As I was fast approaching Archer's due date, I received many well intentioned offers, "to help" when the baby arrived. The problem was that some people really meant, "I would like to cuddle your newborn while you do laundry," or "I would like to feed your newborn while you do laundry." Feeding my baby was one of the few times I could really relax and bond with Archer. Also, since I planned on breastfeeding we chose not to introduce a bottle for the first three weeks of his life, as it can cause babies to have a nipple preference.
Most often, my wonderful friends and family came to really, truthfully help and would ask what they could do. At the time, J and I were so overwhelmed and exhausted our feeble brains could not process such a question. We didn't know what to ask for. We didn't know what we needed. Looking back, here is a list of things I wish I had asked for and how I wish I had asked for them:
My Care Package List For New Parents:
Thank you so much for offering to help me while I adjust to being a new parent. I'm not terribly good at asking for help or knowing what to say when the offers to help come in. Here are a list of items that I would love to receive or receive help with.
- Feel free to clean, fold, and put away my laundry, or take out the trash/recycling, vacuum, and tidy up around the house. Trust me, I'm too overwhelmed right now to feel embarrassed.
- Play with my dog or take her for a long walk.
- Bring me healthy snacks, or dinners in containers that I can recycle or toss afterward.
- Remind me to nap after the baby nurses. I am lousy at that kind of thing.
- Bring me brain candy or trashy magazines to read while I am nursing around the clock.
- If I'm on medication, bring me a small timer so that I don't forget to take them.
- Come with me to a lactation support group or a support group for new moms. It is hard meeting new people, especially when I'm feeling so raw and vulnerable right now.
- When I am feeling ready, come with me to shop for new clothes. Leaving the house with a newborn is difficult and finding clothes to fit my new body is stressful. I would love a bit of lighthearted support.
- Take a walk with me and the baby. Kindly, gently remind me that stepping outside and getting a bit of exercise will make a world of difference in my mood.
- When I'm ready, take me out to lunch somewhere that I will be comfortable breastfeeding. When you've never breastfed in public, the idea is tremendously intimidating. However, getting out of the house and having a delicious meal with a good friend or family member is something I truly need.
- Change the baby's diaper while I take a shower and blow dry my hair.
Your kindness and generosity mean the world to J, Archer, and I. Thank you again for your support!
Since I'm 38 weeks pregnant with my second baby, number one on my list is really:
- Play with my toddler or take him somewhere special. I really need bonding time with the new baby.
What do you all wish you had asked for when you were new parents?
*photo found here