How fun it is to open gifts at a shower for your coming baby. Those goodies are guaranteed to elicit a parade of ooh’s and aww’s. Little sweaters and hats, adorable cuddly toys – they were made to satisfy our need for cuteness.
Most new moms are highly focused on their baby’s needs, which is a good thing. Self-care is also extremely important, yet, at this time of new, unrelenting demands, it is easy to begin what can become a mom’s lifelong habit of putting herself at the bottom of her TLC list. When an unexpected gift for her arrives, most moms are startled and deeply grateful for the nurture directed her way. Here are some mostly low-cost suggestions for showing love to the new moms in your life:
1. Home-cooked meals – Staying well-nourished is good for all of us, all the time. How much more true of a new mom, experiencing sleep deprivation, and recalibrating hormones, especially if she’s eating not only for herself, but for her nursing babe. Preparing meals in small or individual packages that can be stored in the freezer will free your new mom from the often time-consuming task of cooking. Be sure to know of any allergies and avoid heavy spices and gassy foods (beans, onions, etc.) in order to minimize any digestive upset for baby. A meal that satisfies your gut and your heart cooked by someone who cares about you – Priceless.
2. Massage – Motherhood is incredibly physical. The constant lifting, carrying, bending, not to mention the muscle tension built by continually interrupted sleep makes moms prime candidates for massage therapy. Find a great licensed practitioner at a local day spa or one who makes housecalls (obviously, baby needs to be elsewhere) to provide some relief to that hardworking body. Having shoulders that aren’t wrapped around your neck anymore – Priceless.
3. Visit her – New motherhood can bring with it a sense of isolation. After the initial flurry of visits, sometimes friends stay away because they figure mom can’t hang out or is too busy. Some time with old friends who are patient with the interruptions that come with having a newborn around is a comfort and can provide some much needed fun. Good adult company – Priceless.
4. A Post-partum doula – These angels help new mothers with everything from adjusting to nursing, soothing babies, emotional and physical adjustments, and, in some cases, some light housework. To find a certified doula, ask family and friends for referrals or check out DONA International. Help, reassurance, and guidance – Priceless.
5. Playdates – For the other children in the household. A standard bit of advice for new moms is to sleep when the baby sleeps. Pretty impossible to do when there are other young children at home with no one else to watch them. By offering to babysit or scheduling playdates with the other young children in the home, you’re giving mom the space to just chill once the baby is resting. Quiet and sleep – Priceless.
6. One of her faves – Does your new mom love dark chocolate, British comedies, cashmere? Giving her something that is clearly just for her and that shows that you really know her can’t help but make her smile. Becoming a mom for the first time or again requires that you reconfigure yourself in some way to make room for this new presence in your life. But your essence is the same and being lovingly reminded of that thru a thoughtful, personal gift feels really good. Something you love from someone you love – Priceless.