As the mother of two young children, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The absolute best gift for new parents is… wait for it…. food. No diapers, no baby toys, no cute baby outfits. Just food.
Food gifts can come in any form. Cook and deliver a homemade meal, assemble some meals that can be frozen for later, buy a gift card for a place that delivers or for the restaurant down the street from their house. When you have a new baby, the first month is spent adjusting to your new (usually sleepless) routine. You spend so much time changing diapers and doing laundry and attempting to sleep that cooking often comes last. And if you happen to have any extra time, you’d rather be sitting and making googly eyes at your infant than standing in front of the stove. But it’s the food that sustains a new parent, that gives a parent the energy to make it through another night of interrupted, crying-filled sleep.
Just after my first child was born, my father and his wife delivered 54 homemade, individually packaged meals that went straight into my chest freezer – single servings of lasagna, turkey meatballs with broccoli and spaghetti squash, and beef stew. They also brought down a few bags full of muffins that went into the freezer too. Every night for the first few months, my husband and I would choose something out of the freezer, pop it in the microwave, and three minutes later had a nutritious, delicious hot meal. And at any given midnight, I could pull a chocolate muffin out of the freezer to eat in the dark, and that made everything better.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you spend three days cooking for every new baby that comes along. But gifting even a single meal can make a difference for new parents. And here’s another tip – make a batch of cookie dough (from scratch or a boxed mix, no one will know the difference). Scoop out the dough as if you were going to bake the cookies, but instead of putting them in the oven, throw those little dough balls into the freezer in a ziplock bag. Deliver the frozen dough to the new parents, and they’ll be able to have fresh-from-the-oven cookies in about 10-12 minutes, plus the time it takes their oven to preheat. You’ll win the “Friend of the Year” award for sure!