Newborn babies are super cute, and super snuggly, and super wonderful, and also super helpless. After a newborn arrives in your life, all focus is on keeping that tiny human alive, and it’s easy for the parents of that little blob to forget to take care of themselves. Having a post-partum doula in this crucial time of transition to guide you in the care of your baby, and help you to care for yourselves is amazing. With or without a post-partum doula though, engaging your community for support once your baby arrives is a major game changer. Here are some tips to get the most streamlined care from friends, family, and neighbors.
1. Give assignments/ ask for support ahead of your baby’s arrival.
You can set up a meal train with one meal per day for free at https://www.mealtrain.com/
The website charges a flat fee of $10 for more complicated meal trains, ie help with childcare, household chores, two meals per day, etc. An alternative to this website is to create a shareable spreadsheet with Google Docs and make time slots for your community to sign up for.
For example, you can create options for people to sign up to bring food, come over and do a load of laundry, clean the bathroom, bring you groceries.
2. Create boundaries!
Your entire social circle doesn’t need to meet your new baby in their first week. Inform friends that want to help that you appreciate very much what they’re doing for you, but you may not be up for a social visit. Know that you have no obligation to entertain folks, and be mindful of your need for social interaction in the first weeks.
If you’re someone who thrives on social interaction and needs more social visits, incorporate that into your help signup. But be wary of going overboard and be gentle with yourself.
SAY NO and tell people to leave when you’re done visiting.
3. Manage social activities to your comfort level.
If your partner or co-parent has a limited parental leave, or if you’re a single parent, inquire with friends and family members to see if anyone has days off during the week. While too much social interaction can be exhausting and inhibit healing from childbirth and closeness with your baby, limited social interaction may leave you feeling isolated and lonely. Ask around to see if there are folks that may be able to keep you company, especially in the first weeks where leaving the house is hard.
The key to an easeful transition is finding balance. While many of these suggestions may seem contradictory, create a plan that take advantage of community support as much as you want to, but that doesn’t feel burdensome.