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10 Ways My Friends Helped Out When I Had a Baby

Cute baby

Thanks for helping out my mom, ladies

Anyone who has ever thought that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child clearly doesn’t have a child.

It’s not as if I wouldn’t have survived without a little help from my friends after I gave birth to my darling Peony last August. But a little help from my friends sure went a long way in making me feel as if I wanted to keep going when I was utterly exhausted and emotionally drained.

Here are 10 lovely ways my friends helped out after I gave birth:

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  • They made food without asking 1 of 10
    They made food without asking
    It's lovely to ask new moms how you can help, but it's even lovelier to just do something helpful without asking. A few days after we brought Peony home from the hospital last fall, a friend dropped by with a breakfast casserole. Written on the top of the disposable aluminum baking dish (no dish washing! no dish returning!) were ingredients and baking directions.
    "I figured you'd be getting tons of lasagna and other dinners, so here's something for the morning," she explained.
  • They didnt call between 4 and 7 p.m. 2 of 10
    They didnt call between 4 and 7 p.m.
    It wasn't until my older daughter became a big sister when my younger daughter was born that it dawned on me that the time between 4 and 7 p.m. is otherwise known as HELL — what, with the tiredness and hungriness and general crankiness that preschoolers and newborns feel and act and do at that time. And being the super hot place that hell is, talking on the phone is, like, the last thing I want to do. My real friends? You'll recognize them because they were (are) the ones who never called at that time.
  • They didn’t bring their small children to my house 3 of 10
    They didn't bring their small children to my house
    I love everyone's babies and children. All of ‘em (OK, most of ‘em). What I didn't love were everyone's babies and children anywhere near my newborn baby at the beginning of cold and flu season. Friends who knew enough to leave their little ones nowhere near my little one when meeting her for the first time moved up a new notches in my esteem.
  • They washed their hands without being asked 4 of 10
    They washed their hands without being asked
    Parents of newborns need to ask people to wash their hands before holding the baby. Anyone who didn't need to be asked and just did were otherwise known as my extra special (and extra clean) friends.
  • They asked before dropping by the hospital 5 of 10
    They asked before dropping by the hospital
    There are few, if any, more joyous occasions in life than giving birth to a health baby. Certainly new moms want to share their precious bundles with the world, but unannounced hospital visits aren't always the way to go. The few close friends who I wanted to share Peony with immediately still knew to text, email or call before coming by while I was recovering from my C-section. After all, dropping by unannounced — with the plethora of wound inspections, dressing changes, catheter inspections and lactation consultations — can often be a recipe for uncomfortableness all around.
  • They gave particularly thoughtful gifts 6 of 10
    They gave particularly thoughtful gifts
    All baby gifts are sweet. Really, they are. Anyone who takes the time to think of you and your newborn is a friend, indeed. But the gifts I appreciated most when giving birth came from people who put just a wee bit more thought into what they bought. Like, they knew I was giving birth to a girl in August and I had an older girl who was born in August a few years earlier. So they avoided buying baby clothes, or if they did, they were special pieces with monograms that could be cherished as keepsakes even after they were outgrown.
  • They took my older daughter for playdates 7 of 10
    They took my older daughter for playdates
    My older daughter turned 3 a few weeks before the baby was born and almost a year later she's still having a tough time adjusting to sharing any attention. A couple of friends made a point to come and take her out of the house for special playdates or ice cream trips so she'd feel especially loved on a few occasions while everyone else was oohing and ahhing over the new baby.
  • They watched the baby 8 of 10
    They watched the baby
    Not only was it critical for my older daughter to have some time away from the baby with her friends, it was critical for my older daughter to have time with me without the baby. A few friends made a point to sit home with the baby in the very early days so I could pick up my older daughter from preschool and have some one-on-one time with her when she wasn't competing for my attention with her needy baby sister.
  • They sympathized at all the right times 9 of 10
    They sympathized at all the right times
    Even though Peony was my second daughter and I wasn't feeling as clueless, helpless and hapless as I did after my older daughter was born, the first five or six months were still pretty draining. Figuring out the sleeping, nursing and general be-ing of life with a new, mute family member can wear you down. A few friends really listened, and really heard me, when I needed to vent most and never complained when I just went on and on (and on).
  • They offered moral support and useful breastfeeding advice 10 of 10
    They offered moral support and useful breastfeeding advice
    I was a breastfeeding failure with my older daughter and determined to do a 180 this time around. I steeled myself for a tough road ahead, and while the first few weeks proved to be just as tough as I imagined, having some friends at the ready with tips and not a few cheers helped make the difference in my path to breastfeeding success.

Photo credits: iStock

More from Meredith on Baby’s First Year:

Read (even) more from Meredith at Babble’s Strollerderby, follow her on Twitter, and read her weekly syndicated newspaper column at MeredithCarroll.com


 

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