Your friend or relative just had a baby. You want to go visit, but don’t want to intrude. You want to help, but maybe you aren’t sure how. You want to bring a gift for the new baby and/or mom, but you aren’t quite sure what to bring. You could ask, but new moms are often overwhelmed by the first weeks of parenting, while also wanting to maintain a brave face to the outside world and are hesitant to ask for help or even be honest about what they really need. So, having now lived through three newborn phases myself and visited countless friends living through their newborn phases, I have compiled a list of the 6 best gifts for new moms.
6 Best Gifts for New Moms
Having now endured the early weeks with a newborn twice myself, I have brainstormed a list of gifts both that I received and LOVED, and those I wish I would have.
Check the baby registry
Most (if not all) first time moms will register and have a baby shower. However, that doesn’t mean by the time the baby comes they have received everything from it. Also, many baby items require regular replenishment – diapers, wipes, Diaper Genie refills, milk storage bags, breast pads – and those things add up quickly. You can check the registry both for any remaining items they wanted but didn’t receive, as well as to find out their brand preferences for the replenishable items, and show up with a case in hand when you visit. Not sure where they registered? Check RegistryFinder.com – they partner with major retailers, including Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and diapers.com. All you have to do is enter your friend’s name, and it will pull up a registry, if there is one still out there.
Babies might as well eat diapers. And for those who haven’t purchased diapers recently, they run $40-50 per case, or about $0.25 per diaper. Diapers and all their associated supplies (wipes, Genie refills, diaper ointment) can run upwards of $100+ a month per child. So unless your friend is cloth diapering (which we also highly recommend!), no parent will ever turn away a case of diapers. Check their registry to see what brand, variety they favor, and buy a size ahead of where you think their baby might be.
And if you really just want to be helpful and not impose on their time with a visit, go for a Ding Dong Diaper Ditch! But maybe skip actually ringing the doorbell – hell hath no fury like a sleep-deprived mama who’s baby gets woken up by the doorbell!
Burp Cloths and Bibs
I don’t know about y’all, but with every baby, I got literally dozens of receiving blankets – and other than my favorite aden + anais muslin swaddle blankets, which were actually big enough for a proper swaddle, I didn’t use or even open nearly all of them. What I really needed early on was more burp cloths, and then, a few months later, bibs.
One of my favorite baby gifts I ever received came from one of my husband’s co-workers – I fully credit his wife for the selection, and it is now one of my go-to baby gifts for friends. These are custom burp cloths from Silly Pickles. They are completely customizable, from name or monogram, to color and accent decorations. I got so many compliments on these, and the absorbency of the traditional cloth diaper base made them my first choice burp cloth whenever they were clean.
My other favorite which actually does double duty as a burp cloth AND a bib…aden + anais Classic Burpy Bib. These were awesome for bottle feeding – the bib goes all the way around, covering their shoulders, so it never misses a spit up in any direction. And when you are done, you can unsnap it and throw it over your shoulder to use as the burp cloth.
A Hot Meal
I was never more grateful for anything, than visitors who came with a meal… and the best were those that came in disposable dishes, complete with salad, dessert and maybe even a bottle of wine! As a sleep-deprived, breast feeding mama, I was constantly ravenous, with no time to go to the store, let alone cook a decent meal. I was so appreciative of the lunches my girlfriends brought when they visited, and the dinners friends and neighbors brought by.
If you want to really help your friend out, organize a MealTrain. It’s a FREE website that allows the meals’ recipient to input their food preferences, frequency of delivery, and other necessary details. Then, the link to their calendar can be shared via email and social media – anyone who wants to bring a meal can sign up for a date. The family never ends up with wasted food, or an overstocked freezer, but receives regular, homecooked meals from all their friends.
I never realized how few hours there were in a day until I had kids – and even being awake for more of them than ever, I still never got everything done… errands collect, days pass without a shower, the fridge sits empty. Rather than arriving with material gifts, the gift of your time can be a godsend to a new mother. If she has an older child, offer to take them out or for a play date with your child for a few hours. If you are coming to visit, ask if there is anything you can pick up for her – lunch, diapers, milk and eggs at the grocery store, or if you’re a really amazing friend – jumbo size super absorbent pads that she just ran out of and her husband won’t have a clue which ones are right. Or show up, and offer to sit with the baby for half an hour while she showers. A long, hot uninterrupted shower, even with a toddler and a preschooler now, still feels like a trip to a day spa!
All of these gifts were of such incredible value to me in those first few weeks home with new babies. The stuffed animals and cutesy outfits are cute, but the 6 gifts above are the best gifts a new mom will never ask for, but desperately needs.
What was your favorite new baby gift? What gift did everyone bring you in duplicates that you didn’t actually need or use? For more baby recommendations, check out my Favorite Things series and How We Survived 2 Under Two. You can also find all of these and our favorites from around the web on my What to Expect board on Pinterest.