When a woman has a new baby, friends and family usually all rush to buy the small infant an array of the usual suspects: swaddle cloths, tiny clothes, booties, a soft toy. And whilst these items are definitely cute – here’s a suggestion that is way more useful and will definitely be gratefully received – skip the baby present and give your new mum friend the gift instead.
Newborns don’t need more gifts
Truthfully, babies don’t need much “stuff” aside from some nappies, some boobs and a few clothes. It’s so easy to sink money into all that gorgeous cute baby stuff, but it really isn’t necessary. Babies don’t know enough to appreciate it, but their mothers, on the other hand, will definitely appreciate a kind and thoughtful gift.
What I do when friends and family have a baby
I go to a craft store and buy a pretty, empty cardboard box – but really, any small box is fine. Inside the box I fill it with a collection of things just for the new mother. Things that will come in handy; things that I wished I had in the early days myself; things she probably wouldn’t think to buy herself.
My must-have inclusions are:
- Soft fluffy socks to wear around the house.
- Natural gentle face wipes for an easy-to-manage refresh when sleep deprivation has her feeling the opposite.
- A big box of muesli bars for breastfeeding munchies.
- Chamomile tea to calm nerves.
- Breath mint sheets so she can enjoy fresh breath even on days when tooth-brushing may get skipped.
- Beautiful-smelling body wash so she can feel luxurious even though truthfully she’s beyond tired.
- Chocolate, because – chocolate.
Rather than buying something for the baby, I gift them this mum-saving box instead. I usually pair it with a simple meal that can be frozen and eaten later, too. If there’s a toddler at home as well, I will often add a sheet of stickers because they’re time consuming and great value. When I drop off the box, I do any dishes in the sink and hang out any laundry that needs attending to.
Nothing beats practical support
Having had four children myself, I cannot emphasise the difference it made to my life and the life of our entire family unit when friends brought around practical gifts in the form of baked goods or even some new pyjamas or chocolate, and helped with the housework a little so I could heal and rest. To be thought of and considered in that way really made me feel supported and cared for, so I was then able to keep on keeping on.
Kindness makes a big difference
Because honestly, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re having your first, second, third or fourth baby – each and every time you become a mother again, it feels all new. There are new challenges and often it becomes harder to prioritise your own needs because you’re outnumbered by children. So kindness by way of a little post-natal care box can make a really big difference.
Too often in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, new mothers are forgotten about. When we add to our brood we are immediately supposed to understand how to juggle everyone’s needs seamlessly, including our own.
So it feels really really good when we are supported by our tribe in meaningful ways that extend way beyond some tiny baby clothes or a little toy that our newborn can’t even hold yet.
Give the gift that allows her to keep on giving
Mothers are often overworked and under-appreciated, so try this idea next time a woman near you has a new baby. I can tell you right now that she will feel like she has been noticed, she will feel loved and that gratitude and sense of worthiness will propel her through the rest of the week as she navigates motherhood again. And you will hold a special place in her heart.