We connected with 40 members of our community to talk babies! Specifically, the most thoughtful things that people did for them when they were either expecting a new baby, or after they welcomed a new baby home. Some of their answers surprised us!
The Strength of Weak Ties
One of the most remarkable findings from our (virtual!) discussion with local families was the frequency with which people spoke about support from people outside of their closest circle of family and friends. Whether it was from neighbors, business associates, or social acquaintances, we repeatedly heard how meaningful it felt when someone “who I barely knew” reached out after the arrival of a new baby.
While the value of support from parents, siblings and best friends is undeniable, we were touched to hear stories of people who were not in the “inner circle” making a lasting impression through various acts of kindness.
“Someone who barely knew me, realized how challenging it was when my second was born… She would text every other day just to see how things are going.”Christina
Food, Sleep, and Creative Gifts Take Top Honors
It comes as no surprise that prepared meal deliveries scored highly as a popular choice for supporting families of newborns. Whether it be something as simple as dropping off bagels and cream cheese, to a pre-portioned lasagna, to a full blown roast turkey dinner (and sides!) for the whole family, meal deliveries nourish on many levels.
“A person that I only met once brought me a homemade lentil soup and it was the best thing ever.”Barbara
Other high ranking responses included self-care related offerings (e.g., watching the baby while the mother slept or the parents reconnected) and creative gifts, many of which were personalized. Think handmade quilts similar to those made by Quiltlove, custom artwork, and photography. One of the most creative gestures we heard was writing the new baby’s name in fall leaves on the family’s front yard as a natural welcome home sign (please, no wind)!
Rounding out our discussion on thoughtful ways to help families with new babies included diaper services (or actual diapers themselves), help with house cleaning, baby clothes/gear and straight up information about what to expect… after you’re expecting.
“Our best gift after our first baby was a whole roast turkey, with rolls and salad, delivered by a business associate with whom we were not even very close — such a labor of love!”Amy
There are so many wonderful ways to wrap families in love as they navigate the exciting, emotional and downright exhausting first weeks after the birth of a new baby, whether the baby is at home or in the NICU. Based on the findings from our discussion, we encourage readers not to hold back when considering whether you “know someone well enough” to offer support and to follow your heart.