A hospital stay can be very hard on a family, especially in a time where the family unit changes. While many moms choose a hospital stay after birth, some mothers end up in the hospital unwanted.
In either case, there are things you - as a family member or friend - can do to help the family along in these transitional times.
|Image: Lisa Nail Photography|
- Bring a thermos of postpartum broth for mommy. Bone broth speeds up postpartum recovery, and a homemade soup will be a welcome change from the bland hospital food. Try the Chinese post partum soup recipe or the standard bone broth.
- Bring nursing tea. If you know the mommy will be nursing, a beautiful herbal infusion to stimulate milk production will be a welcome beverage. Hot water should be easy to get, so just bringing in the tea and a tea ball should be enough.
- Whip up a herbal post partum tea mix. There are many great recipes online.
- Thinking of a gift? Why not bring a fruit basket? This way mom can stock up on healthy vitamins and there’s always something nice for visitors to eat.
- Offer to take the older children somewhere. A hospital stay is a stressful situation for the whole family. An afternoon of fun for the sibling can be a welcome change.
- Invite the family over for dinner or make them a casserole they can heat up. The days my husband didn’t have dinner at my parent’s, he simply did not eat, because he was too beat. Luckily my daughter shared the hospital lunches with me.
- Call before you visit. There’s nothing worse then suddenly being overwhelmed by a herd of visitors. Some moms really don’t want any visitors at this time, so make sure that you are welcome. Ask yourself, are you paying a visit for your pleasure or theirs?
- Visit in small groups only. While it can be easier - logistically - to fill a couple of cars and head out, large groups are too stressful for mom and baby and you won’t be able to enjoy the visit fully either.
- While you are visiting, ask if there’s anything you can get from the cafeteria. Hospital food is often very bland, so mom would probably appreciate a treat.
- Call the husband and ask if there are any household tasks you can help out with. Do a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, make the beds... often husbands are left to their own devices to perform tasks they never did before, while they’re already overwhelmed.
- Bring magazines. After visiting hours, it can get quite lonely in the hospital. A couple of nice magazines can entertain mom while she’s nursing or baby is sleeping.
- Ask if there is anything the family needs you to bring into the hospital. Even with a planned hospital birth, there are always items that have been forgotten, or that didn’t seem a necessity at the time.
- Bring cloth post partum pads, they’re so much better than the chemically bleached stuff they give you at the hospital.
- Offer a handmade gift. When I was spending nights in a row at the NICU, the handmade quilt I got from Applesauce Crafts was one of the things that kept me sane.
- If your mommy friend is encapsulating her placenta, offer help, or offer a specialized person's services.