The months before giving birth can be one of the most precious times in a person’s life, and for many moms, one of the most exciting traditions is the highly anticipated baby shower. In preparation for the baby, all of the mommy-to-be’s close friends and family will get together to show their support with gifts—from blankets and baby bottles to strollers and toys.
While I’m a huge fan of baby showers (I remember mine fondly and absolutely love spoiling my girlfriends at theirs!), one thing I have found myself thinking about lately is why we traditionally have these celebrations before and not afterward. A mother’s needs after the baby is born are quite different.
Let’s face it, most of the gifts an expectant mom receives at her baby shower are for the baby. But what about mama? Parents generally have enough onesies, burp cloths, and bottles to last them years. The time after you give birth is arguably one of the most challenging times: being sleep-deprived, over-touched, sore, and hungry.
Babies, on the other hand, sleep often (if we’re lucky) and live in onesies and diapers. Besides the boob or bottle, there isn’t much more they need. Moms need a lot in order to keep up with the baby, so I’m sounding off on what I think are the most important gifts for mama postpartum.
If attending a baby shower is on your calendar this year, instead of a cute gift for the baby to wear or play with, consider giving the new mom a present that promotes rest, relaxation, and self-care and makes their life easier. Not sure where to begin? Here is my postpartum mommy registry of items that a new mom will thank you for after giving birth. Or if you’re an expectant mom creating your registry right now, consider adding these items to your list!
Gifts for Physical Care
I basically lived in leggings postpartum. The high waist gives your tummy support without feeling tight at all.
Postpartum Care Kits
Yes, they give you most of these items in the hospital, but what I like about these kits is that they are a bit of an upgrade from the freebies. I like the elevated mesh panty and the clean and fragrance-free products.
Pelvic Floor Therapy/Acupuncture
Birth does a number on the body. Whether you’re recovering from a cesarean section or vaginal birth, your body takes a beating. So many women forgo treatment and just excuse the pain as part of the process. Remember that if something feels off, contact your doctor. There are so many resources to help your body recover.
For instance, four months after having my son Liam, I started having terrible pain in my wrist. After a week of pain, I went to the doctor to find out I had and still have (it came back with my second baby) Mommy Thumb. With the help of acupuncture and physical therapy, I’m on the road to recovery.
Gifts for Good Nutrition
We are trained to examine everything we put into our body while pregnant, but many forget the importance of helping your body recover after pregnancy through nutrition. The First Forty Days is a book that revives the lost art of caring for a mother after birth. The book includes 60 simple and delicious recipes for healing soups, replenishing meals and snacks, and calming lactation-boosting teas, all formulated to support the unique needs of the new mother (and to feed hungry partners, too).
In addition to the recipes, this warm and encouraging guide offers advice on securing help during the postpartum period, navigating inevitable relationship challenges, and honoring the rite of passage that is pregnancy and birth.
Food Services From a Postpartum Chef
Now I know this seems like a bougie luxury, but hey, that’s why you should put it on your baby registry for people who can get it for you as a group. While researching postpartum chefs, I found The Culinistas, a full-service, in-home, private chef company that can grocery shop, prepare postpartum recipes, and even clean up. Can I get a hell yes? Of course, it’s only available in certain cities, but freshly made food delivery is still a great gift. If this feels too indulgent for you, ask your friends for a food train of healthy meals. Trust me, the last thing you want to do is prepare food when you haven’t even had a chance to shower.
Prepared by local chefs and delivered to your door, meals from Territory Foods are healthy and ready-made, making it easy for moms to get the nutrition they need with the limited time they have.
Grab a gift card so new parents can customize their meal order.
Gifts for Mental Health
Coaching or Therapy for Transitions
Motherhood can bring you to your knees, and for a first-time mom, the transition can either be smooth or a little bumpy. Personally, I struggled with a loss of self and lifestyle as I entered motherhood. It can change so many aspects and relationships in life, which is why I highly recommend gifting a coaching or therapy session to the new mama in your life. Even if it’s just a consultation, it just might be the encouragement she needs to get the help she wants.
Mom Support Group
These are often called baby groups, but they are so much more than that—they’re a lifeline for a new mama. It gives you the ability to connect with other moms, share resources, and build friendships. And if you can’t make it in person, there are virtual options like Mysha.
Gifts for Support
Night Nurse Care
I can’t express enough the toll lack of sleep takes on your body. If you have a group of girlfriends who can split the bill, do it. You can hire a night nurse for two days or six weeks. Anything is appreciated, and mama will have peace of mind knowing her little is being taken care of by a professional. No need to wake up in a panic to check if the baby is breathing. Someone is doing that for you!
Whether you offer to come over to do the cleaning yourself or you hire a service, the cleaning must be done. A few tips for offering to clean: Let your mommy pal know she doesn’t need to interact with you or maybe even offer to come while she’s napping! Laundry, dishes, and bottle-washing are all welcome.
Doulas can help with a range of things pre and post-pregnancy. Some will even leave with you from the hospital or birthing center or attend your home birth.
This was one of the best books I received, and Amazon has informed me I have ordered it seven times. Nurture is “A Modern Guide to Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood and Trusting Yourself and Your Body.” Not only does it cover everything a new mom will wake up at 3 a.m. thinking about, but it also delivers the information in an open and nonjudgmental way. Completely empowering the mama to be. Highly recommend it!
Nurture is full of self-care and mindfulness exercises, as well as recipes, charts, lists, and guides aimed at helping new mothers.
I am a firm believer that taking care of a mother will help her take care of her baby, so why not show them support both before and after. New moms will definitely appreciate gifts that make their hectic day-to-day more manageable and comfortable. These suggestions are just the beginning—there are tons of gifts out there that will help a new mom thrive in her new role.
Whether it’s Mother’s Day, her birthday, or your very own version of a push present any day of the year, let’s normalize keeping the support for new moms coming well after the baby shower.