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16 Gifts for New Parents

Everyone knows the classic lists of good gifts for newborns—diapers, onesies, a carseat. All good. But here’s a different list—and it’s not the stuff you register for at the baby store.

This list is a reminder for friends of new parents—pure-gold gift ideas you might not even realize are needed.

I’m a couple months into this parenting thing, a portion of which I solo-parented while my husband was away for work. A lot of it’s been a blur—but the kind gestures from other people haven’t been.

Here are a few things that people either did for me that I loved (or that I would have loved to have done).

newborn baby

(Save this list—you never know when it’ll come in handy.)

1. Change and wash her sheets and baby’s sheets. She probably doesn’t remember when this was last done.

2. Hold the baby so she can take a long shower or bubble bath. Or, so she can eat a whole meal.

3. Bring her a freezeable meal.

4. Fold a load of laundry and get another load started. Let her nap.

5. Un-decorate her Christmas tree (or whatever seasonal decor or household things needs doing).

6. Give her a super-simple journal, something for jotting down quick notes in spare moments. Baby books can feel overwhelming, but a sentence a day (or every few days): doable.

7. Bring her coffee and baked goods from the bakery. She’d love the treat.

8. Bring groceries and make her lunch—then clean it up and leave the leftovers.

9. Unload and load the dishwasher. She had no idea this little task would become such a bottleneck in her life.

10. Refill her soap dispensers. Now that the baby’s home, everyone’s washing their hands like crazy.

11. Watch the baby while she goes through bills and catches up. The electric company doesn’t really care she’s just had a baby.

12. Tell her she looks beautiful and mean it. It’s easy to feel not-beautiful when you’ve got babies and still don’t fit into your pre-maternity clothes.

13. Take out her trash and recycling.

14. Walk the dog.

15. Upload her photos to a photo printing site, then print a few and give them to her.

16. Bring her a few magazines and a favorite drink, and let her have some non-mom time while you hold the baby. She still loves those things, even as a mama. (Especially as a mama.)

P.S.—Cloth diapering 101, the baby things you need (and don’t need), and when breast feeding is hard.

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Sarah G

    I love this list! I would also add- bring her flowers. An older mom friend brought a bouquet she picked from her garden, hugged me and told me what a wonderful job I was doing. A little recognition for all the work I was doing and something beautiful to look at was just what I needed as I nursed my colicky infant 12 hours/day and dealt with the baby blues (which despite it’s mild name, looked like me sobbing several times a day for 2 weeks!). Really, anything that tells the mom, “I see you pouring your soul into this little person…good job!” means the world.

  2. Becky @ bybmg

    This is a great list! I would have appreciated any of these. Meals were definitely wonderful gifts when we had our babies.

  3. L

    Love this list! As a former new mom, I would have felt blessed to receive any one of these. Can’t wait to pass on the love.

  4. Meredith

    Mow the lawn in the summer and shovel for her in the winter. This would also be a blessing for an expecting mama!

  5. Jeanette

    My sister came and cleaned my bathroom. Those last weeks of pregnancy had been difficult times for getting down to clean behind the toilet, among other places! I didn’t even know she was doing it until she had gone home, so I didn’t have time to be embarrassed. Big blessing.

  6. Courtney

    Love this. Of course it’s personal to everyone, so if you’re helping a new mom out keep that in mind. I didn’t necessarily want other I hold my babe while I did other things, I wanted to hold my babe while things like the dishes, laundry, food, were done for me. That was the biggest blessing- to be able to just sit and visit and hold her.

  7. Jackie

    What a great list, it caught my eye in my inbox and I had to come and visit. I’ve been the new mama four times and I love all these ideas. I love to put a no boil manicotti in the freezer for new mammas:

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Brittney

    Great list!! In our “community” of friends, we use a meal planning site for friends to sign up to bring dinner, Such a wonderful resource! We just had dinners for an entire month after our fourth was born.

  9. Katey

    This list is great! 🙂 I just had my third (a baby girl FINALLY!) on December 20 and the Christmas decorations JUST got put away only two weeks ago…THREE MONTHS after Christmas! lol. With Destiny being my third, I did a lot of the other things myself because I had it down. Like eating one-handed. lol. Check out Destiny’s blog I have been tracking her journey to meet all the Disney Princesses in the coordinating outfit 🙂

  10. Aleah

    I think the big thing is to ASK! Obviously, everyone needs to eat, so food is always a good option. But some moms (like me) would rather snuggle baby while someone else takes care of the housework whereas another mom would rather get a little time to herself or tackle those dirty dishes while someone else tends to the baby. Sometimes it’s hard to know as a new mom, so have some ideas tucked in your head, but I think the greatest thing you can do for a new mom is ask her, “What can I do for you?” You might be surprised!

  11. Claire @ Claire K Creations

    This is a great list. I have a 2 month old and the things I appreciated most were the meals and helping out with things like washing.
    I feel badly that I didn’t do anything like it for my friends who have had babies already but next friend I’ll be there with a few meals, morning tea and I’ll get some washing and cleaning done while I visit!
    Picking up any random things from the shops is helpful too.

  12. KittysMum

    Love your little journals – especially like that you can add in your own photos. I had a sneak on your website and must say that one particular journal bought a tear to my eye: beautiful.

    I’d love someone to bring out a version of one of the gospels like that: Jesus’ words but with plenty of space that you could add your own notes, photos and scrapbooking to…

  13. Diane C.

    The best thing I received after my daughter was born was fresh fruit. A lot of people kindly brought us freezer meals, but at one point, I wanted something that didn’t have to be warmed up to be eaten. My college roommate who lived across the country send a fruit box and it was absolutely wonderful!

  14. Eileen

    My friends took my older child out for play dates, which gave me undivided attention for baby, or time to eat and shower, or much needed napping time. They were great for my older child too.

  15. Pam

    We have a brand new baby, so I am a shiny happy aunt with one more to hug and hold. Camly waiting on grandkids… I know I have to wait a while, but still.

    Lovely list,


  16. JenD

    A friend gave me some Mary Kay lip gloss & eye shadows. My body was still a mess, but the makeup made me feel human again. 🙂

  17. Lindsay

    As a mama of five, I almost cried when I read this list! Beautiful! I can’t wait to try some of these new ones I hadn’t even thought of, though I’ve been there so many times. Thank you for sharing!!

  18. Jessica

    I am expecting my first baby very very soon, and am already hoping that walking the dog is something people will offer to do! People have said things like “I’ll come hold the baby while you cook a meal” and I kind of feel like maybe that’s something they’re offering to do more for themselves than for me.

  19. sherry

    Love this post! Wonderful ideas!

  20. Kimberley

    Great list! I received gift certificates for a food delivery service. Amazing gift. I have given gift certificates for a cleaning service. It’s nice to have when company starts coming or here’s a big holiday coming up. Things I would add- yard work such as raking or shovelling, pick up some take out and come over to hang out, wash diapers, vacuum, clean the bathroom. Call. Text or email frequently just to let her know you’re thinking of her.

  21. Linz @ Itz Linz

    FOOD!! so very much appreciated and can’t ever have too much! def no cooking or grocery shopping these days!

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