New parenthood is an isolating experience. You aren’t simply adding a new piece to the puzzle of your life — instead, it feels as though this tiny person has shaken up all the existing pieces that you had spent decades fitting together, and now you must start again from scratch. You’re tired, lost, and smell a little funky. It’s hard to remember that others have been there, too.
That’s why I teared up when my friend Joy shared this picture of a tote bag (next to her oh-so-adorable daughter Drew). It isn’t just any tote bag — it is a New Parent Travelling Tote Bag, filled with essentials for those beautiful, brutal, absurd first months of life with a newborn. So far, the bag has passed through 12 different homes since 2013.
The way a New Parent Travelling Tote Bag works is that when it arrives, the receivers add their baby’s name and birthdate (or do so once the baby is born), and then get to use what’s inside. This bag contains items such as the What to Expect book, a pair of leather baby moccasins, a hospital robe, and a notebook filled with thoughtful new mama notes. (Her bag was mum-specific, but the idea doesn’t need to be.)
Some goods stay in the bag permanently, but when the parents are ready to pass it along to the next family, they can include even more things that they found useful. “I added a bottle of Purell, Dermabond spray, Korean face masks, and thank you cards,” Joy says. “The bag is amazing and really helps you feel supported.”
I love this idea — it really helps set up that village that new parents long for. The essentials I myself would add include this nipple cream, a scrunchie (whenever I was breastfeeding in the middle of the night, I always wished I had a soft scrunchie), and a small stack of note cards with my favourite new-parent wisdom (such as, “You don’t need to savour every moment,” “It’s OK to whisper ‘What the fuck?’ 32 times a day,” and “If you have any of those onesies with head-to-toe buttons, burn them immediately”).
What would you add?