What does a new Mother need? (Phase Two)
Your friend is expecting any day now and the likelihood is that she has gone into hibernation while she waits for labour to begin.
She may be feeling anxious about her due date and may even want to be induced to bring it on sooner. She might even be starting to get a little depressed and ‘over it’.
Lots of women go past their due date and ‘full term’ can really be any date between 38 weeks and 42 weeks.
DO be supportive
DO talk with her about being ‘over it’
DO talk with her about being excited
DO double check her hospital bag with her
DO check over the ‘things to do as a super friend during maternity’ list
DON’T call her every day and ask, ‘Is he/she here yet?’
During Labour (For friends who are waiting and not involved in the ‘actual birth’ – some tips for what you can do to help).
1. PICK UP THE PIECES AT HOME
Offer to look after her little ones (if she has other babies) or offer to feed/walk the cat/dog/other pets at home so that new mummy and daddy can just focus on labour.
They have a big job to do bringing a new little mini person into the world – so try and think of some of the little jobs that you might be able to take off their plate for them.
2. SNEAKY SURPRISES
If you have been given the duty of child minding or pet sitting, maybe you could sneak in some extra cleaning or chores for the family while you are there.
Note: if you are cleaning, try to avoid using products with strong fragrances as new babies and new mummies can be especially sensitive to smells and chemicals.
Think: what would you want to come home to when you are exhausted?
Chances are that the family left in a hurry. (Labour is difficult to plan for!)
A clean house? A made bed? A clean kitchen? A groomed dog? A toddler proud of a ‘welcome new baby’ card or painting? Get creative – you are a super friend after all!
3. DADDY SNACK PACK
Often families prepare the hospital bags with solely the mummy-to-be in mind and the daddies/partner/support people get forgotten. The baby stuff is in there and the mummy has water, energy food and post-birth clothing but the dad is left starving quietly in the corner with only a muesli bar to gnaw on for several hours. He can’t leave in case he misses the moment, but he is quite possibly ravenous.
Make an adult-sized snack pack or picnic basket so that her partner can also be fed. (I know my man had to run to McDonalds at one stage very soon after the birth because we didn’t think to pack him anything to eat…)
4. WELL DONE MUMMY
While you are waiting for the new baby to arrive, you could prepare a ‘Well done Mummy Post-Labour’ pack.
She probably avoided a lot of foods that she normally really enjoys during pregnancy. What did she miss the most? For some mums, Sushi is on the top of the list whereas for others blue cheese or cold meats were really missed.
Prepare a ‘well done mummy’ hamper for when the baby arrives. Think of things that she likes to eat – but also bear in mind that breastfed babies can be sensitive to strong flavours and dairy. You might also include a glossy magazine for her to flick through during recovery, a new book or a diary for her to record her new-mummy thoughts – or even a disposable camera so that she can be snap happy without worrying about batteries. (You could take this to get developed for her and make her a little ‘highlights’ album too!)
5. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
It is so exciting waiting to hear what sex the new baby is, what their name will be, what labour was like and everything else, but the best thing you can do is wait patiently to be called. The baby was delivered in its own time – and the news will also come in its own time.
The new mummy will be tired and bonding with her new baby. She will need quiet spaces and lots of rest. If you are bursting with questions for her, you might like to write them down so that she can share your excitement once she has had a much-needed rest.
PS. Good luck on your ‘Super Friend in Labour’ Quest!
And if you are expecting – share this with your friends so that you can super them up some to help make the beginnings of motherhood a little easier as well as your friendship a little stronger.