The first few days after bringing a newborn home can be surreal and at once perfectly peaceful and totally chaotic. If your partner is the one who gave birth, you might feel like you’re scrambling around, trying to figure out how you can be useful. The new mommy may not be in any condition to give clear instructions—she’s exhausted, overwhelmed and doesn’t even really know what she needs. But there are a lot of small things you can do the first few days after delivery that will make a world of a difference to a new mom. These could range from tying up loose ends from pre-baby life that you didn’t manage to finish in time for the baby, to making a few arrangements so that life is comfortable for the woman who just spent who knows how many hours in labor. Here are things you can do after the first few days of delivery to make your partner’s life easier.
Keep the house as quiet as possible
The new mom needs to sleep as much as she can between nursing sessions. Your new baby will cry for a feeding every few hours, so keeping the house silent in between those cries is crucial. Turn the volume off on the landline. Cancel the gardeners who would usually be blowing leaves outside at this time. Put a sign on the front door asking that nobody knock or ring the doorbell—if you’re expecting them, they can text you to let you know they’re outside.
Arrange for a dog sitter
If you have a dog, it will be very hard to make sure he gets walked several times a day and fed on time, when you and your partner are taking turns cuddling the baby out of a crying tantrum, trying to sleep, changing diapers and having tummy time. Drop the dog off with a sitter for the first few days after delivery, or have a friend or family member come by and take over all the dog-related responsibilities.
Bring the baby to her for nursing
If you hear the baby crying because he needs to be fed, bring him to the nursing mom. She needs to lie in bed and be inactive right now. Getting up, every time that baby cries is exhausting on her body.
Comfort her during postpartum
Watch out for signs of postpartum depression. These include a loss of appetite, anxiety attacks, or talking about how she feels like she’ll never be a good mom/can’t do this. Make sure she has her close female friends and family members around—especially those who have gone through this themselves.
Handle the meals
A new mom cannot grocery shop, chop vegetables, cook food or clean dishes. If you can, make arrangements for meals before the mom even delivers. You could set up a grocery-delivery service, or ask friends to be ready with food they can bring over and you can freeze once the baby arrives. Just make sure the new mom is eating three wholesome meals a day.
Nap while she is up
You and your partner should take turns sleeping. You can’t do it all right now—you can’t be awake when she is asleep and when she is awake. Take the opportunity to nap while the new mom is awake so that you can be awake when she goes to sleep. It’s so important that you have some energy while the new mom sleeps so you can tend to things around the house that she cannot.
Hold the baby so she can shower
The new mom may not even realize when she hasn’t showered or changed clothes in several days. It’s up to you to be on top of these things, because the new mom simply won’t. Offer to hold the baby while she showers, changes, and even gives herself a little mani/pedi.
Rub her shoulders while she breastfeeds
Help relieve some of the pain and discomfort that can come with breastfeeding by giving the new mom a nice shoulder rub while she nurses. This is also just a nice act of solidarity and helps you and the new mom bond while those special nursing hormones are pumping through her.
Bring her water while she breastfeeds
Breastfeeding can be dehydrating and leave a woman exhausted. Every time you see the new mom start to nurse, bring her a nice big cold glass of water. You should make sure she always has one by the bed.
Keep the place tidy
If your friends and family ask what you need after delivery, tell them you need someone to clean your house! Whether they want to hire you a cleaning service or come over and tidy up the place on their own, this can be a tremendous help. Neither you nor the new mom will have the time to tidy up, but looking around to see a messy home will make an already overwhelmed nursing mother feel even more overwhelmed.
Draw her a bath
The new mom needs all the pampering she can get right now. Draw her a nice bath—she won’t be able to draw herself one or watch the water because she’s taking care of a baby. Add some Epsom salt to relieve some of the muscle pain she may be experiencing.
Get her a massage
If you can afford it, research a good post-partum masseuse in your area and hire her to come over to the house for an at-home massage. If you cannot afford this, research a few simple massage tactics you can use.
Don’t isolate her
Being a new mom can be isolating. While you may be busy running around, preparing meals and keeping the home clean, you could accidentally leave the new mom with no adult interaction for an entire day. Invite her friends over to visit her, or to take care of the house while you sit and visit with her.
Help with baths and diapers
Get comfortable with bathing the baby, changing his diapers and dressing him quickly. You could ask one of your friends who has already had babies to come over and give you a little tutorial on safe ways to do all of these things. Just make sure they don’t all fall on the new mom.
Take the baby out for a stroll
As much as you and your partner are thrilled about your baby, you could both use a little break from him sometimes. Take the baby out for a stroll when you have the energy, and when the mom is awake so she can enjoy doing a few things around the house without a crying baby.