It’s World Breastfeeding Week, an annual celebration we honor here on Mumbling Mommy in support of moms globally. The theme for 2015 is “help working moms” so I set out to write a post about how friends/family/co-workers can really lend a hand to breastfeeding moms and make that journey less of a hassle. After creating my list, however, I realized that most of this list applies really to help working moms (and some points apply to stay-at-home ones too).
The fact is that all parents appreciate any of the acts on this list — dads, moms, working, stay-at-home, breastfeeding, or bottle feeding. If you want to really help working moms and make their days, here’s how:
Help Working Moms by…
Preparing a meal.
For working parents, a meal cooked by someone else that is easy to heat up or completely ready is one of the best gifts. This goes double for nursing moms who are always ravenous but too tired to prepare the amount of meals it takes to satisfy that hunger. When you make a large meal for your own family, double it to share with these parents. Not a whiz in the kitchen? Have something delivered from the parents’ favorite spot.
You don’t have to clear an entire afternoon or evening — parents are happy just to run to the post office alone if you’re willing to hold down the fort while junior naps. I’ve always appreciated it when friends/family offer to keep baby occupied while I do other things around the house that tend to get pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. I remember doing the dishes, a whole 15 minutes with my hands in the soapy warm water without interruption, once when a friend played in my living room with my oldest. It was like heaven on earth. Offer to help, even if it’s just a small window of time.
Picking up an item from the store.
If you are heading to the grocery or drug store, text the new parent to ask if he or she needs anything that you can pick up. This applies if the person is a colleague with a desk next to you, too. Day care costs money. Pumping milk eats through lunch hours and breaks. Saving a parent a 10 or 15 minute run to the store means the world — and the fact that you thought to ask will be greatly appreciated.
Inviting them out.
And pick a parent-friendly outing, like an early dinner or movie. Asking new parents (or really any parents of the 5 and under set) to hit up the bars or do a late concert is likely going to be met with a decline, even if they would really like to go. Ask them to go do something that requires minimal babysitting and will still allow them the (little) sleep they need to function as parents the next morning.
Letting her know she can nurse in front of you.
Okay, so this one is pretty breastfeeding-specific. In the workplace, most moms pump milk privately. But if the baby is present outside the office (especially if you are at the mom’s house), don’t let her leave the room to hide away alone and feed her baby. Let her know you have no issues with her feeding in front of you and that you support what she is doing. If it is nap or bed time and she wants to leave for a quiet, dark spot — that’s really your cue to leave anyway.
Tell them what a great job they are doing.
It will be years before their kids can tell them how appreciative they are, so fill in the gap. Parenting is ripe with insecurities, and outside negativity, and the worry that you are doing it all wrong. Take the time to tell the parents you know that they are indeed doing it right and that you’ve noticed.
What have people done for you as a parent that you appreciated the most?
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