Knowing what to buy a new mother who has just had a baby can be tricky sometimes. Flowers are beautiful but die quickly (especially when she has no time to water them!), popular lotions and potions (like Johnson & Johnson) are petrochemical based and bad for baby’s delicate skin, and usually by now, lots of baby clothes and toys have already been bought by mum and her partner or doting family members and friends. How about something that will really help mum, bub and perhaps even her partner instead?
If you’re looking for something different, but more importantly, helpful and beneficial, here are 11 fabulous gift ideas for new mothers to suit anyone’s budget, ranging in price from absolutely no cost at all, to something better suited as a joint or shared gift.
Gift Ideas – #1 – Homemade Lactation Cookies
Homemade lactation cookies are a great gift idea for a new mother! Your own creativity and thought goes into this gift, which can help mum with her breastmilk supply and provide her with a nutrient rich, delicious snack. Some doulas I know bake these for their clients after they give birth. Lactation cookies are something you can give to mum on its own or in combination with something else. Feel free to use our yummy lactation cookies recipe which thousands of new mothers absolutely love!
Just a side note – if a breastfeeding mother is having supply issues, usually this is caused by incorrect latch or scheduled feeding – a very small percent are due to medical conditions. Introducing dummies, formula or nipple shields may make the problem worse, as the baby is feeding less from the breast, so it wont stimulate the production of more breastmilk. If she seems to have problems with milk supply, the best advice you could give her is to contact the Australian Breastfeeding Association for support or hire a lactation consultant (IBCLCs are best) to help diagnose what is going on. Most GP’s are not well trained in breastfeeding and can’t give the same level of advice and support that well trained breastfeeding workers can.
Gift Ideas – #2 – A Respectful, Baby Sleep or Breastfeeding Book
After mum has read all of her pregnancy and birth books, with a baby in her arms, her life will now revolve around baby, feeding and sleeping! There are so many books out there with average or crappy advice, but rest assured, there are also some wonderful gentle books too, which she may be able to squeeze in time to read in the early days, while baby is a little more sleepy!
Another great book that I absolutely love is The Wonder Weeks which helps new parents through the fuzz, stress and confusion of a baby’s predictable fussy and unsettled stages during the first 16 months. It includes a chart which is great to photocopy and stick on the fridge, so you know when to expect the fussy periods, stormy weeks and sunny weeks. Written by Dutch paediatricians, its incredible how spot on they’ve got it. Even breastfeeding counsellors say they tend to find they get more calls from parents around these specific fussy weeks.
Gift Ideas – #3 – A Gift Subscription To The Australian Breastfeeding Association
If a new mother is planning on breastfeeding, a gift subscription to the ABA can be invaluable. She’ll receive a great book, ‘Breastfeeding, Naturally,’ and lots of information, resources and support at her fingertips, as well as a discount at ABA stores, including breast pump hire. Especially if it helps her get through some really tough times during breastfeeding or if it saves her any stress or tears, this is a gift that keeps on giving!
Purchase a gift subscription here.
Gift Ideas – #4 – A Cleaning Voucher
Wouldn’t we all love one of these?! One of the toughest things about being a new mum is dealing with all the day to day home responsibilities during your babymoon – you need and want to focus on your baby but the housework is constantly staring you in the face. Just knowing its there can make you feel down or stressed.
When mum is doing that all important work bonding with her baby, learning his or her cues and signals, feeding a great deal and many other things that we do being a mother – its truly exhausting and it makes it hard to get around to the housework! She will be so grateful to not have to worry about it.
Many cleaning companies offer gift vouchers – she’ll love you for it!
Gift Ideas – #5 – Home Help Vouchers From YOU
A wonderful gift is to make up your own voucher book full of redeemable vouchers that might include all or some of the following:
- An hour cleaning
- Cooked dinner(s) – if you don’t want to do the cooking, there are home cooked, delivered meal services available
- Babysitting the older children for an hour (or more) so mum can have some quiet time with the baby – even just taking them to the park or out to lunch is a huge help
- Helping with school/kinder runs for older kids for a week or whatever you can manage takes so much pressure off mornings and/or afternoons for new mothers
- Grocery shopping for her
- A time out voucher for dad – becoming dad is a HUGE thing too! Men need brain down time to refresh and come back stronger – swap places with him for lunch or an evening so he can get out and have a break, while you keep mum company and help out
- A babysitting voucher for when mum and dad are ready to go out for a meal alone together – even if its just down the road at a cafe, some mothers enjoy a chance to do this. Don’t get offended if they don’t take you up on this one though, as some mothers prefer to be available to their babies 24×7 during the early days
- Gardening voucher (or you could pay someone else to do it)
- Any other ideas you can think of
You can make them one-offs or create multiple of the same thing – any of these things significantly help a new family. These vouchers also give her permission to ask for help, which is so very hard for a new mother to do.
