These guidelines are based on my personal experience of having a newborn. It`s targeted towards people who want to congratulate friends for having their first baby. I cannot speak for those who had their second baby. Or third. God be with those ones!
Know someone who just had a baby? Great! Allow me to help you help your friends help a newborn understand how to be a human. This is no joke and no easy-breezy talk.
First of all, you should know that a breastfeeding woman is a machine. And not in the “Oh she is powerful like a machine”. She literally hooks herself up to an electronic milk-energy-life-sucking pump for hours, trying to squeeze out the best of herself. Constantly dehydrated and above all, hungry. Shirts are frivolous. Bras even more. She burns out 5000 calories a day just from sitting down. Drinks one liter of water at once. And I can go on but I wouldn`t want to make us look even scarrier. Although a pregnant woman goes through a lot of changes and can suffer from indigestion, gestational-diabetes, acne, or uncontrollable anxiety towards husband, she is just on the road of getting ready for the beautiful monster she is about to become after giving birth.
Even if a woman is not breastfeeding (by choice, or not), or if the new parents have adopted a baby, they will have an indescribable need for food. What I`m trying to say here is that these people need food, and lots of it.
Here are some suggestions of delicious things you can bring to the new parents:
Lasagna! It`s the immortal combination of all good stuff in one dish and can be eaten on the spot or reheated in the microwave. All you have to do is make this recipe ( http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/pasta-recipes/jamie-s-classic-family-lasagne/) and then let them freeze it in case they have other meals lined up. If you no Marta Stewart in the kitchen, or just don`t want to make it, find an Italian deli next to your house and raid the frozen section. If you don`t have a deli nearby then move to another city.
Liquids! Bring wine. Champagne. A special bottle of Bourbon. No such thing as too much. (This for the dads and relaxed moms that do not breastfeed) If alcohol isn`t their thing, bring as many delicious beverages as you can find. Are they the fresh-juice-type? Spend the morning squeezing all the oranges you can find. Or simply buy boxes of soda from that deli. (have you not moved yet?)
Grab-and-Go Snacks! These are crucial. Sometimes (oftentimes) simply the act of reheating that Lasagna I hope you brought is too much work for crazed parents. My grandma brought me one morning a pack of sticks that I devoured until the next day. Since then, I have a special corner to deposit around ten packs of sticks all the time- this is what keeps me from starving. An assortment of special granola bars, cookies, dried fruit or potato chips will also do just fine and go a long way. These are things that a mom can eat quickly between feedings and use the foil wrappers to gouge her eyes out.
One very Special Meal! Imagine it`s your last meal on Earth. What would you have? Imagine it, go buy it (cause probably you can`t make it) and bring it to your poor friends. I have a plan to make free frozen lasagnas available to all new mothers who are leaving the hospital so they can take it home and eat it in need. But back to the point.
Deliver the goods in person only if you have been invited by the mother. Dads are usually the amazing glue that holds the postpartum household together but beware of texts like “yea dude, sure you can come over“. These are unstable statements and you should proceed with caution. So make sure that you checked if it`s okay with everyone in the house. Keep in mind that the mom underwent a major medical procedure and/or surgery, searches desperately for food, is most probably topless and cries a lot. She should have the final say whether a visit from anyone is fine.
If you enter the house, stop in the kitchen and wash your hands before you even greet them. (if you don`t wash your hands you are a monster) Tell your friends that the baby is adorable and definitely doesn`t look like a rotten tomato. Tell the mother she looks fantastic. Feel the father`s biceps and ask if he`s been working out lately because he looks so fit. Make them feel special because they are scared and unsure. If you see dishes in their sink, start scrubbing. If you see a pile of laundry, start folding. Then do the best thing possible: leave. Never stay longer than 20 minutes!
If you`d prefer to opt out of causing a fuss or simply don`t feel ready to deal with new zombies, here`s how to drop off the goodies:
- Fill your trunk with lasagna and juices wine champagne water (yea, there`s never too much water in a house of new parents!)
- Drive to your friends` house.
- Drop the food and beverages and a note on their doorstep.
- DO NOT ring the doorbell. I repeat, do not ring the doorbell.
- Get back in the car and drive home.
- Send an email (no texts! texts make noise) to the mother, father or anyone living in the house (a sister, a grandparent, a dog..) Let them know there is food on their doorstep and that you can`t wait to meet their rotten tomato at the time that will be convenient for them.
If you live out of town, send them stuff. Here`s a fun list of what to send:
A gift for the baby! Everyone loves a cute outfit or a stuffed fluffy adorable animal that resembles the baby`s face (in Sasha`s case, a green frog with a big mouth). But,above all, a gift for the mother! She is the one that needs it most. A voucher at the spa. A facial. Back massage or, for those who like it, foot massage. A clean tight dress, so she can have motivation to fit in it. You get the point. Put the mother first. (says a mother!)
Flowers! Flowers are always nice. But make sure they don`t have any scent. This way you`ll prove that you are considering and did research about what can and can`t be in a house with kids. You`re welcome for the tip.
Home food delivery! Anytime, any hour. They will be surprised and appreciate it. But make sure the delivery person DOES NOT ring the doorbell. Tell him he`s a Bozo if he does.
All I`m saying is that gifts go a long way for new parents. Even if they don`t express their gratitude right away, it`s there. Make sure your effort is not too complicated and don`t require any extra effort by the new mother. Thank you.