Colin Price for Good Eggs

Treat your favorite new parent with these thoughtful, practical gifts

Gina Goff

When someone you care about gives birth, you may want to congratulate her with a gift for the new baby. But before you click “place your order” on that shopping cart full of tiny, adorable clothes, consider this: Now’s not the time for adorable. What new parents really need is the practical things and services that will help them transition from a cozy twosome with free time, expendable income, and a reliable eights hours of sleep each night, to a family of three that can simply get through the day. Be a hero in a sea of mustachioed pacifiers and tutu dresses with these thoughtful gift ideas.

Meal delivery

Establishing a routine with a new baby is tough. With feedings every couple of hours, restless nights, and nary a moment to take a shower, it’s hard to imagine where meal planning and grocery shopping fit into the equation. Meal delivery kits take the guesswork out of weeknight meals with easy-to-follow recipes and preportioned ingredients sent to your door.

If the mom on your list lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, our top choice in this category is Good Eggs. Known primarily for its local, organic grocery delivery service, which has developed a cult following over the past several years, Good Eggs recently launched dinner kits, too. The delicious, omnivore-friendly recipes are stupid-easy and fast to prepare--the meals we tried averaged about 15 minutes--but they look and taste like you slaved over them for hours. They’re also among the most affordable at $7.77 per serving ($69.99 for three meals, three servings each), and there’s no subscription required.

Not in the Bay? There are plenty of other meal-kit services with loyal customers, but keep in mind that many require subscriptions: Blue Apron, which delivers nationwide and offers wine, too; Munchery, which serves California and parts of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington; HelloFresh, which even has an international presence; and Plated, which delivers to most of the lower 48.

House cleaning

We’ve all heard the advice, “when the baby sleeps, you should sleep,” but how realistic is that when you have bathrooms that haven’t been cleaned in a month and dishes piling up in the sink? Relieve new parents from the guilt of mounting chores and let the professionals handle it instead. Find vetted and rated housecleaners in 35 cities, including most major metros in the West, on Handy.com

A restaurant gift card + babysitting I.O.U.

It may take a couple of months, but after she’s emerged from the cocoon of baby bonding (and gotten that infamous six-week postpartum “all clear” from the doctor), she’ll probably be itching for a night out with her partner. Get her a gift card for a restaurant they love or a trendy new place that will make them feel plugged-in again, and most importantly: package it with an I.O.U. to babysit the night they use it.

Courtesy of Lula's Garden

Something green

She’s likely spending a lot of time indoors these days, so why not bring the outside in with a little greenery to cheer up the house? These succulent gardens from Lula's Garden come in charming planter gift boxes and can be shipped anywhere nationwide. (Shopping for someone in the Los Angeles area? You can choose from an even bigger selection of hand deliverables.) Best of all, these low-maintenance plants can be left unwatered for weeks and they’ll thrive.

A professional blowout

The stereotype of a new mom in her pajamas with hair that hasn’t been washed in a week is maybe a bit trite. But make your friend an appointment for a wash and blow dry at a place like DryBar, Blo, or really any local salon, and we guarantee she won’t call you out for implying she has greasy roots. While a full spa day might sound like an even better treat, an hourlong appointment is short enough that she can slip away when she's still nursing frequently, and it will go a long way toward making her feel human again. And bonus: it crosses something off her to-do list.

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