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How you can support new parents

How you can support new parents

3 simple ways to support new parents

There’s few transitions in life more stressful than bringing home a baby, especially if you’re a first time parent. While there’s plenty of excitement and buzz around the baby’s arrival, there’s also nerves, sleeplessness and baby brain.

If you know someone bringing home a newborn, consider how you can lighten their load with helpful support.

1. Organise a meal train

When you’re caring for a new baby and recovering from giving birth, making healthy home cooked meals is the last thing on the to-do list. Bringing over a meal or two is great, but an even better way to support is to organise family and friends into a meal train, or a schedule of people taking turns bringing over food to support the family.

There are plenty of online systems to help organise, such as www.mealtrain.com, but simply keeping a calendar and reaching out to friends by phone or text works just as well. Both the new parents are going to be greatly appreciative of low-effort meals, and won’t have to put in the extra time and energy to have good, filling, healthy food.

2. Help around the house and run errands

If you are planning to visit, consider how you can become a helpful visitor.

Between a whole raft of family and friends wanting to come over and meet the family, parents will feel an extra layer of stress trying to be accomodating hosts and keep the house presentable. Offer to bring round lunch, or schedule your visit at a time where you can help the parents with chores. The small things can really make a difference. Such as offering to watch baby while they take a shower, cleaning up the dishes or doing a load of laundry.

You could also offer to pick up anything en route to your visit or offer to run errands. Picking up groceries, a restock of nappies (find a stockist of Rascal + Friends near you) or baby essentials they may have forgotten can be really helpful.

While your visit and support will certainly be appreciated, be respectful of their time and know your curfew.

3. Offer space to talk

While practical support will lighten their load, so will your emotional support. Especially during the ups and downs of the first few months of parenthood, the stress, anxiety, and excitement can feel overwhelming.

The level of emotional support they require from you will vary from person to person, and some are more forward with these requests than others. A few ways you can offer support include:

  Sending a simple text message, saying that you’re thinking of them, or that they’re doing a great job.

  Make an effort to spend time with them, beyond visiting the baby.

  The opportunity to sit down with you and be real about their emotions. If the topic arises, listen to their concerns, struggles and empathise with them. Even if you don’t have personal experience to draw on, you can still offer relief with a listening ear and shoulder for support.

  If they need support beyond what you can offer, encourage them to broaden their support network. This may include more friends and family and professional help, like an antenatal group or a healthcare professional.

Learn more about building support networks in this article: Managing Stress in Early Parenthood

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