For the past nine months you've made sure your BFF has felt like a total VIP (Very Important Preggo). You spent hours researching off-the-wall morning sickness remedies, debating the meaning of baby names and strolling the car-seat aisle with her. When she said she felt like a whale, you told her how absolutely glowing she was—and booked her a day of pampering at the spa. You planned the perfect baby shower. But now that her little sweetpea has arrived, you may be thinking: now what?
The truth is, she needs your support and friendship now more than ever. The following ideas will make your girlfriend feel special, and are sure to take a little stress off her during this crazy, wonderful, emotion-filled time.
Sure, food seems obvious and a lasagna may not seem very thrilling, but trust us, between breastfeeding, sleepless nights, and endless diaper changes, the chance of your friend making a cameo in the kitchen is as likely as her throwing a dinner party for the whole neighborhood. In other words, it's not happening. But you can get creative with it.
Home-cooked meals from local friends and family are lovely (and appreciated!), but a steady stream of visitors can be overwhelming—yes, even when they come bearing cheesy casseroles—so consider setting up a Meal Train. The service coordinates specific days for people to drop off a hot dinner, so your friend doesn't get dumped with four pasta dishes on the same day. It also lets you loop in faraway loved ones as they can sign up to send a meal via delivery. And don't limit it to dinner. Coordinate with your group of gal pals to surprise her with hearty breakfasts or a basket full of her favorite snacks, too.
Between all the text messages, calls, and emails that are blowing up your bestie's phone, it's likely she's feeling super loved—and super stressed about getting back to everyone. Remember: Most of the time she's operating one-handed now. So one of the greatest things you can do is to give her permission to totally drop off the grid. Let her know that you're absolutely there if she needs you, but otherwise, you're going to give her time to totally relish in that new infant bubble, without the worry of having to respond to every little ding that lights up her phone.
Instead, next time you message her, instead of asking "How are you?," send her a text to offer up help, for example, "I'm at the grocery store, do you need anything?"
She's now living in the land of spit-up covered shirts and stretchy leggings (which she may have worn for the past two days), and as much as cute onesies and adorable little kiddie items make her squeal with delight, show up with something special for her. Whether it's new lip gloss, a cozy robe, or a box of dark chocolate sea salt caramels—make it something that feels a little decadent and is unexpected. She'll be over-the-moon to receive something that isn't A) practical or B) baby-related.
After the first week or two, the stream of visitors usually winds down and your friend is surviving in Baby Land solo. Set up a time to visit mid-week and demand a little one-on-one time with the bambino so your friend has time to take a steaming hot shower and actually blow dry her hair—or even just catch a few zzzs. Or suggest she take a yoga class while you bunker in with the itty-bitty.
Your friend's hands are full, literally. Rally some of the other people in your friend circle and take something off her plate. Hire a housekeeper for a month so she doesn't have to worry about scrubbing the bathroom, or a professional organizer who can help her figure out how to co-habitate with that little bub who comes with a whole bunch of stuff.
For the first couple of months, your bestie isn't going to want the pressure of having to look presentable for a girl's happy hour, but plan a special day—think: manis and pedis or a night out at her favorite restaurant—for a few months out. Your friend will be grateful to have something to look forward to on the calendar that doesn't involve a wiggly little one.