Postpartum Support: Tips for Family and Friends
Every aspect of a new parent's life is undergoing some sort of change during the initial postpartum period. Physically mom is recovering from birth and adjusting to the demands of breastfeeding and interrupted sleep patterns. Hormonally she is experiencing a decrease in the pregnancy hormones and an increase in the hormones associated with breastfeeding. Mentally she is adjusting to the realities of what it means to be on-call 24 hours a day and responsible for her new baby. Emotionally she may be reflecting on her birth experience, and the new roles being established between her and her partner. Partners will also be going through their own unique adjustments with the new roles and responsibilities of caring for an infant, managing loss of sleep, returning to the workforce, and figuring out how best to support their partner through the demands of breastfeeding.
Family and friends can help to support parents through these changes by reminding them that the emotions that come up are normal and will pass as things become more familiar. They can also be a huge support by doing helpful tasks for the parents so that the parents may keep their focus on caring for their baby and getting the rest they need.
- Cook or pick up food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
- Prepare snacks and tea throughout the day
- Keep mom’s water bottle full while she breastfeeds
- Run a load of laundry and fold it
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Empty the trash and recycling
- Empty the diaper pail
- Go grocery shopping
- Run mom a bath
- Change bed sheets
- Clean out/organize the fridge
- Hold the baby while parents take a shower or nap
A WELCOME LETTER
Consider posting a welcome letter on your front door for all friends and family to see when they come to visit. Some clients have mentioned they initially feel uncomfortable leaving a sign, but find their visitors are quite happy to have read it, as it gives them practical insight in how they can best support you and your family. After all, most people come to visit with good intentions, but they may not know what they can actually do to be of service. A welcome letter can help.
Our new baby is here and our family is adjusting...
Thank you for your love and support during this important time in our lives. Our doula recommends a 20-minute time limit for all visitors during these first few weeks postpartum.
Please pay some special attention to our older child so that they don’t feel left out. Perhaps you can greet them first and see if there is anything they need.
Feel free to help us spend more time learning about each other and integrating our whole family by doing any of the following while you are here (instructions can be found on the fridge):
- wash dishes
- start/finish a load of laundry
- run an errand
- make or bring a meal
- straighten up the house
- give us a foot massage
- anything else? Just ask. :)
With love and gratitude,
Here is a sample sign to leave on your refrigerator offering instructions so visitors can best support you.
Some of the many things you can help us with!
Garbage is picked up on:
Recycling is picked up on:
Compost is picked up on:
Special instructions for garbage/recycling/compost:
Food preferences for meals or shopping:
Our broom can be found:
Our mop can be found:
Our vacuum can be found:
Special cleaning instructions:
Favorite stores (address and hours):
Many, many thanks and much love,