Those first days for new parents are often a blur—and for good reason: Around-the-clock feedings and a sudden change in schedule result in days that feel jumbled together at best. I remember feeling so thankful for our friends and family who diligently dropped by hot meals in the late afternoons, pints of gelato in the evening and little surprises to help make our lives easier along the way. While there’s nothing wrong with a good casserole, here are a few other ideas for the best meals and small gifts to bring to a new parent in those early days as they’re getting to know their new addition.
A Hot Meal (and Enough for Leftovers)
It’s a good rule to live by: Never visit new parents without food in hand. After having our son and realizing how difficult it was to keep up with simple meal prep, I now always bring new parents enough for leftovers, too. We were lucky enough to have dinner taken care of for a few weeks, but when it came to breakfast or lunch, toast and peanut butter became a mainstay pretty quickly—so the friends who thought to bring something extra were truly midday saviors. Lidded glass bakeware is awesome for transporting meals you prepare, and I love it because you can take this particular dish straight from the freezer and reheat food in the oven or microwave. A few creative meals for new parents include:
- Prep a week of breakfasts so they start every day well nourished. These five healthy weekday breakfast ideas are easy to meal prep and tasty, too.
- Don’t leave them hanging for lunch. Consider these easy lunch recipes that store well and taste great even when reheated, or go with an easy salad recipe—these don’t even require heating!
- Most family members bring dinner to their loved ones—if that’s you, consider preparing a flakey chicken pot pie or a delicious sheet pan recipe.
Snacks and Drinks
A hot meal is generally the focus when bringing something over to new parents, but I remember being the most excited about the box of homemade muffins tucked beside the quart of soup, or the bag of healthy snacks to help keep my energy up throughout the afternoon. Having something special to sip on was a real treat, too. I like bringing snacks to new parents in these lidded bowls: They’re the perfect size for nuts, dried fruit, granola, or small cookies—all good things that are often overlooked and so necessary to help fuel new parents for the long days ahead.
A Thoughtful Baby Product
While the baby shower has likely come and gone, new parents might also appreciate a little baby gift in those early days—especially for truly useful items, or those they didn’t think to ask for at the time. While there’s certainly no lack of baby products out there, one of my favorites is a portable changing pad, which is super handy when you’re out and about and need to do a quick diaper change. A wipes dispenser with diaper pouch is great for a similar reason: It allows you to leave the cumbersome diaper bag at home on occasion, which is always a bonus when you’re getting the hang of new baby logistics. A close friend got me a nightlight when our son was born, and I ended up keeping it on my nightstand for those numerous late-night feeding sessions. And when you start traveling again, the on-the-go drying rack is a must for cleaning and drying bottles.
Gift Certificates Are Always Nice
Let’s face it: Leaving the house and tending to normal errands after having a new baby is very, very difficult. Help make a new parent’s days easier with a gift card to a grocery delivery service in their city, a diaper subscription service so they don’t have to worry about buying diapers for awhile, or a house cleaning gift certificate.
While most things we think to bring to new parents have an immediate purpose or function, I love packing up a little something pretty—just because. My go-to are flowers, but a nice-smelling candle to keep next to the bedside would be much appreciated gift, too.
Last But Not Least
Decisions can be hard for new parents, so when thinking about a good time to drop something off, I like to keep communication slim and decisive: Reach out to see when they’d like you to swing by, and even offer to just leave it on the porch if it’s not a good day to come in and visit. I also like to keep questions about dietary preferences to a minimum—if you have legitimate allergy concerns, ask a family member if possible instead of bothering new parents directly—especially new mamas who are likely experiencing a bit less sleep.
New parents will appreciate any gift that helps ease their busy day—gift the OXO Tot Travel Essentials Set to help them transition after those first weeks home with baby.