"You may even want to say what specifically you are praying for, for example, 'I am keeping everyone in my prayers for a smooth transition home.'"
Celebrating a New Baby
When someone you know welcomes a new baby, it is a joyous occasion. That said, emotions for the parents can range from excitement to fear... exhaustion to elation. From your point of view, it can be hard to know when and how to connect with the parents in a way that will be helpful and not add stress. Every situation is different – sometimes food or a gift is appropriate – but you cannot go wrong with a card. What to write in a new baby card? Here are 7 tips to keep in mind:
1. Share your excitement
When you write a new baby card, you want to share joy with the parents. Say something like, "I know how long waiting for a baby can be. I am so glad that you and the baby are doing well. I can't wait to see you all."
2. Try not to give advice
Every child and every family is different, so it's usually best to wait for someone to ask your advice. You can offer to be available for advice, but be light about it. In your card you could write, "After raising two children of my own, I have lots of advice, some good some not so good!"
3. Make it personal
While advice might cross the line, you can still use a new baby card to share hopes and dreams for the baby and parents. For example, “I remember taking mine home for the first time and thinking, Now what? If you ever feel that way, you are not alone.”
4. Be sensitive to the circumstances
Sometimes, new babies come with difficulties, and the parents may be private about this information. So if possible, find out if the delivery went as planned. If it did, be as joyful and celebratory as you want. On the other hand, if the baby is still in the hospital, send a note or email letting the family know you are praying for them. The celebratory card can wait until everyone is home and doing well.
*Note: If there are serious complications and/or the baby is in critical condition, communicate with another member of the family or a close friend. Parents in these situations need lots of support, but they are not up to dealing with it directly. If you are a close friend or family member, offer to be that contact person/communication point person.
5. Do pray for the family
When you write a new baby card, it is always appropriate to let a family know you are holding them in prayer. You may even want to say what specifically you are praying for. For example, “I am keeping everyone in my prayers for a smooth transition home,” or "We are praying for the baby to have the best care possible," or "We are giving thanks to God for your new baby."
6. In the case of twins or multiple births
Two babies – even healthy ones – can be a trial. Offers to help are often needed. Be specific about what you can do: bring meals, wash clothes, grocery shop, write thank you notes.
Sometimes, there is the tragic event that one of the babies does not survive. While there is great joy over the birth of the living baby, there is also great sadness over the loss. Some hospitals are putting purple hearts on the cribs of twins who have lost a sibling at birth to indicate that this is a special circumstance. Express your sadness and prayers for the new family as they adjust to their reality. Then share your comments about the living baby, expressing the love they will feel in such a caring home and family.
7. Too late to send a card?
It is still appropriate to send a late new baby card, and much better than not sending a card at all. If you have not been in touch since the birth, feel free to send a new baby card up to 9 months after the baby is born. If you waited longer than 9 months, send a Happy First Birthday card instead.
Sarah Allred and Amy Dyer are part of the team at the Center for the Ministry of Teaching. Both of them have years of experience in teaching, family ministry, church life, and supporting parents and children.
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