Accept Help As New Parents
New as well as experienced parents soon realize that babies require a lot of work. Meeting the constant needs of a newborn involves time and physical energy and often takes parents away from other responsibilities in the home.
Although many parents do fine on their own, having someone else helping with the household responsibilities usually makes the adjustment to a new baby easier. Parents can concentrate on the needs of mother and baby, rather than the laundry or dirty dishes.
Helpers can be family, friends, or a paid home care provider, such as a postpartum doula. A family member such as the new baby's grandmother or aunt may be able to come for a few days or longer. Home care providers offer a variety of services, from nursing care of the new mother and baby to housekeeping and care of other children. Here are some ideas of the type of work that others may able to help you with in the earliest days after childbirth in order to give you some relief and time to focus on recovery and healing:
- Groceries/Cooking: A family member than can take over shopping and meal preparation can be life-changing in postpartum. While this is not always feasible, there are a variety of other services that may help cut down on the amount of time and energy spent on cooking and grocery shopping. Many grocery stores offer delivery services, bringing your groceries straight to your door. Meal delivery services can provide meals and/or ingredients needed to quickly put together a home-cooked meal with minimal work.
- Errands/Household Items: Having someone that is able to run some basic errands for you can help minimize the amount of time you need to go out with a new baby. Delegating errands like post office drop-offs, dry-cleaning pick-up, dropping off/picking up older kids, etc. can all help. If you haven't stocked up on household items, consider ordering online in bulk or have a family member pick up for you.
- Caring For Pets: Those fur-babies still need attention too, so make sure they get the love and care they need by involving a family member or friend. Walks, outings, grooming, etc. can all be tasks that a loved one can take over while caring for yourself and baby.
- Basic Household Tasks: Dishes, laundry, and trash seem to pile up faster now with a new baby, and having someone help you stay on top of these tasks can also help you keep your sanity. Changing out the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, starting a new load of laundry and/or dishes may seem like small tasks, but these become much more difficult with a new baby who has an erratic feeding schedule. Enlist the help of willing family members to keep up with basic chores around your home.
Whoever you decide to have as helpers, be sure to make clear all the things you expect them to do. Communication is important in preventing hurt feelings or misunderstandings when emotions are fragile these first few weeks. It is generally best for the new mother to be relieved of all responsibilities except the feeding and care of herself and her baby. This is especially important if she is breastfeeding. Others should assume the chores in the home such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping. This will help the new mother take care of herself, and keep her from limiting her time with her baby.