Kami Wells, Wholesale Director, Milk Snob
All new mamas deserve a heaping pile of gifts when they arrive home from the hospital. After all, they are super heroes ! They have just completed a marathon of sorts - 40 weeks of carrying a little one and handling all the aches, pains, swelling and discomfort that comes along with it. But now, they have crossed the finish line and received their prize - their new bundle of joy. Chances are that they have a lot of the essentials - blankets, diapers, baby car seat cover, but if you’re like me, you still want to find something special to bring to the new family. Not only do you have the excitement of giving a gift that you know the new mama will love, but buying a gift is also an excuse to get over and meet the new baby. There is truly nothing like some newborn snuggles to make your day! At the same time, though, you’re stumped on what that perfect gift would be. I always catch myself thinking, “What if she already has this?” or “I don’t want to overwhelm her!” or “What if this doesn’t match the nursery?” There are so many unknowns that can make this joyous gifting occasion a little intimidating. Let me give you some tips in finding the greatest gifts that all the brand new moms in your life will love!
Practical Is Best!
So much time and energy goes into caring for the new baby that many new parents struggle to simply take care of themselves when everyone is home from the hospital. No sooner has the car seat cover come off than there is a dirty diaper or a feeding needs to happen or a visitor is at the front door. Only new parents will understand how luxurious a hot shower or a freshly emptied dishwasher is. Simple tasks like cooking and cleaning become almost impossible when their world is flipped upside-down with the arrival of the new babe. This is why simple and practical gifts are perfect. Maybe you can stop by and volunteer to do the dishes every afternoon for a few days or maybe you could take a load of laundry to your house to wash, dry and fold it for the new family. If you are not close by or can’t give that time yourself, you could hire a cleaning service to do the family’s laundry and dishes for a week. Eating is another big one. Do the new parents have any family in town? Are meals being taken care of? Simple meals - a pot of chicken noodle soup or a pan of lasagna - can communicate your love and care. If you bring a meal, try to bring it in something they don't have to worry about getting back to you. That might mean a disposable pan or it might mean that you tell them to leave the dishes and you will be back tomorrow morning to pick them up. The last thing a new mom wants to stress about is if they got you back the right casserole dish. Maybe you’re not the best cook. That’s okay. We have DoorDash and Uber Eats. Find a way to cover a meal and I promise you, the new parents won’t care that it’s not homemade. If you can’t do a meal, how about dropping off a coffee or delivering a smoothie to the new mama? These simple gestures will be forever remembered by couples who are in the chaotic early days of a new baby. Another great way to incorporate others is to organize weekly dinners using a Meal Train website. You can post the Meal Train on social media and get neighbors, co-workers, family, and friends to help out. This will ensure that the family has meals spread over a period of time. You can also see any dietary restrictions the family has and what meals have been taken to them so that they aren’t eating pasta 5 nights in a row. When a new baby gets home, oftentimes pets get overlooked. Is there a dog that needs to be walked? Or a cat that needs some attention? Offering to look after animals is a very practical way to alleviate the new mom guilt that will be rampant. Arrange to meet the pet and get familiar with them before the baby comes so that it is less stressful for the animal during the transition. Another group that might need extra attention with the arrival of a new baby are older siblings. Taking the kid(s) out to a park or on a lunch date to Chick-fil-A is a win-win. Not only do the kids get to have some special time with friends, but the parents will get to have one-on-one time with the new little one. Even packing a craft or bringing over bubbles, coloring pages and snacks to entertain an older sibling at their house is a great and practical way to demonstrate care to a new mom. While thinking through practical ways to bless a new mama and family, don’t forget about things like mowing the lawn, shoveling the front walk, or even helping put up Christmas decorations. It’s these little things that get overlooked but can be a big help to a family who suddenly have their hands full with a newborn.
Other practical considerations include family members who might be coming in from out of town. Do they need to be picked up from the airport? Do they have a place to stay? Helping transport new grandma and grandpa from the airport or even offering up your spare room for a night or two are big ways that you can love on new parents. There is usually an influx of guests right at the beginning. Seek to coordinate with one of these guests so that deliveries of food and gifts come at convenient times.
If the new mama had a C-section, the most practical thing that you can do is offer to help drive her if she ever needs to get to an appointment or a need arises in the first six weeks. Once the flurry of company goes back home, there can be gaps that need to be filled. C-section mamas might also need help lifting. Sure, you can’t be on standby 24/7, but if you know that she will need help after her own mom leaves, you can look at your schedule and plan to be more present in the weeks after the baby comes home.
Gifts That Grow With The Babe!
As tempting as it is to buy the smallest, cutest outfit at the store, a great tip is to buy items that can be useful as the baby grows. The Milk Snob Calm 'n Cuddle Pacifier makes an incredible gift because they are designed for babies 0-6 months. The soft, 100% medical grade silicone material is peace of mind for the mom and soothing comfort for the baby. I would also recommend gifting The Original Milk Snob Cover to any new mom. Not only is the Cover great for breastfeeding moms, but it is also a stylish car seat cover, high chair cover, swing cover and shopping cart cover as the baby grows. My favorite part about gifting a Milk Snob Cover is picking out the perfect print to match the mom’s style or the baby’s nursery. Whether you choose a simple neutral or a colorful character print, she will love it! Don’t forget to throw in a Milk Snob Cubby for the diaper bag, as well! Most of the gifts that a new mom will receive are all for the first couple of months of the baby’s life. Those are the items that get the most attention on a registry. But what about items for when the baby grows? You might revisit the registries that the mama-to-be created and see if there is anything that wasn’t purchased that you know she will need. Or better yet, shoot her a text and ask, “What would be most helpful to receive as a gift?” The answer might surprise you.
