When my daughter was born, some friends came over to visit and brought us flowers. "Do you have a vase to put these in?" one chirped. As I sat there on an exercise ball, bopping my newborn up and down in a bleary-eyed state, my brain could not compute the request. Thanks, they're beautiful, but really? Does it look like I have the capacity to tend to another living thing?!
Yes, yes, your presence is the greatest present, but if you're looking to give the new mums and dads in your life something that will assist them in the long, sleepless days and nights ahead, give them a service, whether your own or one that's outsourced. At this point, they're likely to have all the onesies, swaddling blankets and, yes, floral arrangements they need.
Here are some ideas:
Give Freezer Meals or Food Delivery Subscriptions
- If you're a cook-it-yourself type, Lifehacker writer Claire Lower has some awesome tips for making food that famished new parents can quickly heat up and scarf down, including making freezer meals (don't forget to freeze them flat), and using muffin tins to "make a batch of hearty omelettes or a bunch of "smoothie starters" for breakfast all week."
- If you'd rather not cook, a subscription to a meal delivery service would be very appreciated. The Munchery has a cool Group Gift tool where you can set up a personalised contribution page and send it out to as many friends as you'd like, asking them to chip in for the service. Your friends can have a couple weeks of prepared meals.
Walk The Dog
Grab the leash and walk Fido yourself or give a gift card for a dog-walking service. Wag! offers 30-minute GPS-tracked dog walks for those days when new parents can't get out of those house.
Be a "Nap Babysitter"
Basically, you watch the baby while the new parents nap. When can you do this? Any damn time. It helps to be specific -- instead of the vague half-offer ("Let me know if you'd like me to come over sometime!"), say, "I'm free on Sunday at 3. Can I come over then so you can take a nap?"
Buy Them a Subscription to Something Useful
Look for any service that gets rid of the need to enter a car (because getting into a car with a newborn and their stuff is a process).