Secrets to supporting a new family
It can be hard to know what to do to support a friend with a new baby. But with a little 'out of the box' thinking, anyone can step up to help.
It can be hard to know how best to support a friend with a new baby, especially if it doesn’t really feel like it’s ‘your thing’ and you’d struggle to know one end of a bottle from the other.
Or maybe you’re well past the baby years and worry how things have changed, and don’t want to intrude on the new family’s space.
New parents can struggle to know how to ask for help, so don’t be afraid to jump in and just do it. And with a bit of thinking outside the box, anyone can step up and play a supporting role for their friends during this important time.
Here are twelve ways to you can support a new family:
You’re known in your circle for your excellent cup of tea making skills, and ability to listen and provide advice beyond your years. New parents need this too – especially the listening part. Take the time to give your friend with a new baby a call, or simply check in with a text message and help keep those lines of communication open.
2. Cook up a storm
If you’re known for your amazing cooking skills, now is the time to put them to use. Whether it’s a lasagne to pop in the freezer, a giant pot of vegetable soup or a sweet treat, you can bet that it will be welcome. For tips on meals that are ideal for new mums, check out this article.
3. Play time
If you think you’re too much of a big kid to be of any use to people trying to raise a kid, then think again. Your childlike enthusiasm has a role to play. Volunteer to take older siblings to the park to give new parents a bit of a break. If you bring them back exhausted (and not full of sugar) you’ll win bonus points all round! For tips on babysitting to get you started, check out this article.
4. King of the movies
Don’t leave a new friend to the mercy of late night TV. If they’re up doing midnight feeds in a lonely lounge room, your skills at setting up online movies for them will be appreciated time and time again. For more tech tips to help new families, check out this article .
5. Calm in the storm
If you can’t stand a dirty sink, or a dusty floor, then odds are that your friends with a new baby need your help. Whether it’s running a quick vacuum over the floor, emptying the dishwasher or even taking the bins out; don’t wait to be asked. Take your special skill for finding the calm in the chaos and help restore their home to order.
While your friends are all caught up in the (very understandable) worry of making sure their new baby is healthy, they often put their own health to the side. If this is your friends, offer to be their walking buddy. Babies often sleep well in prams, so use this information to get your friend outside – the fresh air will help clear their head and stretch their legs, leaving them better prepared to head back into the parenting trenches.
7. Safety first
Babies don’t stay immobile for very long, and as soon as they start moving you can bet they’ll want to explore. Help your friends keep their precious adventurer safe and baby proof their home. Check out this article for tips.
8. Pet lover
In all the fuss that a new baby brings, it can be easy for a beloved pet to feel like they’re missing out. Drop by and offer to walk your friend’s dog once a week. The love you get in return will stretch way beyond tail wags and belly rubs.
9. From a distance
Just because you’re not living in the same postcode as your friends, doesn’t mean you can’t be a support to them. Use a difference in time zone to your advantage and catch them with a supportive text message when they’re up feeding or trying to settle the new baby. We've got more tips here on how to support your friend from a distance.
10. Great mates
Sometimes new dads can feel a bit left out when it comes to bringing a baby home. See if he’s up for a coffee run; it will get him out of the house for a bit and give him a chance to talk if he needs it. And if you return with coffee for his partner, you’ll be in the good books with both of them.
11. Pay it forward
If you’re dealing with tween or teens and the baby years feel like a lifetime ago, don’t discount your experience as valuable for new parents. Think back to the most helpful thing that was done for you when you had a newborn, and pay it forward.
12. Shop till you drop
Is shopping your happy place? Put your skills to good use and deliver a grocery shop to your friends. Don’t worry about getting perfect, stick to basics and lots of fresh, healthy food and you can’t go wrong.