How to Support New Parents: 6 Useful Tips

The arrival of a tiny, new person, really does change your life—and we don’t mean that in some fancy, poetic way. But just, everything changes.

If you’ve given birth then your body will be different. Birth parents, partners, adoptive parents and all other types of parents all have to deal with schedules that are suddenly very different. The things that you’ve hoped for and worried about will be different. And when you look back, it might even all just seem kind of a dreamy, sleep-deprived blur. Do you know someone who’s in the thick of it?

We’ve got a few ideas for ways that you can offer some welcome support.

What new parents need from their friends and family

Thankfully, help from friends and family can make a huge difference in those first few months. And their love, encouragement, and giant pans of lasagne can really support new parents to make that incredible (but slightly terrifying) transition into parenthood. Here are a few ways to show a little extra love and support to your friends and family members who are new parents.

Check in

No matter how exciting, major life changes can be challenging and emotionally difficult. Reaching out to make sure both parents are adjusting okay (and offering support if they’re not) is a really good way to show that you care. And remember, it doesn’t have to be all about the baby—sharing news about your own life, the latest gossip, or even just what’s the best tv right now will be just as welcome. Even when tired, new parents still enjoy hearing from friends who are just checking in. Sometimes these could be the only real adult conversations the they might have all day!

No judgement, just support

“You’re doing a brilliant job.” is a lovely, comforting thing to hear during such a momentous time of transition and, often, uncertainty. Although it might be tempting to offer some helpful advice and handy tips to the new parents, it’s generally best not to unless they ask.

Remember: Food is always welcome

Let’s be honest: This is true for life on the whole anyway, but it’s especially true when you’re considering a visit to some new parents and what you should bring. Visiting is great but taking along a casserole (or any other kind of food that you know they’d like, including take-aways) is even better.

If you’re particularly close to the family and want to go that extra, extra mile to help out, then picking up some shopping for them or offering to clean something (washing-up can pile up quickly when there’s a baby around) would be awesome. If you can drop round, take food, cuddle the baby whilst the new parent showers and then load the dishwasher, you will be making a huge difference in their day, and it will mean so much.

Socially-distanced alternative:

 

Sending a gift card to a favourite restaurant or take-away, or dropping off a meal on the doorstep is still a big help. If you live nearby and are going to the shops, just ask if they need you to pick up any household or baby essentials, so they don’t need to go. Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious? You could organise a few friends into a ‘meal train’ so the new parents don’t have to think about food at all for that first week or so.

Think about schedules

Whether you’re dropping something off or just swinging by to say a quick hello, be sure to ask when is a good time for the new parents. Between feeding times, nap times, nappy changes, bottle sterilising, and piles of laundry, days (and nights) can get fairly well filled up. And, please remember, should you happen to be there in the evening, try not to overstay your welcome as bedtime approaches. The little one probably isn’t the only one who’s exhausted by that point.

Offer to babysit

If you’re short on time but want to support the new parents, offering to watch the baby for 30 minutes so they can take a nap or a shower can be a huge help.

If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, why not offer to babysit for an evening? The new parents would probably love a bit of a break and the chance to let a close friend or family member hold their little angel for a while.

Socially-distanced alternative:

Remind the new parents to look after themselves too. Drop off or send some bits and bobs just for them, like their favourite snacks, or bubble bath, a scented candle or anything else that will make them feel special and looked after.

If you’re in any doubt, just ask

If you want to help but aren’t quite sure how, just asking what is most wanted or needed gives them the opportunity to provide specific ideas that you might not have thought of otherwise.

Whatever you ultimately choose to do to help support the new parents in your life, know that it will be incredibly appreciated—and unlike many things that happen during that hectic time, your kindness and thoughtfulness will undoubtedly be remembered.

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