A service, membership, something to give to new parents to make life easier?

buckingham pond playground dinosaursA Friend writes:

Friends of ours recently had a baby and we'd like to get them something that would make life a little easier for them. Whether that's a local meal delivery service, or some sort of membership, or something. We're hoping people at AOA have some ideas!

The meal delivery question came up last year, and if you have more to say about that topic, we'd love to hear it.

We're also curious if there's maybe something unexpected that non-parents wouldn't necessarily think of -- sometimes you don't know until you're there. ("There" being parenthood.)

So, got a suggestion? Please share!


The biggest game changer for us during thei first year of parenthood has been Blue Apron (ot Plated, Hellofresh... whatever you choose). We Are too tired and overextended to go grocery shopping. Delivery services like that give you all the ingredients you need and instructions for creating a really decent meal. After the baby goes to bed, we pull one out, and it feels like a date.

If you're looking for a one time deal delivery, Zabars delivers bagels and cream cheese that basically kept me alive during the first few weeks after the baby was born thanks to some thoughtful friends.

Depending on your budget, either a one-time or recurring maid service (to be scheduled at their convenience) would be awesome.

Offer to give new parents a break - whether it's babysitting while they nap, cooking, cleaning, or just hanging out and having some adult conversation.

I often give my friends gift certificates for a dinner close by and offer to babysit. Sometimes my partner and I offer to take out one parent and hang at home with the other. That gives super new parents a break without being to nervous or guilty about leaving a new born without a parent for an hour or two.

My group of friends always organize Meal Trains for big life events (births, sicknesses...). Having just received one after having my son, I can say it was really awesome, and great to feel supported by so many of my friends.


If people don't live locally, they could still sign up and then have pizza or Chinese delivered to the house!

Another idea is to get them a housekeeper for a few hours.

Unless baby stuff has changed since our 9 year old was born, I suggest a good supply of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, a charger, and a small Phillips screwdriver.

Volunteer to take care of the baby for a while so the new parents can take a nap.

Trust me: Having had a baby not long ago, a nap is the best possible gift you can give them.

I have no idea what today's prices would be, but the very best gift we received when our daughter was born was 6 months of cloth diaper service.

Are you rich? If so, get them a night-nurse so they can get some sleep for the first 2-3 years.

If you're not willing to spend that much, do something that they either don't have much time for lately, or find a way to give them some alone time. For example, for one friend we organized a big landscaping day where we cut their grass, laid down mulch and planted flowers. For another friend we watched the kid while they went for a walk and got some ice cream.

Not quite that close to your friend where you could pull something like that off? A simple Amazon gift-card goes a long way. Or, a bottle of something they like to drink. After all, mom has been laying off the sauce for the last 9 months.

I should add: don't stress about *what* you choose to do. Just writing, coming over (briefly! and at the time you say you will come, not a minute earlier or later), and being supportive and interested is the biggest gift you can give to new parents. We were so touched by the thoughtful things friends did for us - whether it be ordering sushi and hanging at our house while we put the baby to bed, sending delivery food, or sending a card. We felt the warmth and generosity of our community and that was huge.

When our son was born, friends who brought over lunch to share with us while they visited the baby was really appreciated. Lunches that I couldn't possibly prepare on my own while home with a newborn, like really yummy salads or Cardona's (

Also, I second the Blue Apron and cleaning service recommendations. Having someone else come clean your house is the best feeling ever.

If you know them very well: come do their laundry, watch the baby, and let them shower & sleep for a few hours.

If you know them pretty well: come, bring food (even if it's just takeout), a bottle of wine/or hot coffee and have dinner/brunch together, and also bring something for the freezer and/or snacks that can stay behind.

In spring it's not so essential, but I remember feeling really housebound with a winter baby-- cut flowers would have brightened my mood or just a chance to go on a walk without the extra step of bundling up a wee baby.

But really, I agree with Jenna, any simple gesture is great.

We are using the Meal Train at work for a co-worker who needs some extra help while attending to a family members medical needs. It is awesome and free to set up the meal portion (you can send it out to your friends and family). There is a small fee if you also want to be able to add rides to appointments and things like that. It's very cool- they've been doing it for a few months now!

Just had a baby last July. DON"T go Blue Apron - the meals (while delicious) are more time-consuming to put together than how a person normally cooks with more pans used (i.e., more clean-up).

Although I didn't do, I looked into 9 Miles East Farm service, which provides fully prepared, healthy meals: http://www.9mileseast.com/

Last, the best present we received was a Keekaroo Peanut changer (available from Amazon, Target, etc.): http://www.keekaroo.com/peanutdiaperchanger.html. It's expensive, and we thought the gift-giver was crazy for buying it. However, the laundry we have avoided from this makes it the all-time best shower gift EVER!!!

As the mom of a nearly 6 month old, I second a lot of these. Send food (ready made - really new parents don't have time to prepare their own meals from Blue Apron, etc), send a maid, if you're comfortable with children then come over for a few hours and hold the baby so they can sleep or shower. If you're really close to them, offer to do laundry. One other thing I didn't see mentioned is offer to run any errands they might need help with - pick up their groceries, run to the post office (lots of thank you notes to send out..), pick up their Target order, run to Buy Buy Baby to grab whatever it is they just discovered they need, etc etc.

In defense of Blue Apron - I put my 7 month old to bed and then make a nice meal. It's cathartic. Sorry it seems like too much for some, it is really nice for us though!

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