8 Ways to offer support in the 4th Trimester
I don’t think anything really prepares you properly for the 4th Trimester. It is a whirlwind of overwhelming love, hormones, vomit, poo explosions, crying, cuddles and sleep deprivation. Not to mention dealing with adult nappies, leaky boobs and all the post birth pains that no one warns you about (if you don't have kids and you're getting freaked out, I promise the rug rats are worth it!).
The 4th Trimester is really a time for healing, learning and really getting to know your new life and little love.
So what can you do to help your new mums friends without getting in the way of this special time? Read on!
- Food! Drop off some home cooked meals, a hamper, order a Hello Fresh Box, or send some Uber eats. This is the easiest and most non invasive way to offer assistance (I personally didn’t want people in the house for the first few weeks because I'm not a nice person when I'm tired)
- Housework: Wash the dishes, fold some clothes or offer to vacuum. They might seem like small tasks but it will mean the world to a new mum.
- Hold the baby: If your like me, I can’t wait to get my hands on a newborn bub and get smelling. It is the best smell ever – and this is a win win because your mum friend is probably desperate to have a shower and shave her legs without worrying about have to listen out for bubs crying (although the phantom baby cry never goes away, iykyk). Remember to make a point of washing your hands and sanitising before you pick bubs up without her having to ask.
- Take the bigger kids out: If bubs isn’t their first, it doesn’t mean they are having an easier time of it. In fact, things can be more challenging when bringing a new baby home to siblings as they learn to share the love and attention. By taking the bigger kids out and filling their cups with some special play time, this gives mum a chance to soak up some cuddles and rest without feeling guilty.
- Take the dog for a walk: Fun for you and the doggo!
- Send a pamper session via a mobile beautician: This is an actual blessing for new mums! It is likely that your mum friend hasn’t seen her feet for a few months now and has discovered the joys of the breastfeeding hunchback. Being able to sit back and enjoy and pedicure and a massage without having to leave their baby is the refresher they need.
- Take her out: For a lot of new mums, leaving the house is really daunting. Not only is it a whole process (pack nappy bag, feed baby, time nap, pack pram, work out how baby seat works) but it can bring up a lot of anxiety – especially when there is an international pandemic. Keep it simple, and offer to go for a walk or get a coffee. Make sure you help mum enforce her boundaries if well meaning strangers want to get too close to bubs. For me, getting out of the house was super important for my mental health.
Just tell her how awesome she is doing! Babies don't come with a manual, and your mum friend is probably spending 90% of her day second guessing what she is doing. 'Is she too hot, is she too cold, is that sheet up too high, can he breath properly, is he getting enough milk, does that poo look normal?'
It’s honestly the most amazing thing to hear you are doing an awesome job during this time of uncertainty (especially with lockdowns keeping families and support systems away). Everyone loves (and needs) a pat on the back.
I'm sure there are many more amazing ways to help, and I would love to hear them! Let me know what you did, or what your friends did for you in the 4th Trimester and I'll update the list. Too all you new mums out there, you ARE doing an amazing job. If you're a friend looking for ways to help, you are already an amazing friend for taking that first step to google what you can do to help.