What new (again) parents need: 5 Practical Gift Ideas

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New parents are bombarded with registry lists, must-have articles, and (occasionally) helpful advice on what they’ll need those first few weeks after the baby arrives. But what about parents who have been there, done that? The parents who are expecting number two? Or three? Or more? Here’s the scoop on what these parents really need:

  1. Food! You don’t have to ask these parents twice; they know what they need. Lives do indeed depend on it. Food to reheat, takeout food, frozen food, canned food, crockpot food, leftover food, ANYTHING. These parents will eat ANYTHING put in front of them. Remember, the baby’s needs will be covered if you FEED THE FOLKS. And siblings too.
  2. Who can resist buying teeny-tiny baby clothes? But please don’t bother with anything except zippered one-piece pajamas. These parents won’t be dressing their little sweeties in anything that takes longer to don than reheating a cup of coffee. No matter how adorable, anything that must go over the head is a waste of fabric. Thinking of something with snaps and buttons? Fuhgeddaboudit! And if you want them to stay in the rotation, stay away from white.
  3. New books are GREAT! – but they’ve probably already got five copies of Good Night Moon. The new baby will be hemmed in by chewed-up, dog-eared, worn-out, well-loved board books. So think ahead a few years and get books that will work later (or that they can read now with the older siblings).
  4. Take the kid. No, not the new one. The other one(s). You don’t have to take them for long. You don’t even have to go that far away. Just offer to babysit. Heck, you could even stay at their house binge-watching Octonauts for an afternoon. But getting the kid(s) out of the house would be a REAL treat for mom and dad. Not because they don’t love the bigs, but because it might be the only time they get with the new baby until the others are off to college.
  5. New undies for mom. Because it’s likely, she hasn’t bought a new pair for herself since splurging on maternity underwear with her first kid, and she deserves to feel pretty down there after all that work. You can take and burn anything you find in her drawer that is greying, holey, or just plain gross. But nothing too provocative. She’s probably not going to be ready to get Daddy excited for a while yet.

But really – and hopefully you’re still following because this part is crucial – the most important thing you can give with your gift is the card. But not just any old stork-carries-a-baby card. The card must read as follows (Literally, word for word):

Dear New Mama, 

Congratulations! I am thrilled for you. I know how busy you are going to be in the weeks, months, years ahead. Please know that I know you are grateful for my gift. Please also know that I do NOT, repeat, do NOT wish to receive a handwritten thank you for this gift. The smile on your face when I saw you today was enough. Please don’t waste any time at your desk when you could be cuddling that sweet little babe. In fact, I will be angry if you do.  

With much love and no need for gratitude, 

_____________ (your name) 

You’d get bonus points for tucking in a gift card to a nearby takeout place or a coupon for a night of free babysitting, but really, the note itself is gift enough.

It goes without saying that new parents will be exhausted. And if this is round two or three (or beyond!), well, bless them! They know exactly what they are getting into. Anything you can do to help them meet their most basic needs is what you should do and what they will love you for. Give them nothing that requires special laundering, batteries, assembly, or a watchful eye. They won’t have the time or the patience. And by the third or fourth kid, I think it’s fair to say that the little indulgences (pedicures, massages, a hot coffee) might not be quite as realistic anymore. At least not yet. Just stick with the basics. Honestly.

And don’t forget the card!

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