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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

Mommy necklace

mommy necklace

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

$105

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.

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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9 products that will help baby sleep better (and longer!)

For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

How do I get my baby to sleep? This is one of the most commonly asked questions among new parents, and it makes sense, given that babies are born with their days and nights mixed up. For many parents, attempting naps and bedtime can seem like a never-ending cycle of rocking, shushing and hoping for some kind of magic sleep solution.

And while that might not exist (yet), we have found some of the best products out there that can help baby fall asleep faster and for longer durations. Because when baby is sleeping, so are you!

Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack and swaddle

Designed by a mama, parents swear by this weighted sleep sack. It mimics your hug to give your baby security and comfort that helps them get to sleep faster and stay asleep longer. The detachable swaddle wing makes it easy to transition as they grow.

It's also super easy to get on and off, and includes a bottom-up zipper for late night changes, so you don't have to wake your baby in the process.

$79

Yogasleep Hushh portable sound machine

Yogasleep hushh sound machine

With three soothing options, this is a perfect solution to help your baby settle when naps are on the go and during travel! I love how compact this noise machine is and that it can run all night with one charge.

$30

Bebe au Lait muslin crib sheets

Burt's Bees Organic Crib Sheets

With a variety of print options to choose from, these breathable sheets are *so* soft and smooth, even through multiple washes. The luxury fabric keeps little ones warm without overheating—a formula that helps ensure more sleep for everyone.

$32

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

The Simple Folk perfect pajamas

You know what's going to help baby have their best sleep ever? Some quality, super soft pajamas. The timeless (and aptly named!) Perfect Pajama from The Simple Folk are some of our favorites. They last forever and they're made from organic pima cotton that is safe on baby's precious skin. They come in a wide range of sizes so siblings can match and feature fold-over hand covers on sizes up to 12 months.

$37

The Snoo bassinet

Snoo

Designed by expert pediatrician and sleep guru Dr. Harvey Karp, the Snoo bassinet gently rocks your baby to sleep while snuggled up in the built-in swaddle. Not only does it come with sensors that adjust the white noise and movement based on your baby's needs, there is also an app that allows you to adjust the settings directly from your phone.

While this item is a bit on the expensive side, there is now an option to rent for $3.50 a day, which is a total game changer!

$1295

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine + nightlight

best baby sound machine

The Hatch Baby Rest is a dual sound machine and nightlight that will grow with your family. Many parents use this product with their infants as a white-noise machine and then as a "time to rise" solution for toddlers.

The thing I love most about this product is that the light it gives off isn't too bright, and you can even select different color preferences; giving your toddler choices at bedtime.

$59.99

Crane humidifier

Crane Humidifier

The only thing worse than a sick baby is a baby who is sick and not sleeping well. The Crane humidifier helps take care of this by relieving congestion and helping your baby breathe better while sleeping.

Personally, I think the adorable design options alone are enough of a reason to purchase this product, and your child will love watching steam come out of the elephant's trunk!

$46.99

Naturepedic organic crib mattress

Naturpedic Lightweight Organic Mattress

In the first few months of life, babies can spend up to 17 hours a day sleeping, so choosing a mattress that is safe (read: no chemicals!) and comfortable is incredibly important.

Naturepedic uses allergen-friendly and waterproof materials with babies and children in mind, making them easy to clean and giving you peace of mind.

$259.00

Happiest Baby sleepea 5-second swaddle

best baby swaddle

There are baby swaddles and then there is Sleepea. Similar to the brand's swaddle that is built into the Snoo, the Sleepea is magic for multiple reasons. First, it's got mesh panels ensuring baby never overheats. Second, the zipper zips from the top or the bottom, so you can change the baby's diaper in the middle of the night without ever waking them. Third, it's hip safe. Fourth, the patterns are SO cute. And fifth, the interior swaddle wrap that keeps baby's ams down has a "quiet" velcro that won't wake baby if you need to readjust while they're asleep.

$27.95

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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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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