So, you and your best friend have been through it all. When she had a bad day, you were ready with a glass of wine and some good advice. When she wanted to celebrate, you and wine were also there, ready to hit the town. Now she has a screaming baby, and the only thing you know is that maybe a nice glass of Grigio won’t cut it in this situation. You want to help your BFF but don’t have the first clue what to do.
First up… just because you don’t have a baby or any experience with children doesn’t mean you can’t still be there for your friend who just went through excruciating pain and now has a screaming baby hanging off her cracked nipples. You just have to be mindful. It’s going to be okay. Here are some tips to get you started:
Food: Your new BMF (Bestie Mama Friend) probably doesn’t know what time of day it is, let alone what she’s going to make for her next meal. She’s tired, she’s hungry, and her hands are full. Lady, make that gal some food! Food that can be frozen and easily prepared or food that can eaten with one hand (like muffins) will be especially welcome.
Chores: As her BFF I recommend that you don’t ask, just do: do the dishes, fold the laundry, dig out that cat poop, and hold that baby so your smelly friend can have a shower. If you’re worried about crowding her, still help but perhaps scale it back to cleaning any mess that’s arrived to the house with you—wash your coffee cups, clean up the plate from the cookies you brought, pop the dishwasher on, etc. Just try to be as helpful as possible in an un-intrusive way—unless it’s clear she wants you to start scrubbing toilets, then you start scrubbing toilets!
Time: Start with a small visit, unless it’s obvious she’s yearning for visitors. Your friend will probably have all sorts of family and friends stopping by with well-wishes and good intentions. Problem is, it can be a bit tough and awkward to try and fit in all those sitz-baths with grandpa and cousins running around the living room, let alone get some sleep before baby starts crying again.
Listen: You will hear about ripped vaginas, gruesome deliveries, tidal waves of water, crying, vomit, and maybe even some poop. Then comes the bleeding nipples, not being able to sit and insane sleep deprivation. It doesn’t matter if you can’t personally relate. She doesn’t care. Just listen, smile and nod. If she cries give her a hug. She may argue with her partner. This is normal. Don’t be put-off… they are both tired and their world has been flipped upside down. If you’re grossed out or start to panic just take a deep breath.
Be mindful about what you talk about: Sure, the office politics are getting really fraught right now, and the newest issue of Vogue was slightly controversial but your friend just had her crotch ripped apart or undergone major surgery. Leave those tidbits for later.
No need for advice: In the past you’ve always had the right thing to say at the right time. Now may feel like you need to do the same. Maybe you’ve read something somewhere: ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps! Breastfeeding isn’t supposed to hurt if you’re doing it right! You have to let the baby cry!’ She will vomit in her mouth if you say any of these things. Just don’t.
Be there: You’re her BFF. So what if you’ve never had a baby, or if the closest thing you’ve thought about raising was a goldfish. She still needs friends, someone to talk to and someone’s shoulder to cry on, especially now. The first three months with a newborn is hard, hard, hard. If you can be with her through that, you’ll survive anything.