Sure, you could send some cute baby clothes, babies definitely need those. But these are my five favorite outside-the-box new mom gifts.
If you know a new mom, I’m willing to bet she’d appreciate one or all of the following . . .
Not a baby shower, an actual shower. This is perhaps the best and most unexpected gift I have ever received. In. My. Life.
Betty was born when Jack was 19 months old. Eventually my parents left and the husband went back to work. And there was just me, trying to figure out how to manage myself, the house, and two littles. One morning, there was a knock at the door and it was my little sister, who had found herself with a half-an-hour between appointments and thought she’d drop by to see if I wanted to take a shower.
Yes. Yes, I did.
You probably have to be pretty close to the new mom for this one to be appropriate. But if you are, it’s pretty amazing.
New motherhood can be an emotional roller coaster. For me, after my third was born, the thing that threatened to push me right over the edge was not having anything to wear.
After the baby is born, I really hate having to still wear maternity clothes. People need jeans. It is a fact. Not fitting in to jeans is very depressing.
But of course, you don’t want to spend the money to buy a new pair of jeans in a size that is NOT your size. Which is why someone else should insist that you do it, or just do it for you.
After my third baby was born in the winter in Chicago, my husband gave me a pair of jeans that fit right then. It changed my whole outlook. I highly recommend it.
And it wasn’t a total waste. They came in handy at the beginning of my next pregnancy, and after, and repeat . . .
I guest posted about this a while back over at Carrots for Michaelmas (see that post here), but it’s important enough to repeat:
Bring a meal to someone you know who just had a baby. All the someones you know who just had a baby. Even if you don’t know them that well. It is a really beautiful gift to a new mom to not have to figure out how to feed her family that evening.
This time around, I was especially grateful that so many people who brought us meals included fresh vegetables and salads. I prepared and froze a bunch of meals ahead of time as well, but those tend to be pastas and casseroles that I can easily throw in the oven. I may have been around the block a few times on this new baby thing, but even I can’t chop up vegetables for a salad one-handed. And with all the sweets around over the holidays . . . I really appreciated being able to eat a salad with dinner!
“But I bring new moms meals all the time,” you say. “How can I be much, much awesomer than that?” Here’s how: bring a meal in AND take the kids out. After I had my fourth, my friend Angela surprised me by offering to do just that.
She came by in the morning, took my other three kids to her house for the day (even the toddler!) and brought them back in the afternoon along with dinner. I got to snuggle with the new baby in peace and quiet. Epic.
She lived close by, is a fellow homeschooler, and has older kids, all of which make such an offer more manageable. I’m at the point now that it’s not necessary, my older kids are helpful bordering on necessary-for-survival when I have a new baby. But back then, when my other kids were 2, 4, and 5, it was wonderful.
Over the course of seven babies, we have received dozens of lovely and thoughtful baby gifts. The lovely and thoughtful people who have sent them to us have not always received a thank you note in return.
Not because I don’t appreciate the gift, of course, but because new babies being what they are, it’s awfully hard to get thank you notes written. And find the address. And a stamp. And THEN remember to get them in a mailbox.
So, if you have sent a gift to me, or any other new mom and did not receive a formal, written acknowledgment of that gift, please allow me to say: Thank you so very much. We really loved it. Sorry you didn’t get a proper note. Your generous overlooking of etiquette is yet another gift.
So those are mine. How about you? Did you ever give or receive an outside-the-box new mom gift?
I gave my sister-in-law a gift certificate for an hour-long massage after her first was born. It was a double present because the masseuse was a friend of mine, so she appreciated the business!
My mom and a friend of hers started a ministry back when I was in school (like real school before homeschooling and then college) called the Good Samaritans. They would cook meals for new moms, families who's parents were ill, etc… That was a real blessing to help with.
~ Country Girl's Daybook
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I'm definitely agree about the meals AND about including salad and veggies with the meal. New moms needs their veggies and including them is awesome!
I also agree on taking hte kids for the day. I've had friends do that, and it is wonderful..especially since we homeschool, so getting the older ones out of the house while I snuggle with the baby is priceless.
I have also really enjoyed getting gift cards…..I've gotten clothing gift cards and restaurant gift cards/take-out gift cards, and they have all been appreciated so much! Clothing store gift cards are great to buy new clothes and restaurant gift cards are great for meals.
