After arriving home from the hospital, new parents need a lot of help from friends and family. They may not know what to ask for or may be too hesitant to ask. They will be tired, hungry, and usually won't have the energy to entertain guests. If you are planning a visit to new parents, remember a few things before you go.
1. Take food.
New parents don't have time to cook. If you take over groceries, they may not get eaten unless they're ready-made. Frozen pizzas will be devoured while steaks go bad. Make sure the food you deliver is easy to prepare. If possible, make them a casserole or sandwiches, anything they can prepare easily.
2. Don't stay long.
If new parents have free time, it is likely that they would prefer to spend it sleeping. Set an alarm on your phone for 15 minutes and leave once it rings. Tell the parents when you arrive, "We'll only be staying a minute. Just to drop this off and chat."
3. Don't press to see the baby.
It is the star of the show, the cutest of the cute, and you want to see it. Some new parents can be cautious about disrupting the baby while its sleeping. Additionally, the baby may have trouble going to sleep or it may be colicky. In any case, if the baby is sleeping, do not press to 'take a peek'. Trust that the new parents will find time for you to see the baby in the future.
4. Offer to clean up a little.
New parents will undoubtedly refuse help in the form of cleaning from a friend, especially if you have already brought food. If they have a pet, offer to walk the dog. Before you leave, ask to use the bathroom and while you are there wipe down the sink and toilet. Ask if you can take the trash out as you leave. Even the littlest things can help.
5. Offer to take pictures of the baby.
Most parents have the option of taking pictures with their phone and simply uploading it to the internet easily. For other parents, taking pictures with a camera, hooking it up to the computer, cropping the images, uploading them to the internet, and emailing them to friends can be a lot to do. Offer to take some pictures of the baby and email them to your circle of friends and family. If requested, after you crop the images, email them to the parents so they can approve them and email them to others. Parents often feel obligated to distribute photos to others, even though it takes time and energy (which are in short supply for newbies).
6. Bring over groceries.
It may seem odd to show up with a bag of groceries but if you don't have time to make food or don't want parents to have to deal with dishes, it can be a great idea. If you think a simple bag of groceries is a little odd, make a gift basket for new parents. Here is a short list of things the parents might need:
- toilet paper
- Dreft laundry detergent
- paper plates & dinnerware
- chips, crackers, trail mix, nuts, granola bars, etc.
- fresh fruit (or better yet, fresh fruit salad)
Whatever you choose to do for new parents, be sure to make your visit quick. Set a timer or tell the parents that you have to leave by a certain time to ensure you do not bog them down. Use this list of ideas to help any new parents you might know.