My husband and I were recently blessed (and challenged) with the arrival of our twin baby girls. It’s been especially hard to balance our growing family because we already have a 6 year old and 2 year old to love and nurture. Leading up to the twins’ birth I was very anxious about how we would manage our family of 6…
Enter our amazing family and friends who have been there for us throughout my pregnancy and now throughout the first few weeks of the twins’ lives. People have loved on us, prayed for us, brought us food, and taken care of our children. I have experienced such amazing support that I wanted to share some ideas with you in case you want to help a friend who has recently had a baby but you just don’t know what to do. In full disclosure, I feel like I have always been one of those people. My friends have babies, and being that I HATE to cook, I never knew how to help. Here are some easy ways to really help your friends ease into their new lives once a baby arrives. And while some of these require your friend to also have older children, many of these are good for anyone having baby number 1, 2 or 10.
1. Visit them in the hospital and bring a bag of goodies to get them through their hospital stay. My childhood friend Stacey is amazing and so thoughtful. Once we were placed in our hospital room after the twins’ birth, she was quick to pay us a visit and left us with a bag full of goodies. They were all individually packaged snacks (goldfish, cookies, chex mix, etc.), which made it easy for us to share with our kids. Seven weeks later, we are still eating the snacks she brought!
2. Love on their older children (if they have any). One of the hardest parts of this transition for me and my husband has been taking care of newborns while also spending time with our older two. But never fear, our friends and family have spoiled them rotten. You could pick up your friends’ kids and take them to the zoo, a movie, or the park to give the parents a break. OR, if you really want to splurge on the older kids, how about a gift card to Build a Bear or a Kindle Fire tablet to keep them entertained while mom and dad are busy changing diapers.
3. Start or participate in a meal train. This has to be, hands down, one of the best things anyone did for us. The Meal Train website makes it very easy to schedule meals in advance for the new parents. It allows them to see who is coming, what they are bringing, and also gives them a space to list any dislikes or allergies so the cooks know exactly what they should and should not bring. We have been astounded at the amount of food that has come our way, and to be honest, had the meal train not existed, we probably would be living off of pb&j!
4. Offer to run carpool. For us, the day we had the babies was also my son’s last day of school, which was exciting for him, but also meant I needed to keep him busy and out of the house some while I tended to the babies. It was great to be able to sign him and his sister up for camps and then rely on my friends to get them there and back without having to leave the house. It’s a simple thing to offer and really helps out the parents so much.
5. Babysit for a date night. This may not sound like much, but new parents NEED to have time together that doesn’t involve changing diapers and discussing feeding schedules. When our twins were just one month old, we celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. At first we didn’t think we would do much since the babies were all consuming, but then our amazing friends Ben and Nicole agreed to keep not just the babies, but all 4 of our kids, while we spent the day on Lake Murray enjoying each other’s company. It was an amazing day, and I could never thank them enough!
6. Make your visit to meet the babies a productive one. Offer to do the dishes or put in a load of laundry. Yes, the new parents are excited that you are there to visit and definitely want you to spend time holding the newborn, but truth be told, they could also use some help. Even if their house looks clean on the surface, offer to help by loading their dishwasher, putting in a load of laundry, or feeding their pets.
7. Send a congratulatory card. Everyone loves mail! When your days are filled with spit up, lots of crying, and tons of pee and poop, mail is especially exciting. A simple congratulatory card can go a long way in putting a much needed smile on a new mom’s face.
8. Bring diapers and wipes! Want to visit the new parents but don’t want to go empty handed? You can never go wrong with diapers and wipes. This practical gift is something all new parents need, and it could quite possibly save them yet another trip to the store.
9. Sit with the baby while the mom takes a shower or gets a nap. For me, I loved having company because it made the days go by faster, and it was great to have an extra set of hands around with two babies needing attention. While I loved catching up with friends, I also utilized the time they were at my house to take a shower, and sometimes even get a nap. Don’t think the new momma is being rude, she just needs that me-time and your visit allows for that.
10. Bring your kids when you come to visit! Ok, this may not be the case if it’s the new parents’ first child, but if they have older children, one thing I have discovered is that keeping my older two busy is key. When adults come for a visit and bring their kids, my kids are busy, happy, and out of my babies’ faces, which is a battle I am constantly fighting. So bring your kids for a playdate, but check with the new parents before heeding my advice!