make/do: for new parents.

January 25, 2018

 + Flowers: Pluck them from your own garden, send them from afar via a florist, make it a posey or a spray for the mantle, don’t worry that it seems cliché. It will be lovely.

+ Homemade baby salve: Simple ingredients, simply mixed make for a soothing balm for brand-new baby bottoms, legs, hands, feet, anything at all.

+ A new book. Send an e-book, drop off an old favorite, stop by a local shop for a bestseller. Leave it on the stoop, snuggle the baby later.

+ Sitz-bath. For new a parent who had a vaginal delivery, a healing blend of herbs to help soothe any sore bits, can be a welcome bit of comfort. A combination of calendula, yarrow, and witch hazel might be nice to make yourself, or else rely on the herbal knowledge of someone else.

+ Homemade soup mix. Blend together a favorite mix of dried beans and deliver along with a sachet of fresh herbs, an onion, and a head of garlic for something new parents can make now or later. 

+ Hot/cold pack. Fill a cotton pouch with flaxseed and lavender petals (or find someone to help you) to provide some calming relief to a surgical scar or shoulders stiff from round-the-clock feedings. 

+ A low-key playlist. Make a list of calming tunes delivered via playlist or jump-drive, or anything else you might have; let it be the backdrop to quiet, tender, early days.

+ Dog-walking duty. Or older kid pickup. Or picking up the laundry. Make yourself available for any manner of utterly mundane responsibilities that might feel onerous in the midst of an exceptional week.

+ Cookie dough: Mix it, chill it, and deliver it ready for baking, for whenever a pang of hunger strikes (usually midnight).

+ Housekeep sweep. Fold a load of laundry, pass a wet mop, empty the garbage. Offer to stop by one afternoon for a general household sweep, while the new parents nap or nurse or do nothing of consequence at all. 

+ A loaf of bread and fancy butter. Bake it yourself, or pick a fresh loaf from a nearby bakery. Choose a packet of fancy butter and a special jam. Wrap it up, drop it off. Toast with butter and jam never tasted so good.

+ Sugar scrub. Make an energizing scrub for parents who might need a little extra help to get the day started. (And if you don’t want to make it yourself, coffee and cardamom or citrus and vanilla sound perfect to me.)

If you’re looking for more gift ideas for new parents, here are a few more ideas. And if you have any more of your own, let us know!

Make/Do is a new series of guides on simple giving focused on things you can make and things you can do, to help someone else make do.

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25 Comments

  • Reply Natalie January 25, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    I love this new style of gift guide! While I adore your taste in things to buy, this is much more budget friendly for me!

  • Reply Eva January 25, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Such sweet and thoughtful gifts! Do you have any ideas for an expecting mother? I think she’s due in May, but I wanted to send her something to let her know I am thinking of her.

    • Reply Millie January 26, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Any kind of food for the freezer is wonderful for this. She can use it now (in those last exhausting months) or keep it for after the baby is born. Or a gift certificate for a pedicure is HEAVEN for a preggo mama. 🙂

  • Reply Avalanche Lake January 25, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    I would go ahead and bake those cookies! Then wrap them individually, stick them all in a freezer-safe container and tuck them into the freezer at the home of the new parents. I made myself lactation cookies before giving birth and did just this and it was so nice to take out two cookies each morning and have them defrost in time for my afternoon pick-me-up–no baking (or dishes!) required.

    • Reply Kirsten January 25, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      Yes! I did the same. Went into a frenzy the day before I went into labor, made 2 dozen lactation cookies and put them all in the freezer. They were heaven those first few weeks.

      Also during said frenzy, I made a bunch of “padsicles”–half with a mix of aloe and witch hazel and half soaked with an herbal blend of yarrow, chamomile, comfrey, lavender, epsom salt and calendula flowers. Those were also heaven, and I’m convinced they help me heal quickly from my vaginal delivery. I’m trying to plot a way to send padsicles to my cousin due in June without seeming too weird…

      • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 25, 2018 at 7:42 pm

        Ha! Amazing! My sister made padsicles too!

