Practically a cultural tradition, when a baby is born, one usually visits the family carrying a gift for the baby. In Brazil, for example, where I come from, people often feel obliged to make such a visit, as it is the “norm of good conduct” in my country. Thankfully, nowadays there is more about the postpartum period out there, and tips on what to do or not to do in that first visit, as well as the ideal time for it, are easily found on the internet. So today I see friends asking people not to visit in the first few weeks, making their feelings clear and not feeling obliged to be social if they want to breastfeed in privacy, for example. But the habit of giving a little present for the baby remains. Nothing wrong with that, who doesn’t like to get cute things for their baby?
However, I myself have experienced quite a different situation when my first child was born here in New Zealand. Here visitors may or may not bring a treat for the baby, but there is no such “obligation”. And my friends from New Zealand never forgot to bring something to the new mother. Numerous times they came with a pot of food to freeze or at least cookies for the afternoon tea. Visitors themselves had the initiative to make tea or coffee while I was with my baby. What great attitudes I thought those were!
With that in mind, I have prepared for you a short list with ideas for gifting that friend who just had a baby:
– a session with a postnatal doula – a postnatal doula can help in so many ways! Our focus is on the mother’s wellbeing, and there’s not one new mum who doesn’t feel better after a session with a postnatal doula. More info here.
– coconut water or whole grape juice – being rich in minerals, coconut water is a natural isotonic, having fast absorption and promoting great hydration. Grapes have properties that stimulate the production of milk. Great gifts for the nursing mother!
– frozen food – when cooking for yourself or your family, separate a good portion to bring to a new mum. Almost everything can be frozen!
– dried fruits, nuts, oat bars, seed bars – practical and nutritious snacks, always good!
– special warming/soothing tea for challenging days – chamomile and lemon balm, for example, for moments of anxiety, fennel or mint for good milk production, star anise (numerous properties) to relieve baby’s colic (It’s for the mother to drink the tea, not the baby!).
– a voucher for a cleaner – There will be no time for the new mum to do anything regarding cleaning the house. I suggest every visitor do the dishes or fold the laundry, for example. If you can pay for a cleaner, even better!
– breastfeeding cookies – yummy, easy to make and helpful! You can find recipes on the internet!
– some chocolate – Everyone deserves a treat! After all, it’s also worth providing little pleasures to the mother in the postnatal period.
– massage – do you know how to do massage? Offer to do one as a gift! A foot massage, for example, can be soooo good for the new mum. Also a postpartum massage voucher, from a professional who’s used to working with mums in the postnatal period… what a great gift!
– a product for self-care (ex.: a nice soap or moisturiser) – this will remind the new mum that self-care is also important. Small actions of self-care can make a big difference!
– essential lavender oil – you can put a few drops on the pillow to rest, as lavender helps to relax. Just remember that essential oils are very strong, so you should be sparing in its use.
– flowers – and put them in a vase yourself when you’re in your friend’s house! Flowers are always uplifting!
– a little neck pillow – very useful for nighttime breastfeeding when seated on the bed or on an armchair.
– a photo of your friend when pregnant in a cool frame – a touch that will always evoke a good memory!
– an interesting book – it may be about motherhood or not, but surely that is the subject of the moment for the new mum. And in those loooong feeds she will be able to read some lines!
Of course depending on the taste and circumstances of the new mum, some gifts will be more suitable than others. The suggestions are here! It’s up to you to choose!