We've all been wooed by teeny, tiny baby sneakers or an oh-so-soft teddy, but once the baby arrives, those fun items suddenly seem much less important than the practical ones. If you want to shower an expectant mother in your life with love, here are 17 gift ideas that don’t necessarily involve more stuff for her to keep track of.
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Gifts of Nourishment
It’s true that moms are superheroes, but even superheroes need to eat. New moms often barely have time to eat, let alone prepare themselves healthy meals. It’s critical that family and friends step in to fill the gap.
“The most supportive thing a woman and her partner can receive in those wild and unpredictable early days postpartum is the thing that can most easily fall through the cracks: food,” writes Heng Ou in her book The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother. “If sustenance keeps coming, the challenges of suddenly having a baby are daunting, but doable. If it doesn’t – everything’s tougher.”
In the spirit of that quote, here are some ways you can provide a new mama with sustenance.
Provide the Whole Family with a Nourishing Meal
Ensuring healthy meals for mom (and the rest of her family) is so important. When I had my first child, I didn’t even have to think about cooking for weeks because of friends and family who brought us meals – it truly was a blessing. Not to mention all the delicious soup, pasta, and homemade bread I got to eat!
If you’re not able to cook something yourself because of time or distance, there are numerous ways to get delicious food to a new mama’s door. Check out this roundup of the best postpartum meal delivery services from Parents (prices range from $7 to $13 per serving), or try Ou’s own company MotherBees.
It can also be a huge relief for an expectant mother to know a friend is organizing a meal train for her. My church uses the free website Take Them A Meal – it makes everything easy to keep track of. Take Them A Meal also offers Send Them a Meal so that friends and family who live far away can participate in the meal train!
Satisfy the New Mama’s Postpartum Cravings
If you know your friend has a favorite restaurant meal she’ll be craving after delivery, treat her to a DoorDash or UberEats gift card – you’ll be her new favorite person. Maybe she’ll share her Chick-fil-A nuggets with the rest of the family, maybe she won’t – it’s her prerogative!
A Snack Basket Is Always Appreciated
Breastfeeding moms often joke that hunger during pregnancy is nothing compared to hunger while breastfeeding. Bring the new mom a basket of goodies that she can keep by her bed or in the nursery so that she’s never lacking energy. If you’re not sure where to start, look for snacks that are high in protein, like Larabars, sunflower seeds, or trail mix. Dried fruit and dark chocolate are good options too. Bonus points if you decide to make the snacks yourself. I’m partial to these peanut butter chocolate chip lactation bites.
Gifts of Time
Do you know the main thing that moms with new babies lack? Time! Well, time and sleep (but you can’t do her sleeping for her).
There’s no way around it – feeding your baby is a full-time job, and for the breastfeeding mom, there’s no one else who can do it. That naturally means less time for all the household chores that have to happen. Here are a few ways you can help out your favorite moms during the newborn stage.
Send a Cleaning Professional To Save the Day
My house was definitely not its cleanest in the weeks after I had my daughter. A dear friend hired a cleaning professional through Angi to get our home back in tip-top shape. Depending on the services provided and the size of the house, such a gift would likely range between $100 and $200. If you’re wondering how to get in touch with a cleaner you can trust, check out this helpful article from Forbes.
Help Mom With Household Tasks
Moms of newborns don’t need you to come over and hold the baby – they need someone to fold the laundry and load the dishwasher while they hold the baby! This can be especially helpful if the new mom is on bed rest; just the knowledge that someone cleaned up can be a huge relief. If you want to be extra cutesy, make the new mama a chore coupon book with options for “1 kitchen cleanup” or “1 carpet cleaning,” but let her know you’ll do whatever is needed, of course!
Drop Off Groceries To Keep Her Fridge Stocked
Brand-new moms often don’t have time for cooking, let alone making it to the grocery store with a baby in tow. There are multiple ways you can help a mom of a newborn keep her fridge stocked. Tell her to give you a list of what she needs or offer to be the pickup person for her online grocery order.
If you live far away from the new mama, don’t fret! Send her an Instacart gift card or have a grocery order dropped off at her door – she’ll be so thankful!
Occupy Older Siblings While Mom Bonds With Baby
Moms can feel pulled in a million different directions when caring for both a newborn and older children. If mom is comfortable with it, offer to take the older siblings on an outing, or just sit with them and watch a movie at home. That way mom can bond with her newest addition without interruptions.
