When your college roommate sends you a birth announcement—or posts the ultrasound photo on Facebook—it’s time to start thinking about baby presents.
While some mothers set up gift registries, there are certain things that soon-to-be moms don’t even know that they need until every last diaper-changing pad, reusable glass bottle and diaper warmer has already been purchased. Plus, there are only so many adorable onesies, novelty booties and designer wipe warmers that a new mother (and her house) can handle.
So we talked to various experts—all of whom are moms themselves—about what new mothers could really use.
1. A doula for a day
“The best present I got was a gift certificate for postpartum doula services after my second was born,” said Laurel Carrasco, advertising director at NW Kids Magazine. “It was really helpful for someone to come in as primary support to me as a new mother to both tend to me and help me build a rhythm for my family. She taught me tricks that helped me get my baby to sleep and manage caring for another child at the same time.”
2. Free time
Offering your babysitting services will always be a welcome gift. “What I always tell my clients—and what I enjoy myself—is to ask for help and time,” said Danika Severino Wynn, a midwife and lactation consultant in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. “Time to shower, time to rest, time to throw back a beer without a baby in your arms—whatever it might be, just time to feel like yourself so that when a visitor leaves, you have had a chance to catch your breath. That way you can dive back into demanding ‘mommydom’ with a little bit of Zen.”
3. Something unglamorously practical
“The second-best baby gift of all time would be the Nosefrida booger sucker gadget,” said Wynn. “It puts all other nasal aspirators to shame, and I bring it to every baby shower I attend. Silly but true!”
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4. A care package for mom
“I have a care package that I like to send people that has brownies and a trashy magazine,” says Hillary Frank, host of “The Longest Shortest Time,” a podcast that covers all things parenting. Also in her care package are juice boxes and graham crackers to consume with medication in the middle of the night. “People are always thinking of what to send the baby, like onesies and stuff, but I always try to send things that will make the mom feel taken care of,” says Frank. “I also like to send a children’s book that they can enjoy for a long time.”
Note that no one mentioned adorable onesies, but if you find a really cute one, feel free to send it anyway.