Ways to Bless a New Mom

Guest post by Jessica Fisher at Life as Mom.

Fifteen years ago I was a young wife dreaming of the day we would turn two into three. Even though I had helped my mom with my four younger siblings, I had no clue what motherhood really entailed. I know that – now.
What a surprise I was in for!

Six children later I have a learned a few things about adding a baby to the family. Thanks to generous family and friends I’ve discovered some amazingly helpful ways to bless a new mom – because they blessed me so abundantly.
Taking my cues from them, I offer these suggestions for you as you help friends and family greet their new little bundles of joy:

Bring a meal.

Food is a great way to bless others, especially those who’ve just had a baby. My newborn days were always ravenous ones. With breastfeeding, baby duties, and a healing body, I found it hard to find time or motivation to cook, but it seems like I was always hungry. I loved it when others brought us a meal.

Consider bringing a meal or two, preferably early in the day so that the family can eat when their schedules – and sleeping baby – allow.

Some tips for meals on wheels?
:: Bring kid-friendly foods for families with older children. Meals that can be served “not touching” are always appreciated. Offering meat, starch, and vegetables as separate dishes allows picky eaters to fill up on what they like. (Tired moms with new babies don’t need to fight food battles in the early days.)
:: Consider bringing a few extras like muffins, scones, or even an egg dish that can serve as a quick breakfast the next day.
:: Use dishes that you don’t need back so that the family has fewer dishes to keep track of and return.
:: Observe food preferences and allergies.
:: If your budget allows, bring two meals, one to eat and one to freeze and enjoy later.

Offer childcare.

As I added to my new family, I was very conscious of not neglecting my older children. I didn’t want them to feel left out or ignored. Yet, sometimes I was just too exhausted for much play. It was so nice when friends fill in the gap. If the new baby has older siblings, offer to come play or even take the bigger children to your house for the afternoon. In this way, Mama can rest (providing that Baby cooperates) and not worry about the older kids.

A caveat: Please be mindful of exposing Baby’s family to illness. Worried about offending others, new moms may be hesitant to say, “Keep your cooties to yourself.” However, it’s no service to your friend if her kids all get sick. Even if it’s “just the sniffles” steer clear of the new baby’s home for the first few weeks.

Clean house.

An offer to mop floors or scrub a bathroom is sometimes hard to extend – or accept. But the newborn days are ones during which Mom should be enjoying her baby and resting in stead of cleaning house. Offer to fill in the gap.Something as simple as vacuuming or pulling a few weeds can help the new mom rest more easily, knowing that there aren’t nagging tasks to tackle.

Just hang out.

While rest and seclusion from outside illnesses are important during the early weeks, fellowship with the outside world is vital to combating a new mom’s cabin fever. I have great memories of friends coming to visit — with food in hand. Their (healthy) kids played in my backyard with my older children while we moms chatted and caught up. And in many cases, I had a clean bathroom when they left!

It doesn’t take much time or money to bless a new mom. It takes effort and love, though. But the results are well worth it. You and your friend will both be blessed.

What do YOU do to bless a new mom?

Mother of six, Jessica Fisher writes about parenting hacks at LifeasMOM and posts delicious ways to act your wage at Good Cheap Eats. She is also the author of Organizing Life as MOM – a 125+ page e-guide complete with customizable planning pages and inspiration for home management.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

36 Responses to Ways to Bless a New Mom

  1. forum watch August 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Thanks for all of the hard work on this web site. I admit, I have not been on this website in a long time, however it was joy to find it again. It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals! I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

  2. ashley August 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    when our son was born, we had a friend bring over a veggie tray, a huge bag of cherries, and a fruit tray. that was the BEST gift we got after coming home. i was nursing and ALWAYS hungry, so it was really a treat to just reach into the fridge to munch on already cleaned fruit and veggies at 3am. much better than the other quick but not-so-healthy choices. i now do this for all of my new mommy friends!

  3. Allison August 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    This is great! When I had number one, our church did meals for 2 weeks but I had three or four meals that were white noodles with mushroom soup and a type of meat mixed in… eeek!!! One of our favorites was homemade waffles, fresh fruit, yogurt, and any other fixins you could possibly imagine! It was a treat! (and enough to feed an army!)

