How To Visit A New Mom

by HEAB on June 3, 2011

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My friend Jessica gave birth to Jacob, her Baby Blueberry (baby’s name inutero), 2 weeks ago, and yesterday I stopped by to deliver dinner. CD and I were blown away by the all the kindness and love we received after Summer’s arrival. Our friend Stephanie organized 6 weeks of dinners, and it was the best thing ever! CD and I got totally spoiled, and when the dinners stopped arriving, it was a challenge to cook for ourselves again. So now whenever any of my friends have babies, I love taking them dinner because I remember how much it helped us out not too long ago.

After 6 weeks of dinner deliveries, I learned a few things along the way that I’d like to share with you…

Text or email the mom if no meal drop-offs have been arranged, asking her when she would like dinner. Don’t call – she is either feeding the baby, changing the baby, cuddling with the baby, or sleeping. I say ask when you can bring dinner because if you’re like me and someone says, Let me know if you need anything, you will never actually let them know.

The day the dinner is to be delivered, text the mom that morning asking her what she would like. She will be exhausted and who knows what she’ll be craving on any given day. Offer to cook or pick up the family’s favorite take-out. Honestly, some nights I would have been just as happy (if not happier) with a CPK pizza rather than an elaborate homemade meal.

Arrange the drop-off. Some new moms love visitors those first few weeks. However, I was not one of them. Due to all our breastfeeding issues, we were on a pretty regimented schedule, and there was no time for random visits or leisurely chit-chat. Of course I wanted all my friends to meet Summer, but those first few weeks were so hard. So, we sent out an email explaining our situation, and our friends & family gave us the space we needed. Most of them knocked, took a peek at Summer, handed us our dinner, and left. Some simply sent a text letting us know dinner was waiting at the front door. Let the mom know you’d love to meet the baby, but on her and baby’s terms, not yours.

And last but not least, bring the mom a double batch of HEABified Lactation Cookies…

ButterfiedLactation.jpg

Lactation Oaties

Even if she’s not breastfeeding, make the cookies. Trust me, she’ll need the extra boost of energy around 2 AM, and if you make a double batch, you can sneak a few without the plate appearing too empty. ;)

{ 86 comments }

Jess@atasteofconfidence June 3, 2011 at 10:21 am

Great tips. My friend just had triplets, so I am sure these will come in (Extra) handy!

chelsey @ clean eating chelsey June 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm

If I just had triplets, I would want all the help I could get!!!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 3, 2011 at 10:31 am

It feels like everyone is having a baby right now!

…and those cookies sound good for everyone.

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Samantha,
Yeah, CD was wishing I would have saved him more of the cookies than I did. They went fast around here. :)

Jessica R June 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

Great post, Heather! We had six weeks of meals from my church friends and it was WONDERFUL. And I whole-heartedly agree about the “when can I bring dinner” advice. If someone asks me to “let them know when they need something” I’ll never ask! Can’t wait to see you and Chris in the fall!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Jessica,
Yes, we can’t wait to see you guys either, and I am dying to meet Lauren. She is beautiful! Hope everything is going well – we think about you and Travis often. :)

Sarah @ See Sarah Eat June 3, 2011 at 10:43 am

Another awesome thing we’ve been using at our church whenever someone has a baby is the website Food Tidings (foodtidings.com) It is a great way to schedule meals and also for the new mom and family to list their preferences, allergies, favorite takeout spots, drop off time, etc. It saves a lot of time and the person bringing the meal can list what they are bringing so there will be fewer duplicates (you would hope, ha ha).

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Sarah,
Yes, I’ve hear of foodtidings.com – such a great concept. Thanks for sharing the link. I’m definitely going to utilize the site the next time a friend has a baby.

kalli June 3, 2011 at 10:44 am

really great tips heather! you are speaking from experience so we know you know what you are talking about :) happy friday!

melissa June 3, 2011 at 10:49 am

What great advice Heather! I too was blessed with meals after having both my boys! Our live group at church arranged meals for our son Gavin who is almost a year old now. We had about a week of meals…they organized it great but did not talk about what to bring…so we ended up with at least 5 lasagnas! But, we were grateful and amazingly all the lasagnas were extremely different from one another! LOL! I had to do a double take at the 6 wks of meals…now thats some great friends!!!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Melissa,
I had to laugh at your comment. Thank goodness lasagna is so versatile. :)

melissa June 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

What great advice Heather! I too was blessed with meals after having both my boys! Our life group at church arranged meals for our son Gavin who is almost a year old now. We had about a week of meals…they organized it great but did not talk about what to bring…so we ended up with at least 5 lasagnas! But, we were grateful and amazingly all the lasagnas were extremely different from one another! LOL! I had to do a double take at the 6 wks of meals…now thats some great friends!!!

