7 practical things you can do to help new mums from afar
Do you have a family member having a baby abroad that you are unable to see? With Covid-19, wars, and unpredictability in the world, there are many people in this situation. Many expectant and new parents had planned on returning home or having their family visit at the time of their baby’s birth, but have been unable to. This has caused a great deal of struggle and anguish among new mothers and mums-to-be over the past few years. So how can you support a new mum who is having her baby abroad? Here are some great things you can do:
1) Video call them regularly:
This can get a little difficult with time differences, but often new mums are awake at all hours of the night anyway. Schedule a video call weekly to talk to them, and talk more often than this if they request it. Although you can’t be with them in person, keeping them company virtually is a great way to help the new mum feel less isolated and more supported. Social isolation is a risk factor for postpartum mood disorders such as postnatal depression, so do everything you can to prevent the mother from feeling isolated from a distance.
2) Send vouchers for meal delivery services
A common way people support their loved ones after they have a baby is to cook a meal and deliver it. This isn’t possible when the miles separate you from the new mother, but sending vouchers for meals is a great way to send the same sentiment from afar. Find out the names and websites for meal delivery and take out delivery services that operate in the new mother’s area. Purchase some vouchers for the new parents to use. You can also send through menus and meal suggestions via email, or even in the mail.
3) Pay for services for them
Another way people often help in person is to do some household chores or look after the baby for the new parents. While you are separated, consider paying for a service to do some of these jobs for your loved one abroad. You might consider paying for a laundry service, a cleaner, or a babysitter. Postpartum doulas also provide wonderful support for new mothers; assisting them with caring for the baby and performing household chores for them. Investigate agencies available in your loved one’s area, and let them give the new mother all the practical support that you would like to provide in person.
4) Send care packages and hampers
Sending care packages and hampers to new parents is a beautiful way to show that you are thinking of them and that you love them. You can either pack and send your own packages and mail them, or find some in your loved one’s location. Consider including things like; postpartum care items for mum, practical items for mum and baby, and cute things for both mum and baby. If the new baby also has an older sibling, don’t forget to send them something as well. Sending a mum and baby hamper is such a special way to show you care from afar. Check out our New Mum Hampers, and our baby hampers for ideas
5) Be there to listen to them
Most importantly, check-in with the new mother and father regularly. Ask them about how they are going. Provide emotional support and encouragement. Tell them they are doing a wonderful job. If the new mum opens up to you saying that she is struggling, listen to her and sit with her. In many of these situations, the most helpful thing you can do is simply listen to the new mum while she talks, and not give any solutions or advice. Instead, you can tell her kind words, and encourage her to seek support from services in her area, or from other support people she may have around her
6) Find numbers for help services in her country
If you suspect that the new mother is struggling with her mental health, or with the practical elements of early parenting, find out the phone numbers and websites of services in her area, and pass these onto her or her partner. These services can usually be found online. Sometimes new parents can feel too overwhelmed to search for services, or may need extra encouragement to seek help.
7) Don’t forget to check in with new dads
Although most of this article has been aimed at new mothers, new fathers can also feel isolated in early parenthood, and can even develop postnatal depression. Remember to check in on the new father as well and see what support he needs. Often, a regular video call is enough to help a new father feel more socially connected and supported.
Everything you do will help the new mother in your life to feel loved and supported, and a little less isolated.
Rachel Preston Broughton is a mother of two, blogger, and small business owner based in Australia. Rachel is passionate about helping new mothers feel supported and loved. Rachel’s business is Baby and Mumma Gifts which specializes in beautiful gift hampers for new mothers and babies. These mum and baby hampers can be delivered across Australia and New Zealand.