helpanewmomHaving a newborn is exhausting. When Isla was born, I felt a kind of tired I had never experienced before. As babies do not have normal body clocks when they’re first born, they tend to wake every 2-3 hours to feed, which may take up to 45 minutes. I have a journal from Isla’s first weeks which tracked her eating patterns. 1-1:45am, 4-4:45am, 7-7:45am, 10-10:45am, 1-1:45pm, 4-4:45pm, 7-7:45pm, 10-10:45. And repeat. Ohmygosh. How do new moms survive? The answer is cliche, but true: the love you feel for your child is what keeps you going and makes the exhaustion worthwhile, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenge. Add loads and loads of laundry, dishes, and cleaning to the mix, and your head is spinning. Preparing food for dinner? No way. Even chores like walking the dog become an ordeal. After experiencing life with a newborn, I have tips to share that will prepare you to help any friend who is in a similar situation.

Setup a meal delivery schedule

I am part of the Spring Valley Mom’s Club, and when Isla was born, I had meals delivered to the house three times a week for six weeks from other members. It was amazing. I definitely did not realize how exhausting even the thought of making dinner would be, so when I had food dropped off at the front door, I was thrilled. If your friend doesn’t already have a delivery schedule (or ‘meal train’ as its commonly referred to), then offer to set one up for her!

I created a meal delivery Google calendar for you to leverage. You can access the file here. Once you open it in Google Drive, go to File < Make a Copy and create a copy in your own Drive account. You need to fill out the mom’s name, address, number, food delivery and meal requests, and then update the first date in yellow (it doesn’t have to start on a Monday). Send her the link, and tell her to send it to people to fill in when they offer to bring food. This eliminates people bringing food twice on the same day, and also lets other people see what type of food they’re receiving a lot of in order to variate. Make sure that the Google file is set up where everyone with the link can edit! I promise you, your friend will thank you!

You can also use the set Meal Train, which I’m seeing more and more of recently. It’s very simple to use and easy to share with others looking to bring food to friends.

 Buy groceries

As my good friend, Mara (of Hook, Thread & Tinker), suggested in her Gift Ideas for a New Mom post, buying a new mom groceries or giving her an Instacart gift certificate (groceries delivered to your door!) is an incredibly valuable present. My mom did our grocery shopping for the first few weeks, and I was very grateful for her doing this, as taking a trip to HEB was literally the last thing in the entire world I wanted to do with a newborn.

Even if your friend balks at the thought of doing a full trip, I’m sure she would be okay with asking for cereal, milk, toothpaste, etc. Be persistent, as nobody wants to feel like an inconvenience!

 Do household chores

Do a load of laundry. And when your friend tries to tell you ‘no,’ offer again. Isla went through multiple outfits a day, a million towels, lots of burp cloths, and then there was our clothes that were also getting covered in ‘baby juice.’ Our guests would grab a laundry basket and throw it in the wash, and then leave it folded in the laundry room (my mom would sometimes put it away – isn’t she the best?).

Fill up the dishwasher and put clean dishes away. These tasks that are no fun for anyone became things I would seriously dread doing. Doing the dishes is way less personal than laundry, so if you’re more comfortable offering this, then do it! You can even just stack clean dishes neatly on the countertop if you don’t know where they go. Every little gesture counts!isla2

Give the gift of a maid

We have a maid who comes every second Thursday, but when Isla was born, I was desperate for someone to clean up every single day. We had a ton of guests who all brought flowers and gifts (very much appreciated!) and of course, dirt from shoes (could do without!). The house was in a constant state of chaos, and I would have loved for someone to gift us with an extra cleaning session. You can buy a Molly Maid gift certificate, and they operate in a most big cities in America. Make sure your friend is comfortable having someone clean their house first though!

  Offer to baby-or-dog-sit

Although your friend will likely want to catch up with you, they may also take you up on an offer to watch the baby while they nap. Offering to babysit during the day versus at night (which people will kindly offer, but the last thing I wanted to do in the first few weeks was go on a date night with Sasha! I was exhausted!) is very helpful for a new mom. I recommend you take the baby outside of the house if your friend is comfortable with it (like going on a walk), as it’s hard to rest when you hear your baby in the next room.

Another suggestion would be to offer to help take care of any pets. Our sweet dog, Belle, definitely fell by the way side once Isla was born. She used to be our baby, and all of a sudden, we had a real baby, and Belle definitely suffered. My older sister took good care of Belle when Isla was born, as did the rest of the family, and we were so grateful. Walking a baby and a dog was quite a challenge at first!isla_dog

Take Photos

I have 9,342 photos from the first few weeks of Isla’s life (an exaggeration, but not by much!), and I probably only have 10 of me and Isla together (typical mom problem, as we’re normally the ones behind the lens!) Even if you are not an expert photographer, offer to take photos of your friend and her baby. Even if it’s just a few iPhone photos, documenting those early moments is important, as those days quickly become a blur. I hated how I looked in some of the pictures we have together, and I literally don’t care at all now, as I just love having the photo of us!isla5

After reading these six suggestions, please let me know if someone did something for you that was helpful! I know a number of expecting moms, and I’d love to have even more tips up my sleeve.

All photos were taken by the talented Taylor Lord, who recently just welcomed a baby girl (Zara!) into the world!


