Last Tuesday I became an aunt again, this time to my very first baby niece!! She gave her mom and dad a bit of a time getting into this world, but she’s here now and we are all so thrilled to have her with us.
That makes 13 grandchildren for the grandparents, and 9 of them are boys! So we totally needed to tip the scales toward the girls’ side of things, and this precious little princess more than does that. And aren’t you totally jealous of her hair?! It’s a little bit Charlie Sheen-ish from Courage Mountain, don’t you think? ;0)
Whenever a new baby is born, I get really excited about all the cool things out there that have been so helpful through babyhood, and the blessings we’ve received from friends and family. So I thought I’d share my favourite 10 Things to Give a New Mom:
Not having to worry about cooking while trying to adjust to life with a baby (whether your first or your fifth) is one of the greatest blessings and reliefs ever received as a new mom.
Not sure what to bring? Pick up a chicken meal from Costco, or buy a whole chicken and roast it in the oven with some veggies and serve with rice. Soups and stews with a loaf of bread are also a good meal to stretch. Try to stay away from sweets and goodies, but include fresh fruit and veggies and make something that has enough leftovers to go for a couple meals.
2. Babysitting and sleep
Whether the new mom has other children or only one, one of the things we always lack in those first few months (or years :D) is sleep. Offer to come over and watch the kids or baby so mom can shower and rest, or take the older kids out to the park for a few hours. Be available to help as often as you are able, the small things are often the most meaningful.
3. Advice and encouragement
Advice can be tricky. More often than not, a lot of us have a lot of really good things to say, but refrain ourselves from doing so, so as to not seem pushy or know-it-all. But when someone asks for your advice or help, give it, from the heart of your experience and what you have learned, along with a big dose of encouragement. Not everyone mothers the same way, and every single baby is different, but you can share what you have learned and how you survived and thrived to be an encouragement to another mom.
4. Calendula Oil
When Miss E had a really raw diaper rash recently, I turned to my Facebook friend experts for help before taking her to the doctor’s office. A few of them recommended calendula oil, along with some other remedies. I got the calendula oil because it is also great for use on other skin issues, and started using it. Within a couple of days it was almost completely cleared up!
You can also use calendula oil in homemade baby wipes as an extra antibacterial and healing property.
5. Muslin wraps
THE #1 favourite gift of mine to give new moms is muslin wraps. The Aden & Anais ones are BEAUTIFUL, but very expensive. We managed to find them in packs at our Winners (kind of like Marshalls, for you Americans :D) as well as other not as well known brand name muslin wraps.
These are so great because they’re HUGE, making for a great swaddle blanket for baby. They’re also lightweight so baby doesn’t overheat, AND they double as a nursing cover! Simply knot the two ends together and slip over your head and voila, a nursing cover that’s big and provides lots of privacy.
6. Baby skincare
We switched all our kids off shampoo recently, with the exception of Miss E who is still using up the last of her baby shampoo. But we also dropped every commercial brand (especially Johnson & Johnson) of baby shampoo with Keekers was a baby as we found that it was incredibly drying and full of a lot of harmful chemicals that just plain aren’t good for babies.
My friend Lisa from Sweetcream Organics makes AMAZING skincare products, and has a fantastic baby shampoo and baby butter that has been so great for all our babies. The shampoo is very mild, but still cleansing, and the baby body butter has been great for just about every kind of diaper rash as well. (I also use her skincare for myself, with my multi-type trouble skin, it’s been the only thing to calm and regulate it!)
7. Diaper bags
And I’m not talking about the big ones we shove everything and the kitchen sink in to when we leave the house. I’m talking about those little plastic bags that come in packs from the dollar store, to keep in your diaper bag, in case you have a rather, ahem, stinky situation to deal with while out and about.
8. Essential oils and diffuser
We have used an essential oil diffuser a lot – mainly for coughing and sickies, but also for clearing the air of blah smells, and adding a peaceful scent to our home
My favourite EOs for moms and new babies are from Young Living Essential Oils (my member # is 1417777):
- Lavender – for bathing post-delivery, with epsom salts, relaxation during delivery, allergies, baby acne and cradle cap, skin irritations (pretty much EVERYTHING :D)
- Thieves – for viral and bacterial infections, anti-fungal and anti-mold, great for cleaning and adding to baby wipes
- Peace & Calming – because it is :D
- Peppermint – nausea, stomachaches, constipation, fever, congestion, headaches, other aches and pains
- Lemon – coughs, immune boosting, digestion
A great little book for help with essential oils is Gentle Babies, a guide for uses for different kinds of oils with babies.
9. A clean house
One of the ladies in our church had a cleaning lady come by after Miss E was born. My sister-in-law had the same thing done for her just recently, and my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law went over and cleaned another sister’s house after she’d had her baby. Whether you can hire someone to do it, or team up with a group of moms to tackle the task, giving a new mom a clean house is a blessing that keeps on giving!
My first year as a mom was incredibly lonely. I was the first of my group of friends married and having kids, and we weren’t really connected with any other people at the huge church we were attending at the time. I was so isolated, insecure, uptight and alone.
Spend time with a new mom, at her house or have her over if you’re not able to get out. It is harder for me to take 4 kids to someone’s home than it is to invite them over here. But also make an effort to spend time one on one with them; talk through things, offer encouragement and prayer, be a friend and envelope them with love.