Living in an apartment complex we were a little worried about our neighbours when we brought our new baby home. It would be bad enough if she kept us at night but we really didn't want to disturb everyone else around us. Living in such close proximity to so many other people, that was a real concern. Fortunately my wife came up with a cunning plan. We would bribe our neighbours.
We created a big stack of little gift bags, one for each apartment in our complex. My wife heard about people doing something similar on a plane and we thought, people like gifts while they are on the ground too.
We could have just done the apartments immediately around us but we decided to go the extra mile and give one to each apartment throughout the whole complex. There are only 19 after all and the gift bags weren't expensive. Each pack consisted of a zip lock sandwich bag containing a handful of chocolates, freddo frogs specifically, half a dozen sets of ear plugs and a note to explain what it all means.
Once they were all made up it was just a matter of walking around and giving them out. I wound up wandering around the complex clothes pegging them to people's front door for them to discover when they got home from work. I hand delivered one but only after the person living there opened their door while I was mid-peg scaring the hell out of both of us.
The reception was quite remarkable. We are currently based in the inner city of a city with a population of upwards of 1.5 million. A small town where everyone knows their neighours it is not. Most people around these parts won't even return a simple “hi”.
In the days that followed we got a card from one apartment, a stack of newly purchased baby clothes from another and verbal congratulations from just about everyone else. People who had been doing everything they could to avoid eye contact were suddenly stopping to ask how mother and baby were doing. The difference was amazing.
So make the first move and let your new baby be a chance to reach out to the people around you. Your neighbours may surprise you.