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There’s nothing new parents need more than an endless supply of tutus for their baby girl, “Handsome like Daddy” onesies for their baby boy, and visitors who overstay their welcome.

Just kidding.

There’s plenty of things new parents need more–and I’m here to give you the 101–the down low if you will.

While your intentions are kind, most of these generic baby items will be thrown to the bottom of a bin. And any new mom will tell you that if she’s going to have an audience watch her breastfeed her baby, hot and sweaty, she’d at least like to be wolfing down the pizza you graciously brought. You did bring pizza, right? 

If you’re one of those people who is usually stumped on what to bring new parents, brings nothing (shame on you) or brings the generic items mentioned above (thanks but really, no thanks), then this list is for you.

Here’s what every new parent really wants, needs, deeply desires, dreams of…you get the point:

1.The gift of consideration.
The absolute best thing you can do for a new parent is to be considerate. Meaning:

  • Don’t invite yourself over.
  • If invited over, arrive with coffee and don’t overstay your welcome. A good rule of thumb is to stay an hour, tops, unless otherwise directed.
  • Again, if invited over, ask the new parents if they need anything. They will likely say no. Proceed to bring one of the gifts listed here.

2.The gift of food.
The kindest thing you can do for a new parent it to make eating food as easy as possible, so make sure it’s already prepped. No chopping. No mixing. No cooking. The food must be ready to eat with nothing more than a hand or a fork. Bonus points if it’s moderately healthy.

3.The gift of a clean home.
Hire a cleaning lady, do it yourself, I don’t care. Just make sure at the very minimum you clean up after yourself during your visit. New parents feel this bizarre pressure to be the ultimate host–I was whipping up muffins and coffee while hobbling around with my crotch on fire–yet some guests didn’t do me the decency of putting their plate in the dishwasher. I can promise you the new parents won’t ask you to clean their home, they won’t even accept an offer, so just do it. See that pile of towels at the bottom of the stairs? Fold them. Put them in the linen closet. See the garbage overflowing with diapers? Throw them in the garage. Have tons of money and want to gift them a cleaning service? You’re forever in their debt.

4. The gift of sleep, time alone, s-e-x.
Okay, maybe not right away–but all new parents want . . . no . . . need some adult time together. A new baby eventually becomes old news and people start to disappear. Parents are left fending for themselves. Call your friends and offer to babysit, throw in a gift card for dinner–anything that gives them the opportunity to get out of the house, rekindle the romance, and possibly get down. They don’t have the freedom to do it on the counters anymore–they’re exhausted and their counters are littered with bottles. There’s a good chance they’ve gotten used to doing it half asleep with their ears glued to the monitor–give them a wild night. And if they use it to sleep, then so be it.

5. The gift of a get out of jail free card.
Here’s the truth. New parents, parents with young children–sometimes even childless folk–we don’t want to take time out of our weekends to go to your 34th birthday party in the city. We want to be invited. We want to feel connected to that old, wild, young and free side of us. But we don’t want to go.

Don’t tell new parents they’re lame, that they should just hire a sitter (sitters are expensive) or that they’ve changed since their baby came along. Of course they’ve changed! And on most days they like their new life very much thank you–while other days your 34th rager in the city is exactly what they need. If they say no, kindly accept it, move on and invite them out the next time. If they say yes, give them the best time they’ve ever had–and lay off them when they check on their kid for the fifth time in ten minutes. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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