In the last two weeks, three ladies who I am friends with have welcomed the birth of a new baby in their lives. It’s an incredible, magical time, isn’t it? New babies bring so many emotions – so much joy, so many tears. If you are lucky enough to live near someone you care about who welcomes a new baby, and you are anything like me, then you are anxious to get to meet that little bundle! First of all, CALM DOWN. I’m only half-kidding. This baby is so beautiful and new, but it’s going to be beautiful and new for quite some time, so take a deep breath and focus on what the new parents might need. This mama just had an incredibly physical and emotional experience of birth, or an equally emotional experience of adopting perhaps, and they need these very early moments to bond and settle.

When the new parents are ready for visitors, there are a few ways that you can make your visit as beneficial to them as possible. Here are a few suggestions:

1)  Make sure they are ready for visitors, and then make sure again. I like to check in and inquire if the new parents are potentially up for a visit in the next coming week. This inquiry is often paired with a disclaimer that the visit can be as simple as me dropping something off on their porch, or as extensive as me coming over and making myself useful, and that anywhere on the spectrum is a pleasure for me. If the answer is yes and a specific day is preferred, I like to reach out that morning and make sure that they are still game. In my experience with my new babies, I remember feeling really great one minute, and really overwhelmed and needing space the next. Those early weeks are a rollercoaster!

2)  Don’t show up empty handed. This isn’t to say that a gift is necessary, because it isn’t. But if it is in your budget to bring something (for mom, for baby, or both), it certainly won’t go unappreciated. I always bring a gift, because who can help themselves when faced with buying things for tiny bitty babies?! Not I! If this particular person is someone who I have already given a baby gift to, then I just do something small: a nursing necklace for mama, some coffee or chocolate, and something small for baby like a swaddling blanket or a soft cotton toy.

gifts for new mom and baby

Further, bring them a meal.  Bonus points if it can be stuck in their freezer and saved for an emergent “I’m-so-tired-and-I-can’t-even-think-about-cooking” kind of night. This one is, again, not necessary per se, but even more than they need things, they need HELP. Nothing was more helpful for me than knowing what our next meal was going to be, and not needing to do much (or anything) to prepare it. Not a chef? Me either! Do what you can! Maybe just bring fresh fruit and snacks, or even give a gift of a take-out meal. This is a gesture that will not go without thanks! I remember every single mouthful of food that a generous guest brought us, and even eight months (or, in Bee’s case, four years) later, I am still overcome with gratitude.

If you can’t or don’t wish to bring a gift or a meal, then try to offer your help in other ways. Offer help with dishes or turning laundry, take their dog on a walk, or offer to hold that sweet tiny bundle so that the mom or dad may take a shower or a nap. Even an act that may seem small to you may feel enormous to the recipients.

3)  Don’t overdo it. Look for cues that it’s time to say your goodbyes. Is it near a meal time? Offer your help getting something ready for them, and then wave farewell. Is the baby getting overstimulated? Are mom’s eyes starting to glaze over and wander? Tell her she’s nailing this new-mom gig and say goodbye. If you’re unsure, just ask. Maybe they are craving more adult company, but maybe they will be honest and let you know they need to relax and be alone.

4)  Check back in.  How awesome was it to see that new baby and those beautiful bleary-eyed new parents? So awesome, right? Don’t forget about them now that you got your baby fix! Not that you would ever do that, right? ;)  But really, everybody’s lives are busy, and after visiting this family, you will resume your busy life. Don’t forget to drop them a line and make sure they are surviving. See if they need a visitor now that their visits have slowed down. See if they need to get out of their house and offer to have them over. Just let them know that they aren’t chopped liver. Having a new baby can make you feel like you’re on an island. Let them know that they have a village to support them. That is the best thing that you can do. I am a better mom and a better woman because of the village of family, friends, and coworkers that I have to support me.

I hope that these tips are helpful! You are now ready to go get you some baby snuggles!