When my second child was born, my daughter was 22 months old. We had friends from church deliver nightly meals for THREE weeks and two different friends took my daughter for play dates that turned into overnights! Sooo very nice.
Love this! I would choose all of those 🙂 In fact, my birthday was a week after my son was born and all I wanted for my birthday was a shower. That's all I got. lol
And the meals. I always make meals for new moms now because of how helpful that was for us.
Great suggestions!! At one of my baby showers the host bought a box of lovely thank you cards and set them on a table with pens and a roll of stamps. She had each guest write their address on one of the envelopes and stamp it. Then she recorded what each person gave me on a piece of paper. When it came time for me to send my thank you cards half the work was done for me. I was able to jot down a couple sentences to each person and send then off. 🙂
Thank you for #5. I told my husband that I didn't want any meals this time because I was so embarrassed that I hadn't succeeded in getting thank yous out for all the meals that we received when our last child was born. I appreciated the meals, but I just didn't have time to write.
Great list! I've tried to do the shower one but moms I know (mostly first-time moms, I'm thinking it will change when they have more) act like they have it all under control. Maybe some do, but I know most don't. 🙂 I can say that because I used to act like I knew what I was doing too.
Anyway-if you are dropping off a meal, I like to call or text and ask them if there is anything they need me to grab at a store on the way over. Caffeine? Diapers? Pads? Anything.
And I completely agree with #5. I am a huge thank you note writer so it's hard for me to NOT write a thank you note (so I did for my two and I'm sure I will for future kids), but I try to tell any new mom I bring a gift or dinner to, that a thank you note isn't required. If I mail a gift (like to OOT family), I just ask that you text me that you got it. I want to make sure you got the gift!
One thing I would add too: don't overstay when you are dropping off a meal. Oh, and call or text first with a "I'm stopping by soon" warning. Please! Maybe this is a 'what not to do' list. I feel like you may have written a post about that before too…
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES! These are all awesome gift suggestions.
After Gabriel was born, a mom I didn't know very well offered to take my girls for an afternoon. She was a woman of faith with 5 girls of her own, so the only thing that held me back was my feelings of independence. (I can do ALL THE THINGS.) She insisted and it was a truly blissful afternoon. When she brought them back I thanked her effusively, to which she replied, "No, thank YOU for the opportunity to serve." What an awesome experience all around.
Taking the older kids out to do something would be great!! And if everyone in my extended family pitched in and got me a housecleaning service (or just a one time clean) I would die from happiness!
I love this. Especially the no thank you note one. I almost feel like I would rather cook my own meal then write out a thank you note (not really, but it's close). One of the great things about an email meal train is you can easily type out a quick thank you. And I may need to enact the email thank you policy for gifts from now on too.
About the thank you cards — we did a combo birth announcement/thank you card, with baby info (weight, date, name) and pictures on the front and a "Thanks for your thoughtfulness" inside, which covers everything from a stroller to a visit to a prayer. It helped a lot because by the time the baby came, I no longer knew who had given us exactly what (my husband brought home a lot of present unattached to their cards), and because there was just no way I was going to keep up. I felt like a cheater not hand-writing them, but … this way everybody got a thank-you within ten days of baby's arrival, plus cute baby pictures.
I loved all of these! And appreciated the low-cost "gifts" that friends or my husband would give me after each of our boys was born. One more expensive but woooonderful gift I received for Mother's Day one year (when my second was 2 weeks old) was an Amazon Kindle. Having books, the web and videos all at my fingertips while nursing or stuck in an armchair was such a sanity saver.
All fabulous! I love the jean suggestion – pretty sure there is a week or two postpartum where I own exactly one thing that fits.
Another great gift that I received several times along with a homemade meal was a healthy lunch for me to eat the next day. As a mama of other small children, this was a lifesend. Nothing like trying to stay healthy while eating PBJ scraps off your kids' plates…
After our 3rd was born, my husband paid for a housekeeper to come over and clean the house from top to bottom the first week I was home. I cried, it was so beautiful! And when my 4th was two weeks old, my husband left for a 10 month deployment with the military. Our friends not only brought us meals for months after he left, but I had one friend who had me and the kids over to her house for dinner once a week for the entire 10 months. It was awesome, because it got me out of the house, gave the kids something to do, and gave me some much needed company that I probably would not have sought out myself.
Making sure to bring your meal in disposable pans/dishes/plastic and including disposable dinnerware so that Momma doesn't have dishes to do when the meal is finished is SO awesome!