Monday, June 2, 2014

10 Things You Can Do To Bless New Moms

I've had 4 children and I have family members that are expecting now.  (C'mon, Baby G, get here already!  In honor of them, I thought I'd post some ideas for blessing new moms.  It's such an amazing time, when new baby arrives.  Why not do what you can to bless a new mommy?

1. Make her an easy to reheat, nutritious meal.
Search her Pinterest boards if you need to know what she likes.

2. In that meal, avoid ingredients that will hinder her start on the path of breast-feeding. 
(Just say no to gassy, saucy, spicy or caffeine-containing foods!)  If you don't, your blessing can become a curse.

3. Bring her bottled water or some other nutritious hydrating beverage.
She is adjusting to a new routine with lots of new responsibilities, and in there somewhere, she's gotta remember to hydrate herself. 

4. Help with the peripheral stuff.
"I'd love to wipe down your kitchen for you."
"Can I pick up anything for you at Walmart?"
"Do you mind if I fold laundry while we chat?"
Your help is great, but leave baby to her.  She doesn't need baby-sitting; she needs rest.  Do whatever you can to facilitate rest, without separating baby from Mommy.  It's bonding time!

5. Let her make all the decisions about baby. 
You had your babies.  Now she's having hers.  Only give advice when she asks.  Really.  I still remember the time that two very experienced moms talked over me to express how hot my baby was, completely ignoring my opinion about MY 1 week old.

6. Pray for her and him and baby.
It isn't glamorous, but if you care about them, you don't care about glamour or glory, so pray God's will be done in baby's life.

7. Visit short.
Out-staying your welcome is about you, not them.  Mommies need rest and to care for themselves and baby.  Snap a pic holding baby, chat a few minutes and then sign off.  Better for people to wish you'd stayed longer, than wished you'd just leave already.  If baby is sleeping, Mommy could be sleeping.

8. Keep your conversations positive. 
Asking an emotional just-gave-birth mama sticky questions or involving her in arrogant, comparative conversations isn't very kind.  So, no matter how bad you want to know how long she pushed, how many stitches she had, whether or not she had drugs, save it for some day when she feels like chatting about that.  Too personal questions can add to her stress and the unsettling feelings that she may already be having about knowing or not knowing what she's doing in this new, great Motherhood adventure.

9. Share a meaningful Motherhood scripture verse with her, without being pushy or bossy.
She'll be more receptive and it'll stick with her for a good long time.  One mom shared, "...He will gently lead those who are with young."  (my paraphrase of Isaiah 40:11)  It stuck with me all these years and is one of my favorite verses now.

10. Intervene only if the baby's life is in imminent, obvious danger. 
Otherwise, mind your own business, even if you think this baby is your business.  If God wanted you to be baby's mother, you would have delivered baby.  What baby's mommy learns in the trenches of motherhood, crying out to God for grace, strength and wisdom for herself, will serve her well later on.  She needs to experience motherhood, even when it's rough (and may be rough on you).  She gains confidence this way, knowing that she CAN mother this baby well because God has brought her through.

And one more, just for good measure...
11. Be positive about Mommy AND Daddy's parenting abilities. 
Some new parents don't like the fish-bowl phenomenon that they are living in.  Whether it's teasing, magnifying faults or uncertainty, commenting, be careful what you say about parents' abilities. I KNEW my husband was going to be an excellent Daddy.  He just didn't like the spotlight with everyone watching him.  I appreciated when people minimized the fish-bowl phenomenon in whatever way they could, even it was just keeping their comments to themselves.