Congratulations! Someone you love has just given birth, and being the wonderful relative/friend/co-worker/random enthusiastic person you are, you want to be super helpful. And while your eagerness is certainly appreciated, you could end up causing more stress for the mother. Instead, follow these simple rules, and you will forever be in her good graces.
1. Ask the mom how she is doing before you ask about the baby. Yes, it is great to be concerned about the child, and the mom appreciates that concern. However, don’t forget that she just went through labor, which could have been difficult or required a c-section. But, even if it was easy, recovery takes time. Sure, she may not be in the mood to chat about her feelings, but trust me, she’ll be grateful you care.
2. Offer to help with laundry, vacuuming, cooking or any other household chores that need to be done. A new mother needs to rest and bond with her newborn, and the less stuff she has to worry about, the better.
3. Speaking of bonding, don’t be pushy about spending time with the baby. A new mother is basically nursing round the clock, including at night, leaving little time for separation. But even if she is pumping or formula feeding, a new mother is entitled to spend as much time with her baby as she sees fit. After all, she did spend nine months growing the little human. Be patient, your time with the baby will come.
4. Respect her right to reject visitors. In case it wasn’t clear, childbirth is exhausting. A new mom may just want to be left alone. If she is accepting visitors, don’t expect her to entertain you. She just had a baby, she is not hosting a dinner party.
5. Keep your problems to yourself. Your friend wants to listen to you, she really does, she’s just too emotionally and physically exhausted to deal with whatever issues you are going through. So, if she is usually the one you vent to about your thankless job or disappointing love life, find someone else.