Stokie/Islington?

Thanks again.

And wish me luck babysitting.


huggles

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #12 on: Mar 09, 2007, 11:45:53 PM »
No but i'm sure if she asked her health visitor she'd be given venues etc of mother and baby groups.

delilah

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #13 on: Mar 10, 2007, 02:13:41 PM »
Best of luck with the babysitting.  :D

You're a bit of a star. When I had my son all of my friends vanished and I became isolated and depressed, and ended up on a psych ward. She's lucky to have you.  :-*

hackneylady

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Re: Advice for friends of new mums?
« Reply #14 on: Mar 10, 2007, 02:24:02 PM »
Best of luck with the babysitting.  :D

You're a bit of a star. When I had my son all of my friends vanished and I became isolated and depressed, and ended up on a psych ward. She's lucky to have you.  :-*

((((delilah)))) You poor thing. I think it's because I'm aware of how easily that can happen that I'm trying to make a bit of an effort. And it's the least I can do, I reckon.

huggles, thanks for the tip. She got the Sure Start leaflet but I think she's been a bit reluctant to rock up to any of the things they're offering on her own.