It’s wonderful receiving tiny, perfect outfits and accessories for your tiny, perfect baby. We had very generous friends and Paddy was a poster child for The Little White Company for most of his first year. However, if you want to find a slightly more unusual baby gift for a friend, then presents for the poor, battered, exhausted mummy also go down a treat! They also make a great alternative if your friend has just delivered a second child of the same sex and you suspect that the new baby is already well kitted-out with hand-me-downs.
Speaking from personal experience, here are a few gift ideas for new mums which are likely to be very gratefully received and useful to boot:
It’s one of life’s cruel ironies that we are supposed to eat nutritiously and keep our strength up as a new mother (particularly if breastfeeding), at a time when we have no time or energy to eat, let alone cook!
Cue the best present EVER – vouchers or gift hampers from Cook, which makes delicious homemade food which arrives frozen. What could be better than tucking into hearty fish pie and apple crumble after only 4mins in the microwave? I lived off these meals for the first 12 weeks of motherhood …
Not only do you have endless visitors in the early days who need to be plied with tea and cake, but breast-feeding is essentially a carte blanche to eat as many calories as you can. Baked goods are therefore very handy and a big perk of the early days! There are lots of options here but 2 that I particularly loved were:
The Beverley Hills Bakery. One of their tins was waiting for me when I got home from hospital, and the mountains of mini muffins and brownies provided so much comfort as I settled in back home.
Biscuiteers, who do beautiful biscuits personalized with your child’s name. I love how these are ostensibly a gift to celebrate the baby but really a treat for mummy! Our little blue-iced ‘Patrick’ duck biscuits were absolutely delicious, and the beautiful tin they came in now holds Paddy’s hospital bracelet and other mementos
By the end of pregnancy you never want to see your maternity wardrobe again, but your pre-pregnancy wardrobe is often still too tight and doesn’t work with breastfeeding. I like to buy girlfriends a nice ‘transition’ top or loungewear from somewhere like The White Company (pictured) or Boden, who do yummy mummy clothes well – ie clothes that are wholesomely sexy but that can withstand baby-barf and are forgiving of your physique.
If your friend is intending to breast-feed then you can go one-step further and buy her dedicated nursing-wear from a specialist like Peaks of London (pictured), or a pretty nursing bra from Amoralia, Elle MacPherson Intimates or Hot Milk. If you’re going down the bra route, I’d suggest offering this gift a few weeks before the birth so your friend can get properly measured before buying (experts recommend getting measured at 37 weeks pregnant).
Even showering is a challenge in the first few weeks, so a bikini wax is unlikely to be top of many new mother’s to-do list. But it is important to find some me-time and a voucher for a nice spa provides a good reason for mothers to put some time in the diary for themselves. Alternatively, if your friend is London-based then then In Parlour will come to their home and provide all manner of grooming and indulgent treatments while their other half watches the baby. Personally speaking though, if you are intending for your friend to zone out over a massage, then I think being within hearing distance of their baby spoils the effect!
Taking some of the burden of motherhood away from new mums is a great gift and can really help as they adjust to the 24/7 nature of the job. If you are competent with babies, then a serious offer of babysitting is invaluable and will afford your friend the opportunity to sleep / go for a walk / escape for a pizza with her other half. If you would rather throw money at the problem, then funding a night-nanny for a night or paying for a spring-clean of your friend’s home could be just the ticket if she doesn’t have much help with the baby or the housework. The caveat – I think these suggestions work best for close friends and they should be tentatively mooted to your friend before arranging anything – a stranger in the house may be the last thing she wants!
We’d love to hear any other suggestions you have for ‘mummy-friendly’ gifts – please leave a comment if you have any!
We’ll be continuing this theme with a couple of other imminent posts – (1) gift ideas for 2nd (or 3rd or 4th …) babies, and (2) how to feel good during your ‘4th trimester’ / otherwise known as those first 12 weeks of shell-shock! Watch this space.