When I brought home my sweet baby girl a little over two years ago, I was unprepared emotionally and physically for the amount of work and time that one little person required.
Simple things like taking a shower or folding a load of laundry suddenly became a huge challenge. I felt completely overwhelmed. Lucky for me, I had a great support system including friends, family and neighbors, who more than filled in the gaps while I recuperated.
If you are looking for some ways to help new or expecting parents you know through the first few weeks, here are some unique gifts and ideas to really show you care:
Make Your Visit Count
After we returned home, I enjoyed showing off my precious daughter to family and friends. But what I enjoyed even more were the family and friends who brought food, allowed me a break to eat and then insisted they watch the baby while I went to lie down. Remember, new moms are exhausted and recovering from childbirth. Most do not feel like entertaining. So after visiting a few minutes, offer the new mother time for a nap with a promise to wake her if the baby starts to cry.
Maid for the Day (or at least a few hours)
Unfortunately, I didn’t receive this luxury (my husband would probably disagree here since he took over vacuuming duties for a few weeks), but frequently daydreamed about how nice it would have been. If giving the gift of a housecleaning service does not fit your budget, suggest the idea to a few mutual friends and possibly go in together on this gift. The new mom will thank you over and over again. I promise.
Trip to the Spa
For Mother’s Day that first year, my busband bought me a package to a spa with a promise to babysit. I gladly took him up on his offer, and spent a few relaxing hours getting pampered. I returned home feeling refreshed, renewed and in a much better mood. The past two years I have talked to a lot of mothers through work, church and playdates, and we all agree on one thing: the single most important thing a mom can do for herself and family is to find a little time every now and then just for herself.
Make a Date With Big Sister, Big Brother or Both
If the new parents have older children, consider taking them for a few hours so Mom and Dad can have some bonding time with the new baby. It also gives some much needed TLC to the older child, who may be feeling neglected with all the attention the new baby has been getting.
Consider giving the new mom a pair of comfy pajamas or some pretty nursing gowns. When we arrived home from the hospital, I found the maternity gown I had been wearing was not “nursing friendly.” To my surprise, my mom promptly went shopping and came to the rescue the very next day. I was deeply grateful that she took the initiative and time to shop for me, and I did not even have to ask.
Share Your Stories
I remember one afternoon, after a particularly rough day, my dear neighbor dropped in to see the baby. As we sat at my kitchen table, she must have sensed my discouragement, because she began to share with me a rather personal story after the birth of her second child. By the time she finished, I was laughing so hard that tears were rolling down my face. It really helped to put my situation into perspective.
Even though new parents are coping with sleep deprivation and adjusting to their growing family, taking time to care for them does not have to be difficult. Sometimes simple acts of kindness and love are the best gifts. With your help, those first few weeks can be easier, less stressful and filled with wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
Tracy Sellers is a mother and freelance writer.
MORE GIFT IDEAS
Still wondering what to get the new parents? Here are some unique – and useful – ideas:
- Photo albums or picture frames are perfect for displaying all of the pictures that will be taken.
- Keepsake kits or baby time capsules are perfect for storing precious memories for future appreciation. Look for time capsules at amazon.com or babystyle.com.
- Movie tickets or video delivery gift certificates are the perfect way to ensure that Mom and Dad will get in a little bit of quality time. Delivery service is available at www.netflix.com.
- Baby books or baby book-making software are the perfect way to preserve all of Baby’s firsts. Look for Digital Baby Book at local bookstores.
- Make dinner or have it delivered so the new parents don’t have to cook. Companies like Menu Express (menuexpress.com) and www.delightfuldeliveries.com can deliver a delicious meal right to the door.
- Sign them up (after they agree) for a Child/Infant CPR and First Aid class at the local American Red Cross. Safety
- preparedness is a gift that will last a lifetime.
- Film and film development gift certificates are sure to get put to good use. A new baby is the perfect subject for countless pictures.