One telltale sign of adulthood is when many of your friends and acquaintances start having babies — on purpose. However, it’s a special kind of moment when your best friend decides to start the parenthood chapter (and you’re still not even considering kids).
While you and your BFF may be taking a different path these days, finding ways to support and help her through this life-changing period will be the thing she needs from you most. But where do you even begin?
While you might not be a parent yet or want to be one ever, there are some crucial, thoughtful ways you can lend your support to your BFF and her new baby:
Stocking the Medicine Cabinet
The main thing to remember is your best friend will likely need to lean on you from time to time — being a new parent is exhausting! One of the best ways to show your support is to take care of those crucial new parent needs before she asks. Medical News Today recommends having a well-stocked medicine cabinet for mom and baby. Making the trip to the store for her will surely be appreciated. Here are some items worth picking up:
- Digital thermometer
- Babies’ non-aspirin liquid pain reliever
- Bulb syringe for extracting mucus from a stuffy nose
- Antibacterial ointment
- Teething toys
- Rubbing alcohol to clean tweezers, thermometers, and scissors
- Cotton balls for applying lotions and for cleaning supplies with rubbing alcohol
- Mild liquid soaps
- Diaper rash cream
- Gripe water
Getting these crucial items will ensure that mom feels prepared and ease some of the stress of parenthood.
A Shoulder to Cry On
In an interview with Kindercare discussing how to support new moms, Dr. Nicole Harrington Cirino, who is head of the Women’s Mental Health and Wellness division for Portland’s OHSU Center for Women’s Health, gives some worthwhile advice. She tells us that it’s important to, “Make sure moms get sleep and breaks from childcare to eat, exercise, socialize, and have time to care for themselves.” She also stresses the importance of, “helping moms arrange mental health appointments and follow through on treatment plans, since sometimes it is hard to initiate and follow through on tasks when you are depressed or anxious.” And perhaps most importantly she explains, “Reassure them of how much they are loved and help them be in contact with others who care for them and love them.”
Remember, while you may not have kids of your own, motherhood can be quite the adjustment, and there will probably be plenty of tears from both mom and baby. You’ve been there through the break-ups and the fights, and now you can help your BFF take on her next challenge with plenty of support.
Giving the Gift of Knowledge
New parents have access to a ton of resources these days when it comes to babies. However, all of that information can become overwhelming, especially with so many varying opinions across the board. Consider gifting your BFF a book that can help her sort out all the crucial parenthood information and help her feel a bit more prepared for the newest member of her family. Experts at Regis College recommend these useful books for first-time parents:
- “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May Gaskin: Gaskin shares key elements of having the best birth experience.
- “The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer” by Harvey Karp: This book is renowned as one of the best resources for first-time parents.
- “The Attachment Parenting Book: A Commonsense Guide to Understanding and Nurturing Your Baby” by William and Martha Sears: Dr. Bill and Martha Sears answer many questions of first-time parents as well as a practical guide to parenting.
Your friend will surely appreciate the helpful advice, even if it’s not coming from you directly.
Sweet, New Memories
Finally, through all the chaos and disarray that comes with a new addition, mom might be too busy to think of taking photos, let alone printing them off. Surprise your BFF with the perfect photo book of her new family. Not only is it a sweet gesture, but it will ensure that this monumental moment is captured forever in a lovely photo book the two of you can flip through years from now. Be sure to bring a box of tissue for all the happy tears that are sure to be shared between you two when she opens her gift.
There might be some tough days for both you and your best friend ahead, but at the end of the day, you’ll always have each other. Of course parenthood holds a number of challenges (and rewards!) but one day you two will be looking back on this chapter in life fondly — together.