When you have a baby (especially your first one!) your whole life is pretty much turned upside down, in a good way of course since you do have a new born! Particularly during the first 6 months, your social life is non-existent to be replaced by sleepless nights, regular feeds and nappy changing. If you are a friend or family member of somebody or a couple that has just had a baby and haven’t experienced this yet yourself, then it is important to understand just how much their life will have changed.
It is undoubtedly true that the lives of people that do have children to those that don’t can differ a lot especially during the first few years of the child’s life. Parents can’t be so selfish or independent with their time since they are no longer number one, and as a friend you need to respect that especially when it comes to first time parents. The first 6 months are a generally a pretty exhausting time for parents, so read on to find out how to support them without being intrusive, unhelpful or overbearing.
The first one is to do with new mums and is something that people who have already had children have taken into consideration. Following the birth of a baby you have to remember that new mums have been through a pretty traumatic event, even though it is joyous. They will be feeling a bit fragile and it is important that you offer lots of encouragement, even if you can’t be there. Don’t be critical in any way – all too often new mums are subjected to thinly veiled advice that tells them that they are doing it completely wrong to how somebody else did it. They will already be stressing out that they are getting things wrong anyway (it’s not like they’ve done this before!), so instead lend a friendly ear for them to moan to if needed and give praise. If they need advice they’ll ask.
If you’ve been used to enjoying couple drinks and dinner parties with the new parents that at least for the first year you’ll probably have to adjust your social arrangements. Meetings will probably require a lot more planning, but be helpful by suggesting day time meet ups when baby is up and about and the parents less exhausted, and you can always offer to cook for them at their own house as a treat – just don’t leave them with the washing up! New mums can suffer a bit from cabin fever when they’re on maternity leave, so inviting them to your house or a quiet café at a time that suits them is also really thoughtful.
Finally, be generous with your time and offer to babysit once the baby is past those crucial first months. Give the couple a chance to steal away for a date night at the cinema for example to enjoy a little together time alone. Chances are that they’ll feel much more comfortable leaving baby with somebody they know and trust and will be able to relax more fully when they’re out the house.