  4. Laine August 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Those are wonderful tips! I love doing that for new moms! I’m expecting #4 right now and would love someone to bring me a meal or do something like that, it would be such a blessing! I’ve never been on the receiving end of this, but I know other mom’s have always appreciated it.

    And it is so generic and really not very thoughtful to say, “Call us if you need anything.” I try really hard never to say that! Because people will not ask. But if you volunteer something like “Hey, can I watch your kids or bring you a meal?”, they are quick to say “Sure!!”

  5. Living So Abundantly August 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I visit Life as Mom all the time and somehow missed Good Cheap Eats. I just linked up! :) This post is good to know, because I have a preggo friend and want to make a dinner for them when she has her baby. Ironically enough, I was going to make…drum roll, please….lasagna! Haha…when I read that you got six in a week, it inspired me to make something else. She also has a toddler and a teen, so thank you for the reminder to make it kid-friendly, too!

  6. Barbara August 4, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Have you seen the book, “Dinner is in the Jar”? Take a hot dinner to the new Mom & Dad and a ‘dinner in the jar’ for them to quickly and easily prepare another night! Be sure you don’t neglect your own family though when taking meals to others. Make a double batch so that your loved ones feel special too :)

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      I have never heard of that book. Sounds interesting!

  7. Racheal August 4, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    When I had my children food was always an issue, I couldn’t get enough to eat and I had the rest of my family to feed. So when my friend had her 3rd child I decided food would be my gift to her family. During my freezer cooking days I simply made an extra meal sized for her family. I used disposable pans so she didn’t have clean up and took her 14 meals ready for her freezer. She still comments on what a blessing that was to have homemade meals ready for her family waiting for her in the freezer. I figure I spent about $45 on her portion I would have spent that much on a baby gift (she’s a close friend, more like my sister) and it is remembered more that a cute outfit they wear a few times. She is expecting her 4th this spring and I’ve already talked to her about what meals I should make for them!

  8. Morgan August 4, 2011 at 5:27 am #

    I am pregnant with #4 and my favorite thing for people to do is bring food! We don’t eat fast food and there aren’t many take out places around here so a nice meal saved our sanity. I also liked when people came over during the day to entertain the older kids. I didn’t want them to leave the house (we are very picky about who and where they go) but it was nice to have a helper take them on a quick bike ride or put a puzzle together with them. After having my 2nd a good friend paid a housekeeper to come and that was fantastic! I would rather have someone I don’t know scrub my toilets than a friend!

  9. Kadee August 4, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    My suggestion is to remember all these things not only for moms who have given birth, but for those who have a new child through adoption, too. These moms may not have a physical recovery or breastfeeding to deal with, but they do have their own unique challenges and adjustments and would love to be blessed by these ideas.

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:00 am #

      What a great reminder! Thank you.

  10. Melinda J. August 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    I don’t comment very often on blogs, but I thought I would share this awesome tool I’ve used when coordinating meals for new moms, and a helper list for my own needs. It is a free website (donations accepted) called carecalendar.org. When you go to their homepage, you can set up a Care Calendar and put in likes and dislikes, when food is needed (we usually did a M/W/F routine for 4 weeks for our MOPS group new moms), size of family,etc. You are the coordinator of the calendar when you set it up and will be given a different password than the rest of your volunteers. Then when you volunteer you just put in your info (only the coordinator can see it), put in what you are bringing (if you know), and it will automatically tell the coordinator. It will also remind you when your turn is coming up. You can also use it for other things like housekeeping, babysitting, errand running, etc. Thanks for the great post and I hope this little tidbit is helpful for your readers. Thanks!

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:01 am #

      This is awesome! With one baby we had six lasagnas in one week. (Good thing we like lasagna!) I bet this helps you coordinate that, too?