        • Reply Megan January 26, 2018 at 10:41 am

          Same! Kirsten, you could always just send her the recipe. Or a package with the recipe and the ingredients. Erin, thanks for the great list of ideas. This had me getting all nostalgic about the tender, squishy newborn days. As others have said, loving the make/do series.

  • Reply J. January 25, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Love a new RMTL series, especially with this kind of focus on generosity and ease. Damn simple, damn good!

  • Reply Judith January 25, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    All amazing and thoughtful suggestions, I will file this away for future reference. And, I’m just a wee bit excited that you are visiting Oregon this week. I like the possibility — no matter how remote — of our paths crossing.

  • Reply Alyssa January 25, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Perfect!

  • Reply Alicia January 25, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Such a great series and so thoughtful. I love all of these suggestions!

  • Reply Alissa January 25, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Perfect timing! I was just reading your other post about gift ideas for new parents this morning. A dear friend is expecting her first baby any day now.

  • Reply Alyssa January 25, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    The best gifts are usually the simple and thoughtful kind. Great list!

  • Reply Floppo January 25, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    How nice of you to help your sister in this special time. She is very lucky to have you. Congratulations for the new baby. Also, Great new series!

  • Reply Amanda January 25, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Beautiful list! My 4th baby is 11 weeks and having someone get my eldest to and from the bus stop is the greatest gift.

    Might I add, unless you’re family or very close to the new mom, drop off the gift and leave. The new days are rough, and visitors are often a lot to handle, even generous, well-meaning ones.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 26, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Yes indeed: “snuggle the baby later!” 😉

  • Reply Emily January 26, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Love it! When my best girlfriend gave birth to her son, I baked some banana bread and dropped it off on her porch along with a birthday card for her babe. Since then, it’s become a little bit of a trandition amongst me and my friends. There is nothing more delicious in those tender early days. Congrats to your fam!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE January 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      Love! My sister brought me a homemade banana bread when Faye was born that I still think about!

  • Reply Maria January 26, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Great ideas! I am not a person who puts much value in gifts, I am happy to not recieve anything for birthdays and christmas. And for my third baby there was not a lot we needed. But, when my husband’s brother and his girlfriend insisted on visiting us during the first month of my littlest life and brought absolutely nothing. No card, no cookies, no nothing, well that felt so unkind. Here we were, with three small kids, making them food and they just assumed there was nothing to it. No, they do not have kids themselves.

  • Reply Jane January 26, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Love these! My favorites are chilled cookie dough + calming playlist…so simple + thoughtful.

  • Reply Jess January 26, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Love this list! After my third was born I was especially thankful for muffins delivered and tucked in my freezer and some energy bites a neighbour dropped off. And, jars of soup — even just a pint made just for me to sip on mid-afternoon was a lovely thing. Oh, and the friends who brought a meal.

    Clearly food is the way I feel most loved post-childbirth!

  • Reply Janine January 27, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    The best baby gift by far was when my sister in law took my 2 year old away for the day during the first week home with her new sibling. She picked her up after breakfast and dropped her off just before dinner and it was amazing!!!!!! I plan to reciprocate when she has her 2nd child this June. I almost broke down in tears (Probably postpartum hormones) when she showed up at my door

    • Reply Christie February 3, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      I was going to say the same. When we had our third in October, our friends took our other two for a day. My husband and I could just nap and relax in the quiet. It was awesome

  • Reply Sarah January 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    So many nice ideas! As a herbalist I often get customers who want to gift the new mother a lactation herbal tea blend. Don’t! Each mother might need a different blend of herbs and it’s hard to know in advance what she might need. Instead offer a nice herbal tea blend that is safe for a new mother like lavender, chamomile or linden.

  • Reply Polyana February 5, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Most of my friends having babies live far far away. So when I asked a friend who had already had a baby what to get another friend who had just had her first, she said “Food – Order delivery for her or frozen foods, you barely have time to eat the first few weeks, this will help her more than anything!”

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