Even if you never have your own children, almost everyone will have friends and family members who do. A new baby is always exciting, especially if you get to have a special place in their life. However, when a baby first comes along, you might feel at a loss for how you can help. You want to be helpful, but you also don’t want to get in the way and be an imposition. Having a baby is an emotional experience, and most parents want to enjoy some time together with their newborn before they have too many other people around. If you want to help out, there are many things you can do that are useful without being too intrusive.
Wait Until They’re Ready for Visits
The number one rule when someone has just had a baby is to allow them their own space. While everyone might be clamoring for a visit with the new bundle of joy, the parents probably want to try and rest and enjoy their first few weeks of bonding time. It’s important that you let them set the time when they’re ready for visits and avoid bugging them for cuddles with the baby. When they do say that visits are welcome, make sure they’re conducted on their terms. Try not to overstay your welcome or to expect them to play host to you too much. Visiting them at home is often easiest, but let them pick the location. And never turn up unannounced!
Offer to Cook or Clean
With a new baby about, finding the time or energy to cook and clean can be tough. One of the nicest things you can do is to offer to do these things to make things easier for the new parents. Helping them do a quick tidy up or clean now and then can be useful, although some people would rather not have someone else do that for them. A perhaps more welcome option is to offer meals, which you can just drop off without having to spend any time in their home. Something that just needs to be heated up is convenient and will save them lots of time.
Show Them You’re Thinking of Them
Sometimes just showing someone that you’re thinking of them can be a good way to support them. Parents often want some alone time when their baby is born, any many ways you can help can seem like you’re intruding. Sending them a gift to congratulate them acknowledges that you know they’ve had the baby, and you want to be there for them, but you also want to give them their space. It doesn’t just have to be a card. You can find lots of customized newborn gifts that are perfect for giving something special. Of course, it’s also a nice idea to get something for the parents too (although all gifts are really for the parents). If they have older kids, don’t forget about them.
Offer to Babysit
In some situations, offering your services as a babysitter can also be very helpful. This is best when the new parents already have a child or children. While you might be able to help out with the newborn a little, they’re unlikely to want someone else to look after them just yet. If they have older children, it’s extremely helpful if you’re able to help with them for a few hours. Juggling a baby with other children can be tough, especially if the older children are still infants or toddlers. You could take them out to do something fun or even help to watch them at home while their parents concentrate on the baby.
Get Them Some Practical Supplies
Sentimental gifts are a sweet gesture, but sometimes it’s the practical stuff that’s most useful. Newborn babies don’t need much in terms of diversity of items, but they do need a lot of the few things that are necessary. They need piles of diapers and onesies, for example. Helping out with these practical supplies can be a useful thing to do, and it’s something you can do easily. You might even have some items you can pass down, whether it’s some old baby clothes or even something as big as a stroller.
Take Them Out
Having a baby can mean that the parents (especially the mom) end up feeling kind of isolated. Sometimes the new mother might not even leave the house for days. Not every new parent wants to spend a lot of time out of the house, but some are desperate to get away. They can feel the lack of adult time grating on them and need some time in the outside world. Going out with a newborn can be a bit tricky, but if they’re not ready to use a babysitter yet, it’s still possible. Just pick somewhere with enough space for a stroller. Alternatively, have them come to your house for dinner. Just being in someone else’s house offers a change of scenery, and they’ll have someone to wait on them.
Be Careful About Having Your Kids Around
Before you take your own kids to visit, make sure you know the parents’ wishes. Some don’t want to have other children around their newborn, especially before they have had their vaccinations. Their reasons might be to do with health, or they might just be looking for some peace and quiet while they settle in. The best thing to do is communicate well, so you know what the parents want to do. And if your kids are around the new baby, make sure they behave and know when to keep their hands to themselves.
Avoid Asking What to Do
The urge to ask “how can I help?” is strong when someone has a baby. It’s a kind question, but it’s also very vague. You will often be told that there’s no need to help if you ask in this way. It’s much better to extend offers of specific help, such as babysitting or making a meal, instead of leaving it up to the parents to decide how you can help them. However, make sure you do ask, and don’t force your help on them.
There are lots of ways you can help out when someone you know has a baby. Be generous with your offers of help, but avoid being pushy.