Good morning! Hope you all had a great weekend… Ours was laid back. We continued to cross little things off our pre-baby to do list, spent some fun time with Sam, and even made a big Amazon order with a few “essentials” on Saturday morning. Stuff is getting real. 🙂
Speaking of Amazon orders, I’ve got a couple of friends who are also having babies in the next few weeks/months, so I stocked up on my go-to gift for new moms while we were at it and thought you might be interested to see what I take (and don’t take) when visiting a new momma for the first time… I’m certainly not an expert in this area, and I don’t have super strong opinions like some of the “viral” blog posts that have been going around lately; but, I do remember what was a blessing to me when Sam was first born and try to extend some of those same things to my friends etc. as they transition into motherhood during those earliest weeks…
What I Take:
– A small gift for the baby and the mama
I almost always gift new moms with a Wubbanub pacifier and the book Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott. In the hardest weeks of Sam’s infancy and my transition into motherhood, I found both to be game changers. We use Sam’s Wubbanub for two solid years and, literally, would not have survived some experiences without it. Since I started this blog after he had already given it up, I really haven’t sung its praises like I should. We LOVED it. Likewise, Lamott’s book put into words what I didn’t understand I was feeling as a new mom. I laughed, I cried, I thanked God that someone understood me!! It’s really the only book I recommend for new moms. (I’ve actually written about it before here.)
– A treat for older siblings and/or pets
This can be very small, but a new book, game, or toy wrapped up for the “big brother” or “big sister” to open is a great way to remind them that they aren’t forgotten in all the excitement of the new baby. That concept is pretty self explanatory; but, I try to remember the pet too, especially if this is a first baby. I know it sounds silly – it does even to me as we prepare for baby #2 now – but, honestly, if the new parents are anything like Jeff and I were, that dog was the baby until the little bundle came home. I try to remember this and bring a dog treat, bone, or (non-squeaky) toy for the “big” fur sibling too when I can.
– A simple meal
One of the best meals we got when I was postpartum with Sam was a “make your own” salad bar… The friend brought little disposable containers filled with lettuce, veggies, cheese, nuts, homemade dressing, and delicious, marinated chicken. (She also threw in a big bowl of fresh fruit, which I could not get enough of.) Jeff and I ate off of that for days!! It was delicious and so refreshing after a bunch of heavy pastas and casseroles (not that those weren’t appreciated too). I also love the idea of taking chicken salad and croissants, a cold pasta salad, etc.
– Disposable plates, napkins, and silverware
Three words: no.dirty.dishes.
– A small breakfast item
I read this somewhere and thought it was a genius idea… When you stop at the store to pick up items for your dinner, also grab a thing of muffins or a coffee-cake for breakfast. People often bring food for dinners, but rarely think of breakfast too. This is such a small and easy thing, but something yummy waiting downstairs makes that 5AM wake-up call with a new baby just that much easier. 🙂
– A smile (and hug if they are the hugging type)
Corny, I know, but it’s necessary. When I show up* at someone’s house that has just had a baby, I want them to immediately know how happy I am for them and that I totally get how crazy and unfamiliar this time feels. I try to keep my visit no longer than ten or fifteen minutes, but I always make sure to say something like – “I remember how hard the first few weeks were with Sam. You are doing SUCH a good job and you are exactly the mom he/she needs. It might be the most natural thing ever for you; but, if it’s not, please call when you just need to talk – even if it’s the middle of the night,” and I mean it 100%.
What I Don’t Take:
– My son
Germs, hyper-activity, my attention… I don’t think this one needs much explaining.
– Dishes that need to be washed/returned
I made this mistake a lot before I was a mom… In fact, one of my friends had a casserole dish of mine for over a year. Haha! Now, I stock up on those disposable aluminum pans and always make meals in that for new moms.
– A lot of advice
Trust me, they will get plenty of that. Unless someone specifically asks me, I try not to offer any advice – just hugs and food. 😉
What do you do/take when you visit a new mom? As a new mom yourself, what was particularly helpful?
*By “show up” I mean I have already called ahead and pre-arranged a time to stop by for a quick visit. Rule #1: NEVER stop in on a new mom unannounced. 😉
Yes! I bring most of these things, too. I also like to throw in mindless reading (People, Southern Living, etc.) and hearty snack foods like trail mix (I know how hard it is to eat a real meal in those first few weeks). I also like to bring a follow-up meal for when mom goes back to work or for when all the relatives leave.
I totally stole the salad idea when I read it on E, Myself, and I and it was a hit! I was especially grateful for folks who waited until week 2 or 3 to bring by food. We were bombarded with food day 1 and had to throw some things away because they were items that we couldn’t freeze. When my best friend showed up 2 weeks after my son was born with a casserole, steamfresh veggies, and Reese’s pumpkins I might have cried.
Yolo Momma says
I will do the taco salad bar. It is easy to make tortilla bowls….and it really is a nice change to a typical salad and can be sibling friendly too.
And if possible for some, I think a grocery gift card that has hot food or reheat food. This way, you know it won’t spoil and can use it when it is really needed, or you need a break from the day after day of italian dishes that we had with my son.
And if you are one who has some baking skills (or even a bread machine), fresh home made bread is always a treat and can be frozen if needed for later 🙂
Amanda K. says
YES! don’t just show up and DON’T STAY!!! i had a friend bring an AMAZING meal (a huge lasagna, salad, dessert, and WINE!!) and she just stayed and stayed and stayed. then i realized she expected to eat with us!! it was fine, i just wasn’t prepared! i think she left around 9pm. i was dying.
and HEAR HEAR on the advice thing. the ONLY bit of advice i EVER give is the best advice i received which is, “when people give you advice, the easiest way to respond is to just smile and say thank you.”
it’s saved me a lot of turmoil 🙂
This is so helpful! I’m planning on visiting my friend who is a first time mom really soon, but I don’t always know what to take in those situations. I’m glad to hear some of these little tokens so I can feel less self-conscious about what I bring. I usually have no idea about those things because I am not a mom and most of my friends don’t have kids yet. Thank you!
Love this list! Someone did a taco bar for us and it was one of our favorite meals! Also completely agree with paper plates, napkins, etc. what a difference those made! Oh and the dog toy- our pup was definitely our “first born” 😉 Wish I lived closer so I could bring you a meal when your second little love arrives!
awesome list! i loved when people brought us breakfast too. great suggestions!
Melanie Olson says
Everything you wrote! and…we had a couple of people give us gift certificates for our favorite takeout places in the area. These were perfect for nights where you don’t want to cook and are exhausted from the baby and then you don’t have to worry about having money to cover it.
Gotta say… I was skeptical about the wubbanub but after hearing you rave about it so much I caved and bought it today for baby #2. I already love it! We got the red dog and it lays flat on her chest and keeps the paci in so well. Love it!