new parent

How to Support the New Parents in Your Life

By Megan Hoel, DO* Mariner Medical Clinic
About the Author:
I love caring for mom and baby after delivery, and being able to watch baby grow up. I often remind mothers how important it is to take care of themselves after having a baby.

Tips on visits, keeping everyone healthy and providing support when it’s needed most

Let’s face it: New babies are exciting. When someone in your family or circle of friends welcomes a little one into the world, nobody is going to blame you for being eager to meet them. Still, the new family will need plenty of rest and privacy as well as a clean, calm environment to ensure everyone gets off to the best start possible. 

Here are a few tips on how to support and respect the new parents in your life, while still getting in those cuddles.  

Understay your welcome

While in the hospital, it’s crucial that both mom and baby get their rest, so keep your visits to 30 minutes or less. The new family likely has other guests eager to meet the baby, not to mention that mom and baby will need private bonding time as well, so the briefer your visit, the better.

Once the new family is tucked in at home, let the parents lead the way on visitors and visit length. If you’re thinking of stopping by, ask mom and dad what would be most helpful to them before you do. They may want to hold off on visitors for a while, keep visits brief so they have more time to bond as a family, or they may want you to hold the baby for an hour while they grab a much-needed nap. Each family is different, and the best way to find out what works best for them is to ask.  

Create a germ-free zone

When visiting the family in the hospital, be sure to wash your hands before entering the room. While you can certainly wear a face mask if you’re looking to be extra cautious, it’s not needed if you’re healthy. If you’re ill, it’s best to avoid visiting at all until you’re well again. When visiting the family at home, the same rules apply.

Tackle a task

Caring for a new baby can often mean that other things like household chores or cooking meals take a back seat. By bringing home-cooked meals or running a load of laundry during your visit, you’ll not only be getting a chance to bond with the new baby, you’ll be offering new parents the kind of support they really need.

This is something you can do remotely as well. If you’re not able to visit the family in person, you can still order products, meal delivery or even a cleaning service, and have it sent straight to them.

Be their rock

Whether you’ve been through the baby phase or not, the new parents will likely turn to you for emotional support at some point. That’s the time to be a great listener and a better cheerleader. Assure them that they’re doing a great job and that you’re ready to help in any way you can. 

However, if you’re worried the new mom might be experiencing postpartum depression, take extra time to be a supportive shoulder and friendly ear, and advise her to speak with her healthcare provider. 

Simply be there

In the end, the most important thing is letting the new family know that you’re there. Whether you live next door or a thousand miles away, technology has allowed greater access to each other. During those middle-of-the-night feedings or in the midst of that first cold, there’s no better way to support a new family than by making sure they know you’re there when they need you.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.


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