When a baby is born, it is only natural to want to help. You want to do something, anything, because either you’ve experienced it firsthand or you’ve heard about the physical and emotional toll that comes along with bringing home a lumpy, needy meatball.
It is a beautiful thing, women helping women, but sometimes it’s hard to think of a way to help. What does she need? What will make a difference?
Here is a list of ten great ways to show mama some love. If you’re here for ideas, thank you for helping. You are a blessing. You are a saint. You will make her day.
A special thank you to those who have sent care packages, brought bags full of Trader Joe’s groceries, picked up my toddler to play for the morning, and other wonderful things since the baby’s been born. It is not polite to brag about your friends, but it’s worth mentioning that all that help and love makes a big difference in a person’s morale when you find yourself scooping poop out of the tub after a long day of crying.
As an aside, often when bloggers make gift guides they make them very beautiful and link to 65 dollar wooden rattles. I think this is wonderful (I like beautiful things), but realistically your new mom friend does not need a 65 dollar wooden rattle. Babies don’t need much of anything, which is why most of these gifts go to mama.
Spa Gift Certificate
Giving a new mom money for a manicure or pedicure is like giving her an open mouth kiss with Ryan Gosling. So fresh. So nice. My college friends rallied together to give me a whopping 100 dollars to spend on myself during pregnancy and after the baby was born and I have stretched that into three pedicures and one, wonderful eyebrow wax. Last week I left a 10 dollar tip on a 25 dollar pedicure because my feet were like dinosaurs and now they are like J-Lo’s bottom. Really, truly wonderful. A massage is also a great choice. What better way to say ”Congratulations for pushing a 9 pound child out of your vagina” than an hour alone, in the dark, having your shoulders rubbed.
Dropping off a meal for a new family is a really nice thing to do. Dropping off a bag of groceries is even nicer. Suggested drop off items: Fruit, bread, cheese, nuts, trailmix, homemade jam, white cheese popcorn, chocolate truffles, frozen pizza, chips, salsa, fresh vegetables, cranberry juice, soap, toothbrushes. This is, hands down, one of the best new mom gifts.
Out of town? Don’t live close by? Order a pizza at your new mama’s local pizza shop and have it delivered. Add garlic knots. Instant win.
Breastfeeding makes me very, very thirsty. The second the baby latches, my mouth turns to cotton and all I can think about is carnival lemonade. A fresh, new water bottle is a great way to stay hydrated on the go, but also at home when your toddler is jumping on the couch like a drunk midget and knocking down all your glasses.
One of the best gifts for a new mom is acts of service; gentle, no nonsense, quiet service. But there are rules. For example, don’t give a printed out coupon that says ”This coupon equals one dish washing experience!” or make statements such as, “Let me know when you’d like a load of laundry done!” Instead just do the dishes. Do the laundry. Make sure it’s a good time, yes. But don’t make a new mom ask for help, just help. Don’t bring your kids.
For moms having second babies, one of the greatest gifts is spending time with the older sibling(s). Pick them up! Give mom the morning off! It is a rare treat, that quiet. A treasure.
Netflix or Hulu Plus Gift Card
Feeding a baby takes time. Boost morale with some feeding entertainment, like the ability to watch favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix. Suggested TV binges: Mad Men, Parks & Rec, The Office, Downton Abbey, The New Girl, Parenthood, Modern Family.
Or drop off a few of your favorite chick flicks. The act (and the movies) will make her cry.
Extra iPhone Charger
When you are stuck on the couch feeding a baby and trying to survive toddler armageddon all day, that cell phone dies fast. Give mama some love with the convenience of an extra cell phone charger. It may seem like an odd gift, but not having to move that charger from room to room is one less thing to think about during the day. Bonus: find one that glows in the dark.
Nursing Tank Top
Newsflash: Most nursing bras are uncomfortable. Before I had a baby, I spent much time and money trying to find the perfect nursing bra, unaware that I would never wear one. Luckily the nursing tank top was invented. I live in these. I wear one to bed and change into another to wear all day long. Not only are they more comfortable, they are easier to maneuver and allow you to shed layers of clothes to feed without flashing your ta-tas. I have eleven. Mama can never have enough.
Every two hours I am looking for a burp cloth. I turn over all the pillows, look under all the toys. I send my toddler on a personal walkabout to find one and yet they disappear faster than you can say “old cheese smell.”
There are never, ever enough burp cloths.
Does this seem boring? It’s not boring. Diapers are expensive and always dangerously low for those of us who can’t stay on top of things and hate leaving the house. Order in bulk on Amazon and ship it right to mama. Easy, affordable, a God-send.
Getting a care package in the mail when you’re hibernating with needy spawn is a beautiful thing.
Thank you for loving on a new mama. It will come back to you in a good way.
You are loved.