I’ve done the research (aka, polled you guys on Instagram), and put in the legwork myself (aka, have been a new mom with a newborn at home), and I feel ready to give you an ultimate guide to what to bring when you see a new mom.
I feel like there are a lot of good posts about etiquette for when you visit a new mom (you know like don’t overstay your welcome, don’t impose too early, don’t visit sick etc.) But, when it comes to HELPFUL and PRACTICAL gifts, there are fewer ideas. And, it’s probably why I get DMs all the time asking for ideas on what to bring when visiting a new mom/new parents. So, here’s my list.
The good thing is, the list is pretty simple. I was surprised when I polled you guys on Instagram how similar the answers were. Turns out most of us need just a few of the top things.
Every new parent will be beyond thankful for food. The newborn phase is a blur and trying to find time to feed yourself is hard. It’s especially tricky if you already have a little one (or ones) at home, in need of dinner. That being said, not EVERY food is the best choice. Here are my tips for bringing the most helpful food items.
- Anything portable: I know the traditional thought is to bring over a nice casserole, but new parents don’t always have the time to sit down at a table to eat. Between first week doctor’s appointments and marathon feeding sessions, portable snacks are amazing. Think of things like a variety pack of high protein granola bars, a jar of nuts, snack packs of popcorn or pretzels, etc. You can find great healthy snack packs for adults on Amazon.
- PORTION CONTROL: Again, the traditional thought is a casserole which is great if the new mom you’re visiting has 5 kids already. But, if this is her first there’s a good chance just two people can’t pack away an entire casserole. Consider splitting your casserole into 3-4 mini dishes, so they can just warm up what they need.
- Things that freeze: Depending on the new mom, she might be lucky enough to get an influx of meals dropped at her door. Something that can pop into the freezer allows her to make the most use of them all and ensures your meal won’t go to waste.
- Food Delivery Services- Gift card for grocery delivery or UberEats gift cards.
- Food for nursing – If you know for a fact the new mom is nursing, some Mother’s Milk tea or lactation cookies are a great treat.
Also on the topic of food, I always suggest bringing something small when you visit regardless. Not just for the parents to eat, but also so the new parents don’t feel like they need to make you something. I sometimes grab a small pizza or ask for their sandwich order from a local cafe. Plus, getting takeout is always a treat!
Comfy Lounge Set
So often all the gifts are all about the baby. We spend SO much time preparing for the baby we forget to prepare for the postpartum period. I can guarantee that almost any new mom will appreciate a comfy (easy to nurse in) lounge set. I’ll link some good options below. I LIVED in loungewear for Miles’ first 3 months.
Tips for bringing clothing: Consider going one size up from their usual size to make it comfy for postpartum. And, be considerate of weather: a cute little lounge set with shorts will never get worn by the mom of a November baby if they live in the north. Vice versa, Flordia moms don’t need fleece long sleeve sets. Oh, and of course, bring a gift receipt!
Ok, this one really depends on the new mom and your relationship with her. But, that’s to offer her some time to herself when you visit. Offer to watch the baby while she takes a quick shower or power nap. An important note here is: don’t insist on this. Some new moms aren’t comfortable leaving their little ones right away.
Another thing is to take care of a small house task when you’re around. It can be as simple as loading the dishwasher or wiping down the counters.
Bring along the parent’s favorite coffee order when you come to visit. They likely haven’t had a chance to visit Starbucks recently, and will appreciate the treat. It’s a small gesture but such a nice pick me up.
The thing new parents need more than anything else…more than food, gifts, or treats, is just to hear “you’re doing great.” SO much of the first few weeks is just wondering “WTH am I doing?” and “am I doing this right?” So, the best gift you can offer is just to make sure to tell them they are doing awesome.
What Not to Buy
When I polled my IG following, I got a lot of suggestions on things NOT to bring when visiting a new mom and here are the five things that were mentioned the most
- Flowers – The thought is SO nice, but most new parents are so busy with their newborn those first few weeks that the flowers get totally neglected. (Honestly, I got 2 bouquets and both died within 2 days because I forgot to put them in water). Save that for when you visit the second time or third time.
- Stuffed Animals – It’s hard to resist this one. They are so cute. But, the baby doesn’t really care about them and the new parents have probably already gotten 100 of them by now. I actually had to donate a few that were gifted and I felt SO guilty about it, but we just had too many.
- Unsolicited advice – A new mom doesn’t need to hear your top 10 tips for surviving the newborn phase. As helpful as you think it is, it’s actually much more overwhelming. Instead, like I said, tell them they are doing great. Only offer up advice if asked.
- Trinkets– So, this is little things that were sweet but didn’t really offer any practical use like: balloons, frames for baby pictures, or basically anything that would just sit around collecting dust.
- Baby Clothes – Unless they ask, assume they have newborn clothing and don’t need anything else. It’s just more laundry for them to do.