What can I do?
Adorable bundles of joy are born, adopted, and welcomed into new families every day and chances are you know at least one or more people. The joy of buying their newborns teeny tiny clothes and plush blankets are almost too hard to resist, but I have some suggestions that not only are thoughtful but extremely helpful.
First, ask the new parents what they need or, "What can I do?" Chances are you'll be met with, "Nothing, we're great!" New parents, this is time to put away the Minnesota nice and let people know what you need, before you end up with things that go to waste or go unused. People, generally, like to know specifics!
For the gift giver that has gotten an uncertain answer or is wanting to surprise the family with generosity, here are few things to consider:
- Food. A good meal never will go uneaten, but check with the family first and be sensitive to allergies and aversions. Choose meals that allow leftovers or choose a few snack options to bring for the late nights. There are great sites like MealTrain, that help stagger the meals so they won't be receiving three pasta dishes on a Tuesday and then nothing for a week. Consider setting this up prior to a baby shower so close friends and family have time to prep and make time to contribute. Choose freezer friendly meals to bring too!
- Time. Seeing that squishy new baby right away is exciting, but consider that the new parents are exhausted, recovering, and wanting to soak up every minute they can of those first 48-72 hours. Unless invited personally, avoid inviting yourself.
- Helping hands. You've been invited over, so set aside time to be helpful. Text them on your way over and pick up their favorite coffee on the way, chances are they haven't left the house in a while. Let them know that you are coming to help and that they should think of things they'd like help with. Laundry, dishes, a quick clean, mow the yard, make a quick freezer meal (chicken soup is great and can be filled with a lot of great power foods for nursing moms), or let the exhausted parents know that they can shower and nap while you watch the baby. Being entertained shouldn't be expected with a gift of your help, let them enjoy this time with no expectations and a little peace.
- Siblings. Does the family have older siblings? Consider the joy you could bring to getting them out of the house so the parents can snuggle baby uninterrupted! A simple walk and picnic in the park is all most kids need. Or maybe said siblings want some time with their parents now that baby is getting most of the attention. Toddlers under the age of three are especially sensitive and can have anxiety separating during this time. Chat with the parents and mention bringing an activity that they can do with their toddler while you hold and care for baby, like play-doh or a puzzle!
- Gift Cards. Live in a metro area that has awesome food delivery services like Bite Squad or Door Dash, or Insta cart for groceries? It's a great way to show your support if your time is limited or maybe the parents are spending some time in the NICU.
- Pamper. For the friend that you know would just like a moment to get a blowout, pedicure or spa service. Consider this gift card option with a note offering to help come with and hold baby so he/she can truly relax!
- Personal. Know the family well enough that you'd like to make or get them a one of a kind gift? Great! I usually like to bring something homemade or that I loved for my children with one of the items I listed above.
Kudos for helping your friends and family. Thinking of others, especially in life changing occasions is a great and wonderful thing for our children to see us bestow onto others in times of need. Showing that you care in any way, shape, or form will always be appreciated. I love the sense of community and bringing back more of families helping each other out, instead of families feeling like they are enduring things alone. I hope this post leaves with you a little spark of inspiration to help new and even seasoned parents in your life. It takes a village.
Parents, what were things that others did for you that helped you the most when a new baby entered the family?