Wednesday 9 October 2013

G for Gift Giving (for new mamas)

With Ellie's first birthday recently, I started reminiscing on where I was and what I was doing a year ago. It got me started on thinking about those first days after she was born – just how tired I was, and how tentative I was and how scary looking after my brand new daughter was. Some memories really stood out for me. I admit that I did a few things that with hindsight I wouldn't do again:
  • We had guests and visitors galore, both at home and hospital, and those were frantic and hectic times instead of being a calm period spent getting to know Ellie. I would tell people to leave us alone for a few days
  • I was stressed and I think that translated into lots of feeding difficulties as Ellie picked up on that. I would have been much more calm and zen had I been able
  • When visitors did come, I didn't tell them when would suit me and let them come whenever. I ran around after them, getting them tea and letting them hold the baby – what I should have done was let them wait on me and accepted their (genuine) offers of help.
Gratuitous Ellie shot
All of this came to mind again as I've been invited to a baby shower in a few weeks and I'm pondering what to get the mama. You'd think having done it myself I'd have some ideas but I want to make sure I get her something useful.
I've already spoken about Mr Fork and my gift giving ideas for Ellie before, but I have some more ideas and baby related gift thoughts based on what I know now and what I would have wanted back then:
  • If you visit a new mama, do not go empty handed. Those early days are scary, and you barely have time to think. Take her a home cooked meal, preferably one that can be eaten one handed. Pack her a few extra meals for the freezer if you're feeling generous. Or some snacks for when she's ravenous but can't leave the baby.
  • If you genuinely want to help, that's a gift in itself. If someone had offered to hold Ellie while I had a quick shower, or used the bathroom or even had a 15 minute catnap I would have been delighted! I would have kissed the hand of someone who offered to put on a load of laundry, vacuum my floor or even just do a quick tidy of my kitchen.
  • The friend who gave me a bag of baby essentials at my baby shower was onto a good thing. She gave me things based on what she knew I'd need, not just a bunch of cute things for baby. Her bag had panadol, nurofen, a bottle, a bottle cleaner, a little rattle, nipple cream, baby wash, powder, Eukybear rub… and so many other things I didn't know I'd need until I needed them! Don't get me wrong, I loved everything we got for Ellie, but really, she grows so fast did she need eleventy-billion dresses? Probably not. Especially when she lived in onesies…
  • Something for mama. Not for right away of course, but when she's back in a routine. When you're pregnant, you're the centre of attention. People check your weight, constantly ask how you're feeling and gosh, even give up a seat on the bus for you. As soon as you have that baby, you're second fiddle, and it's a little bit odd. The doctor asks about baby, not you. Hospital is all about caring for the tiny human, no word for the person who grew them. So let mama know she's loved. Get her a spa voucher. Some tea just for her. Some special hand cream to guard against dryness from all the hand sanitiser.
So what am I going to get my pregnant friend? I'm thinking I'll make her a couple of meals for the freezer. A batch of lactation cookie dough which I'll also freeze ready for her to bake up as required. An eye mask for when those post baby hormones kick in and your eyes swell up from crying. And if I get the time, I might make her a wetbag as I know she's going to use cloth nappies.
Share with me, is there something you wish you'd gotten when you had baby? What do you like to give new parents?

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