Cute baby outfits are great and all, but there are many other things that a new mom really wants and needs. Many don’t cost a thing.
In no particular order:
Privacy. She may or may not feel like having visitors right away. It’s hard to transition into new motherhood with a constant crowd of visitors. Respect her wishes if she has asked for privacy. Really. There will be lots of time to see the baby. Momma needs to sleep and figure shit out!
Diapers & wipes. Some days you’ll go through 10+ diapers. You can never have enough.
Batteries. All the baby things need batteries. Why don’t they just include batteries with all the things? Bring a variety of sizes.
Baby outfits with zippers – preferably zippers from the bottom so she can dominate nighttime diaper changes like a stealth ninja.
Gas cards. Do you know how much driving a new mom does?! It’s surprising. Driving seems to be one of the favourite sleeping spots for babies. If you’re movin’, you’re groovin’. Keep that car moving!
Food. She may not even remember to eat some days. Bring her some food. Make or buy healthy snacks that are ready to eat easily, with one hand if needed. Drop food off in disposable containers so that she doesn’t have to worry about washing and returning. You may want to find out if she’s avoiding certain foods, or if she has any dietary restrictions. My favourite food to bring a new mom: yummy homemade treats like muffins, cookies, scones, energy balls, granola; soup with biscuits and a salad; chopped veggies with hummus or dip; ready-to-eat fruit; smoothies; trail mix or snack mix in individual bags; prepared food that is easy to heat and serve. Nothing too complicated or involved for a tired momma.
Her favourite beverage. This might be tea, coffee, hot chocolate, wine, beer, tequila, whiskey, etc.
Visits. The reality and loneliness can set in when schedules go back to normal, partners return to work, and friends and family have stopped visiting so frequently. Motherhood is strange – you’re never alone, yet you can feel very lonely at times.
Help. She may not even realize that she needs help. Watch the baby while she has a nice, long shower or bath. Help with laundry. Organize the nursery or diaper changing stations around her house. Cook a meal. Clean something. Paint her nails. Brush her hair. Run errands. Bring groceries. Anything she might need help with.
Adult conversation. You might be the only adult she has spoken to in a while.
Hugs. Because, well, hugs. Need I say more?!
Tel her she rocks at being a mom. She may not feel like a mom rock star all the time, and it’s so great to hear some reassurance and confidence-boosting kudos. My midwife used to give me big hugs and tell me I was a good mom. I loved it, and I didn’t realize how much I needed it, too.
Ask her how SHE is doing. Most of the focus will be on the new baby at the beginning. Don’t forget that this is all new for momma, too. Show her some love.
Honesty. Tough days will happen for all moms, and especially for new moms. If you are a fellow mom that has also gone through some shit days, share that. Talk about your struggles. Talk about your joys. Sharing your journey will help.