As a friend or family member of a new parent, it may be important to you to say and do the right things. After all, a supportive, caring person who understands the needs and wants of a new parent is more likely to be asked to visit more often – and more visits mean more baby time! Taking care not to say anything insensitive, hurtful or judgemental during your visit is always a good start. But if you want to really impress a sleep-deprived parent, throw in a few of the following phrases:
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #1: “Can I Bring Anything?”
Not even through the door and you're already a contender for ‘Guest of the Year’! Ask if they need you to pick anything up on the way – toothpaste, sanitary towels or tea bags – it's much easier for you to pop into a shop on the way round then it is for them to make a special trip.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #2: “You Look Well”
You could even go the extra mile here and say ‘gorgeous' or ‘beautiful'. Chances are the new mamma will dispute it, but will no doubt appreciate that you have said it (and will secretly hope it is true at least until the next time she catches sight of her eye bags in the mirror).
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #3: “I Cooked You This ….”
Babies are pretty demanding. They need feeding, changing or holding pretty much constantly. Sleep-deprived new parents often lose track of the time, and can go most of the day without eating anything other than ginger nut biscuits. What they really want is a nice home cooked dinner, but it's difficult to find the time or energy to cook a big meal when you are caring for a newborn. Cook them something that morning, and take it round when you visit. Make sure it's in a freezer-friendly container, and can be reheated easily. This will get you at least an extra million brownie points.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #4: “I Brought Some Fruit”
If you don't have time to cook something, just buy a couple of things to give them. Avoid biscuits, crisps and other unhealthy snacks, they are probably living off those at the moment, and craving something healthier. A selection of fresh fruit is a great option, and will ensure they are getting some vitamins and minerals to counter the sleep deprivation. Nipping to the supermarket isn't easy when you have a newborn, and by taking fresh produce you can save them a trip.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #5: “Consider Me Your Maid!”
New parents spend their days feeding, changing and looking after a newborn baby, and tidying up for the next set of guests to arrive. Save them some of the hassle by helping out with the odd chore while you're there. Offer your services – laundry, vacuuming, washing up, cleaning out the rabbit hutch and cleaning the bathroom – tell them you're happy to do whatever they need. If they insist there's nothing you can do to help, and you don't know them well enough to do it regardless, at least clean up after yourself. Wash up your tea cup before you leave, put the wrapping paper in the bin, and put the card you bought them on display with the other cards.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #6: “Can I Get Anyone A Brew?”
Let the new parents have a sit down whilst you sort out the drinks. New dads often report feeling a bit like a butler during the first few days of parenthood, as they spend a lot of it fetching drinks for various guests. Let him spend some time enjoying his new family whilst you sort the drinks out.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #7: “Your Baby Is Beautiful!”
New parents never tire of hearing this, feel free to say it as often as you like.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #8: “You Are Such A Natural!”
It can take a while for new parents to build up their confidence. Give them a helping hand by letting them know you think they are doing a great job.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #9: “I’m Happy To Watch The Baby If There's Anything You Need To Do?”
Some parents will wants to kiss and hug you as you say this, before jumping straight in the shower or disappearing for a nap. Other parents may not fancy the idea of being away from their precious bundle just yet, so don’t be offended if they say no. But it's always worth offering. Even just 20 minutes off duty can be long enough for new parents to feel refreshed. Don't take it personally if the offer is refused, some mammas can't bear the thought of being away from their newborn babies, and that’s perfectly normal. Those mamma bear hormones are working beautifully, ensuring she’s always nurturing or protecting her baby, so don’t think badly of her for it – it’s mother nature at her best.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #10: “Would You Like Baby Back Now?”
If the baby starts crying during your cuddle, offer the baby back to the parents. Whilst some may be happy for you to try and soothe the baby yourself, others will prefer for the baby to be handed straight back at the first sign of tears. Especially for a new mother, her baby’s cries can evoke a response in her body, giving her a strong urge to respond to her baby.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #11: “He/She Is Such A Happy Baby!”
All any parent wants for their child is for them to be happy. Babies don't smile until sometime around week six, so parenting can be a pretty thankless job until then. Make up for it by exclaiming how happy the baby seems, and commenting on the close bond they all seem to share.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #12: “It Gets Easier, I Promise”
If you have children yourself, offer the new parents hope by telling them that sleep gets easier. Eventually their baby will start to sleep for longer stretches, and they will feel more like themselves again. Refrain from offering unwanted advice, because they're probably getting this from every direction at the moment.
Great Things To Say To A Sleep-Deprived Parent #13: “I'm Here For You, Whenever You Need Me”
Before you leave, let them know that they can count on you for support. Whether they want your company, babysitting services or just 20 minutes of help so they can grab a shower, let them know when you're available. Maternity leave can be quite daunting at first, especially once one parent returns to work. For those first few weeks of solo parenting, a new mamma might find comfort knowing that you are there to support her should she need it.
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