Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What a New Mom REALLY Wants

practical gifts for babies
Don't even think of putting me in that stupid monogrammed robe.
Before I had my own kids I used to give really terrible baby gifts.  It's not that I wasn't well-intentioned, it's just that I honestly had no clue what new parents would find useful (I was this way before I got married too, so if I attended your wedding and I gave you a piece of art pottery instead of the toaster/blender/sheets that you really wanted, I sincerely apologize).  It honestly never occurred to me just how stupid it is to purchase a monogrammed bathrobe for a baby.  There are so many cute items that seem super practical, until you actually have a child and realize just how useless they are (I'm looking at you here, shopping cart cover).

Now that I'm a seasoned veteran of Viet-Mommy, I have a pretty decent idea of what to get a new Mom.  Interestingly enough, "monogrammed bathrobe" did not make this list.

Meal Train.  This is the gift that costs nothing, but that just keeps on giving.  One of the hardest things when you bring home a new baby is feeding yourself and your family.  Take out is great, but there are only so many nights that you can eat Kung Pao Chicken before you grow feathers and try to fly out of the spicy nest.  After a few nights of hospital food, or a few weeks of takeout, a home cooked meal tastes amazing.  Volunteer to set up a  Meal Train for new parents, and invite friends and family to volunteer to drop off a meal.  It's completely free to sign-up, and very user friendly.  Someone in my Mom's group set one up for us after the Little Lady arrived, and I was so grateful; I actually cried when I ate the delicious turkey bolognese that arrived on my doorstep.

Housecleaning.  Babies are dirty.  I guess technically they aren't really that dirty, per se, but they poop a lot and they generate a lot of laundry.  Also, the last thing you want to do right after you've pushed a human out of your vag is clean a bathroom.  If you're feeling generous, or if you have a group of friends who want to go in on a gift together, why not give the gift of cleanliness?  A new Mom who is drowning in laundry and dishes and dirty floors will be forever grateful at your thoughtfulness.

Blow out.  I may not be a fan of the delivery room blowout trend, but I am 100% in favor of getting your hair done before your first postpartum night out.  Give the gift of an at-home blow out so that your new mommy friend doesn't have to worry about childcare or nursing, and she can enjoy being pampered.

Mani/Pedi.  Give the gift of alone time and offer to babysit while your friend gets her nails done.  Changing diapers is Hell on a manicure, and now that your friend can actually see her toes, it might be nice if her feet didn't look like hooves.  Shell out for one of the nicer nail salons in the neighborhood, because there's a very good chance this will be your friend's last manicure until her kid goes to college. 

Baby Bath Tub.  Looking for something more traditional and/or cheaper?  The baby tub is your answer.  These are useful and reasonably priced.  Also, no one else ever seems to buy the tubs, so they're always left on the registry even if you're purchasing the gift the day of the shower (ahem, me).  Yes, I know that you're only supposed to bathe newborns once a week, but those little critters are super slippery and liable to get lost in a giant kitchen sink full of non-toxic soap bubbles.  Trust me, no new Mom has ever been given a baby tub and wished for a silver rattle.

Of course, sterling silver baby spoons are a great gift too; the parents can always sell them on Ebay and use the proceeds to buy a really safe carseat.

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