Since my pal, Olivia, is having her baby any day, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about good gift ideas for new moms and their families. As a mom to three kids, these are some of the best gifts I got or wanted to get. A couple might already be obvious to you but these were my favorites! Add your ideas too!
Food Delivery gift cards – Maybe you have a Cafe Courier in your area that picks up food from a variety of restaurants. A favorite pizza delivery place is great too. Anything that says “Here, let me feed you” is always appreciated.
Mow the lawn - If your friend’s kid is born in Spring or Summer, for God’s sake, mow their damn lawn. Some people are persnickety about their lawns, so you might have to ask first. Usually, those people don’t have kids or their kids are grown anyway.
Shovel the driveway and sidewalk – Same situation, but in the winter. Just do it. Don’t ask if you can do it because they will say no.
Clean their house - When you go over to “help,” don’t spend all of your time holding the baby, unless it’s so someone can shower or poop. Get your ass in the kitchen and wash dishes or empty/load the dishwasher. Clean a toilet. Fold laundry. Don’t ask. Seriously. Well, to be polite, you can say, “Where do you put your glasses?” or “Am I allowed to use bleach for this gross toilet?” or something. But don’t ask if you can do it. They will probably say no. When you are done, leave. Unless an adult is crying, then they may want you to listen. You can also stay so someone can shower or poop, like I already said.
Don’t offer advice unless they ask – not really a gift to some, but Dude, it’s a gift.
Sheets for the grownup bed – They will probably get lots of crib sheets for the sweet little one. Trust me, the grownup bed will get it’s share of poop, pee and spit up. They will need new sheets too.
Towels- See above. Actually, this one never gets old. A friend just got me towels for my birthday because she was tired of listening to me complain about the towel situation. If you have kids, they will poop, pee, and barf on almost everything you own, but towels and bedding seem to get the worst of it.
A puppy – no. never. NEVER. Unless you secretly hate them.
Sleepwear that functions as clothing – The mom might want something that sorta looks like clothes but feels like pajamas so she won’t feel naked as she is wrestling a baby on the boob for the first few times. That can turn into a highway-style accident in a matter of seconds. Yoga pants are always a good choice too.
Sleep mask – Naps need to be taken whenever they can be got. A sleep mask helps with daytime naps. (Though hilariously, the first week the baby will sleep almost all the time leading the parents to tell everyone how easy it is. DON’T DISAGREE. Just laugh in the car on the way home. They will get theirs in a couple of weeks and then you can hug them while they cry and you feel guilty about laughing a few weeks earlier.)
Magazine subscription – to something OTHER THAN a parenting or organizing magazine. Same goes for Pinterest. Those things are great, but right after having a baby, the last thing anyone needs is someone telling them they need to be more organized, energized, or more ANYTHING. What they have going on right now is plenty. My favorite at this time, and still is, is Vanity Fair.
A few flashlights with batteries – They’ll be stumbling around in the dark not wanting to wake the baby. Also, I was always one of those moms that was convinced the kid was going to die in the middle of the night so sometimes i liked to flash a flashlight to see if they squinted a little in their sleep. SUPER DUMB I know. But it gave me a sense of relief.
One more thing, ALWAYS wash your hands before touching that baby. I always felt like a dick for asking people to do that. Just do it. Don’t say “Should I wash my hands?” and put it on them either. Just say “I’m going to go wash my hands.” In this category also is Don’t Wear Perfume to Their House. Just don’t. It’s not going to kill you. My kids had trouble with this as babies and people would get offended when I asked them to put a diaper or blanket on their shoulder before holding the babies. Don’t wear perfume, just in case.
The best gift you can give is to just be supportive and available. Being a parent is wonderful but also scary at first as each of us tries to figure out our own parenting style.