Jill June 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

I have to share this story because it still makes us laugh almost 10 years later.

My BFF gave birth to her second via C-section. I am single, no kids so as with the first birth (C-section) , I went up there for the second week to help out with child 1 and the newborn. (Her mother left after week one). My BFF’s church organized a few weeks of meals which was wonderful!

Here is the funny part: one of the ladies brought the ingredients for dinner and her 3 children and proceeded to prepare dinner in my BFF’s kitchen, using my BFF’s dishes. I entertained 4 children while helping prep dinner. After dinner was in the oven, the lady packed up her 3 children and left. She left, leaving me with the kitchen clean up. I can’t complain really bc after entertaining 4 small children, kitchen clean up was a welcomed relief. To this day, we still aren’t sure what the lady was thinking.

Happy Friday!!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Jill,
Seriously?!? She had 3 kids of her own – she should have known better! That being said, I couldn’t help but laugh. Definitely makes for a good story. :)

Cynthia (It All Changes) June 3, 2011 at 11:22 am

Thank you so much for the tips. A friend is about to have her little one and I want to be sensitive to their needs even though I want to see the baby.

Erica June 3, 2011 at 11:23 am

So…is it rude if I forward this to everyone I know ;) . Great post! All sounds like good advice to me. I am going to make MYSELF a batch of those oaties ;)

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Erica,
Haha – no, not at all, and yes, make some of those oaties and freeze them. They are so yummy, and all the fat from the butter, the flax seed, and Brewer’s yeast are all lactogenic. Here’s to an abundant milk supply for you and Baby Itzy. :)

birdie to be June 3, 2011 at 11:24 am

So sweet & thoughtful. Great idea!

Holly @ The Runny Egg June 3, 2011 at 11:26 am

When my sister had her first baby she didn’t want anyone visiting (except my mom!) — it was hard to not want to go over there and see the new baby, but that was what she wanted! I also remember her making a ton of freezer food the week before she was due. They were set!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Holly,
I was the same way. We called my mom when we needed her, but otherwise we didn’t really want visitors for the first couple of weeks. I will always cherish those first few quiet days at home, alone with our baby. It was such a special time, and I cried when Chris had to go back to work.

Kim June 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm

We enforced a “no visit” policy for awhile. A preemie, me recovering, was just too much. This started after coming home from the hospital on Easter Sunday and me higher than a kite on all my meds, they then proceeded to make a full on Easter dinner. Add in a colicky preemie, me drugged out and Fred handling it all, wasnt pretty!

Kristen - Anywhere There's An Airport June 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

Heather, I love these tips!

When I was in the States a few weeks ago I spent a week with my best friend and her newborn. It was such an amazing experience. I saw first hand the joy that is food delivered without asking!

And I second the text don’t call! :)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) June 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!!!!

“Some new moms love visitors those first few weeks. However, I was not one of them. Due to all our breastfeeding issues, we were on a pretty regimented schedule, and there was no time for random visits or leisurely chit-chat. ”

I have no intention of becoming a new mom but there are so many things I want to say and nod in huge! agreement!!!

The passage I highlighted says it all.

But also the text/email, dont call. Really, this is preferred anyway for me but espi in the early days.

Tell her WHAT you’re doing/bringing, not a vague “do you need anything” but yes, me too, we won’t actually say what we need. Or want. Make an offer…I can pick you up xyz takeout or I can make you homemade abc. And I can bring it by later on. But be specific. YES!

Lactation cookies…I used to eat oats and oatie foods and my vegan GF homemade granola is a direct spinoff from my own lactation and nutrition needs back then.

love.this.post.

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Averie,
Me too. I am such a text/email girl. Not much of a phone talker with most people.

kate June 3, 2011 at 11:57 am

Great tips and what a cute post… I would love some lactation oaties and im not even lactating!!

