As my due date approached and then passed (yup, still pregnant), thoughtful friends and family have reached out to offer their assistance. They've provided advice to naturally induce labor (from long walks, squats, and spicy foods to the doctor-recommended "romantic evenings"), offered to baby (+ dog) sit, and inquired about stocking our fridge. While the natural induction techniques haven't proven effective (yet!), I've been so appreciative of the multiple offers to help. And it got me thinking about what I'd actually value most once baby #2 arrives (I believe the answer is sleep, although I don't think you can offer "sleep" as a gift - c'mon science, catch up!). Pre-babies, I was absolutely clueless regarding how to simplify life with a newborn, so I compiled a few food-related ideas for those in the same boat. Here's how to show the new parents you care (because the way to anyone's heart is through their stomach, right?).
Meal Train: This option is perfect for a coordinated effort to help the parents of a newborn. Individuals sign up online to provide the family with dinner (or any other meal) on a specific day. It's so easy to organize and keeps the family well-fed over at least a week or two (depending on the size of the group). Get the parents (minimally) involved by asking them about their meal preferences and needs. Maybe they have family in town helping out for the first two weeks post-baby, but will be on their own after that. And maybe they prefer protein + veggie-rich options over carb-heavy meals (read: they're trying to avoid lasagna overload!). With the tiniest bit of insight and planning, the group can provide a variety of healthy dishes during a time when cooking is likely not a priority.
Delivery: If home cooking isn't your thing + you know the parents' favorite takeout spot, send delivery! Make sure the family knows when to expect it so (1) they're home, and (2) they don't plan a meal for that night. Order a few dishes (maximizing veggies + lean protein while minimizing fried + greasy foods) so they can enjoy leftovers, too. And don't feel guilty that you aren't personally delivering the food - too many visitors can get exhausting, so they'll likely appreciate the break from entertaining.
Groceries: Trips to the grocery store can be daunting with a newborn (and even more challenging with other young kids in tow). Next time you head to the store, pick up an extra bag or two of groceries and hand deliver them to the new parents (or use a grocery delivery site like Instacart or Peapod). Opt for foods that will help maximize their energy levels (think fresh produce, whole grains, nuts + lean protein) without requiring tons of prep. Buy pre-cut fruits and veggies or do the chopping yourself rather than showing up with a lovely, but likely-to-go-bad pineapple, watermelon or spaghetti squash (anyone else struggle slicing these!?). And check out the prepared foods section of the grocery store for healthier, ready-to-eat dishes such as green + grain salads (skip the mayo-heavy options), rotisserie chicken, and crudité with hummus + tzatziki.
Sweets: While having a baby is absolutely a reason to celebrate, try not to go overboard when gifting celebratory sweets. It's all too easy to reach for a slice of cake or a chewy cookie when feeling both sleep-deprived and famished, and before you know it, dessert for breakfast becomes the norm. My favorite post-baby treat to send is chocolate covered strawberries. Even if the parents grab one or two for breakfast, they're at least getting vitamins + fiber in the mix! If you prefer to deliver a more decadent dessert, go for a small version of the parents' favorites rather than buying in bulk.
Alcohol: Sending a nice bottle of champagne for the parents to enjoy once life's a little less hectic? Perfect! Showing up with vodka expecting to enjoy a couple of drinks together? Proceed with caution. Remember that pregnancy is just the beginning...then there's the whole "taking care of a newborn" part. It's delightful, rewarding, and life-changing (of course!), but also exhausting and demanding. Be patient and understanding with parents as they figure out how to navigate their new role. Eventually they will learn to (and yearn to) be social humans again (at which point they'll more likely accept that offer for a casual drink!).
Any more suggestions for gifts for the parents of newborns? Share below!