This is what every new mama needs from her friends

You want to help her. Here’s how.

This is what every new mama needs from her friends
?: Lifei Ruiz  

So your co-worker or friend just had a baby. And beyond the adorable onesie you bought her for the shower and the congrats text with the baby emoji, you have no idea what to do next.

But you want to help because you’ve heard the stories. A new mom is riding the 4th trimester roller coaster of her physical healing while figuring out how to keep a little helpless human alive while juggling the potential onslaught of family coming in to help or visit—with little to no sleep. So yes, she would love your help.

And no, she won’t ask for it because she’s too busy doing aforementioned things.


I get it—it’s awkward for you, too. You’ve heard that the days and weeks that follow a baby are blurry and chaotic. You’ve probably read blogs where new moms lament over visitors who overstayed their welcome or did something else equally annoying. Or you’re weirded out by boobs and breastfeeding.

And you are just too nice of a person to risk frustrating your friend.

But can I offer a different perspective? This is an incredibly special and messy and crazy transition. And I bet—no, I know—she doesn’t want to do it alone.

Here’s a great rule of thumb to be a blessing to a friend you care about while also avoiding stepping on any toes: Don’t ask and make room.

Here’s what I mean by don’t ask

Don’t ask a new Mama if she needs anything—she will likely decline. Instead, tell her you want to do something to help, like cover a meal.

And here’s what I mean by ‘make room’

In your message, make room for her to tell you what helps her the most. Because that’s what you are going for, right?

But your burning question—what does she need?!

Here are 3 ideas that mean the world to new mama but won’t ask much of your wallet—

1. She needs food

A photo posted by Humairah Fahim (@humairahf) on

Sometimes the baby’s arrival is planned in advance and comes in right on time. Other times, the baby makes a surprise debut and, as you might have guessed, a grocery run before heading to the hospital is not going to happen.

Regardless of the baby’s arrival, cooking falls way down the priority list. So the simple, classic act of delivering a meal to them is a perfect way to take one thing off their minds, at least for that day!

Make a yummy dinner for the new parents and try to limit the prep they will have to do as much as possible. Bonus points if you drop it off in containers that you don’t care about seeing again because it’s one less thing to remember for new mama. Too busy to cook for yourself, let alone someone else? Get an idea of their favorite foods and use a delivery app like Eat24 to place an order on their behalf. (The delivery option is also a great idea if your friend lives out of town!)

Something like this text is perfect: “Hey New Mama! Thinking about you—life must be busy right now! I’d like to help by cover dinner for you sometime this week or next. What day is best? And what foods do you and hubby prefer?”

Want to go a little further? Drop off some easy snacks for the new mama. A friend of mine dropped off a huge container of cut-up strawberries and a gallon-sized bag of yummy homemade banana muffins about 10 days after I had my daughter. To this day, it’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. I could eat them with one hand (because I was holding an infant in the other arm.) and they lasted a few days.

Pro tip: Many times there are family members around for a week or longer so make a reminder for yourself to reach out a week or two after the baby is born.

2. She needs help with self-care

After my daughter was born, my mom came to stay with us for a few days. She told me more than once that I needed a shower. And to change my shirt. Or, if I was getting edgy, she’d send me to my room to take a nap. And the sad thing is, I probably would not have remembered to do any of those things if it weren’t for her.

A newborn needs to eat every 2-3 hours—and they are not usually fast eaters. New mama is feeding her baby for about 30 minutes—1 hour around the clock. Through the night, she’s getting to sleep in 1-2 hour segments. And if she’s like me, she’s not taking the advice of veteran moms who tell you to sleep while your baby sleeps during the day.

So it’s no surprise that she’s tired. All the time.

You may hear New Mama talk about wearing the same clothes a few days in a row and here’s a big reason why: Spit up. Baby is spitting up his milk all day, usually after feedings. So why change your shirt if it’s just going to happen again 1 hour later? Plus, if she’s breastfeeding, she’s taking off her shirt every hour so it kinda counts as changing her clothes ... right?

Ask when you can come over to give mama a break. You’ll hold the baby (free snuggles for you!) while she can do whatever she needs to do: shower, sleep, get out of the house for a bit without baby in tow.

Want to go a bit further? Stay a little longer and clean something. Clean up her kitchen, vacuum the carpet, or if you are great friends, do some laundry. Because she definitely doesn’t want to do it but definitely wants it done. My best friend cleaned my whole house while I held my 4 week old daughter and I literally wept out of gratitude for it. (Yes, I was probably still hormonal at that point.)

3. She needs companionship.

Your friend’s world just got thrown upside down by the cutest little bundle of joy. But nothing is the same for her—her heart, her body, her mind. Nothing about her is untouched by having a child—her routine, her marriage, her finances, her everything. It is a great and glorious change but it. is. hard.

And, like a lot of hard things, it is lonely.

Because one thing that changes the most are her friendships. She doesn’t have the same amount of time to invest them. Girls’ Night Out, shopping trips, working out with her friends—whatever she enjoyed before baby as common blessings will instantly become rare luxuries.

And never will they be as freeform and spontaneous, because she’ll always have a little bit of her mind on her baby.

