It’s the time of year when you start seeing gift guides for every person in your life. For a new mom, these guides might suggest pampering products like body cream, makeup, or bath lotion.
Are you kidding me? Forget all that!
A new mom barely has time to shower every other day, much less relax in a luxurious bath! I’ve had four newborn babies now, half of them during deployments. You want to know what a new mom really wants for Christmas? Well here it is.
A good night’s sleep
A newborn eats every three to four hours. Then there is a diaper change and lots of rocking or walking to soothe the baby back to sleep. Add that all up, and a new mom never really sleeps. She naps or dozes throughout the night, with one ear constantly listening to the baby monitor. It’s no wonder that most new moms are walking zombies for the first few weeks! Want to give her an incredible gift? Come over and give baby a bottle for the midnight feeding. Or get up with baby at 5 AM and let mom sleep in for a glorious hour.
A home-cooked meal
No new mom has time to cook, especially if she has multiple children or is going through a deployment. Some moms prepare in advance with freezer meals they can thaw and reheat. But fresh fruit, salad, or baked goods are impossible treats for a while. Set up a meal train and give a new mom homemade dinners for her first week home from the hospital.
An extra pair of hands
I’m not sure why we don’t grow extra hands with each new baby. Juggling a newborn and a toddler is daunting. Just getting into the car can be an ordeal! If you see a mom struggling at the grocery store or doctor’s office, offer to help. Hold the toddler’s hand while she holds the baby. . . or load the groceries into the car while she buckles in the kids. That is a gift that will truly make her day.
A laundry fairy
How does one tiny person create so much extra laundry? When I had young babies, I had to change their clothes at least twice a day, and I often had to change mine after a burping session too. The laundry piles up without end. Every new mom could use a true friend who would spend some time in the laundry room washing and folding clothes.
I’ll admit that we usually use paper plates for at least a week after having a newborn. It’s just too difficult to keep up with the dishes (especially now that I have four kids!) Sure, you might only need one hand to load the dishwasher, but have you ever tried to wash a pot with one hand while holding a baby with the other? It’s not going to scrub itself. If you give a new mom the gift of clean dishes, you are giving her peace of mind to relax for a few minutes. Priceless.
Someone to walk with the baby
As a new mom, I spent hours walking and pacing with my babies, especially the colicky one. One of my sons would only fall asleep on people. He would not sleep in a crib, bassinet, baby chair, or anything besides someone’s shoulder. Walking with him every day was exhausting. I was grateful for anyone who gave me a break, even for a few minutes.
To eat a meal with two hands
For the first few weeks, it can feel like mom is always holding baby. Consequently, she will consume most of her meals using just one hand to eat. . . which is fine, until she needs to do something like cut up a piece of meat or not have everything fall out of her taco. If you are visiting a new mom or at a restaurant with one, then offer to hold the baby while she eats. It’s a simple gesture, but can be life-changing.
A kind word of encouragement
New moms often feel judged by everyone around them, even people who don’t have kids! Every mom struggles with feelings of mom guilt and low self-confidence. You can change that. When you see her struggling with kids in public, take a moment to praise her, tell her you can see she’s doing her best, and that you admire her strength/patience/gentleness. It will mean the world to her.
There you have it. This is the secret wish list of every new mom. No, it isn’t something you can order online or buy from a quick trip to the store. However, the good news is that anyone can do one of these things. If the new mom is your friend, ask her if you can come over and help out for an hour. Even if you live far away, you can send an encouraging note or email. Every mom can use some extra help at Christmas. Your time and support are the greatest gift of all.
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By Lizann Lightfoot