12 ways to *actually* help a new mom during a pandemic

There are many ways that you can support a new mom right now! You just have to think outside the box a little bit.

help postpartum mom

There is nothing like lavishing a new mother with love and attention. When a close friend or family member has a baby, we want nothing more than to support her in any way we can (and you know, snuggle the cute newborn while we're at it).

Alas, in the midst of a pandemic, many of the ways we are used to helping new mothers are off the table. She is anxious to protect her health and the health of her vulnerable new baby, and you have concerns about your own safety, as well. It's a hard time to cross that motherhood threshold.

But that doesn't mean that you can't be helpful—far from it! There are many ways that you can support a new mom right now! You just have to think outside the box a little bit.

Here are 12 ways to help a new mom during a pandemic—that are actually helpful.


1. Send food.

Food is always first. Always. Not only is a delicious meal a thoughtful way to show her you care, but it's also incredibly important to her overall health. She is recovering from birth (or adoption, which has unique challenges), possibly breastfeeding and taking care of a tiny human. She needs all the nutrition she can get.

Now, during a pandemic, she may not feel comfortable eating food made in someone else's home—if this is the case, try not to be offended. Remember, it's not you, it's COVID-19.

So ask first. Try saying, "I want to send you a meal. Would you prefer something homemade, delivery from your favorite restaurant, or a gift card to a grocery store or delivery service?"

2. Pick up and drop off her laundry.

Under normal circumstances, I always suggest that helpful friends and family members (that's you!) offer to help clean up the new mama's home (in a non-judgmental way, of course). But during the pandemic, going into someone's home to clean isn't ideal. The good news (and bad news) is that the fourth trimester is notoriously chock-full of laundry to be done. So why not offer to stop by, pick up the laundry and return it the next day clean and folded? What a huge help that would be!

3. Walk her dog.

Taking a dog for a walk can be wonderful, but possibly not ideal as she's recovering from birth and caring for a newborn. Offer to stop by (occasionally or regularly) to walk the dog! It's a great way to help that doesn't require you to set foot inside her home.

4. Have a socially distanced, masked, outdoor visit.

If you and the new parents are comfortable with it, you could offer to have a very safe visit with them. To make it as stress-free as possible, I suggest pulling out all the safety stops:

  • Visit outdoors (a local park is a great option).
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • Wear masks.
  • Consider leaving the baby home with her partner if she has one.

Even 30 minutes of safe gathering can be incredibly impactful—especially if she trusts that you will follow the guidelines to keep her and her new baby safe.

5. Call her consistently.

Confession: I just had to pause writing because I realized that I hadn't checked in with my good friend who had a baby a few weeks ago.

My suggestion (so you don't do the same thing) is to put calling your friend or family member into your calendar. Because let's face it, with everything going on right now it can be easy to forget, even when it's something fun and joyful. Ask her what frequency works for her, and what day and time is best—and then stick to it. Knowing that she can count on a regular adult conversation will make a big difference to her, especially during a pandemic when she might be feeling extra lonely.

6. Start a voice memo thread.

A friend recently introduced me to the pleasure of using voice memo services like WhatsApp for sending voice messages back and forth between friends. Think of it as a hybrid between text messaging and phone calls; it's more personal than texting since you can hear the person's voice, but it's more flexible than phone calls—she can send you a message when she's up feeding the baby at 2 am!

This is another great way to help her feel connected without any of the risks of in-person visits.

7. Go shopping for her.

Shopping during a pandemic is stressful—especially if the person has a newborn and is recovering from birth or adoption. If you are heading to the store, send your friend a text beforehand and ask her what she needs.

Don't feel like you have to pay for the groceries or supplies. If you can and want to, that is super nice, of course; but budgets are tight right now! She'll appreciate the ability to take an extra nap and then wake up to fresh groceries at her front door.

8. Take photos of her and the newborn (safely).

With fewer visitors, new moms might have fewer opportunities to have their photo taken with the baby (because people aren't there to take the photos).

Offer to come over and take a few photos from a safe distance—maybe on her fronts steps or outside somewhere. She'll cherish them (and you) forever.

9. Send her a 'just because' gift.

Your presence in her life is the most important present, of course. But sometimes a sweet gesture in the form of a thoughtful gift is just what she needs for a boost. While you may be inclined to get the baby something (because baby gifts are impossibly cute), try to make it mama-focused, instead. Remind her that she is still important.

(Psst: Check out a few of our favorite ideas for gifts below!)

10. Encourage her to pay attention to her mental health.

Experts are concerned that new parents are at an increased risk of experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety during the pandemic. All of the regular stressors are compounded by the isolation, fear and change that we are living through.

