For about nine months, you were the center of attention. Remember when so many people wanted to touch your belly it actually got annoying?
Once you have the baby, you realize that those days are pretty much over; all eyes are riveted on your brand new baby. And rightly so. You may start to feel a little guilty about feeling, well, under appreciated.
So, time to take charge! Give yourself a break. Because the better you feel, the better you will be as a new mom.
And if you aren’t a new mom, but love one, read on for our Gifting Tips and help her feel like a queen any day.
1. HELP You need somebody. Admit it. Someone to come over and just hold the baby or take her on a walk in the stroller while you take a shower and give your arms a rest. If your baby’s young, ask a friend, sister, brother or mother to visit, and be in charge for an hour in your home. Get a bottle ready for them; if you are already pumping, this is what you pump for. If not, have a bottle of formula ready, just in case. And then leave.
If your baby is older, pack a diaper bag for your visitor and send them out to the park, or just to stroll around the neighborhood. You actually will be gifting your friend with your trust and a chance to develop a relationship with your baby on her own. Gifting tip: See all of the above, and don’t take no for an answer from your new mom friend.
2. F-O-O-D Your friends will ask you what you need, and they really do want to help. Tell them to fix you a dinner – a big pot of chicken soup, vegetarian lasagna, complete with salad. They’ll feel great about giving you something you really will use (that doesn’t cost much), and you will appreciate the break. Gifting tip: Make sure you know about any food allergies or preferences – vegan, gluten free, vegetarian – and make something that can be re-heated easily. And remember to bring the container home with you.
3. A relaxing rub You have no idea how tense you really are until you get a massage. Now, this doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg (ha): You’ve probably seen signs for “Foot Spas” around your neighborhood; well, “foot” is a misnomer – most do a fully-clothed, full body massage for 40 minutes and then spend about 20 on your feet, for $20- $40, depending on your city. Two words to remember: “Softer, please.” Gifting tip: Gather friends and splurge on an in-house massage for your new mom. The massage therapist comes to mom (make sure you know if she prefers a male or female therapist), so she doesn’t have to leave the house to make an appointment. Assign someone to occupy the baby (see Tip #1 above) for an hour. Your new-mom friend will never forget this!
4. Shopping expedition It might sound daunting, but getting out to the mall is full of benefits for you: You get out of the house, you have something to look forward to, you get to spend time talking like a grownup. Enlist a friend to come with you to buy a new top that is NOT a T-shirt, or (if you’re really brave) a new pair of pants (no sweats allowed!). Gifting tip: Again, get your comfort on. Be ready to hold your friend’s baby a lot, and be open to listening to your pal – she may have weeks of real conversation saved up (see above), and be prepared for some challenges. It’s not easy getting used to the traveling mom thing; your friend might insist on sitting in the back seat for the drive over, or nursing in the fitting room. Be cool with it.
5. Get some rest Yes, we know you want to be the perfect mother and housekeeper. But you can’t, and guess what? Your baby doesn’t care. Let the laundry go. The dishes can wait. A little clutter never hurt anyone. Do you have a partner, husband, baby daddy? Great. Pump some milk and let them take over for a nighttime feeding, or during the day so you can get a nap. The NUK® Expressive® Double Electric Pump (http://www.nuk-usa.com/) is fast and super easy to use, not expensive, and your insurance might cover it . And for this nap, close the curtains – research shows that the more light you can eliminate while you sleep, the better quality that sleep will be — and set your alarm so you won’t worry about sleeping too long. Then, let go and relax. Gifting tip: Dad, Mom, friend? We’re talking to you. First, a great gift for a new mom is a cushy pillow (Check out the My Pillow — we have no affiliation, but hear great things about the comfort and coolness www.mypillow.com…). Take the baby and go for a walk, a drive maybe even a visit to other friends and family. Let the new mom sleep.