Kristin @ STUFT Mama June 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Great advice Heather! Aren’t meals the BEST when you’re stuck at hoem with a brand new baby? Tomorrow I’m going to visit my friend who just had a baby a couple of weeks ago (on her bathroom floor and NOT on purpose). I will have to try these cookies out to add to her goodie box. :) Happy Friday!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Kristin,
That’s crazy she had her baby on the b-room floor. Gosh, that must have been scary. Sounds like everything turned out okay though. I’m sure she would appreciate the Oaties. :)

Eden June 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm

As always, you dispense advice without sounding pretentious or like you’re an expert. And there really is no such thing as expert mother. I wish I could contribute to the mom tips but I can barely keep a house plant so with my help, you might find a wilted baby. :(

Kim June 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm

ah, but Heather IS and expert at being an awesome friend!

Alyssa June 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm

What a wonderful idea! As much as I love my family and friends, being bombarded after the births of both of my kids was a bit overwhelming. I’m sure many moms will be thanking you!!!!!!

Tori (Fresh Fruition) June 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Haha, that’s so creative to give her energy bites. They look so yummy!

Kath (My Funny Little Life) June 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm

That’s the loveliest idea – bringing dinner meals to a new mom. So thoughtful! A friend of mine is going to give birth to a little girl in July, so I think I’ll bring her a nice dinner then! :)

Ellen June 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

great tips! my sister is due TODAY so i hope to put these into use shortly :)

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

Ellen,
Yay, congrats on being an almost aunt. So exciting! :)

Heather June 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm

When a co-worker had her first child, my mom and I made a bunch of freezer meals for her. She can’t eat spices and certain foods (onions and garlic), so we picked out what we thought would work, and I showed the ingredient list to her husband to get the ok. When we delivered the meals, she was so surprised!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Heather,
Surprised, and I’m sure very grateful. That was so thoughtful of you and your mom. :)

Riss June 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Love, love, love all this advice. My best friend has a 3 week old and some of her well-meaning friends/family members could have used all these tips! Her mom was able to stay at the house with her for a week before having to return home, and my friend said just having someone there to do laundry, clean, and organize dinner (and not offer tons of advice) was HUGE.

A few days after her mom left, I stayed over and kept the little guy through the night so she and her hubby could get some rest (she went the breast-feeding/pump route which made this easier)–and I fully intend on offering my services again regularly until he starts sleeping through the night.

I’m also seeing to it that she gets out of the house once a week–just making small trips to the store, Starbucks, out to lunch… It’s easy to stay housebound when you have to practically rent a UHual to cart all the “essentials” around!

Glad to know you have good friends there to take care of you, Heather!

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Riss,
You are as AWESOME friend! Every new mom should have a Riss in their life. Seriously. :)

Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama June 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Great tips! I think it’s especially important to reach out to new moms and ask what they need specifically. I think most of us would be uncomfortable asking, yet would be so grateful to receive dinner or other help.

Helen June 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Great advice Heather! I totally agree with all of your tips, being a mom myself.

I can remember when I had my first baby, I was so overwhelmed with all the visitors. I had a room full in the waiting area while I was in labor & delivery. I had so many people in that room after the baby arrived my head was spinning. Of course I requested no one come to the hospital until delivery time with my second son and I requested immediate family only. People weren’t happy with my choices but it was so much better for me.

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Helen,
Yep, my friends all told me establish your boundaries from the very beginning, and so I told everyone that we didn’t want anyone but immediately family at the hospital, and I didn’t even want them there until we’d had a few hours alone with Summer. They snuck in anyway, but patiently waited to see us until CD and I had some alone time with Summer. I know some people were surprised by my decision (read, my mom), but I also knew I would never get those first few hours back, and it was so important to me that it be just me, dad, and baby.

Amanda June 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm

This exactly! We told our families that we wanted to be alone for the birth and that they could come only after we’d been moved from Labor and Delivery into our recovery room. They were a little taken aback and disappointed, I think, but that alone time was so important to Ryan and me.

Also, you’re award-winning ; ) —> http://motherofambition.blogspot.com/2011/06/i-won-award.html

Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble June 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Cute post! Who wouldn’t want cookies with dinner?!! Baby or no baby they seem like a necessity!

Tangy June 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Wow 6 weeks of food would have been great! You have awesome friends and family! I was living 1000 miles away from friends and family, on a military base when I had my kids and whoa, those first few weeks I just survived on whatever my husband picked up at the store…lots of Sonic and Oreos and ready-made food from the deli. We are finally near family now that baby #3 is en route…just one day of meals would be the greatest thing ever (or that try of cookies :p)!