Mental health concerns still have a stigma associated with them–but that needs to change. Don't be afraid to encourage the new mama in your life to reach out for help if she needs it. If you know a great therapist, let her know. If not, suggest a website like Psychology Today, Better Health or Talk Space.

11. Let her vent.

Motherhood is amazing—and incredibly tough (especially right now). Let her work through those difficult emotions with you.

So often in our culture, we ask mothers to sweep negative feelings under the rug and force them to focus only on the positive. This is called toxic positivity, and it has severe consequences. The next time a new mother vents to you (about her birth, how hard breastfeeding is or just how challenging motherhood is in general), resist the urge to try to fix the problem or "help her" focus on the positive. Be brave enough to sit in the fire with her for a bit—it will support her more than you know.

12. Help her embrace the excitement.

People who are becoming parents right now are missing out on many of the experiences people get excited about when picturing new-parenthood: Baby showers, a home full of adoring visitors, mommy-and-me yoga classes and so much more.

(After you've let her vent), join her in her excitement. Help her to feel celebrated. Revel in her joy with her. Gush over the sweet baby and the strong mama!

Let her know that despite all that is wrong in the world right now, she is allowed to feel happy. This time is sacred for her—and you are a very good friend for wanting to help her through it.

As promised, here are a few of our favorite 'I'm thinking about you because you are amazing' gifts to give a new mama:

Collapsable food storage containers

food storage

If you're bringing a new mom a meal, consider gifting her the containers that you send it in. She won't have to worry about returning them, and she'll appreciate the addition to her food storage collection—especially if they are as cool as these containers from Collapse-It. Made of BPA free silicone, they collapse down when not in use for easy storage. Good-bye messy drawers! They come in a variety of sizes shapes and colors, and they are safe for the dishwasher, microwave and freezer.

$42.99

Kinn Studio dear kaia initial necklace - mama

Kinn Studio dear kaia initial necklace - mama

Help her celebrate her favorite new title with the gorgeous, understated necklace from Kinn Studio. She'll wear it with pride—and think about you lovingly every time she catches the reflection of the necklace in the mirror.

$360

Mantra bracelet

mantra bracelet

Remind her that she is (more than) enough with the stunning bracelet from Sontakey. It's a gorgeous way to be with her during the tough moments when you can't physically be with her.

$35

New mom care package

new mom care package

Want to send a thoughtful care package but short on time? These pre-packed boxes of goodies are adorable! They include tea, belly butter, bath salts, lip balm and a special card.

$45

Body wash

body wash

Showers are often a new mom's only moment to herself in the day. Make her shower extra luxurious with delicious-scented, toxin-free body wash like this one from Seascape Island Apothecary.

$22

Virtual service

virtual lactation consultant

Has she mentioned a certain aspect of motherhood that's been challenging? We love these virtual services that help with so many of the pain points of the fourth trimester. Choose from nutrition, lactation or sleep coaching, and make her journey so much easier.

$50

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

The HATCH Mama collection is everything your pregnant body needs right now

Their oil is the only thing that stopped my belly from itching as it grew bigger.

Conz Preti

Let me start by saying I'm not a fan of moisturizing. I hate being wet and sticky and after applying product to my body, I have to stand around awkwardly until I'm fully air-dried—a practice that is not compatible with having three kids under the age of 3. However, as someone who has carried three children in her body, I also know how much your belly needs hydration as the baby grows.

This was especially true with my second pregnancy. My belly popped way sooner (a thing that happens with subsequent pregnancies) and on top of that, I was carrying twins, which meant I became super pregnant super fast. My belly was itching constantly from the skin stretching (I checked with my doctor to make sure I didn't have Cholestasis) and there was no scratching in the world that could ease my discomfort. My doula recommended the HATCH Mama belly oil and changed my life. The oil is nourishing—but more important to me, quick-drying—so I could apply it all over my planet-sized twin belly and get dressed immediately after without having my clothes ruined nor stuck to my body. Because of how much I loved the oil, I tested other products, and let me tell you, they're all equally amazing.

Curious about the HATCH Mama collection? All of their products are non-toxic and mama-safe, designed to help pregnant people overcome the challenges unique to pregnancy. As their website claims, "from stretch marks to thinning hair, to sleepless nights, we're helping you tackle every prenatal and postnatal beauty issue head-on so you can continue to feel like the best version of you." I'm here for all of this. For the entire Hatch Beauty collection click here.


Here are my favorite products from HATCH Mama:


Belly oil

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Oil

Intensely hydrating + fantastic at reducing the appearance of stretch marks and scars, this will be your favorite through pregnancy + beyond.