    • AileePetrovic Reply

      I know!!! She was tiny! WAH!!! And we thought she had a lot of hair THEN. Ha!

  1. I had never thought about the photo problem! So true…Great tips! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • AileePetrovic Reply

      Thank you for reading, Effie! I appreciate it!

  2. Great tips, Ailee! Love the laundry, groceries and cleaning gift card tips! I had a friend who came over and said, “you’re going to get a manicure and pedicure, I’ll take Simon for a walk”… so we all got in the car and she walked around the area with Simon for an hour while I got a manicure and pedicure. It was perfect for everyone – she got to see Simon, he got a nice walk, I got a few minutes of me time. 🙂

    • AileePetrovic Reply

      Ugh, yes!!! Mani/pedi break for the win. What a good idea! I’m totally doing that. Thank you, Mara!! xoxo

  3. These are all wonderful suggestions! I’d also recommend asking if a friend wants a postpartum doula. You can set up a registry for people to contribute toward paying a certified baby expert to come—including overnights. The ones I know of will take care of your baby when you sleep/shower/watch mindless TV, and then when Baby is sleeping or nursing will do things like cook, chop up fruit or veggies that are going to waste in the fridge or fold laundry. They also have tricks up their sleeves like getting a baby to stop fussing. Postpartum doulas are an underutilized resource!

    • AileePetrovic Reply

      Oh wow. This is a great suggestion. Thank you, Catherine. I didn’t even know this was an option!!! I am definitely going to do more research on postpartum doulas. xoxo

  4. Lauren Postler Reply

    This is fab! I had no idea what to expect when Charlotte was born. I read pregnancy books while I was pregnant but didn’t read anything else beyond that. I called myself a “mombie” due to the exhaustion the first 6 weeks. We also had friends bring meals which was super helpful.. And the moms took turns coming over to make meals for the freezer that we could pop in the oven. I would have loved a maid service or a gift card to one! And my poor dog didnt get groomed forever.. She looked like a mop! My biggest advice is to not worry about the house so much and just focus on baby… There were times when 4:30pm rolled around and Nick would be home soon and I felt so bad that I didn’t have a tidy house or dinner prepared

    • AileePetrovic Reply

      I had no idea what to expect either – other than very little sleep, which EVERYONE felt the need to tell me about. Mombie is a great way to describe life! I would have loved the maid service too! And dog grooming – that’s a great one!!! Who wants to wash a dog when they have a newborn?!? Nobody!!

  5. These tips are soooo perfect!!! When you’re a new mom, you seriously don’t know all this stuff, how even cooking food is so not something you want to do. And the laundry, and the dishes…. I think people think the baby is exhausting so they come over to play with the baby and visit, but they don’t understand that you, the baby’s mother (or father), want to bond with your baby, they are new to you too. Its all those other things that are exhausting!!!

    I love this post!!! XO

  6. Oh my gosh she was soon teeny! Love her hair from day 1! 🙂 These are fabulous tips – Ive bookmarked for future use. I always try to make meals for friends who just had bubs, but your other ideas are just great. xoxo

  7. These tips are so helpful! I was so appreciative of every meal that friends brought over. I’m definitely looking into the maid gift too – that’s so smart.

  8. I love these suggestions so much! I’m one of those people, that even though I’ve had my own babies and know how welcome any kind of help was, I still like to know what other moms would like help with. And I like that you pointed out to insist even after they say no. Sooo important because no new mom wants to worry that she’s imposing on anyone, but she’s definitely in need of the help. What a thoughtful post!

  9. CJ Alvarez Reply

    Ailee, great suggestions !

    When my finance’s daughter was pregnant with her second baby girl, I gave her Freshology, [based in Burbank, CA but they deliver throughout the US] – a healthy cuisine home delivery service, for one month as a Christmas present. Although pricey $800-$1100, this service provided her with 3 freshly made healthy meals, 2 snacks and 1 dessert seven days a week for 31 days! The portions were so generous that she shared most meals with her 2-1/2 year old. She scheduled the service to start the day after she got home from the hospital. She was so thankful and raved about great taste of the food. She was excited to see what was delivered to her doorstep each morning. If you live outside of the Burbank, CA area, the delivery service schedules vary.

    A word of caution though, all home delivery meal services are not equal. I ordered another home delivery service through Thumbtack, which was less expensive, but still pricey for two weeks $700. Big mistake! Thumbtack we found out does not vet their companies that provide home delivery services nor do kitchen inspections. The one that I ordered from turned out to be a disaster; suffice to say the pictures his daughter took of the food looked like someone threw fourteen days worth of left overs from a family reunion together in a hodge podge of leaking to go containers. Without menus, caloric counts, portion allocation and no return policy we were stuck.

    All in all if you do your homework, home cuisine delivery can be a great help and positive experience for new moms.

  10. These are fantastic tips Ailee! We had just moved into our new house the day before our daughter was born, so it was total chaos. My mother and father in law were there so they helped unpack boxes and put things away for us. It was so helpful.
    I think meals and a maid service are the top 2 things I’d have on my list for a second little one.

  11. Love these tips so much Ailee! They are all so important, and I wish I would have these things happen to me. Lol. I wish I could have more pictures of me & Charlotte in the early days. I have a million of her though. 😉 Love this list and will share away!

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