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How to *really* help a new family

Jun 01, 2021

Many of us think we know how to be ‘a good visitor’. But when it comes to supporting new families, there are some common do’s and don’t’s which can help everyone feel more supported and supportive.

In our culture, we sort of expect to be hosted when we visit someone. But when visiting a new family, we cannot expect this.

New parents are most likely exhausted and feeling overwhelmed. So, the last thing they need is someone in their space that needs their attention or expects to be hosted. Meeting the demands of their newborn means parents have little time for cooking, cleaning, housework or shopping. But that’s where we can help!

 

How to be a good visitor when seeing a new family

  1. Give them space at first so they can have time to bond (unless they specifically ask for an early visit)
  2. Find out what they like to eat and make a nutritions meal that is easy to digest
  3. See if they need you to pick anything up from the store before you come over
  4. Encourage them to rest when you arrive
  5. Ask what they need help with (for example; cooking, washing, laundry etc)
  6. Don’t ask to hold their baby (they will offer if this is what they want)
  7. Listen to the parents speak and validate their feelings. Don’t try to problem solve, unless this is what they want.
  8. Keep communication open - ask what they need

 

This can be a really enriching time for the parents and their friends and family. It’s good to keep communicating and really listen to what each other needs. This is not the time for guessing or assuming.

Many people have trouble asking for or accepting help. If you are going to be supporting a new family it can be good to have a conversation during pregnancy about their expectations for postpartum.

Ideally parents start building their support network before their baby is born.

 

You can help new parents by:

  • Reassuring them that they can reach out to you for help
  • Let them know that you’d like to help
  • Ask them what they would like help with and learn their way of doing that thing (for example; many people like their washing done a specific way, learn how to use their machine before baby is born)
  • Reassure the parents that asking for help is a healthy thing to do and that you are genuinely excited to support them
  • Let the parents know when you could be available to provide the support
  • Ask the parents what they think they would most like help with
  • Offer to help instead of waiting to be asked. This lets the parents know you are willing to help in whatever way you can

 

By supporting new parents in the early weeks and months, it will make a huge difference. It will give them time and space to heal and recover from the birth and bond and learn to feed their baby. We can help make this time more peaceful and supported.

With the right support, we can help parents enjoy their fourth trimester and feel rejuvenated and peaceful rather than overwhelmed and exhausted.

 

It’s up to all of us to help bring back the village.

 

 

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It has practical tips and natural suggestions for the three stages of labor, a packing list for birth, pictures of useful labour positions and helpful hints for partners.

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Make sure you download the latest birth plan checklist! It has a packing list for birth, watercolour pictures of useful labour positions, tips for what to do at each stage of labour and advice for partners