post off: what’s the best gift for a new mom?

audrey-24

Is it just me or is *everyone* having babies right now? I can count at least four of my friends who are expecting or just gave birth in the last 6 months alone. With this baby boom comes countless showers and parties, and I often feel like some of the things I gift may not be the most useful, especially with NO experience with babies outside of being a sitter in junior high/ high school. So when I ran across this post at Lilly and the Brothers (written by one of my favorite bloggers, Greta), I couldn’t have been happier with the timing. There, she linked to a list at doula Gloria Lemay’s blog of 10 things a family needs after a new birth — things like “come over at l0 a.m., make me eggs, toast and a 1/2 grapefruit. Clean my fridge and throw out everything you are in doubt about. Don’t ask me about anything; just use your best judgment”. A great set of ideas, yet not completely appropriate in my situation, as I live hours away from some of the expectant mamas in my life. So I look to you, faithful and awesome readers — what are some absolutely dynamite and fantastic gifts for new moms? — Megan B.

Image courtesy of Greta Eskridge

From our partners
Liz

You and some friends can get together and pay for a every-other-week cleaning service. My mom gave me 6 months of a cleaning service after both of my babies, and it was awesome. Another great gift was my neighbor who not only brought several dinners, but she made pancakes and pre-froze them individually. Any food you can eat with one hand is especially welcome, since often you are holding the baby while you eat.

Sarah L.

Package a movie night box — gift card to a nearby pizza place, snacks, etc — and mail it to the new Mom and Dad. Follow up with an email with a Netflix gift subscription (I think they still only do it by email but check). Makes for a perfect, I don’t have to lift a finger, night in.

How about, “Put (then watch) the baby on top of the gently-vibrating washing machine to lull him/her to sleep while I get the mopping done.”

In no particular order, my favorite (and most used) gifts were:

– gift cards for restaurant chains that deliver
– hand-held shower
– stamped thank you cards
– coffee

ginny

One of the best gifts we got was The Planet Sleeps CD. It has lullabies from around the world. It created such a peaceful vibe in the house. We always put it on at nap time, and she was always a good sleeper. I now include it with all new-mom gifts.

http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Sleeps-Various-Artists/dp/B0012GMXB0

You are not alone. There must be something in the water! Gift ideas… I may be unoriginal, but I like to give cash. I’ve been told the extra green helps out a lot.

Aimee

My sister just had her baby last week, and one of the more useful things they received (she had three huge baby showers also, so this is just hospital gifts) was a gift card to Friday’s so they could order dinner in some night and not have to worry about cooking.

I always give a new mom a vaporizer. I know… not glamorous or cute but I include a note telling them to call me the morning after the first use. I try to include a homemade baby quilt with it since they’re fairly inexpensive. I ALWAYS end up getting a tearful call of thanks within the first 3 months after they’re bundle of cuddles is sick with croup or a cold and they’ve been up all night. The doctor will inevitably tell them to use a vaporizer so the steam will help the breathing. No one wants to run out at midnight or 1 desperately looking for an all night pharmacy with a vaporizer nor do they want to sit up for hours in a steamy bathroom. This gift has never failed me. As I said the looks you’ll get at the shower may be strange but new mom will always tell me its the most valuable, thoughtful gift they got.

kara

I’ve got an 11month old and the one gift I use every day is an itzbeen timer. It’s so nice to just check to see when the last feed/diaper change/nurse was.

Susan

It takes some planning, but I’ve made baby quilts and given them to my friends that are expecting. I have fun making them and my friends have seemed to really be touched by the homemade gift. They may not be totally practical, but they are fun to give as gifts!

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Oh yeah, I almost forgot what *I* give.
Especially for first time parents, I make a zippered pouch and fill up up with the stuff that they’ll need for the first time the newborn isn’t feeling well. I include things that we had to do midnight runs for with our first, just because we didn’t have the supplies! The list of everything I put in is here: http://wp.me/puApE-c8 , which reminds me I have to make another for a March 5th arrival!

mostly, i’ve been giving sentimental gifts at showers, for one friend, i saved all the emails she sent me during her pregnancy, selected some choice quotes, illustrated them (i am an illustrator by trade, but you could certainly scrapbook them or use photos or whatever) and made her a giant memory book. the opening page was a letter to the new baby explaining how excited we were to meet him, even if the nine months before he arrives may have had some less fun moments (i chose to illustrate the mommy’s cravings, her shopping for maternity bras and her distress at leaving the wine behind…). it was fun for me and i think, fun for her. and it’s a nice kind of modern memory book, since it’s all from emails.

i also love to start building a baby’s library, choosing sentimental favorites of mine, and, if i know them, of the parent’s.

Moi

The most useful new-baby item I had (aside from naps and babysitting) is the book Baby 411. It has everything you need to know in basic Q & A format. No, I am not the author/publisher, its just a really great book. Its my go-to baby shower gift now.

Daffodil

As with hostess gifts, consumable gifts are wonderful presents for new babies. Diaper rash creams (Burt’s Bees is unbeatable!), infant medications, breast milk storage bags, lanolin cream for nursing moms, swanky baby toiletries, diaper pail liners, diapers — anything the new parents will use up is a winner. My other go-to gift is a Sleep Sack (http://tinyurl.com/lqkt3f). It’s a blanket that baby can’t kick off. Someone gave us one when our son was born and it was the best gift we got!

Don’t forget the older siblings! The cardinal rule when it comes to sibling gifts: Make sure it’s a gift that keeps the older child *quietly* occupied while mom and dad are busy with the new baby!

Food appropriate for a new nursing mom (not hard to digest, nutritious, easy to eat over a baby), some very nice nursing tops because it’s easy to feel frumpy, a big spray bottle of BacOut – an amazing ecologically gentle, natural stain remover that gets out poop and other materials from clothing and furniture and smells great, and isn’t poisonous; a Netflix account if she doesn’t have one, so she can stream movies while she nurses or holds a sleeping newborn; a post-natal massage (wish someone had given me this); some really nice moisturizer that she and the baby can both use, because it’s nice to smell like your baby.

Angela M.

My three favorite things.

Aden + anais blankets
http://www.adenandanais.com/

Beaba babycook
http://www.beabausa.com/

A Patemm pad changing mat
http://www.patemm.com/

k

Definitely nibbly snacks for mom. SOmething she can grab without thinking and eat whenever she gets a chance. I was just given a baby shower and while I love the sweet baby clothes everyone got, I am kind of bummed that nobody took me up on the “nursing snacks for me” suggestion I gave the hostess! Also, quick meals for the freezer; I made two bags of bean and cheese burritos for our freezer before my baby was born and they sustained me (three minutes in the microwave and I was eating). Bring by dinner. Feeding that tired mama is the best thing you can do.

c.

if you are nearby, definitely frozen homemade meals. frozen into portion sizes. soups/stews/chili are great.

another often overlooked gift – a gift certificate for a session with an IBCLC. even for moms who don’t have major breastfeeding issues, it is so helpful to get reassurance that you are doing everything right in those early days.

as far as things that i reached for the most, top three:

– the halo swaddle sleepsack was invaluable
– so was the white noise machine (there are white noise cell phone apps too)
– a moby wrap, or equivalent

if you have the money or it’s a close friend, consider splurging on a didymos or storchenwiege woven wrap. beautiful, and will be treasured and used for years.

kanoe baby hammocks are also a beautiful and unique gift.

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