It’s kinda hard to believe, but it’s nearly Hanukkah! This year, the Festival of Lights begins on the evening of Sunday, December 2.
As your friends who just had a baby sit in front of that crackling menorah, they may feel like it’s not just the candles that are on fire — but also their eyes, from lack of sleep; their nether regions, if they just delivered; their backs, from constant nursing or baby-carrying; or their brains, from the overwhelming tasks of new parenthood.
In other words, having a new baby is hard. And even if you’ve already done the drill, every little bit of help and care makes a big difference.
Here are some lovely Hanukkah presents to offer your friends who just had a new bundle of joy to bring some light into those tiring first weeks and months of parenthood:
Three important words for new moms: hydrate, hydrate, HYDRATE! New parents, especially nursing ones, need to be drinking all the time. Having a beautiful water bottle that’s easy to sip (a straw is a must) from is invaluable, and the more the merrier, because if you’re already constantly cleaning baby bottles, not having to constantly re-clean YOUR only bottle is helpful.
Yes, I know, mom-wine is a cliche, and not all moms are into wine at all, but for some new parents, having that first postpartum drink is a wonderful treat. Also, nursing moms don’t need to pump and dump, because the amount of alcohol that actually makes it into your breastmilk is minuscule. So you can offer your nursing friend a tasty alcoholic drink without fear.
You basically cannot go wrong here. New parents are always hungry because taking care of a baby leaves little time for cooking and grocery shopping. While a Seamless gift card or a delivery of a home-cooked meal are great, a box of handy snacks (you can opt for dry fruit, cookies and chips for the junk food affecionado or something a bit more decadent) is also super useful for when you’re peckish in the middle of the night or day.
When you’re a new mom, all you want is to be comfortable. Your body has just gone through a serious ordeal. And if you’re nursing, you wind up being in some state of undress most of the time. So a good, comfy robe is essential. This fleece robe comes in pretty patterns, so you don’t have to feel super frumpy while wearing it, but is luxurious and soft enough for your new mom friend to be comfortable in.
If your friend is nursing, she will probably have to get a whole new nursing wardrobe. But what a lot of moms forget about are comfy pajamas that provide easy access for those late-night feedings. Now’s your chance to be the clever, thoughtful friend! What I love about these specific pajamas is that they have an adjustable waist, so they’re perfect for pregnancy and the entire postpartum period, when your body is shifting and changing.
When you’re a new parent, a quick jaunt to the corner store may have to make do as “me time.” New moms usually don’t have the time to go to get pampered, or they may not yet feel comfortable leaving the house. So bring the spa home! Even better (and more personal!): Offer to watch the baby while mama takes a shower or bath.
Caffeine is a genuine lifesaver for sleep-deprived new parents. Even nursing moms, who may want to watch their caffeine intake, are most certainly allowed a cup or two of the good stuff. A nice tea set is, therefore, very useful (I like this one because it’s teabag free, which makes clean-up a bit easier). I also personally vouch for this Milkmaid Tea, which helps with lactation. If your friend is not into caffeine, consider a decadent hot chocolate kit.
Yes, I know, a rocker sounds more like a present for the baby, but hear me out: New moms need to do things like shower and brush their teeth (I know, shocking), or just put the baby down and have a breather. A portable rocker — one that you can easily carry around and comfortably strap your infant in — affords a new parent that luxury. Your friend will be eternally grateful.
In the new, harsh world of parenting, give your new parent friend a soft place to land. Parents need pillows, for support while nursing, feeding, resting (not that they do a lot of that), and while entertaining their new bundle of joy. This reading pillow seat is super helpful for parents feeding in bed and trying to stay awake, or for those feeding babies with reflux. Then there’s the cheesily-named Brest Friend nursing pillow which comes with lumbar support and a handy place to put that awesome water bottle in. Finally, there’s the Boppy, which later doubles as a place to prop your baby up and a fun tummy time accessory.
OK, you have to have a very intimate type of friendship to get these for your friend, but these truly can be a lifesaver. This kit from Motherlove has everything a mama needs.
11) A helping hand:
Let’s get real for a second, your new parent friends have A LOT on their plate. And they’re not necessarily going to ask you for the help they really need. So offer it. I know it’s tempting (and exciting) to just offer to watch the baby, and yes, that helps, but sometimes what a new parent need is someone to take out the trash, or wash the dishes, or change the sheets. You can offer to do all of those things, or even get a cleaning service to come in. By taking these mundane house chores off their hands, you’re giving them an awesome gift, probably the greatest gift of all: time to focus and be with their new child, unburdened. What can be more de-light-ful than that?