Becoming a new mom, no matter if it’s your first, or 10th, is TOUGH. There is no sugar coating the fact that your life is completely flipped upside down and there is definitely no handbook on how to deal with all of the…new. There are physical challenges of breastfeeding, pumping, being sore from childbirth, being tired from staying up all night, and just generally not having enough time to get all of the things done. There are also, obviously, the mental and emotional challenges of taking care of a new life (along with your own!).
Over the years, and over the course of having 3 children myself, I have had a lot of things sent or brought over after a new baby arrives – and I want to share what we found super helpful and needed, and what we didn’t!
(This is simply my opinion, and you might not agree – but if I have another kid, now you know what to get me – HAHA)
Get new mom some dinner!
If you walked through my door with either a (healthy) home-cooked meal or a gift card for take-out, I promise you that the smile never left my face.
Especially once Graham was born, it was close to impossible to have the energy to make meals that satisfied John and both of the girls. We were also in the NICU for 2 weeks which is a whole ‘nother layer of WTF. Quality take-out was our saving grace for those first few weeks, plus the joy of having rotating moms (mine, and John’s) to cook for us and the kids. If you know your friend’s favorite meal, make them 2 of them, so they can have one ASAP and freeze one for later. I definitely recommend sending a gift card for either a meal subscription service (HelloFresh, Purple Carrot, GreenChef, etc.), local delivery service (DoorDash, GrubHub, etc), or restaurant gift card for anyone whom you aren’t sure about their taste. I suggest those meal sub services – because all of the ingredients are there and ready, and sometimes you may just want a home-cooked meal. When you are thinking about take-out – try to err on the side of lighter/healthier, unless you really know mom’s taste. Your mom friend might be different, but I was CRAVING crisp, healthy foods to keep my energy up and feel my best.
Get new mom some creative food/drink gifts that will help her stay nourished and caffeinated!
These might be random – but I swear they are solid gold!
A stock -piled snack basket to keep near feeding areas or areas where mom might get stuck under the baby during naptime. My favorite snack postpartum is a very specific trail mix: cashews, dried cherries, almonds and chocolate chips.
YETI or similar brand coffee holder to keep it hot, or at least warm. And honestly, this is ALSO great at keeping white wine cold at the end of the day. Wink, wink.
Mug warmer – another option
DIY cookie/brownie mix (add pre-measured ingredients into a mason jar so they just have to combine and bake) – nice to have a sweet treat around that can be made almost with one arm
Coffee subscription – mmmm yes, like REALLY good coffee and I would love you forever
Wine subscription – also this! Keep things new and fresh
Large water bottle that will keep water cold (or room temperature if you are me) – I use YETI here too, and I throw in a half of a lemon to keep it interesting.
Self Care is important for new mama! It’s not just cliche, it’s true.
It’s easier said than done, but new moms MUST find the time to take care of themselves! Even having 10 minutes to take a shower was like…heaven. I spent my me-time wisely as I learned more and more about motherhood and I can’t begin to stress the importance of self-care. Here are a few things I’d give (or receive) over and over again to my new mom friends!
Press on nails – There are some incredible press-on nails on the market these days that make you feel like you’ve just had a full manicure. They are pretty quick and I don’t have to worry about trying to get to the salon. Trying to “get” places is a challenge all its own.
Face mist – showers happen, but maybe not as often as we’d like as we navigate the best time to put baby down (I have to admit though, I would take a shower over ANYTHING else and usually never missed a day – even when I was sleeping at the hospital for 2 weeks) If you don’t have time for a shower – face mist/toners are a nice way to wake up and feel a bit refreshed, especially if they have essential oils that remind you of your spa days.
A quality dry shampoo – see above re: showering
A good pair of slippers – comfort over everything – also, you might be on your feet a lot trying to get the babe to stay asleep!
Essential oils and diffuser – did you think I wouldn’t include this lol! There is an oil for everything – helping mom sleep, helping baby sleep, keeping the calm, feeling refreshed. I even brought my diffuser to the hospital and set it up in my tiny ass room while we were in the NICU.
A gift card for cozy clothes would also be MUCH appreciated. I basically lived in sweat-sets that were a bit tailored (like American Eagle or Lou & Grey) because I wanted to be cozy but a little put together in case I went out. Plus, for the first 2 weeks – I was at the hospital and walking outside in the city at least 1x a day to go to Starbucks and get some fresh air.
Baby-related gifts for a new mom
BE PRACTICAL! Get gifts for the baby that in reality, help the parents out. Baby does not know it’s name and will not appreciate the personalized teddy bear right now. 🙂 My go-to list includes:
DIAPERS- in ALL sizes. And seriously, you can never have too many, so go crazy! I think we went through 10+ a day in those early newborn days.
A baby book to mark milestones – OK, I had one for Carmen and forgot for PJ and Graham. WOOPS. But I do wish I had something SMALL and CHIC to just jot things down – thoughts, milestones, etc. I imagine a moleskin journal or something like this would be perfect – but each mom will have different taste.
Baby carriers – some of my favorites are not as expensive as you’d think and they are life-savers in the early months. I’ve had the wraps and the clipped in Ergo and like both for different reasons and different stages.
Lovevery toy subscription – I got this finally, for Graham, and wish I did it for the other kids! You get toys every month that are age and developmentally appropropriate and it’s wild how accurate they are. Graham actually plays with them and they are usually wooden, which makes me happier.
Newborn photoshoot – this would obviously be a pricery item but could be a wonderful surprise to new parents who are family or very close friends. If they already have this scheduled, pay for a family shoot within the first year. As I keep having more kids, I keep forgetting to get professional photos taken and I WISH I HAD SOME.
Newborn lounger – ie the Dock a Tot or Snuggle Me. These are so awesome when you need to put baby down for a nap but you want them to feel snuggled. They also fit nicely on your bed if you have space. I sleep in our king bed alone when we have a new baby, so there is plenty of space for a lounger like this and I don’t have to worry about them rolling around or anyone or anything rolling onto them.
OK NOW I FEEL LIKE THIS IS TURNING INTO A REGISTRY POST so I will move on. LOL
This might seem a bit cheesy but I saw a friend do it and I absolutely loved the idea! While some people are not comfortable with others visiting so early in a baby’s life, creating a video to mama and baby that is compiled of well-wishes from family and friends (or even just from you!!) is something they will cherish for years to come! It might be hard to get on Facetime with everyone so letting a new mama hear from all the people she loves while holding her new baby is something she will never forget!
Have you received or gifted an amazing gift to a new mama? Let me know what it was in the comments!