This article was originally published on UTSWMed.org/MedBlog, authored by Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, M.D.
The holidays are a time of giving, sharing, and helping one another – especially when a new baby is joining the family. Though the pandemic has made baby showers and in-person gift-giving a challenge, you can show your love and support by dropping off or mailing social distant-friendly gifts and pre-ordering services, such as meals or groceries.
I’ve invited five of my colleagues who welcomed new babies in 2020 to discuss the gifts their families found most helpful, thoughtful, and safe. See if their ideas spark your imagination for a loved one’s new arrival – or for your own family’s holiday wish list!
And, if you’re looking for a special gift to pamper an expecting mom, check out this list of holiday dos and don’ts.
For the baby: Swaddling sacks! I didn’t inherit the “swaddling gene,” and swaddling sacks made life so much better. My son fell asleep and stayed asleep because he couldn’t wiggle out of his comfy spot. We also received some books that even my 3-year-old son loves: “The Hungry Caterpillar,” “Wiggle Waggle,” and “Where’s Spot? ” He likes to sit with me while I read to the baby.
For the family: As a family, receiving meal gift cards was so helpful after both deliveries. The last thing you want to do is cook and clean when you have a new baby!
For the family: We gifted ourselves a HelloFresh subscription, and it’s been a huge burden off our plate in getting two meals a week with easy-to-prepare recipes.
For the baby: Books featuring diverse characters were great gifts. A few of our favorites were “Whose Toes Are Those” and “Leo Can Swim.” It’s important to our family that our son sees people who look like him represented in books, movies, and TV. We also received a Boba Wrap, which is great for fussy babies that don’t want to be put down. You can strap them in and get things done around the house.
For the family: The best gift we received was a meal train organized by a friend (the Park Cities nurses even participated!). It was wonderful to get to look forward to a few meals a week and not have to worry about cooking with a newborn at home. It was also a nice way for our friends to get to meet the baby in a socially distanced way since we couldn’t have a party due to COVID-19.
For the baby: Books were our favorite gift, especially when there was special meaning behind the selection. For example, one friend gave us “Who Sank the Boat?” and she added that it was a favorite book her mom read to her as an infant. Another friend gave us “Families Like Mine,” which is an adorable book of various animals describing different types of families, such as single parents, two dads, or two moms.
For the baby: The best gift I received for my baby was a Moby wrap. My husband and I do not have family here locally, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had no outside help with our new baby and 3-year-old. The wrap helped us transition to life with two young children – it allows us to hold our daughter and still be hands-free to do household things like cooking and cleaning, as well as playing with our son and assisting him with potty-training, while holding the baby close the entire time.
Often, my daughter falls asleep while we hold her in the wrap – she can even be breastfed in it. The best part about this gift is that we’ve been able to use it from the time we brought the baby home from the hospital to now, and she’s six months old.
For the family: A close friend from my church group set up a meal train that ended up feeding us for the first four weeks of being home with the new baby. It was great to not have to worry about preparing meals during that time, and it really allowed us to focus more on our time together as a family. Marissa is a certified nurse-midwife (CNM). Learn about the CNM team at UT Southwestern.