When I was thinking of what nobody/no books told me about being a first time parent, I learned a lot about what foods I’d recommend. I never really knew what to bring new parents but now I have better ideas. On the first night home, my parents gave us a roast chicken, twice baked potatoes, green bean casserole (a fav of mine!) and cookies. It was ahh-mazing to have a real meal and to have leftovers to eat the next day. Some of the other foods they gave were equally appreciated (specifically grapes, salad stuff, and eggs).
Suggested new parent meals/foods:
- food for their freezer: things they can pull out to defrost or that can go right into the oven. Maybe you don’t know what they’ll have or when they’ll need a meal. Here are some freezer-friendly foods I like. Include reheating instructions & ingredients, just in case.
- snacks/sides: munchies they can turn into a lunch or for whenever the hunger strikes. My first trip out of the house was for this stuff. Healthy and fresh foods are greatly appreciated after freezer meals. Suggestions: hummus, veggies & pita chips; guacamole and chips; crackers & presliced cheese; salads, fruit, etc. Seasonal items would be fun too. Lemonade & popsicles in the summer or hot chocolate mix and some cookies for the winter, etc.
- single serve foods: I made some of these and found them helpful when just one of us was hungry, or as lunch, etc. Individual burritos, sandwiches ready to become a panini, or individual muffin-tin servings of food work great.
- ready made foods are great too. You don’t even have to cook, just buy stuff that goes together to be a themed gift: a “pasta pack” of fun shaped noodles with a jar of pesto, frozen garlic bread; or “bfast bag” with yogurts, granola, orange juice, & some fruit; or a “lunch box” with chicken salad, pita pockets, apples, and chips; or “snack time” with pudding cups, fancy trail mix, goldfish, and a bottle of lemonade. You get the idea. Dress it up with a stick-on bow. Tell them what it is, and then put it away for them if anything needs to be refrigerated/frozen.
- treats: it doesn’t have to be a meal. A crate of clementines or some cider donuts or whatever is seasonal would be great. Ice cream bars? Yes, please. Something the new parent doesn’t neeeed but would like is fun to have. Trader Joe’s has fun sodas or a neighborhood bakery might have great treats.
My other suggestions:
- don’t give them a dish you need back unless you’re family and will be there often. It is easy to give my mom’s dishes back because she can take them on her next visit. From anyone else it’d be annoying to wash, to remember, to store, to coordinate returning it. This is prime time for disposable cookware. Or you could buy them a cheap rubbermaid container & note on it that it is theirs to keep. I’ve heard some people buy Dollar Store plates to give food away on or stuff at yard sales that they don’t need to get back.
- tell them “no thank you needed” whatever you bring them, tell them a thank you would be for them to cuddle their cute baby or to sleep an extra 5 minutes. You don’t want them scribbling a thank you card (since likely they thanked you for a shower gift & sent a birth announcement, and they’re exhausted). I wish those who I hadn’t ever even met but who were so generous to give a gift said this to me. Students in one of my mom’s classes were so sweet to give gifts, but I didn’t even know their last names. It was hard to come up with a thoughtful thank you note for those folks. I decided my bff wouldn’t mind a thank you text message the night we ate the meal she brought us, instead of mailing a card.
- arrive the time they tell you and don’t stay more than an hour. The new parents are trying to get the swing of things and don’t need you hanging out all afternoon. Maybe the baby is super happy, well, that might mean they enjoy an hour with you sharing the new babe but the next hour might be naptime, or feeding time, or just the 20 minutes they need to themselves. Unless you are being put to work loading the dishwasher or you’re rocking the baby while they lug laundry upstairs, you should assume it is better to come several times for shorter visits. I have loved visits to have some interactions with people who can converse with me. I’ve capitalized on my parents visiting as time to shower/make lunch/anything that needs 2 hands.
- tell them they look good/they’re doing a good job/the baby is adorable. Whether any combo of these are true or not, they need to hear these things. on repeat.