At first I thought this would be a very simple question to answer. But then I found myself repeatedly saying "if." If baby sleeps well on their own, they might appreciate a pack-n-play. If they are co-sleeping, they might appreciate having sheets and blankets that are easy to wash. If baby spits up a lot, carpet cleaner and paper towels can be helpful.
After chatting with him on the phone, I realized that he could make a new family's stay quite pleasant without buying much.
1. A place for baby to sleep: pack-n-play or easy to wash bedding.
2. A place for baby to eat: bouncer or high chair in an area that is easy to clean. Or a place for mom to sit while nursing or bottle feeding.
3. A place for baby to be changed: It's simple enough for new parents to bring along a changing pad, wipes, and diapers. But it's very helpful to point out whether it's best to change baby on the floor or if another location is available and where to dispose of soiled diapers.
4. Stain remover: When baby spits up or milk spills it's nice to have a simple way to tackle it. Having paper towels and/or stain remover easily accessible is great.
5. A place for baby to play: Many household items can turn into baby toys. If you have balls, Tupperware, a blanket, or other items baby might enjoy, definitely let the parents know. But just offering up some space in the living or family room so baby can roll, sit, or crawl is great.
6. Baby proofing: If baby is mobile, it can be helpful to baby-proof a little, especially for an extended visit. I doubt anyone is expecting the home to be completely baby-proof, but it's a relief when expensive, fragile, or sentimental items are out of little one's reach.
6. Snacks: If mom is breastfeeding or the parents are frequently waking up in the night, it's helpful to know where to find simple and easy snacks. Trail mix, granola bars, water bottles, etc.
7. A break: I really appreciate it whenever someone offers me a break. Whether it is offering to hold baby while I eat a meal or entertain baby while I take a shower. Or even offering to babysit while my husband and I enjoy a dinner out.
8. Sleep: If baby isn't sleeping well, it's wonderful when someone offers to watch baby in the middle of the night, early in the morning, or during the day so mom and dad can rest.
9. Shopping: It's easy for parents to forget a thermometer, Tylenol, nail clippers or other items that are infrequently used at home. A quick offer to run an errand can be a huge help. When I visit my parents I usually have an Amazon box (or more) sent to them filled with food, diapers, and other items we may need during our trip. But they are also very kind and offer to pick up extra food, medicine and anything else that baby needs.
10. Time alone: When we are on vacation, I do appreciate it when we have some down time to just let our kids relax. A new home filled with new faces can be quite overwhelming for little ones. Letting a new family have some time alone can give everyone a much needed chance to relax and enjoy the trip.
What would you add to this list?