The Gifts Pregnant Women and Their Partners REALLY Want
"...break tradition and get practical gifts that will make birth and postpartum a positive experience for the whole family."
A common topic of discussion among my friends, my clients, and my fellow birth workers, especially around the holidays, is ideas for practical gifts for expectant parents. The list below was created through their suggestions, comments by my social media followers and the network birth professionals. Here is the detailed list.
- Postpartum Clothing: Comfortable clothes are a very practical gift. Most moms don't realize until they are home from the hospital how important yoga pants, pajama pants and tank tops are. By gifting these items, you will save their partner a trip to Target when mom is searching for clothes that comfortably fit her postpartum body. It can be a daunting task to buy clothes for other people and you may lean towards a gift card. I suggest staying away from gift cards, because no mom wants to pack up a newborn to go do her own shopping.
- Soft slip on shoes/boots: Something similar to a house slipper or Ugg boots will do. You can fine this type of shoe from $10-$150 just depending on your budget. All new moms need a shoe that goes on without bending over and doesn't require both hands to put on. This is particularly helpful for moms who have had a cesarean birth.
- Evidence Based Birth Books: Expectant parents want knowledge to make the best decisions for their growing family, but can often end up with 10 copies of " What To Expect.." when what they really want is evidence based books by Ina May, Penny Simkin, etc... Not familiar with which books are in demand? Check out the Resource Library where we have a list of great options compiled from our network of birth professionals.
- Breastfeeding Care Package: We need to support our breastfeeding moms any way we can. Every bit of support helps them find success on their breastfeeding journey. Get a nice basket or tote bag and fill it with the following:
- Reusable Water Bottle (most moms prefer glass/stainless steel): A breastfeeding mom needs to drink a lot of water for health & milk production and having a water bottle by her side will be key to breastfeeding success.
- Her Favorite Chocolates (Bite size is best): Chocolate has been known to help with milk production, but the real reason I suggest this is Oxytocin. During those 2am feedings having a bite of your favorite chocolate can trigger Oxytocin (the love hormone) and that will help with milk let down and over all mood.
- Lansinoh 3-in-1 Therapy Packs: Amanda Poteet-Woolen (the Grateful Moms Doula) is a Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and has has suggested this item. Although you can freeze or heat them, she suggests keeping them frozen to use for relief postpartum.
- Medela Tender Care Reusable Gel Pads: After my daughter was born I had irritated nipples and my Lactation Consultant brought me these and they were a game changer. Though we hope the mom you are buying for won't have irritation it doesn't hurt to keep these on hand.
- Hours with a Certified Lactation Counselor: When I asked on Facebook, "what practical gift do you wish you had received" this is one of the top answers. Pay for 2+ hours with a CLC, so that after baby is born a professional can come to their home or the hospital and give them one-on-one care and attention.
- Birth Balls: Better known as a stability ball these helpful tools can be found at many stores. You'll need to make sure the ball fits moms height. Generally a 65cm ball is a safe bet, but for moms under 5'3" or over 5'11" a different size may be needed. Birth balls are used during Lamaze/Bradley Method classes, during late pregnancy for optimal fetal positioning and during labor. Now, 17 months after my birth it is my toddler's favorite toy. The gift that keeps on giving!
- Doula Services: A Doula is a trained birth professional who provides support to the mom & dad before, during and after birth. More and more moms are choosing to hire a Doula to support them at the hospital, birth center or during a home birth. If you know a mom who is considering these services a very practical gift would be paying for all or a portion of their Doula's fee. For higher cost services like Doula services consider having several friends, family member or coworkers pool their money together. If you have questions on how to hire a Doula for an expectant mom please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (270)-303-1546.
- Lamaze Certified Childbirth Education: Lamaze is evidence based unbiased childbirth education that will cover a wide range of topics. You can see the topics I cover in my 16 hour course here. My group courses are offered in Bowling Green, Kentucky and I travel to provide private courses and community workshops throughout Kentucky. However, for those outside my area please go to Lamaze's website to find the closest course to you. If you know a mom that you'd like to gift a spot in an independent childbirth education class to please contact email@example.com or (270)-303-1546. My 8 week class is currently $350 and you can reserve a spot with a $100 deposit.
- Food: This is my favorite practical gift!! Particularly freezer meals that are easy to reheat and homemade. Store bought freezer meals can be convenient, but not nutritious. Try making a lasagna, meatloaf, soups, etc... and stocking the parent's freezer. Consider having a kitchen party where you prepare food together before baby comes or having a shower where everyone brings a dish. Tip: do this BEFORE baby arrives so that mom is NOT dealing with a slew of visitors after baby is born.
- Housekeeping: You can purchase professional services or give them a homemade gift certificate for an hour or 2 of YOUR time. Moms report needing dishes done, supper cooked, grocery shopping and a load of laundry completed. Better yet hire a postpartum doula who will bring food, do light housekeeping and help with baby!
TIP: if you go to a home postpartum to clean do not try to hold baby unless mom requests it. We want to help around the house without disrupting mom & baby.
One thing I’d like you to get from this post is that it is ok to be brave and break tradition. Practical gifts will make birth and postpartum a positive experience for the whole family. An interesting point was made by one of my friends. She said, “It seems people want to buy gifts for the baby instead of the mom”. So try to remember that the baby doesn’t need much other than a happy and healthy mom. We really need to focus on taking care of mom and of course dad too. I hope you have found this helpful. Please reach out with any questions.
What practical gifts did I miss? What did you enjoy receiving or what do you wish you had received? Comment below!