$58

Belly mask

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Mask Set

Not only does it help to minimize the appearance of stretch masks + scars during pregnancy + postpartum, but there is a little non-toxic wink (and that's to you, mama.)

$42

Nipple + lip ointment 

HATCH COLLECTION  Nipple + Lip

Calming + soothing, this magic sauce is lanolin-free & made of tropical butters and super fruits. I'm not lying when I say you will not want to stop using this, even way after birth.

$28

Belly tattoos

HATCH COLLECTION  Belly Tattoos

A very rock and roll way to honor your bump. And non-toxic + plant-based at that!

$18

This article was originally published in March 2021. It has been updated.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Motherly created the flexible online birth class moms need

The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.

Taking a birth class is a pregnancy milestone. Whether you've been excited to take a birth class for a long time or have just recently decided that you wanted to take one, sitting down for that first lesson feels big—spoiler alert, this is really happening! But finding time for a birth class isn't as easy as it would seem.

We know new parents are busy (hello, understatement of the year). Between diaper changes, pediatrician appointments, healing from birth and the general adjustment to #newparentlife, the days can fill up quickly. But a lot of people are caught off guard by how busy pregnancy can be, too! That first trimester is so often full of symptoms—like nausea and fatigue—that can make previously easy or simple tasks exhausting. The second trimester begins and (usually) we start to feel better. But then our days get filled with planning out baby registries and deciding on questions like, "Where will this tiny new human sleep?" And before you know it, it's the third trimester—and, well, then you're in the home stretch. Plus there are so many appointments!

All this to say that we get how busy you are—and how hard that might make it to fit in a birth class.

And that's why we created The Motherly Birth Class. The Motherly Birth Class is completely online, which means you can take the class at your own pace.


Think you'll want to watch each lesson a few times over? Great!

Due date's next week and you need the option to take a birth class very quickly? No problem!

Like everything at Motherly, we designed this class with you in mind.

Taught by Certified Nurse-Midwife Diana Spalding (who also wrote "The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama"), this class is broken into 12 lessons—and you get to control how and when you watch them. We'll teach you about what your (amazing) body is up to in labor, how to decide when it's time to head to the hospital or birth center (or when to call your home birth midwife), what your options are for coping with pain and so much more.

When you sign up for The Motherly Birth Class, you'll get access to a downloadable workbook and meditations. Plus, you'll be invited to join our supportive private online community (where you can chat with the class instructor!)

Oh, one more thing: Your insurance or flexible spending account might even able to able to cover the cost of this class.

Pregnancy is wonderful—but it's a lot. You deserve a birth class that works for you and empowers you to have your best birth. Because vaginal or Cesarean, unmedicated or medication, birth is incredible. And you are the star of it all.

You've got this.

Sign up for The Motherly Birth Class today!

The Motherly Birth Class

pregnant-woman-looking-at-her-belly

Take our completely digital birth class from the comfort of your living room. We'll help you have your best birth—because you deserve it.

$79

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This post is sponsored by BABYBJÖRN. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


Secret Agent play set

Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Stepping Stones

Stepping-stones

Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

$99.99

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Sensory play set

kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$19.95

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Foam pogo stick

Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

$16.99

Dumptruck 

green-toys-dump-truck

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

$22

Hopper ball

Hopper ball

Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

$14.99

Pull-along ducks

janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$16.99

Rocking chair seesaw

Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

$79.99

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$79.99

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

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The ultimate back-to-school shopping list for busy moms

Use this list to prep for the best first day ever!

CasarsaGuru / Getty

After spending a summer reconnecting with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors and (hopefully!) making time for vacation, it's time for kids to head back to school. They're ready to learn, grow and get out of your hair again! But they'll need some help to get there. Before the exciting first day of school, you'll need to get all the gear together to make school a success.

As a parent, use this basic but essential school supply list to find everything your little ones need for their classes—even on a budget.

Loose Leaf Paper

Even though there won't be any tests or quizzes when school begins, kids take plenty of notes, complete assignments and do in-class exercises. Every student needs at least a few packets of loose-leaf paper for quick notes and doodles. Check with your child's school to find out if they require college ruled or wide ruled before you fill up your shopping cart — odds are they won't, but it's worth being sure.

$4

Personal Planner

Your child will need a personal planner to kick off the school year and keep up with all of their assignments. It's an opportunity to invest in cute school supplies that motivate your kids every time they open their planners. Plus, planners help kids learn time management and responsible scheduling, which they can carry with them throughout their academic lives and into college and adulthood.

$22

#2 Pencils

Most classes require #2 pencils because they show up easily on test bubble sheets that machines scan and grade. Add them to your child's school supply list before they sell out at local stores. A great deal on a large pack will likely last through the year.

