As I mentioned last week, flowers are never wrong. But I try to be practical, and I figure new parents will appreciate anything you can send that makes their lives easier. Flowers make it prettier, but the following items might make them happier
For the parents
Home-cooked dinnerIf you live nearby:
Take them dinner. Freezer meals are the best because Mom and Dad can eat it now or later. If the fridge is full now, the dish will take care of them next month. My favorite options are stuffed shells or lasagna. Both can be made meatless if needed, and all you need is a disposable tray or tiptop back for storage. Write the contents and baking instructions on the dish and you're set. Throw in a loaf of bread - or even frozen garlic toast to make it more substantial. I also include a salad kit and a container of Parmesan cheese and a baked item for dessert. Cookies, a pie, etc. Doesn't have to be homemade. Anything will be appreciated. If the parents drink - and Mom is not nursing- a bottle of wine might be fun.
If I see them, I sometimes include festive napkins or a checkered table cloth. REALLY want to go the extra mile? Throw in disposable plates and forks so they don't even have to do the dishes.
If you live far away:
Send a spaghetti dinner. Seriously, I do this all the time. I buy a box of dry pasta in whatever shape I can find, a jar of sauce, a container of Parmesan, and a box of brownie mix. Throw in the festive napkins if you have them. Write a note to add a salad and enjoy. I am telling you- everyone loves this idea. I do wrap the sauce in bubble wrap and stick it in a large ziptop just in case it breaks but I always use fill-air and packing materials and have had no issues so far.
Remember: dinner is clutter free!
Babysitting servicesAgain, if you live nearby, offer to sit with the baby for an hour while Mom showers or runs an errand. Offer to treat the new parents to a movie night at the theater and watch the baby while they're out. Make this a rain check. They might not need you on day 4, but a few weeks later, when the dust has settled, it will be an a-ma-zing gift.
Gifts for babyShop the registry if you must. Or if you know they need certain items. But add something 'extra' to the gift.
My favorite extra is a CD of children's songs played on the piano. I came across the CD years ago, but anything soft and relaxing will work for bedtime or nap time. Classic songs without singing tend to grate on the nerves less than the typical 'kid' stuff. (At least in my opinion!)
Consider including your favorite childhood book [with gift receipt in case they already have it!] If you're close to the family, and/or are a bit of a ham, consider recording your voice reading the book.
Choose clothing or diapers in larger sizes. The kid will be maxed out in tiny stuff to start. No one buys baby stuff for the second 6 months of life. See what you can find for 'later' which will come sooner than they think. If baby is born in January, buy a clearance rack Christmas outfit for 12-18 months. It will be adorable.
Gifts mostly for MomAnything that makes her feel pampered!
- Babysitting services so she has time to do whatever she needs or wants to do during the day.
- Stop by for a visit so she has a grown up to talk to (especially nice if she's alone all day with the baby)
- A day out [whenever she is ready] where you treat her to lunch and a pedicure
- Comfy robe/socks/etc.
- Audio book/download she can listen to at all hours. Headphones = hands free and can take care of the baby
- Fancy cosmetics or beauty items (lotion, shower gel, etc) she won't splurge on herself at this point!