A lot of people like to paint a rosy picture of labor and delivery. It is a beautiful thing, and I look back on the births of my three boys with a smile…because you just forget how bad it is! 🙂 The harsh reality that few people will spell out for you is that between colic, cluster feedings, living on 3 hours of sleep a night, bleeding like a gunshot victim from your lady parts for a month, and stitches “down there,”…new moms do not have it easy, and they NEED to be pampered.
I was blessed with beautiful, wonderful gifts before and after my boys were born, but honestly…the last thing I cared about while nursing my baby with bleeding nipples, sitting in a chair…on an ice pack…and a pillow… was fashionable teething jewelry or a trendy $200 diaper bag. I was just trying to survive. 🙂
Here’s the real, BS-free list of what to get a new mom, that will make her smile through the hormonal tears. 🙂
For me, it was impossible to get a home cooked meal on the table for about the first two weeks. I remember passing through the kitchen, not having showered for a day or two, just shoving cookies in my mouth or downing a soda just for some quick energy. A new mom is healing, and she needs to eat well. Bring her easy things that you’ve already cooked and frozen like soups and casseroles. Things that even dad can help prepare easily. Fruit and veggies that you’ve already washed and cut up. Little sandwiches on buns that you’ve already put together that she can just grab and go, and munch on while feeding baby.
2. HOUSE CLEANING SERVICES.
Go in on this one with a couple girlfriends and share the cost if you need to, but this is one gift that might just make a new mom cry happy tears. 🙂 I cannot even explain how amazing it is to come home from the hospital to an immaculately clean, dusted, mopped, sparkling home. Having a professional cleaning service come in will be a huge help to a new mom (and really the entire family). Professional cleaners in my area run anywhere from $45-$85 per hour, with an average two story home taking about 3-4 hours for a deep clean. The results are priceless.
3. SALON OR SPA SERVICES.
New moms can always benefit from a pick me up…a new cut or color, or a massage, mani or pedi. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery really give her body a beating. Surprise her with a gift certificate to her favorite salon or spa. Better yet, offer to babysit while she gets away from the chaos for a little while. The main idea here is complete pampering and relaxation…away from kids and recharging her inner battery.
4. YOUR OWN TWO HANDS.
Everybody says to new moms, “Call me if you need anything.” But very few people would actually call you up and say, “I have a sink full of dishes, will you please come do them for me?” So, if it’s a good friend and you aren’t completely over stepping your boundaries, call her and say something like this, “I have two hours free and I’d like to come do the dishes for you, fold a couple loads of laundry, and walk your dogs.” Be specific that you’re here to help for a set amount of time, and let her know that this is NOT an imposition for you, it’s something you want to do. If she is wiling to speak up and ask you to help with something specific, even better. She will really appreciate your help and your willingness to follow through on your offers.
5. AN iPAD.
(If she doesn’t already have one)
Ok, so this is a BIG ticket item…and I suggest going in on this and sharing the cost with some friends. But, this is an amazing gift for the new mommy. My husband got me an iPad for a push present/birthday gift with #2, and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I watched too many movies to count in the middle of the night while feeding the little Pumpkin. It’s so easy to surf the internet with one hand while rocking a baby. And there are so many great mommy apps…contraction and kick counters while still preggo, baby apps when your little one has arrived, apps to organize your life, movies and games for older kids. An iPad is seriously one mommy tool that I would go crazy without. I’m even blogging on it right now! 😉
6. SOMETHING FOR DAD, AND THE OTHER KIDDOS.
Those first few days home from the hospital are ALL…ABOUT…THE BABY. I know in our home, it was pretty chaotic, and I felt like I was being pulled in 4 different directions. I felt like the new baby and I were in our own little bubble, and like I was neglecting everyone else (even though that wasn’t true). It brought tears to my eyes when one of my dear friends brought gifts not only for the new baby, but iTunes gift cards for his teenage brother, as well… And Starbucks gift cards for my hubby to use while he’s working. It made my older son feel so special to be acknowledged. And with number three, some of my husband’s coworkers had the brilliant idea of buying clothing that actually currently fit baby #2, knowing that baby #3 would soon get to enjoy them, too. I thought this was a genius, double-duty gift. And for dad, some of his fave stout beer, some guy magazines, and beef jerkey are always a great idea. 😉
Last but not least…not even kinda least…no where even close to least…yes, booze. But not in a desperate alcoholic sort of way. Here’s the deal…I love wine and I love cocktails and drink recipes, and all of the above. 9 months is a LONG time to go without my favorite Malbec…no margs with Mexican food, no boat drinks, no beer at the breweries… You get the picture. Now that a little bit of drinking is back on the table, give her a sampling of the faves that she’s been missing for the better part of a year. 🙂
Stick to this list, and the new mom in your life will be eternally grateful for making her life a lot easier! You literally CANNOT go wrong with these really thoughtful, heartfelt gifts. 😉