In the early days of motherhood, there is usually a constant flow of visitors. Friends, family and midwives will all be checking in regularly to see how things are going.
If you are lucky, you will have meals brought for you and plenty of offers to mind the baby while you rest or take a shower. Everyone loves a cuddle with a sleepy newborn.
Then, before you know it, your partner return to work, the visits slow down or stop completely, and suddenly you are living 24/7 with a needy baby who doesn't sleep and screams any time you try to put them down for long enough to take a shower or go to the toilet. You have come out of the fourth trimester and suddenly your baby catnaps day and night, wants to feed constantly and hates being put down or held by anyone else.
All those wonderful things that used to work a treat like feeding or rocking to sleep stop working. This is when things can get really hard and overwhelming, and it's when mums really need support the most.
So, if you have a friend who has a baby who is no longer a newborn, then here are my top six ways to support her and brighten her day.
1. Keep bringing meals
This is always a welcome treat for any mother but particularly important for a mother with an unsettled older baby. This is even more important if there are older siblings, they need to be fed and some babies never want to be put down especially at "witching hour". It doesn't have to be fancy - spaghetti bolognese is always a winner!
2. Offer to babysit
By the time the baby is a few of months old, the parents will be desperate to spend some quality time together out of the house. Those offers of babysitting will finally be accepted.
3. Stay in touch
She probably can't manage a phone call but send messages regularly and check in. Let her know she is still in your thoughts and that you there for her. Just some contact with the outside world can help her feel human for a minute.
4. Drop off a coffee
You don't even have to stay, just drop and run. Honestly, there were some days when I just couldn't get it together enough to leave the house but would have loved a real coffee. Just pretend not to notice her wild hair and stained pyjamas when you drop it off. Tell her she looks beautiful.
5. Take her out
It will be a while before she is ready for a big night out but she might love the thought of getting a bit dressed up and heading to the local for one or two wines, or going out for a lovely breakfast one morning. If she isn't willing and/or able to leave the baby at home, then a long walk and talk with the pram is always beneficial.
6. Keep inviting her
Even if she has cancelled or declined the past five invites don't give up on her. She has probably cancelled the last five times because none of her clothes fit yet and she isn't able to be away from the baby for more than one hour without her breasts leaking or dissolving into tears because she misses her little one. Keep inviting... she will come eventually!