Gift Ideas – #6 – A Postnatal Massage Voucher
Not only can a mothers body be sore from the recovery of pregnancy and birth, but getting used to breastfeeding, sitting or jiggling a baby to sleep for long periods of time can lead to sore backs and necks. A massage voucher (ideally a mobile massage that specialises in postnatal massage) is a wonderful gift that she can book in her own time, when she has an extra pair of hands around in case baby needs her.
Gift Ideas – #7 – A Baby Carrier That’s Designed With Baby In Mind
If mum hasn’t purchased a baby carrier yet, its another great gift idea that will prove useful – even if not right away! Carrying and wearing babies is so beneficial for both mother and baby – babies are often more settled, mum has her hands free, babies tend to sleep for longer periods being close to mum and its especially helpful for babies suffering from reflux.
However its important to do your research – the most popular brands aren’t always the best. Front ‘pouch’ style carriers (which result in baby’s legs dangling down) are very bad for a baby’s back and hips and can cause problems. BellyBelly recommends the Hugabub, Manduca and Ergo baby carriers which are all great quality and designed with baby in mind. Some mothers also love using ring slings with little babies.
Gift Ideas – #8 – A Big Fruit and Veg Box
Many online fruit and veg suppliers offer a home delivery service of a box of fruit and veggies. Fresh fruit and veg are very important for a new (especially breastfeeding) mother, and it will save her time having to worry about shopping and fresh groceries. It also saves her partner having to run out and go shopping when he could be at home with mum. Choose organic if you can, but a big fresh box of fruit and veg will be helpful and beneficial for the whole family.
Gift Ideas – #9 – A Postnatal Doula
I only wish that every mother could have a postnatal doula. Pre-paying for some postnatal doula time is such a great help and support for a new mother, who tends to fare better in the postnatal period as a result.
Postnatal doulas are angels. Providing professional mothers’ help, postnatal doulas are trained to serve a mother and her needs after the birth of her baby. Depending on her training, it may involve help with breastfeeding, cleaning, cooking, de-briefing her birth experience, helping with the bub while she has a shower, massage, advice with baby sleep and settling issues and so much more. Postnatal doulas have a range of experience and other skills, so when choosing one you can take into account what you think might be best for the mother.
Find a doula in our doula directory – pick your state to see doulas in your area.
Gift Ideas – #10 – A Voucher For A B&B Getaway
What new mother and her partner wouldn’t love this! Being able to spend her babymoon somewhere tranquil and relaxing where mum and dad can totally focus on the baby without the distractions of home is a great gift idea. Not only would they feel a little special, but mum wont be stressing about things like cooking, cleaning and guests turning up unannounced.
Gift Ideas – #11 – Baby Massage Classes
Buying a voucher for baby massage classes is another great gift – either mum or dad (or both) can get so much benefit from attending a baby massage class. For dads it has the added bonus of assisting with bonding, especially when baby needs mum so much of the time for feeding. Studies have shown that there are many benefits for baby’s growth and development, including:
- Less crying
- Better sleep
- Lower levels of stress hormones compared to infants who did not receive massage.
- One of the studies also claimed that massage could affect the release of the hormone melatonin which is important in aiding infants' sleeping patterns.
- In another study, premature babies who were massaged gained 47% more weight and were discharged from hospital six days earlier than babies in a control group, with follow up studies showing lasting effects on growth and development.
You can find baby massage classes in our directory.
Gift Ideas – Bonus Suggestion
One last thing I have to mention which is so very valuable for mums is something that doesn’t cost a cent – your presence. At first she will likely want some space to work things out with her new little family, but remember that often everyone wants to come and see the new baby – so much so that often they may forget to really focus on mum and how she is. After all the initial excitement has died down and her partner is back to work, visitors start to taper off, and it can be isolating and lonely – especially if you don’t have the opportunity to get out much.
Keep in touch with her after all the fuss has died down and always be asking if there is anything you can do for her, or if there is anything she needs – even milk from the shop (she could be housebound and can’t even have a cuppa!). This period wont last forever, but she needs community and support now more than ever. Life as she knew it has changed, she no longer gets the confidence and self esteem boost from accomplishments at work (let alone worrying about her post baby body) and there is so much to learn when you have a baby. The support a mother has after the birth can help reduce the incidence of postnatal depression – and thats worth more than money can buy.