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The #1 thing new moms need? To show up + support us

We may not respond to every call or text—but they still mean so much. 

The #1 thing new moms need? To show up + support us

When you have a baby, especially your first baby, people want to help. They bring over what seems like hundreds of onesies, books on child-rearing, bottles they swear calm colic, piles of receiving blankets and So. Many. Tiny. Toys.


Most parents appreciate the gifts, but according to experts, what new parents really need in the first month of baby’s life can’t be found in stores: We need support—from ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.

This gathering of a village doesn’t only help ease the transition, but has also been shown to lessen rates of postpartum depression and anxiety.

Here are the four different types of support new parents need and how we can help each other get there.

Support from our partners

A co-parent is often our closest source of social and practical support as they are both the nearest shoulder to cry on and the nearest set of hands to take the baby or throw in a load of laundry.

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To support one another, co-parents should work together to make sure both are getting enough sleep. And try (as hard as it is when you’re exhausted) to avoid criticizing each other’s parenting.

Sometimes, one parent just needs to vent. The other should be there to listen without judging.

Support from friends and family

Support provided by loved ones is best when provided without unsolicited input, says Carolyn Wagner, a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist at Linebarger & Associates.

“People want to help, but they often have their own ideas about how things should be done. Whether it's related to feeding, sleep, or even how to dress the baby, there will always be differing opinions about what is best,” she says. “However, new parents need people to follow their lead in caring for their baby. This is important because it impacts the new parents' confidence in their ability to care for their baby.”

Wagner’s advice to grandparents, aunts and uncles and BFFs is to do as directed by mom and dad.

“If mom asks grandma to dress the baby in the clothes she picked out, and grandma says ‘how about these instead?’ it sends a message to mom that her choice was wrong and grandma knows her baby better,” Wagner explains. “While grandma was just trying to help and share her knowledge from more years of childcare, the best thing to do is to follow mom's lead and do as she asked.”

Support from the community

Co-parents, friends and family can provide emotional and practical support. But local, expert-led groups for new moms or dads can be good places to find social and informational support, says Emma Levine, a licensed psychologist and the assistant director of Cognitive Therapy for Women.

According to Levine, informational support means access to reliable, accurate information that reminds her that help is available, such as a breastfeeding support group. And social support is best found in a group where the parent feels a sense of belonging among others who are in a similar life space, like in baby time at the library. Studies show such support groups can be a huge benefit to first time parents.

Support in the form of permission to ourselves

Support of all kinds is vital in the first month of parenthood. But experts say permission—from ourselves and others—is one of the most essential needs of new parents.

Julie Smith, a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in parent coaching, says this means everything from permission to let the house get messy to permission to love and raise your child as you see fit.

New parents often push their own needs aside, which can leave them feeling isolated, depleted and depressed, explains Smith. That’s where it helps to have family and friends who validate new parents’ self-care efforts.

“One of the ways friends and family can help parents meet the need of permission is by accepting that every parent has a parenting philosophy, a life philosophy, that is unique to them,” Smith says. “The easiest way to show acceptance is to ask, ‘What do you need right now?’ That question is incredibly powerful as it shows the parents that you accept and trust them to make decisions not only for themselves but for their baby.”

To new parents: The first weeks and months with your baby should be about bonding, not feeling guilt. Remember to give yourself permission to be a parent—and also a human who need to eat, sleep and take breaks.

After all, people want to help. It just may mean letting them know support is an even greater gift than another onesie.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're 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 toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

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

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden 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

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop 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.

$100

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

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

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

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.

$33

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.

$88

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