$10.29

Black Ink Pens

Teachers grade in red ink pens so their notes stand out as study tools. Your student should use black ink pens that don't bleed on the paper. Their work will stand out and never smudge if you use a tried-and-true brand that knows how to make a quality pen, like BIC.

$4.47

Highlighters in Different Colors

Highlighters help students study if they outline notes in different colors. Get your child a pack so they have all the help they need for their study materials. If they're stressed about the tougher classwork, don't forget to break the tension with jokes that will put them at ease.

$9.99

Big Pink Erasers

The erasers on the top of pencils won't last long in classes like calculus or trigonometry. Give your kids a backup by buying packs of big pink erasers. They last much longer and often do a better job of wiping mistakes away.

$.99

New Headphones

Headphones are one of the school supplies kids can use to express themselves. They'll wear them while studying in the library or riding the bus so they can focus or relieve stress between classes.

$16.99

Lined Notebooks

Notebooks are cute school supplies that students always need. The spiral-bound pages are easy to flip through and lightweight in a backpack. They even help with virtual classes because each subject can have a different notebook and further organize notes that assist with online tests.

$3.19

Three-Ring Binders

Students collect their loose-leaf notes in three-ring binders because they snap everything shut and keep notes safe. Find back-to-school binders that match your child's personality so they can stack everything safely in their locker without bending or crushing papers.

$16.95

Locker Decorations

Most kids love decorating their lockers when they start middle school or junior high. Add locker decorations to your school supply list so they can personalize their storage unit and feel more at home.

$14.99

New Lunch Box

Spoiled food ruins the first day of school. But a dual-compartment lunch box ensures your child's food stays fresh throughout the day by designating a special section for an ice pack. Your purchase could also start a new tradition of getting a different lunch box when the school year begins, easing your kids' nerves about beginning a new grade.

$12.99

Upgraded Backpack

It's always fun to get a new backpack. Let your kids pick one that matches their size and expresses their personality with characters, colors, or other prints.

$31.96

Colorful Markers

Young kids might need help adjusting to virtual school or having fun during in-person classes. Colorful markers are an easy way for them to relax while doodling, and they'll likely be part of daily assignments for elementary school students.

$3.49

Reusable Water Bottle

Drinking out of water fountains helps spread illnesses. Your kids can avoid flu season by carrying a reusable water bottle in their backpack. Let them pick out whichever one they want and they'll look forward to using it instead of drinking from public fountains.

$29.95

Calculator

Every teenager needs a calculator when they go back to school. A TI-89 model assists with graphing functions and lasts throughout their academic careers. You won't have to buy another one if they keep it in its case between classes.

$130.99
Back to School Landing

Mom relieves baby's gas like a pro in viral TikTok

"How was he not floating around like a balloon?!" asked one commenter.

@kaseybuscemi/TikTok

We all know the struggles of having a gassy baby. It can be rough—for baby and for you! Since babies don't actually come out of the womb knowing how to pass their own gas without a little assistance, there are so many different techniques and tips out there to help your baby feel more comfortable when they're a little...flatulent.

"Bicycle legs" is one common technique that can help get things moving for baby gas relief, and no one does it better than this mom on TikTok.

Her video has more than 10 million likes, and it's not hard to see why—it's mesmerizing, informative, and, of course, downright hilarious!


Her little baby has a wicked case of the toots and even mom cracks up by the end.

Someone give this mom, @kaseybuscemi TikTok, a gold medal, because she just placed first in the Farting Your Baby Olympics. No joke. When I first learned about the "bicycle legs" technique (after my baby spit the gripe water right back at me and, I kid you not, laughed in my face while making direct eye contact), I felt awkward and had no idea what kind of rhythm was required to effectively fart my own baby.

This mom? TOTAL PRO.

The comments on this video are as funny and entertaining as you'd expect them to be, too:

Never in my 30 years of living have I ever seen someone fart a baby. This is so cool.

TWIST IT! PULL IT! BOP IT!

*baby all grown up* "So what's a fun fact of yours?" "Oh 6 million people saw me fart."

How was he not floating around like a balloon??

Farting a baby is just as important as burping a baby!

As far as the importance of farting a baby goes, yes, in case you're wondering, it is important. Some gassiness in babies is totally normal—just like with adults. Regular farting and burping are a sign of good gastrointestinal health, according to Healthline. In addition to bicycle legs, changing the baby's position, gently massaging the baby or bouncing the baby a little bit can also help alleviate trapped gas.

Your baby could also be intaking a tad too much air from your nipple or the nipples of a bottle if they're extra gassy. If you're concerned about your own baby's gassiness, contact your pediatrician or healthcare provider for more information.

If you're looking to master the bicycle legs technique, though, look no further than this video right here!

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