I have a couple of girlfriends that should be giving birth any day now. One of them will be a new mom and another will be expecting her second girl. Both are going to need help in the first few weeks, no doubt.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been putting together holiday gift guides catered to the ladybosses and career-focused people in your life, the outdoors enthusiasts, and techies in your life. Today, I’ve put together a list of things and gestures that a new mom will definitely appreciate whether it be in time for the holiday season or not. In my personal experience, I would have definitely appreciated anything on this list.
What a New Mom Really Wants
I have a Medela Swing Single Electric Breast Pump. The problem here is that when the let-down starts, both breasts are squirting out milk but you’ve only got one breast shield. What to do? Either you just cover the other side up with a disposable breast pad and throw out the milk-soaked pad when you’re done, or, if you’re like me, and didn’t want any ounce of milk to go to waste, you hold another milk bottle under the other boob to catch all that liquid gold. It definitely tests your patience, precision, timing and then your endurance when you have to hold the breast shield and the bottle under both boobs without moving even though your shoulders are burning.
Welcoming to mommyhood!
If I had to do it over again, I would have bought an extra breast shield and the heaven-sent hands-free pumping bra. That is the ultimate solution. If you can find a double breast pump that can be easily hooked on your pants so you are free to walk around, even better! Having your hands free while pumping is freedom. You can catch up on your next post, read a book, wash something…whatever your heart desires.
I find that Italians, in general, have no problem whipping out the boobs to breastfeed and no one around really seems to care. However, not all mothers are comfortable exposing their chests in public. Also, I found that my baby was always distracted by his surroundings when he didn’t have the breastfeeding cover. This cover, in particular, is helpful because it has an opening at the top so you can keep eye-contact with your baby and get that latch right.
Bring a Home-cooked Meal
You have probably already heard of this one. It’s so true. Meals are a big deal. Especially if they’re home cooked. I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I ordered delivery pizza. I remember my friend came and brought some lasagna that was still piping hot from her oven. It was sooo delicious and helpful.
Make some Tea
When I was breastfeeding, my mom was constantly making me tea. Water intake is crucial if you are having milk supply issues and I was having major supply issues. You can read about how I overcame them here. Unless there’s a heatwave, your new mom friend is going to appreciate the tea. Especially if it’s breastfeeding tea!
Offer to Do Some Chores
If your friend is up for it, offer to run the laundry, wash the dishes, tidy up, fold baby clothes, throw out the garbage etc. If you ask, “what can I do for you?” chances are, her sleepy brain and wrongfully guilty conscience will not be able to come up with any chores. Be specific but not pushy. As an expert control-freak, I know how hard it is for fellow control freaks to accept help.
If your new mom friend is one of the many new mothers to get stretch marks, make sure she treats them asap with only the highest quality stretch mark creams to make them less visible. If she can treat them in time, she may even be able to get rid of them completely.
Let her Take a Shower while you Mind the Baby
My husband is one of the owners of his company so he doesn’t really get any assigned “paternity leave.” He had to go back to work almost immediately. A new mom that is feeding every two hours, having trouble getting the baby to sleep and trying to keep the house together, probably hasn’t taken shower yet. A shower is a luxury, unfortunately. If she’s up for it, let her take a shower while you take care of the baby. Make sure she conditions, shaves, cuts her nails and dries her hair. Let her feel human again.
Take siblings out (for second-time moms)
I just read a comical-pessimistic blog post about the downsides of becoming a second-time mom. There’s no baby shower, no peaceful pregnancy…no-one really cares about the second-time mom when really it’s the second or the third-time mom that needs all the help she can get.
Offer to take her other child/children out for a walk. Give your second-time mom friend some breathing room and intimacy with her newborn.
Photo Session with Baby
Buy a photo session for the new addition to the family. If you’re not a bad photographer yourself, take pictures of your friend with her new baby because chances are, she is not in any of the photos that have been taken.
Are you a new mom? What do you think is missing from this list?
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