And yes–for those wanting to help out a new mom–never expect a call for the open-ended general offers of help. I have such a hard time asking for help but also a hard time refusing someone who insists :)

HEAB June 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Tangy,
Congrats! I didn’t know you were expecting. So happy & excited for you. If I lived near you, I’d totally be stocking your freezer with those cookies! :)

VEGirl June 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Great advice! I don’t know anyone that’s going to be having a baby anytime soon, but I can imagine it would be nice to have friends do the cooking for you. I’ll keep all this in mind!

Lorne June 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm

A good post Heather :0)

Minu got his first haircut yesterday, so cute!

Samantha June 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

You’re so kind to help out and offer GREAT tips!

Bridget June 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm

What a great post! Thanks, Heather. As a twenty-something with no kids, I’m never sure what to do/bring for my friends who have babies. This is so helpful!

Maren June 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm

These are great! I’m not having babies any time soon but as more and more of my friends get married, I’m sure to be making baby showers a regular event soon. These tips are great and things I would NEVER have thought of!

robyn jones clark June 3, 2011 at 8:30 pm

what great advice! there is a baby a month for every month this year in my church in my new hometown… new friends… so this is good to know. i love to cook and it’s my favorite thing to do to be hospitable and care for my friends. maybe i’ll start the new year with news.. we’ll see :)

Gina (Yogattude) June 3, 2011 at 8:51 pm

I need more pregnant friends so I can do nice things for them like this;) I love it!!!

Christin@purplebirdblog June 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm

These are excellent tips… stuff I never would have thought about!! Is it weird that I totally want to try the lactation cookies? lol ;)

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 10:43 am

Christin,
Nope, they are delicious. Besides, CD ate several and did not start squirting milk. You have nothing to fear. ;)

molly June 3, 2011 at 10:30 pm

yes! those oaties were the most amazing thing at 2am feedings :) thanks to you heather! love that you are sharing that with the blog-o-sphere. :)

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 10:44 am

Molly,
I made you different cookies – I think they were chocolate sunflower seed butter oaties. Need to make you a batch of these Oaties. It can be your late b-day/welcome gift when you return from your trip. :)

Hannah June 4, 2011 at 12:58 am

Maybe, um, even if she isn’t a mother, and is just a friend in need, make the oaties…? :D

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

Hannah,
Yes – they are so good. She will love them. :)

chelsea June 4, 2011 at 5:44 am

Oooh I have three and a half months left till this baby comes out…and then I will have to deal with TWO kids! I hope people still bring me food..its funny, the more kids you have the less help you get from other people :)
Thanks for the lactation cookies, I plan on whipping up a batch before baby is here :)
<3

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 10:47 am

Chelsea,
Oooh congrats! So exciting, and yeah, I don’t get it. The more kids you have, the more help you SHOULD be getting. Our neighbors just had their 2nd, and she felt weird having people sign up via email to deliver dinners since it was baby #2. Not me, I will be saying “bring me food!!!!”. :)

Enjoy your oaties. If I lived close by, I’d bring some by.

Sarah June 4, 2011 at 6:54 am

Love this! I have quite a few friends who will be giving birth in the coming months. It’s good to hear what’s helpful (and what’s not) straight from a mama who knows.

Jessica June 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

Awesome tips!!! Every one of them is right on. I am a huge fan of dropping off food to the new family.

Breastfeeding was a challenge for me too so it was really important for me to take that time with my little guy. Funny thing, I am Jessica and my son is Jacob – two great names if I do say so : ) Congrats to your friend!

I think I may make those oaties for myself!

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 10:48 am

Jessica, that is funny. Two very good “J” names for sure. CD lobbied for Jessica when we were choosing names. He really wanted a little “Jess”, but we ended up with a Summer instead. :)

Moni'sMeals June 4, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hi Heather!!

Great post…so good to know!

Love the new look too, wow!!

I am so excited for the Oaties! :) Bless you!

Kaleigh June 4, 2011 at 1:15 pm

What a great post! I’m sure plenty of people think about this “intrusion” unless they are actually a mom and have been through it!

Annie@stronghealthyfit June 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for writing this post! My good friend just had a baby a few days ago and honestly I do not know how best to offer her help and support. She also lives right next door to me, so I am literally right there if she needs anything. Good to hear about this from a mother’s perspective! :-)

Baking 'n' Books June 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm

By the way – what’s the cute little, red “Pin it” symbol at the top of the post?

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm

BnB,
It’s so anyone can add something from one of my blog posts to their Pinterest account. http://www.pinterest.com – I’m obsessed with it. Cannot stop pinning!

