Practical, "right now" gifts for new parents?

As anticipated in this thread, my friends Cathy and Al and now the parents of a bouncing baby boy! :D:D:D She ended up having a C-section after several attempts at inducing over the past week or so, but everyone is healthy. Baby was born just after midnight, and Cathy just called me a little while ago.

I’m going to go and see the little bugger probably tomorrow morning, and I have the standard baby gifts ready to wrap later today. But I’d like some suggestions for some useful, practical gifts for the new mom & dad, something they can use right now to make things a little easier. Cathy mentioned that another friend gave her a phone card for calling people, so not that, but something along those lines.

I live about 20 minutes away from their house. I have a very heavy workload right now, so anything involving massive amounts of time is out. I’m also kind of broke at the moment. Also, they both have HUGE extended families who are probably already taking care of obvious things like food.

Parents, what small but practical item or service could you have used, or would you have appreciated, while dealing with your first baby?

There are never…NEVER…too many diapers. The more the merrier, I always say.

I liked having something to read when I first brought SonBoy home. It gives you something to do while you wait for them to wake up!

Do you know if they have a standard film camera or digital? If it’s a film camera, film for it would be a nice gift.

burp cloths - it isn’t glamorous so people tend not to give them, but if someone hadn’t given me several, I would have been at a terrible loss.

A gift certificate to the closest baby store, or Target or Walmart etc.

But the real best gift is your time. Bring them an easy-to-heat homemade dinner. Wait a week and go clean their kitchen for them.

A basket of food and two bottles of beers, if the gift is really for the parents. The need for diapers, cloths, blankets, is relentless but baby needs them, not mom and dad.

If you can get a few friends together maybe a maid service to come in once every week for a month to do a quick clean up. It’s really helpful if it follows a section. My wife and I really appreciated it when our families did that for us.

I am not a parent (yet - six months to go!). But my understanding is that a mother who had a C-section needs to spend a lot of time in bed. How about one of those trays that goes over your lap on little feet so you can eat or read in bed easier? Or one of those chair-shaped pillows that makes it easier to sit up in bed?

Brand new item I’ve just photographed for catalog I put together for the wholesale company where I work: Huggies Disposable Changing Pads.

Order takeout for the parents, and bring it to the hospital with you. They’re probably already tired of the cafeteria fare.

Diapers and wipes for the boy.

I just thought of this, upon re-reading that your friend had a c-section. Get her a Boppy. She will love it!

Babies always need onesies, and in a range of sizes, too. I know you’re interested in something that’s useful right away, but new moms and dads are usually given onesies for brand-new infants and none for when the baby gets a little older.

I gotta say, though, that the Boppy looks really cool and really handy.

Hmmm, thanks for all the suggestions so far! I’m leery of getting more baby supplies, because she is one of the last in her large family to have kids, plus she works as a nanny for a wealthy couple, so I think she’ll be getting a LOT of hand-me-downs, and I KNOW that her house is already piled high with baby stuff that people have already gotten her. I’ll ask, though, about some of these when I go and see her tomorrow.

She sends me a lot of pics by e-mail, so I think their camera must be digital.

I like the “wait a while” idea also – and I might have time in a few weeks to go over there and clean the kitchen! I think I’ll also see what I can find for non-perishable snackies for Mom and Dad at the hospital – food seems iffy because you don’t know when they’re hungry vs. too tired to eat, have room in the fridge/freezer, etc. But in a week or so I think you’re right that it will be welcome.

Thanks also for the C-section-specific ideas; I plan on calling another friend who had one to ask what she would have wished for.

Its a bit expensive, so perhaps this is something a group of you can get, but the table idea for the bed made me think of this:

Ikea has a long table on wheels that goes over a bed for 99$ (Canadian). It actually looks pretty useful, as it can be pushed back and forth, and used for food, laptops, work/paper, etc. It’s called MALM and comes in a couple of different finishes, I think.

I found this link on the website, though its not a great image of the table:

Since I’m two weeks past my second C section I will say the handiest thing I have this time around is a set of grabby claws so I don’t have to bend everytime I drop something.

Also you really don’t get to spend that long in bed and the doctors don’t recommend it either… They get you on your feet the next morning and start making you walk the halls the day or so after that. I was walking to the nicu and back three days after my section. New babies also don’t allow it since they don’t care about your pain only their hungry belly! You could get mom some heating/cooling packs to pamper herself with as her back will be sore from overcompensating for her cut belly muscles and having your milk come in can be sore too. If she’s not going to breastfeed she will be a bit achy till everything dries up also.

You could get mom an easy to slip on pair of slippers and a robe so when she has to get up every two hours to feed the baby she’s prepared… it’s starting to get into the chilly weather and I love my robe at 2:00 am! I miss it when it is in the laundry from baby pee or spit up! And boys are so much better at peeing on the person changing them than girls are. He’s even snaked it out from under the protective washcloth armor to catch me by surprise :wink:

You could also give them a homemade book of tickets redeemable for an hour or two of your time at a future date. New and old parents always need a little time away from the munchkins to recharge.

Diaper Service

Well, I went to see the little guy yesterday . . . pretty darn cute, even though he was pretty much conked out the whole time I was there.

I ended up taking along an assortment of fresh muffins-- nonperishable and reasonably nutritious. Unfortunately, Cathy is still on a mostly liquid postsurgical diet – but perhaps Al or some visitors will enjoy them. I should also mention that the baby gifts I brought were a very sweet picture book and a CD of soothing music; Cathy had seen the book before and liked it, and they had been thinking of getting some lullabies or something like that on CD. So that worked out. :slight_smile:

I’ll also keep in mind the “in a few weeks” ideas. I’m not sure I’m the best person to volunteer for babysitting, as I’ve had pretty much no experience with infants. But I’ll be glad to run errands, clean the kitchen, cook a meal, etc. As much as I would like to give something generous like diaper service or a big baby item, it’s just not in my budget. But there is a thing called a “Bed Buddy,” like a tube sock with dry rice in it, that you can zap in the microwave and wrap around your neck or back for moist heat; Mr. S uses ours all the time. I might try to find one of those.

Thanks again for all your creative replies!

For C-Section moms the one thing that I didn’t have with my first but a nurse told me to get after my second. A panty girdle.

I know it sounds silly, but the reinforced panel in the front was a lifesaver. Just a little extra support to keep away the feeling of “my guts are gonna spill out” when you’re on your feet for more than a few minutes.

If the incision is really tender a pad on the inside front does wonders for a little extra cushion. Just remember - the adhesive side goes on the panty!