How to be a Helpful Visitor
Updated: May 29
Have you ever gone to visit a mama with her new baby and seen the tiredness written all over her face? Did you notice the dishes and laundry piling up? Have you ever wondered how you can help her best, but don't even know where to start? Here are some ideas and tips when visiting a new mama and baby!
Show up with nutritious food. Keep in mind that mama has a lot of healing going on so make sure that whatever you choose to bring is easily digestible and full of nutrients that will aid in her healing.
Show up with listening ears. This mama is going through a major life change that needs to be processed. Be ready to listen to her birth story and how she is doing postpartum. Resist the urge to give advice unless she specifically asks. Think through any comments you make before you say them to make sure it will be positive and encouraging to a worn out mama. This leads right into the next idea...
Ask about the birth story. If you are close to the mama this can be such a valuable time for her to process everything that happened with the birth. Feel free to ask questions about it, but consider asking something like this to start: "What about the birth story have you been thinking about lately?" Or "What about the birth story is important to you?". This allows mama to pick where she would like to start and begin processing through it.
Show up ready to serve. See dishes that need to be done? Do them. Laundry that needs to be folded? Fold it. Do you feel like this is cutting into your time to hold the baby? It might be, but remember your worn out friend and how this is such a special time when you get to serve her!
Consider bringing gifts. Gifts are such a beautiful way to show love and your support. Depending on your relationship with the family bringing something not only for mama and baby, but items for dad and siblings can be very much appreciated too! Sometimes siblings feel left out because the new baby is getting all the presents so a little gift can go a long way. Keep in mind these don't have to be expensive gifts. Just getting dad his favorite candy bar and the kids a new coloring book can be so meaningful.
Take time to play with the siblings. When everyone is coming to see the baby and giving him/her all of the attention, it can get really lonely really fast for a sibling. A simple way to help the siblings not feel left out is to take a few minutes to play with and listen to them. No need to ask them questions about the baby during this time (e.g. "Do you like your new sister?, Is it fun to have baby around?")... all attention is on them!
Only stay for short visits. Mama is healing and needs a lot of rest. She likely has many visitors coming as well, so keep that in mind as you determine the length of your stay. Mom, dad, baby and siblings all have a lot to learn and adapt to as well so giving them time and space (while still being helpful and supportive when you are around!) is important.
Wash your hands before holding baby. There is no need to ask if the mama wants you to wash your hands before holding baby, just go ahead and do it!
This is just a start of ideas on how to help a postpartum mama! If you have any others to add, please reach out! I would love to hear more ways to support mamas and families!