Let me first say, I don’t write this blog out of selfish desires. Rather, I write it as someone who is currently going through this season in life.
There are so many things that a mom has to think about when she considers going somewhere with her baby. I’m here to suggest practical ways a church can love a mom and make life a little bit easier for her to attend church with her baby.
Considering the possible obstacles when going somewhere with a baby, it can be enough to make a mom say, “It’s not worth it; we’re just going to stay home.” The church should not be one of those places.
Have a place where a mother can quietly and privately feed her baby if breast feeding. I breastfed my child for the first five months of his life, and more often than not, there wasn’t a suitable place for me to feed him.
This meant I would often sit in the car, in the middle of the summer, with the air conditioning blasting, sweating, while trying to feed my newborn baby.
Designate a room where a mom can go and feed her baby in private with a few comfortable seating options: a couch, a rocking chair, perhaps an ottoman.
Another thing that would help tremendously is to have the sermon either playing on a speaker or on a television monitor. My son’s feeding schedule almost always came in the middle of worship time.
Feeding a baby can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes when you consider burping the baby, changing their diaper, and so on. This meant I fully missed the church service, which in the end made me wish I would have just stayed home where we were more comfortable. Don’t let this be an obstacle for the new mothers in your church!
Have a changing table with a few baby essentials stocked for the “oh no!” moments that inevitably sneak up when a baby has had an accident, and the mom realizes they’ve left their wipes or something else important at home. This might seem like something small and definitely won’t cost much money, but it does so much for a new mom to feel like she’s being taken care of while her life revolves around taking care of other people.
While I’m talking about changing tables, have a changing table in both the men’s and women’s restrooms. Changing a diaper is not just a woman’s job, and I would hate for a single father to enter into a church and find himself with no place to change his baby. A family restroom, if your church has one, would also be a solution to this problem.
Another suggestion comes from a Facebook post I saw recently from First Baptist Church of Skiatook. They had four rocker/gliders in the back of their sanctuary for new moms. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve rocked my child to sleep in the service sans rocking chair. There might be the “danger” of both mom and baby snoozing in the church service (ha!) but what a considerate gesture this was, GREAT JOB FBC SKIATOOK!
Finally, and this is perhaps the most important, when you hear a baby in the worship service causing a lot of noise, becoming a distraction, keep judgmental glances to yourself. It’s true, the noise the baby is making sounds 10 times louder to the mom than it does to you. At my church, our congregation does a great job of this. When my little one made noises, rather than catching ugly glances, I looked around to see smiling faces and understanding glances. This makes all the difference in the world to a new family.
A church that has lots of babies in it is the sign of a still-growing and healthy church. These are some small and practical tips that can help a new mom feel at home away from home. Life with a new baby is hard enough. Let’s, as the Church, take care of families with new babies rather than add stress to their lives.