One of the best things you can give your New Mama friend is your company. You’ll want to be on time (new moms curse the “fashionably late” rule) and you’ll want to give advanced notice. An ideal visit is about 30 minutes unless she asks you to stay longer. Ask her how sleeping is going, how baby is feeding, how her heart and mind are doing. Put your phone away and listen.

She has so much to say & share with you—and maybe a few tears to cry.

Finally -two things to avoid—

1. Don’t avoid her or assume she’s too busy with baby.

Maternity leave is lonely. Raising a new baby is hard. Yes, there are so many cute photos on Instagram that paint a picture of everlasting bliss but don’t be fooled. Is your life as good as you make it look on social media? Yea, I thought so.

While she might not want to hang out for more than 20 minutes, your New Mama friend does crave a sense of normalcy—aka time with you.

2. Avoid sharing crazy baby stories you heard about from the Internet or your cousin.

Listen, I know this sounds weird but New Mama goes into hyper-drive of all that could go wrong in her baby’s world. I once got angry while on a walking on a sidewalk next to a busy street because the street no guard rails—because what if a stroller got loose and rolled into oncoming traffic?!

Not only that, but New Mama is hyper-aware of every sound or movement the baby makes that isn't normal. She has her baby’s doctor on speed-dial to double check anything and everything that seems odd.

So save your crazy, death-defying, did-you-hear-about-this stories for another time. She doesn’t want to hear it.

At the end of the day, I encourage you to enter into her life in whatever way you can.

Offer to come over and then serve her with all your heart—because she’s giving her entire body to serve her little one. This is a new side of her that you get to know and she’ll be there for you when and if it’s your turn. It’s a beautiful transition and she wants you to be a part of it.

Just bring some snacks with you.

Join Motherly

When it comes to registering for baby products, there's one word we love: convertible.

In contrast to items you use for a short period of time, convertible (or multi-use) products are made to grow with your baby… and trust us, that makes them worth their weight in gold.

Convertible items allow you to reap the benefits of your baby registry for years to come—and that's just savvy shopping, mama. Also savvy shopping? Creating your baby registry with Target and enjoying their Year of Benefits registry program for expectant parents. Just by starting your registry, you will get a welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. And Target's newest registry perk, the Year of Exclusive Deals, gives you discounts on essentials for your baby's whole first year when you sign up for Target Circle as well.

If you prioritize value and longevity when creating your registry, here are 10 items you'll love from day one through day 1,000… and beyond!

A crib that can grow through childhood + beyond

Simmons Kids Slumbertime Monterey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

A crib is a necessity as you plan for life with your baby—you know that already. But what about in a couple of years when they need a toddler bed? Or a few years beyond that when they graduate to a bigger bed? Well, you're in luck: With the right attachments, this bed can be the only one they need until college.


A cozy blanket for snuggles + security

Plush Velboa Baby Blanket I Love You - Cloud Island\u2122 White/Black

Blankets have earned their spot on millions upon millions of registries for good reason: They function as stroller covers or play mats during the early days, then become beloved security items in the toddler years.


A comfy spot for feeding + stories

Baby Relax Addison Swivel Gliding Recliner

During your first months of motherhood, a comfortable gliding chair will be your second home as you spend time feeding and bonding. As your child grows (and mobility makes those snuggles harder to catch), you'll discover a new love for this cozy spot for stories and bedtime snuggles.


Sealy Cozy Rest Extra Firm Crib and Toddler Mattress

Fun fact: A standard crib and toddler bed actually use the same size mattress. That's why it's smart to get a quality crib mattress right out of the gate: One less thing to change up in a few years!


A changing table that doubles as a dresser

Simmons\u00ae Kids Monterey 4 Drawer Dresser with change top

If space is at a premium in your baby's nursery, look for a combination changing table and dresser. That way, you can keep using the dresser long after your little one is potty trained.


A car seat that converts to a booster

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The safest place for your child is in the backseat of your car, in either a car seat or (later) booster. But instead of buying a new seat for each phase, you can check off multiple boxes at once by adding a convertible car seat to your registry.


A stroller that accommodates big kids, too

Graco FastAction Jogger LX Stroller

The need for a good stroller doesn't end when your little one learns to walk, so look for a stroller that can accommodate bigger kids, too. We recommend a jogging stroller that allows you to attach an infant car seat and is still perfectly spacious for toddlers.


A place to dine for years to come

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

From first bites to family dinners around the table, one single high chair can be the solution you need. That is, if you look for a version that adapts into a booster seat when your child is ready for a plate at the table.


A white noise machine + alarm clock in one

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

After spending months listening to ambient noise in the womb, white noise remains incredibly comforting for your child. It's nice to have a sound machine that can transition to a time-to-rise clock down the line. By cueing with sounds and colors, these clocks reinforce healthy sleep habits.


A baby carrier that can haul a toddler, too

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

A carrier is a major help when your baby loves being held, but you need use of your hands. But even months or years down the line, you can still get use out of that carrier. To maximize longevity, look for one that can be used with your child facing outward or even carried on your back as they grow.


Enjoy building your registry with Target, mama! The Year of Benefits is calling your name with a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more! 😉

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less