Coming up with a gift for a new mum can be challenging. You don’t want to give them yet another present that’s actually for the baby. Or something they might not use for a while, like alcohol or fancy clothes or tickets to the theatre.
My daughter was born almost 7 years ago just before Christmas, so naturally, Christmas was all about her. Which was absolutely perfect. But since I’d grown a human being that year, I was dreaming of an inscribed necklace or maybe an eternity ring. Know what I got? Cutlery. From my partner who had been banging on for the past few months about how he didn’t like our cutlery. I actually loved our old set but I took the new one with me when I left him six months later. A little tip - don’t buy a present for your partner you actually wanted yourself if you’re in an unhappy relationship, or if you don’t want to be.
What do you buy a new mother though? You’re exhausted overwhelmed friend for whom life has completely changed in a way that no baby manual has ever really been able to assist with. It’s easy to buy for the baby. Actually, the challenge when it comes to baby gifts, is not buying everything. Perhaps that’s why new mums often seem to get the excess. At the time they may be glad of them. They’re even more obsessed with their baby than you, so a present for them feels as if it’s as much for you. However, I do remember getting a gift that was entirely for me after I had my baby. It was a box full of bath salts and facemasks and bath bombs. For those first few months, a bath was the only time I was ever alone and knowing that someone had been thinking of me and what I might need, made it that much more special.
What a new mother needs most is time but since that’s not something we can wrap up, here are a few ideas for gifts that might make that first few months of motherhood a little easier.
Before we get started though, another tip. Let your mum friend buy her own stretch mark cream. No one wants that as a gift. Never give a hormonal person something which suggests you’re assuming their body has been marked. It most likely has but it’s like when someone says they’ve gained weight, you don’t buy them a salad, you tell them they’ve never looked better.
Sleepless nights are guaranteed for any new mother. That and the loss of your arms. Whilst I learnt how to crack an egg one-handed, no new mother is able to turn book pages with a baby in their arms. Or keep their eyes drifting along the right lines with a wriggling babe in arms. Also, if you and your baby aren’t the only ones in the house then you may be hesitant to turn on lights or the television at night. Yet you have to stay awake. New mothers often glide around like ghosts, forgetful and losing their grip on the real world. Whilst physical exhaustion is overwhelming, there is often a strange longing for mental stimulation.
Sometimes another story is required. That’s why an Audible subscription is such a great present for a new mum. It takes away the balancing act of reading and the issue of light. All the new mummy will need to do when the baby starts crying is pop in the headphones (an added bonus) and resume whichever audiobook they have chosen to download that week. Yes, there’s an outdated idea that newborns should be treasured without distractions but the truth is, at feeding time, a relaxed mother equals a relaxed baby. Book an Audible subscription for a new mum and give them the soothing power of story.
If nighttimes are disrupted and daytimes are busy, then mornings are impossible. Before the days of being able to place your kid in front of Peppa Pig whilst you shower and blow-dry, measures must be taken. In that first year, dry shampoo is a girl’s best friend. It’s the only way to get out of the house to attend baby classes that for some crazy reason always seem to start at 9 am.
Dry shampoo is a quick fix and makes a great gift for a new mum. If you want to get a little more, then an energising eye roll can also be great to perk up a tired mummy in the mornings.
New mummies may still be going without life-saving caffeine. The loss of coffee for me was even worse than the loss of alcohol. It’s such a cruel part of motherhood that when you’re at your most tired you may be advised to abstain from coffee. Of course, this decision is an individual one. Some choose to drink coffee, some cut down and others feel better cutting it out completely. This decision is up to each mum and should be. However, whether your new mum friend is abstaining from caffeine or not, herbal teas may well be welcome.
Supermarket teas can be great but if you’re looking for a gift for a new mum, then why not treat them with a set of luxury herbal teas. It’s not just about the lack of caffeine, it’s about the calming qualities they claim to harness. Even if you have to put yours in the microwave three times until you get to sit down and drink it, a gift of a good herbal tea will eventually buy a new mum 2 minutes to herself.
Baby books are grand but, while you may not be surprised by how little time you have to complete them, you may be surprised that when you do you can’t remember all the details they require. Photobooks are the new baby books. So vouchers to put together photobooks are a great gift for a new mum. They can upload their photos, write in their text and create it in one night or over a period of months.
If you’re closer to the new mummy then you may be able to put together the book yourself as my mum did for me. That’s a tear-inducing gift indeed. If you don’t have all the best pictures though and the moment markers of the baby’s life so far, then vouchers so the new parents may create a photobook themselves are a great compromise.
I remember being asked if I wanted a dressing gown when I was pregnant. Foolishly I answered that I already had one. One! That idea seems hilarious now. The idea that one dressing gown would be enough!
Ok, so it’s not the 1950s, women don’t have to stay in the house with the baby anymore. Neither should they. Babies need fresh air and vitamin D. However, if we’re being realistic, a fair amount of time is spent indoors as a new mother and dressing is, frankly, a waste of time. Given how much a baby is likely to regurgitate their milk onto your clothes, a brimming draw of pyjamas and dressing gowns should not be sneered at.
Get your new mum friend the gift of new pyjamas or a warm soft dressing gown and they’ll definitely get lots of use out of them. Plus, the more they have, the less washing is necessary.