Things to do for new parents home from the hospital

Here PSP members share how to really help a new parent.

 fruit-94242

Golden Rules:

  • Don't just show up, text or email first. Always.
  • Don't bring additional people with you on your visit without notice.
  • Do be flexible and accommodating when you show up. If your visit is cut short for whatever reason, "no big deal" is the best mindset.
  • Do keep any visiting short.
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice.
  • Don’t ask how the baby is sleeping.
  • Do keep checking in beyond the first month post-birth.
  • Do bring an easy to handle meal.

 

Food:

  • Do bring easy to handle food:
    • Wrap sandwiches
    • Cut up fruit
    • Tea, coffee, flavored coconut water, gatorade
    • Any dish that could be warmed up quickly or handheld
    • “A friend came by with a bunch of whole foods prepped foods and good frozen stuff without being asked and I cried. Lunch/weird dinnertime food for a week.”
  • Do bring caffeine: “show up with GOOD coffee (people bring wine but you want coffee)” and “just visit - bring a cup of coffee with you - for mom!”
  • Do make nutritious snacks: “A snack to eat at 3am.”
  • Do make a home cooked meal
  • Do clean up: “The best to do is: bring food - and clean up food before leaving.”
  • Do go to the grocery store for her.
  • Do food prep: “Some of my visitors did vegetable prep for me—top and tail green beans, rinse and pack lettuce, and so on—so that I had some easy-to-cook/eat veggies in the fridge. Particularly useful in my case as the baby arrived early and I had a bunch of food from my CSA share in the fridge but maybe helpful for other new parents too!”
  • Do let new parents know when you are going to the grocery store and if they need anything picked up!
  • Do make a meal-delivery schedule: “I had another friend who planned a meal-delivery schedule for me pre-birth, so that I knew that people would be bringing food by almost every other day for the first month after my son was born. A lifesaver!”
  • Tips for bringing food

 

Things you can do around the house:

  • House cleaning and any tidying up
  • Walk the dog/ change the cat box
  • Pet/Brush the dog/ cat
  • Water Plants
  • Fold clothes
  • Do the dishes/ unload the dishwasher)
  • Take out the trash
  • Do a load of laundry or go to the laundromat

 

Things you can give:

  • The ultimate “I Just Gave Birth Mom Kit.”
    • “Someone came the day I gave birth with a "mom kit" full of lanolin, Colace, pads, chap stick, dermo spray, tux, etc. not glamorous but much appreciated for a first time mom!”
  • a babysitting coupon
  • a food coupon
  • Bring non-baby items: paper towels, milk, toilet paper, water:
    • “Show up (announced) with diapers or wipes. Kids go through so many, and rarely are they not appreciated.”
  • Make a “Baby Sleeping” sign for the door to help keep the ruckus down.
  • “I donated at least 30 onesies and outfits that never got worn. I also needed lip balm in every room and corner because I was dry as hell. Any nice scents of those are good also.”

 

Give without needing to be thanked or even seen:

  • “There was nothing more helpful than people who dropped off food or drink and left with no pressure to entertain them even for five minutes.”
  • “Since giving birth, I’ve signed every baby present for a baby/new mom with "no thank you card please" - because oh man, writing those on no sleep was brutal.”
  • “Make a drug store run for supplies.”
  • Text: “text supportive messages, photos, jokes but don’t visit.”
  • Services: “see if you can buy them a cleaning service for the day. Or have the house cleaned while they are still at the hospital.”
  • “I also loved when someone did an errand run for me for stuff I needed (Amazon prime is still two days!).  Also, bringing over movies and DVDs would also be great - lots of time to watch stuff when baby is up feeding in the middle of the night.”

 

Baby-sit:

  • Hold the baby while mom takes a nap, shower, shaves,
  • Take the baby out: “Offer to take the baby for a walk and give mom a few minutes to do the 2000 things she wanted to do before you came over.”
  • “If they have another kid, take #1 out for fun.”
  • Help out at bath time

 

Things to do with mom:

  • “Listen to her birth/adoption story.”
  • “Ask questions about how THEY are doing. Baby Blues and the hormonal rollercoaster of emotions after the baby arrives is no cause for concern. However, longer term self-neglect and disinterest in baby can be a sign she needs help.”
  • “If there are complications, be extra helpful. Colic and reflux are things that make a baby more work than normal. Give help more often.”
  • “Take mom and baby for a walk (help with stroller and stairs)
  • “Give mom a ride to/from the hospital if kid is in NICU.”
  • Veteran Parent? Teach her how to use her breast pump.