  11. Crystin Niscavits August 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    Love this. Just had my 3rd and we are away from family. I’ve had some incredible friends bless me in so many ways. I hate asking for help, which I guess can be kind of prideful. So, my dear husband, instructed my girlfriends to be extremely direct and to just show up, lol. (he knows me too well) So, they would show up at my door and:
    1. Wash my dishes. (we have no dishwasher and cook most meals- this is GOLDEN to me!)
    2. Hold the baby.
    3. Take my two older (but too young to go outside alone) boys outside to play.
    4. Grocery shop. (another GEM- how do you grocery shop w/ a baby carrier (and possibly crying baby), a climbing, whining, 2 year old, and wandering 4 year old! lol)
    5. Make lunch. (if they were there, they would prepare it if the baby was hungry/fussy)
    6. Change bed sheets (one of those things that can get put off)
    7. Play w/ the older kids (give them one on one time w/ legos or blocks or books- so sweet)

    There are tons of little things you can do that a mom with her hands full sees as HUGE. Thanks everyone for adding great ideas :)

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:01 am #

      How wonderful that hubby is clued into what you need!

  12. Your article has perfect timing! Our neighbor just had a baby over this past weekend. I wanted to do something and was considering bringing a meal and a cute little onesie that I found at the store yesterday.

    I think we will bring dinner over to them (early in the afternoon like you suggested) tomorrow.

    Thanks for giving me that little boost to get out there and do it!

    Blessings!

    Mrs Mary Joy Pershing

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:02 am #

      Bless you! I can’t tell you how often we were hungry and the meal didn’t arrive until 7. We were grateful, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve always remembered that on the giving side. :)

  13. Joy August 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Great post today Jessica! I especially liked that you included just hanging out. So many times when I was a new mom, I just wanted people to sit around and chat instead of just dropping off a meal and running. I appreciated adult conversation and even someone to bounce ideas off of.

    Also, something that really helped me was offers to grocery shop for me. I had a friend that called and told me to make a list for the store and that she would do the shopping for me. Wow. What a huge blessing to not have to run out with a new baby!!

    Now, it’s what I like to do for new moms, or just overwhelmed mamas in general. It’s no trouble if you are already going out, and it’s a huge blessing to the recipient!

    Thanks again for the great post!

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:03 am #

      I never really thought about the grocery shopping. I was always too worried they’d spend more money on things that I had to spend. LOL But, that is a great point.

      • Joy August 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

        ha! That’s true. I guess if it’s a good friend they know you and how you shop. :) And here (where I live) in Indonesia, there is no “better” deal, you have one choice and you can either buy it or not. :) Guess that’s a blessing in disguise, huh?!
        Have a great day!

  14. Becky@OrganizingMadeFun August 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    This is very true! My favorite place to organize meals to bring to others is: http://www.takethemameal.com and it’s super easy! It does all the work for you to set up meals for friends.

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.com
    Organizing Made Fun

  15. Jessica August 3, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    My mother brought me stacks of magazines when i had my baby a few months ago.
    It was great to thumb through something fun that didnt require much thought or attention while i spent all my time in bed nursing!

    • Joy August 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

      good idea, Jessica!

  16. Mandi August 3, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Great post!
    I am on the receiving end of this – after having my second baby in May. My church family has been PHENOMENAL in loving and taking care of us. I can’t wait to do my part and take care of the next batch of babies that are coming soon in our big church! Loved some of the ideas!

  17. Sarah August 3, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Here’s a few things I appreciated with newborns:

    One time a friend came over to sit with the kids (and newborn) while I took a long, relaxing bath. It was such a simple and easy thing for the friend to do – didn’t require much except her time.

    My MIL hired a housekeeper for a couple visits to my house

    A group of friends came over and told me they were not there to be entertained or talk with me. They simply wanted to take turns rocking the baby while I got some uninterrupted sleep.

    Of course, delivered meals were a treat! Even those not homemade were very appreciated.

    My family stocked my freezer with quick frozen food meals. I know, they were not healthy, but we survived just fine and appreciated them very much. ;-)

    My boss told me to work from home a couple days a week (for a few months) to spend more time with my baby after my official materity leave was over.

    • Jessica August 3, 2011 at 10:08 am #

      What a great list! I particularly like the extra nice boss.

  18. Amanda August 3, 2011 at 7:26 am #

    I think it helps to be specific with your offer to help. Rather than just saying “let me know if you need any help!”, ask her “Can I come over tomorrow and bring you dinner/fold some laundry/etc.?” People will rarely take you up on a general offer because they feel guilty asking you to do something. But if you’re specific it makes them believe that you really do want to help!