Give the Gift of Memories With a Shutterfly Gift Card
What new mom doesn’t want all the pictures of her little one? Especially in our age of digital images, it’s easy to forget the magic of having photos to display IRL. I’m partial to Shutterfly, but a gift card to any photo printing company will make mom’s day. Shutterfly also frequently discounts their photo books, which are a great way to keep glossy prints all in one place!
Help Mama Stay Organized With Baskets and Bins
As a new mom, I’ve received several thoughtful gift baskets of baby essentials. But do you want to know what items I’ve found most essential? The baskets and bins that the goodies came in! A mom can never have too many bins – there’s always so much stuff to wrangle. There are lots of options from The Home Edit’s line of organizational tools at Walmart, like these modular bins ($19.96 for two) or these cabinet/drawer organizers ($23.91 for four). Or you can pick something more decorative like these woven nesting baskets ($22.59 for three).
Say No to Mold With Fun Bath Toys
Bathtime can be a really special part of baby’s nightly routine for both parents. But many bath toys are known for being breeding grounds for mold – yuck! Keep the mold at bay with anti-mold bath toys. Walmart has many colorful options, including Munchkin CleanSqueeze Mold-Free Ocean Bath Squirts ($11.17 for four) and Ubbi Interchangeable Mold Free Bath Toys ($9.99 for four).
Give the Gift of “New” With Subscription Boxes
If there’s something you like, chances are there’s a subscription service for it – and that goes for baby items too. Lovevery offers play kits for ages 0-4 that are tailored to each age’s developmental needs. Gifting Lovevery starts at $80, and you can read more about the options on this webpage.
Other subscription services you can gift to a new mama include Little Poppy Co., which sends the wee one three hair bows each month; Panda Crate, KiwiCo’s toy subscription box for ages 0-2; and Tiny Organics, which delivers low-sugar baby and toddler food.
Wrap Baby Up in Warm Winter Gear
We’ve all seen the videos of Danish moms leaving their babies in strollers outside for their afternoon naps. It’s shocking for us U.S.-based parents, in part because we’re used to baby clothes made of thin cotton and polyester. For moms in colder climates, consider getting them baby clothes made of extra warm materials like organic wool. Vermont-based company Danish Woolen Delight sells items like a balaclava to keep baby’s ears warm or these adorable baby booties.
Make Sure No Milk Goes To Waste With These Breastfeeding Accessories
The number of breastfeeding aids and accessories on the market can be overwhelming to new moms, especially moms who feel the pressure to build a stash of breast milk before returning to work. Pick up some fan favorites for mom to try out, like the Haakaa Generation 1 Silicone Breast Pump ($12.94 at Walmart) or the Haakaa Ladybug Silicone Breast Milk Collector ($35.98 for two).
Gifts Just for Mom
Help Mom Relax With a Soothing Massage
What mom doesn’t want a mini spa day? Make sure she pampers herself with a gift card for a massage. Choose a national chain like Massage Envy or a local spa you love. This gift is great for an expectant mother or a mom whose baby is old enough that she can leave him or her for a few hours.
Give Her Pajamas a Refresh
New moms sure spend a lot of time in pajamas, so make sure those jammies are cute and comfy! Hill House Home is a loungewear brand that is having a moment, partly due to the popularity of the Nap Dress. Check out Hill House Home’s pajamas and robes here. If you feel confident picking out the new mama’s size and style, go for it, or get her a digital gift card, available in increments of $50.
I’m also a big fan of Milkmaid Goods Mommy & Me sets, which include a robe for mom and a swaddle and bow or hat for baby. I received a Mommy & Me set as a gift and loved that the robe is technically a wrap dress. For those of us who feel weird about having visitors while in our pajamas, a wrap dress versus a robe can make all the difference!
Put Together a Care Package With Mom’s Favorite Things
While everyone else is buying things for the new baby, make sure to show mama a little love with a sweet care package. Get her favorite candy, some herbal tea, a pretty journal, cute scrunchies, and whatever else you think she’ll enjoy. If you’re far away from the new mama you’re thinking of, you can send a gift box. I’m partial to Virginia Dare Dress Co.’s thoughtful packages. Check out their selection here.
The Baby Registry Exists for a Reason
Lastly, if a mom has gone to the trouble of creating a baby registry, buy her something off of the registry! She doesn’t need another cutesy sign to hang in baby’s nursery or a set of sassy onesies; she needs the practical items like diapers, wipes, and crib sheets, so be a gift hero and opt for one of those!
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