CookiePie June 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm

What a great post – soooo true!!! Fresh fruit is fantastic too. We got a million onesies and burp cloths as gifts after my daughter was born — and we were so grateful for every single one, of course! But I almost cried with joy when the UPS guy dropped off a big box of the most delicious fresh fruit from one of my friends. That was what I wanted more than anything!

HEAB June 4, 2011 at 7:04 pm

CookiePie,
Fruit would be a great gift – actually anything small that I could simply toss in my mouth without cooking was perfect. ;)

Natalie June 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm

great tips! Dinners were key. I didn’t cook for 3 months w/ #2and after that it was rough! Still is. The cookies look great!

Courtney June 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Great tips- I know that when I have a baby, I probably won’t let anyone come within a 4 foot radius of him/her! :P

Ameena June 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Really brilliant post Heather. I remember just wishing that my guests would stop visiting…terrible, right? But they’d come over, just days after I got home from the hospital, and they’d come empty handed and right in time for a meal! So I found myself cooking and cleaning even more than usual. I was a mess.

I love the idea of texting instead of calling…I rarely answered my phone during those difficult days. I feared that people would invite themselves over!

HEAB June 5, 2011 at 9:28 am

Ameena,
No, that is not terrible. I was so grateful for all the dinner deliveries, but my favorites were the ones that simply left the food at our doorstep. I know everyone wanted to meet Summer, but every time someone wanted to visit, I had to plan my whole day around it, and it took so much out of me. I was already a mess, and I probably would have completely lost it if I had to cook and clean for others. I’m so sorry. :(

Chad @ thebreakupnote June 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

I’ve been looking for a good cookie to help my lactation. Thanks, Heather!

Susan June 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm

I love this!! I’m at the age now where my friends are starting to have babies, but I’m still young enough to know very little about new motherhood and newborns. As a friend who wants to help out, I sense that it can be more of a hindrance for me to show up for chitchat and treats. One thing I learned VERY quickly, is that everyone is on the baby’s time. And never ring a doorbell ;)

Katie June 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Great tips! Ones that us non-mommies probably wouldn’t think about. But as someone who craves a lot of privacy and space, I can totally relate! You’re a great friend to prepare meals for the new mamas.

Mandy June 5, 2011 at 11:33 pm

I love love LOVE this post. I’m gonna re-post on my blog because I couldn’t say it better myself. New mama etiquette is desperately needed. Thank you. xoxo

HEAB June 6, 2011 at 7:08 am

Mandy,
Thanks – it seems like every mom who has read this post can totally relate, and after posting it, I realized I have great friends. Some of the moms who left comments ended up cooking and entertaining FOR their friends. Oh my gosh, could you imagine? I would have completely lost it! Thanks for spreading some new mama etiquette. :)

Allie June 6, 2011 at 4:01 am

Great advice Heather! Really, it helps so much getting it from a new mom’s perspective. I wish I’d been away to help with my nephew, but alas, I was at college.

Charlotte June 6, 2011 at 8:12 am

6 weeks!? Wow you have great friends! I got… one week. (not that I’m worried, my friends are awesome in other ways;)) I love your tips, esp. about saying, “I’m bringing you dinner, which night is good?” rather than just saying “if you need anything…”

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather June 6, 2011 at 8:31 am

Great tips Heather! My best friend is having twins in a couple weeks and I definitely plan to help her with dinners since she’ll be crazy busy with those boys. I’ll have to make her a big batch of those oaties too :)

HEAB June 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

Heather,
Twins? Oh wow. Many congrats to your friend…and think you should make a quadruple batch of the Oaties. ;)

Michelle {lively kitchen} June 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Great, great tips. I also think it’s fun to pick up a magazine or two for the mama. I thoroughly enjoyed the celebrity gossip magazines my friends dropped off – it was great for mindless reading during nursing.

I also think that foods other than dinner foods – like banana bread, a fruit salad, some cut up veggies and dip – are much appreciated. As are cookies….

HEAB June 6, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Michelle,
Yes, I love a good Hollywood gossip magazine anytime, and you’re so right about the non-dinner type foods. Any kind of snack was great as that’s often all I had time for. It was rare to sit down for a regular dinner those first few weeks.

Emily Elizabeth @ Kisses for Breakfast June 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm

This advice is spot on Heather. I hope many people learn from it! I know I sure didn’t want visitors the first few weeks, and even a while afterwards. We had breastfeeding issues as well and people without kids just didn’t understand. Very good post!

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