When Jack was born, we semi-joked that we had a visitation tax; if you wanted to come visit us, you couldn’t come empty handed. I say ‘semi-joked’ because we obviously didn’t enforce it, but we also didn’t play the polite “oh, no, we’re good thanks!” card when someone asked us what we needed before they came over.
We needed all the things.
If you have friends who recently gave birth, it should go without saying that you don’t go over to their house empty handed. But maybe your friends are more polite than we are, and you need some practical ideas so you don’t show up looking like the chump who just “stopped by to see the baby.” (Or, maybe you’re a new mom who doesn’t know how to answer the “what do you need?” question.)
Diapers, diapers, diapers (and wipes.) Diapers aren’t cheap and they disappear at lightening speed. This is always a safe bet because you know they’ll get used and they’ll be appreciated. Friendly tip: Make sure you know what size the baby is currently wearing. If you can’t do that, take your best guess and tape the receipt to the box just in case.
Take out Let’s be clear: any and all free food is appreciated. The down side of taking casseroles or big dinners over to your friends is that everyone else had the same idea, and a good amount of food ends up being thrown out (which I hate doing!) Chances are, your new-parent friends won’t be making it out to any real restaurants for a bit, so do them a solid and bring them take out from one of their favorite places. Friendly tip: Deliver and dash. Don’t put your sleep deprived friends in the position of having to entertain you or hold a conversation that requires brain cells. They’re going to want to eat and pass out for 30 minutes before the baby wakes up again.
Alcohol When my OB gave me the thumbs up that I could enjoy an adult beverage or two without worrying about my breastmilk, I did a happy dance in my hospital gown. I had several friends who brought over wine and champagne to celebrate the end of my forced sobriety, and it was greatly appreciated. Friendly tip: Avoid hard liquor. Just sayin’.
Bagels Delivered dinners were awesome, but one friend had the genius idea to bring us a dozen bagels from Panera. We had so much food for lunch and dinner, but nothing for breakfast. It was so appreciated, and is actually what I now take to all my new-parent friends!
Onesies Ah, opening the cute-as-can-be outfits at the baby shower was so fun…but totally impractical. All a new baby wears is onesies. I had tons of cute outfits hanging in Jack’s closest, but the majority of them got packed away with their tags still attached. So much wasted adorableness.
A plan to be helpful This is your ‘showing up empty handed’ loophole. If you’re going to stop by without food or diapers or alcohol, the next best thing is being helpful. I remember that in the beginning, I was so sleep deprived and overwhelmed with my new baby, that the idea of just sitting and talking to someone stressed me out. Friendly tips: Try to plan this visit around the baby’s feeding schedule. Show up (on time) and offer to hold the baby while your friend showers. Or, get to work and clean up the kitchen, fold laundry (if you’re on the I’m-touching-your-underwear level of friendship), take the dog for a walk, or whatever else she/they might need.
Honestly, anyone with a new baby just needs to be treated with extra love and kindness. You don’t need to spend money to be helpful; a call, text, card, or lending a listening ear are also all great ways to support a new parent!
Anything else you would add to the list?