    • Sarah August 3, 2011 at 9:33 am #

      Excellent point. The general comment “let me know how I can help” is often answered by the general reply, “thanks, I will.” But being specific is showing how you will help.

      Also this is silly, but ask by saying “may I” instead of “can I” – it is more personable.

    • Bethany August 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      Yes! This is very important. I’m one who feels terribly guilty about asking for help, so I love it when someone takes initiative and asks if they can do something specific at a specific time. It definitely shows that they’ve thought through and truly mean what they are offering.

    • Megan August 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      This is so true. For us, our daughter was in the NICU for 8 weeks and had 5 surgeries and people kept putting it on us to ask for help with that line. We were in crisis mode, we couldn’t even think of what we needed let alone hunt down someone’s phone number and arrange things. We had one person come and mow our yard and a friend that took it upon herself to gather up freezer meals for me without asking in those 8 weeks. We now have a special needs child at home and people keep asking us what they can do, but I barely have the energy to keep going, organizing help is just not possible. I simply cannot call people and ask them to do this or that. I’m starting to realize that serving others is a learned skill and I think our community simply does not have that skill. Hopefully I’ve learned the skill though and can be a blessing to others in a crisis in the future.

      • Melinda J. August 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

        Hi, Megan, I would suggest if you have a friend who likes to organize things, then share with her the CareCalendar.org I shared earlier on this post. That way, when you think of something, just email her and she can do the rest. Maybe have her raid your address book or email address book to maybe contact some other friends for you. I think cleaning house would be a good one to add. Or gas giftcards so you can get to all your special need’s child’s appointments. I know your situation is a long term thing, so it’s harder to keep the momentum going. I’m sure you’ve joined some support groups along the way, but things like trading babysitting so you and/or your husband can have a night out. We have a ministry at our church that puts on those datenight type things every quarter or so. But I would have to agree with you that our communities do not have that skill. We are simply too busy to make time for others. I, myself, have fallen out of the habit of being helpful to those in need of support like this. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. I will pray for you, and for those who support you and want to help, that things will be better organized so that you do get the help you need. God bless you.

  19. Alzbeta August 3, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    What wonderful ideas! My little one was a preemie, so we were home for 29 days before she came home, and unfortunately, people weren’t quite sure how to handle that. We would have been utterly grateful for a meal or a little help cleaning, especially as our days were spent traveling to and from the hospital. All new mommies need support, and how great to have a lovely list of ways we can do that :) .

    • Jessica August 4, 2011 at 6:05 am #

      Great reminder that even if the birth and homecoming are not exactly as you planned, that the help is so needed, regardless. My friend this post that offers suggestions for how to serve the mom who can’t leave the hospital, like in the instance of a premature birth: http://www.parentingmiracles.net/2011/07/meals-for-new-moms-who-cant-leave-the-hospital/

    • lyss August 4, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      SO true! As a mom of a preemie who was in the hospital for 5 weeks, I can relate. I had a cesarean, and with pumping milk and daily trips to the hospital, I so appreciated friends providing meals for the first couple weeks! Even if you’re not taking care of the baby, life with a newborn in the NICU is exhausting in other ways!

      And I will add that meals for the first week baby does come home would be much appreciated, too. Even if you’ve recovered from giving birth, there’s still new adjustments with bringing a newborn home.

      My hubby arranged for some girls to come clean our house before our preemie came home and that was a real blessing! Being at the hospital most days, I hadn’t done much cleaning.

      Also, it was such a blessing to have family and friends take care of my then 18 mo. old while we went to the hospital each day. We couldn’t take her since she was too young to go in the NICU.

      I agree…if you know someone with a hospitalized baby, please don’t ignore them! It can be an exhausting time, so insist on helping them out.

  20. Samantha August 3, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    One of the gifts I most appreciated was a huge stock of delicious homemade granola bars. In the early days of breastfeeding I was hungry at strange times and these granola bars were a perfect (and healthy!) snack.

    • Jessica August 3, 2011 at 6:04 am #

      What a great idea! It’s so true that the munchies never seem to end. I remember my mom stocked water bottles for me right next to my nursing chair. That was a tremendous help as well.