How to Best Support Parents When They Welcome a New Baby

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If you've never had a little one (or it's been a while), it can be difficult to know the best ways to celebrate our friends, family members, colleagues or neighbors when they welcome a new baby. Here are a few ideas to show them some love, whether they're welcoming their first or fourth.

Reach out. It sounds simple, but a quick text or call to see how they're feeling can mean a lot. With so much attention going toward their new baby, it's important to see how they're doing, as well. Just don't expect an immediate reply!

Bring a meal or set up a meal train. If they don't already have a meal train, offer to set one up. With infants, parents are living minute to minute in between diapers, feeding, wake windows and naps. Not having to think about a meal is a huge help.

Send a gift card. If you don't live close enough to drop off a meal, a virtual gift card is a nice alternative. Meal delivery services like Doordash and UberEats can be sent directly through text message or email, so it's a nice option if you don't have your friend's address.

Drop off some healthy snacks. If mom is breastfeeding, healthy snacks can help provide the nutrients she needs to produce milk. A few ideas to consider are: Sweet Batches granola bars, Ferris nut mixes, lactation cookies or items that freeze easily like Nantucket Bakery's trail bars. Some yummy beverages can also help keep new parents hydrated.

Invite them on a walk. While it can be a challenge to get out of the house, a nice way to see your pals is by clocking some miles on their new stroller. For people who have experience with newborns, this can also provide a safe space to see if a new parent needs any guidance.

Run an errand—or ride along. Loading that car seat in and out of your vehicle for quick trips like the post office or pharmacy can be a pain ... Literally! Those things are heavy. Offer to run an errand or two, or simply offer to ride along, if that's easier for them.

Contribute toward a "gift of service." If they're going to be utilizing any postpartum services like doula care, you could contribute directly to their account. This also applies to cloth diaper services, home cleaning, lawn care or other helpful services that take a load off the new parents.

Bring a care package. When you have an infant at home, nearly all your energy is focused on them, so even a small care package focused on the parent can be a real treat. Items like lotion, lip balm, comfy pajamas or cozy socks will remind them they're loved and cared for.

Ask about their baby by name. When you ask about their baby, use the baby's name. That child is the center of their world, and knowing their community cares enough to know their baby's name can feel like a big deal.

Send books. Parents can never have too many board books; they'll read them over and over again, so a variety is wonderful. There are so many cute books out there, so it's worth seeking out a topic that means something either to you or the parents.

Help around the house. If you're visiting, take the opportunity to do something that doesn't require asking, such as doing dishes, taking out the trash, folding some laundry or changing a diaper, if they're comfortable with it.

Surprise them with a gift from their registry. This is a great option for someone you might not be super close with but still want to acknowledge. Look up their baby registry and have a gift shipped directly to their home with a congratulatory note.

If you visit, snap a picture. Taking a few candid photos of the new parents simply parenting can be a very sweet gift. They might not love how they look in the moment, but down the road it can be a special reminder.

And finally, no matter how you decide to show love to your people, remind them that no new parent should waste any time writing thank-you cards!

Lizzie Williams helps teams and organizations build community and connection through creative experiences, thoughtful communication, and values-based strategic alignment. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and her two teenage stepsons in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '24 issue of West Michigan Woman.


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