Pamper Time! (And I Don’t Mean Diapers)
In the process of becoming a mom, it’s easy to forget what it feels like to be pampered. Everything revolves around the timelines and milestones of pregnancy and birth. You can become so engrossed in making sure that your baby is taken care of that you forget to practice a little self-care and stop to do something for yourself. That’s why it’s a great idea to spoil that new mom with a gift just for her. As much as she loves her new baby, a few moments away are always deeply refreshing! Here are a few self-care items that make great postpartum gifts:
- A giftcard to her favorite nail salon. The farther along you get in pregnancy, the harder it is to paint your toenails and after the baby comes, the less time you have to make that appointment. But if someone makes it for you, it’s harder to argue with it. Allow yourself to be pampered with some care and enjoy that massage chair while you’re at it. Another idea for a giftcard might be to her favorite boutique. The postpartum days will have the new mom adjusting to many things and having the option to get something new to wear that she feels good in is a nice way to spoil her. What about a giftcard to her favorite ice cream shop? A little treat will give her a reason to get out of the house and enjoy some alone time by herself.
- An electric back massage pillow. Stress and sleep deprivation are REAL! A relaxing massage is never a bad idea, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. There are great models on the market at a variety of price points, so don’t get intimidated if the first one you look at is out of your price range. The new mom will thank you when she gets to sit down and enjoy a nice massage in the comfort of her own home.
- A basket with all sorts of goodies like bath bombs, face masks, and candles. My favorite brand is Sunflower Motherhood. They have a whole collection of postpartum boxes curated specifically for new moms. Something as small as a beautiful candle can feel extra special, so think through scents that would be enjoyed.
- A Newborn Blanket. So much about the early days of newborn life is sleeping wherever you can. It might be the couch or maybe a glider in the nursery, but having a soft and cozy blanket to wrap up in can bring a lot of comfort. As the baby grows, the blanket can be used for tummy time.
- Adult conversation. Once a new baby enters the world, everything reorients to orbit around them. In the first days, this is all mama can think about, but after a few weeks or months, it gets a little lonely. Adult conversations are a luxury and much needed to break the monotony of eat, diaper, sleep, repeat. Sharing experiences or even getting some advice from a seasoned mom is a treasure to those who are new at it. To veteran mamas bringing home a baby, having an adult present to talk about current events, pop culture or even the new goodies out at Target is a mini vacation. Don’t underestimate what happens when you show up - just you.
- Snack basket. What are the new mom’s favorites? Put together a basket of her favorite grab and go items and then she can slip it beside her bed or in a corner of her kitchen and get a treat whenever she needs a pick-me-up. Think through breakfast bars, fruit, trail mix packets, mini candy bars, chewing gum. This is a fun way to say to her, “ I see you! Have a treat.” Nursing moms will especially need to up their calorie count and so be mindful of nutrient dense snacks and what will work best for the individual situation.
- New pajamas and slippers. A lot of time will be spent in bed or around the house, establishing new rhythms and routines. Having a new pair of pajamas is a kind way to bring some luxury to the everyday. Think about loose fitting, soft items that will accommodate nursing (if the new mom is nursing). You want to find something that the mama will feel good in and something that she can easily toss in to wash when it gets spit up on. As far as some slippers go, find something that is easy to get on and off. It might be a while before “real shoes” are worn, so look for something that can be worn around the house and to make short trips to the mailbox or down the street to the pharmacy.
- Big water cup. Yes, I believe in the Stanley Quencher. It is a great way to stay hydrated all day and something about the design doesn’t make it seem like you are drinking 40 oz of water. There are many colors available and you can order one online or by going to retailers like Target or Dick’s Sporting Goods. It is an easy way to make sure mama is getting enough water and it is convenient to grab and take with you on errands. It fits in your cupholder.
The icing on the cake for any gift is a card! Be sure to find a card that will make her smile, laugh, or even cry (she’ll blame the hormones!). She might not be able to read the card right then or she might not even remember that you stopped by, but your card will remind her of your presence. When the fog lifts after those opening weeks, she will be able to go back and re-read the card and she will be able to hang on to it for years to come. I can assure you that your words will mean more to her than any gift. She deserves to know just how incredible she is! There will be moments of extreme overwhelm, fear, stress, sadness, joy…all the things. Hearing from you that you are here for her and will be there for her if she ever needs you will mean more to her than she can say. A new mom might struggle to tell you what she needs, probably because she is not quite sure of it herself, but you doing anything for her - no matter how small - will mean more than she can say. Don’t feel constrained by a small budget or by having your own kids to care for - whatever you can do in your season of life will be the best gift that you can give. There are all sorts of ways that you can show up and be present and new parents need to know that they have people on their team. So take this list and think about the new mom in your life. It will become clear what she needs most.