Baby registries are wonderful tools for helping new parents stock their nursery with the infant essentials every growing family needs. But while registries include important items like car seats and travel systems, they tend to overlook gifts that can help a new mom relax, celebrate, and adjust to her new role in life. The next time you are shopping for a new or expectant mom, consider going off the registry and purchasing one of these thoughtful gifts instead.
1. Maternity photo session. Maternity photos are a wonderful way for an expectant mom to commemorate her pregnancy. If you think she may be interested in documenting the actual birth of her baby, you could even hire a birth photographer to take photos during delivery.
2. Newborn photo session. New moms love to have lots of pictures taken, but the cost of newborn photos can add up quickly. A session with a professional photographer is a gift she will remember forever, especially if you spring for a couple of the prints.
3. Maternity massage. Pamper her with the gift of a massage to relax her tired muscles and soothe her aches and pains. Be sure to find a skilled practitioner who is knowledgeable about the dos and don’ts of massage during pregnancy.
4. Pre-delivery pedicure. Few moms can reach their toes during those final months of pregnancy, so why not give her a gift certificate to get her nails prepped and polished before delivery? Better yet, schedule the appointment and go with her for a pre-baby girls’ day out.
5. Prenatal (or post-natal) yoga classes. Studies suggest that yoga can improve sleep, decrease anxiety, and help mothers prepare for (and recover from) labor and delivery. Since many yoga studios and community centres offer drop-in classes, it’s easy to buy a punch card she can use whenever she likes.
6. Magazine subscription. With so many parenting magazines available in both print and digital format, it won’t be hard to find one she will appreciate. Give the gift of a year-long subscription as a resource to help her through that first year of motherhood.
7. Bubble bath basket. Fill a basket with an assortment of luxurious bath salts and bubble bath so she can soak away her stress. Include some cocoa butter massage cream, which can minimize stretch marks, for her to apply after the bath.
8. Breastfeeding basket. If you know she’s planning to breastfeed, fill a basket with items to make her experience easier. Nursing pads, purified lanolin nipple ointment, a comfy nursing tank top, and a copy of the book Breastfeeding Made Simple by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Nancy Mohrbacher are all good places to start.
9. Coffee shop gift card. New moms are notoriously sleep-deprived, and caffeine (in moderation) is a perfect antidote to all those sleepless nights. If she isn’t a coffee drinker, opt for a selection of her favorite herbal teas instead.
10. Cleaning service. Even if you can only afford a day or two, any new mom will appreciate having somebody else take responsibility for the dusting and vacuuming while she recuperates and bonds with baby.
11. Service coupon book. What do new moms need most in those first few weeks after giving birth? Help. Create a coupon book filled with coupons she can redeem for services like grocery shopping, running errands, and holding the baby while she showers.
12. Postpartum doula. The word doula literally means “woman’s servant.” While some doulas serve women during labor, a postpartum doula focuses on a mother’s physical and emotional needs after delivery. As any experienced mom knows, postpartum support is one of the best gifts you can receive.
13. Meal train website. It’s easy - and free - to set up an interactive, online meal calendar at mealtrain.com, but it’s also a perfect gift for a hungry new mom. Invite her friends and family to participate so that after baby’s birth, she receives delicious meals delivered right to her doorstep.
14. High-quality baby carrier. Baby carriers have gained popularity in recent years, but not all brands are created equal. Give her the gift of a high-quality carrier so she can carry baby hands-free, and feel comfortable and safe while doing so.
15. Mom’s group membership. Help her get out of the house and meet new friends by investing in a membership with a local mom’s group in her name. Or buy a gift certificate for a Mommy and Me activity in her area; think infant massage, music circles, storytime circles, etc.
16. Maternity/nursing lingerie. Most moms feel a bit frumpy during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Help her feel beautiful by wrapping up some fashionable (yet comfortable) loungewear or lingerie specifically designed with a new mom in mind.
17. Bottle of bubbly or sparkling cider. There’s no drinking during pregnancy, but a bottle of champagne or sparkling cider makes a festive gift once baby arrives. Mom can toast to the birth of her baby and the amazing journey she has begun.
Don’t Forget About Dad!
Mom may get most of the glory - and the gifts - when a new little bundle of joy arrives, but don’t forget about dad. They deserve a few baby gifts, too!
Here are a few ideas:
Push pack. Help a nervous dad-to-be support his partner during labor by creating what some refer to as a “push pack.” Include items like high protein snacks, aromatherapy candles, and a book of relaxation techniques to help both parents through the delivery.
Daddy diaper bag. Mom shouldn’t be the only one responsible for changing diapers. Look for a more masculine backpack or messenger-style bag.
Book about being a dad. If he’s the type that will enjoy a humorous, light-hearted take on fatherhood, try The New Dad’s Survival Guide by Scott Mactavish. For a more serious look at what dads should expect, give him a copy of The Expectant Father by Armin A. Brott.
Alyssa is a freelance journalist, and a mother of two. She writes about parenting and family life.
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