We’ve all heard the rules about visiting a family right after a new baby is born and how you should show up with a warm meal or help out with a chore. That’s great, and I can agree that it’s greatly appreciated. But recently having had children 15 months apart, I’ve found that both times I’ve wanted anything that would help me feel somewhat normal again.
Movies and TV shows always tend to portray new moms going home from the hospital with their new baby and tending to their family and other children as if nothing has happened. And for some women, that really is how it is for them. But I want to take a deeper look, a look at the actual mom. People are so quick to ask how the baby is doing or how the siblings (if there are any) are adjusting, but rarely do they genuinely check in on how mom and dad are doing.
As women we tend to take on this role of pushing through and doing what needs to be done, and that doesn’t always allow much time for self care. After having my first daughter I felt overwhelmed by the changes that having her in my life created and I didn’t focus much on self care. I had a newborn to tend to as well as my other daily chores so to speak. There wasn’t time for self care.
I got pregnant with my second child when my first was only 6 months old and I was working full time. If I didn’t have time for self care before then I definitely didn’t have time now! Baby #2 made her entrance and any self care I had hoped for quickly felt like it was down the drain until one day I realized that self care didn’t have to be some grand gesture. I didn’t have to go get a massage or treat myself to lunch for it to be self care. I found that on the days that I had 5 extra minutes in the shower and was able to take the time and use my nice body wash or sugar scrub, I felt a lot happier and better about myself.
So I started to think, if I were to put together a self care gift for a new mom, what would that look like? I was surprised by how many items I was able to come up with when I thought about someone else’s self care rather than my own.
10 Thoughtful Self Care Gifts for New Moms
1. Lightly scented body wash or unscented moisturizing body wash. Unless you know the scent the mom would like, steer clear of heavy scents or go with unscented. Also a good idea for babies who may be sensitive to smells or allergic.
2. Moisturizing hand cream. I keep a small tube of unscented Goldsbond hand cream at my kitchen sink as I am constantly washing my hands after diaper changes or washing bottles. Having the lotion right there makes it convenient and the small bottle keeps it from creating clutter on the counter.
3. Bath bombs and salts. Between childbirth and constantly wearing spit up on me, I couldn’t wait to take 15-20 minutes to just soak in a tub and relax for a bit. Add in a relaxing bath bomb or bath salts and let their magic go to work!
4. Travel coffee mug. If you know that mom is a coffee or tea drinker, invest in a new mug for them. Something that holds a large amount of fluid, something that keeps drinks hot for hours, and something with a lid. Trust me when I say that there are days where you need the caffeine due to the lack of sleep and you definitely want a spill proof lid because over the course of an entire day you will only get a chance to take a drink when your hands are full or busy and you’re likely to spill it.
5. Picture frame or photo album for baby. Parents are always excited about their new baby. If they are on social media, you’ll tend to see constant photos and videos. If you see them in person, that’s what the majority of their conversation is about. A frame or album encourages them to get a photo or two printed and makes it easier for them to show off that beautiful new baby. And bragging about what you’re so proud of and in love with does wonders for self love.
6. Chocolates. Easy to access and individually wrapped. This makes it easy for mom to have a quick treat while holding or feeding the baby without having to worry about dropping the box or not putting the lid back on correctly and the box of chocolates going stale. It also allows for portion control if mom is focused on postpartum weight loss.
7. Beer or wine. If mom is a beer or wine drinker get her whatever her favorite is, it’s been MONTHS since she’s been able to drink it! Dark beers are also known to help with breast milk supply. I recommend buying a 4 pack of mini-wine bottles, the ones that hold 1 cup per bottle. These are usually easy to find and allows mom the ability to have a glass of wine without having to open an entire bottle. And some bottles are plastic with a lid that screws back on which makes it quick and easy and one less dish to wash.
8. Microwaveable heating pad. You can usually find these at any retail store in the first aid aisle, as well as on Amazon or Etsy. These heating pads are usually filled with rice or corn and are reusable and sometimes may be dual purpose to be an ice pack as well. Many moms continue to experience chronic back pain after birth as things start to get back to normal and heating pads can help ease some of the pain and discomfort.
9. Overnight Pads. I found that you tend to do a lot of unexpected research about pads after having a baby. I don’t wear pads so I didn’t realize how many variations there are until I was stuck wearing them constantly for 4-8 weeks. My husband picked out a package of pads for me after my second daughter was born and I was so impressed with the pads he brought home that I couldn’t use anything else. He found some that were overnight pads so they were super long and covered high in the back, as well as provided full coverage in the front. I loved that they had a few sets of adhesives to make sure they stuck to your underwear and didn’t allow the pad to shift position. And the best part was how incredibly soft and breathable the material felt. They didn’t have the vinyl type feel that other pads have and they actually stayed in place which is helpful when you’re constantly moving around to care for a child. You want to be able to set it and forget it until it’s time to change it. Comfort is a requirement at this point.
10. Witch Hazel pads. The hospital tends to give a package of witch hazel pads after birth and will usually show how to use them, but if you’re like me, you may run out too soon. Give mom the gift of being able to make her own with a bottle of witch hazel and a small package of gauze strips or circles. She can apply her desired amount of witch hazel to the gauze pads and keep a supply on hand for when they’re needed.
These are just a few ideas of gifts that can encourage self care for a new mom, regardless of how many children she has. Any thoughtful and considerate gift is encouraged, especially if it offers convenience or helps make her life a little easier.
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