Be a pal: practical gifts for new moms
When someone you love celebrates a momentous occasion, the first instinct may be to run out and get a card and some flowers. There are also tons of keepsakes and knickknacks out there for new parents, but since our mission is to make parents’ lives easier, I decided to zero in on the essentials for today.
A nice hot shower
“You’ll never shower again” is sort of new-parent-advice shorthand for “you’re not going to be able to take care of yourself for a while.” Yes, there will be moments when the baby is napping or she can be handed off to someone else for a few minutes, when Mom can dash into the shower or steal a catnap for herself. However, time has a way of zooming past when you’re sleep-deprived and there’s a lot to do, and at the end of three days, a new mom may find herself feeling a little grimy (not good for anyone’s self-esteem).
The obvious way to help Mom get a shower in is to be there to hold the baby while she gets cleaned up, but if you can’t be there, the gift of a really great bouncy-seat and perhaps a clear vinyl shower curtain will let her enjoy her shower without worrying about leaving the baby in another room.
If she can’t even find time to wash her hair, when is she going to get to the dishes? And laundry piles up like crazy with a new baby. So every time you visit: clean something! And if you want to inspire some serious gratitude, call in the professionals from Merrymaids.com or Maids.com.
Is she the kind of mom who needs an extra nudge to reach out when she’s feeling overwhelmed? Make her some cute IOU’s! It looks like the IOU Letterpress site is down, but it’s not hard to make them yourself – get some magnets and stick ‘em on her fridge so they’re easy to find when they’re needed.
Entertainment at all hours
Newborns don’t do much: some babies will even drift off to sleep in the middle of a feeding. Plus, if you’re feeding on demand, you’re on a three-hour cycle or thereabouts, meaning you’re up at some weird hours. This is where Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and other video services really come in handy, so if your loved one doesn’t have a subscription to her favorite service, get her one! Or, a Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader will come in handy: this Nook Color is extra-cool because, since it’s in color, it will also be good for reading children’s books in the future.
A little pampering
A lot of this is going to be contingent on what your mama-friend likes. A gift certificate for a spa, a massage, or a manicure will let her take a break from the kiddo and enjoy a little me-time (just make sure you offer to babysit while she’s away). Or, how about comfy clothes for around the house? Depending on your pal, you can go luxe, comfy or silly – flowy tops that let her nurse easily, fleecy bathrobes, soft slippers, and other round-the-house gear will help her feel both cozy and cute.
Something for the other kid
Is there a big sister or big brother around the house? They could probably use some attention, plus Mom REALLY has her hands full. Bring over small gifts and treats for the older sibling, and keep them company.
Food, glorious food
Who feels like cooking? Gift certificates for food delivery will be worth their price in gold to new parents – you can also take the whole project off of their plate with a service like a Meal Train. Or, bring over easy-to-heat-and-eat items like casseroles; these are best accompanied with disposable plates and utensils (and don’t bring it over in a dish you’ll need returned right away). Or, come over and cook a meal – but for heaven’s sake, if you do, make sure you do the dishes afterwards!
Since there will always be other items needed aside from tonight’s dinner, you could also offer to go grocery shopping for the new parents – have them make you a list, and if you’re a real pal, pick up the tab.
Food baskets are also both useful and festive: fill one up with items the new parents like, and that are easy to just grab and chow down on, with no preparation. Foods and beverages that the new mom had to avoid during her pregnancy are especially fun – just make sure she’s not avoiding any particular things while breastfeeding.
Find out what the issue is, and then get smart solutions from us
Is nursing hurting Mom’s back? We’ve got something for that. Does the baby hate the swaddling blanket she’s using? We’ve got some more you can try. Is her stroller blanket not working out? Maybe a stroller footmuff will help. Ask your friend what issues she’s dealing with, and then come in and ask us what products will help to make her life easier. Or, just get her a Magic Beans gift card.
Be there for her
Ultimately, the best thing you can do for a new mom is be there for her. Amy at Pregnant Chicken writes:
One of the best things you can give a new mom is your time. If you’re a good friend of hers, then there’s nothing better than having someone take you out for a walk, or sit on the couch to chat, or hold your baby while she has a shower. Say something like “I could pop by for a visit next Tuesday or Thursday. If that would work for you let me know what time is convenient and I’ll bring lunch (breakfast, the car so we can go out for a bite).”
Just make sure that you’re lightening her load, rather than contributing to it: be flexible about time, and if she’s one of those super-tidy ladies who can’t deal with you seeing her house when it’s dirty, be ready to go somewhere else. And while you’re at her house, clean something!
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