The new baby’s birth is looming… there are just 6 weeks to go ’til our freedom is once again snatched away from us… (who am i kidding- we have no freedom to be snatched). That makes it sound a bit like something I’m dreading, doesn’t it? Well, I guess I am.
I of course feel blessed that we are having another child, and I am kind of looking forward to meeting our new little bundle of shit and vom, but this time I also have some idea of the reality of what the first few months will entail.
I also wonder about my ability to cope with a toddler and a newborn. I love our first born to bits, but currently he really is a force to be reckoned with. If I mention to other people about our son’s particular quirks and my inability to have any control over the situation, they give me a certain look/use a tone of voice that insinuates “well what do you expect- he’s two, you idiot! They don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing! OMG! WTF!” etc etc. Maybe I’m being paranoid, I am mostly ruled by my hormones these days.
Anyway, in order to keep myself sane, I am trying to think about the nice parts of having a baby- feeling their soft skin, smelling their sweet little newborn head, taking the piss out of the funny expression they have when they are full of milk and wobble their head around like an old toothless drunken wino and… ummm… that’s it really. Oh yes, I remember, there is another thing- presents. Hopefully people will be nice to us and bring us presents (otherwise what’s the point really).
Obviously presents can take up valuable space, so what are the options if buying presents for new parents whose living space is limited?
Ask what the new parents want or need
It sounds obvious, but if no one tells you, it’s difficult to know which baby toy, clothes or equipment the new parents might want or need. Without some kind of organisation, they are likely to get more bibs than an actual bib shop (bibs r us?). Failing that, you could give money or vouchers and let them decide what to clutter their home with.
If you don’t like the sound of that, here’s some alternative gift ideas:
It only takes up space until it’s eaten. As i remember, nothing edible lasted more than a few seconds in our son’s early days. I was so exhausted from lack of sleep and breastfeeding I turned into an unstoppable food-eating monster.
Lactation cookies- Reputed to increase milk supply. Not sure there is any real scientific evidence for this, but sometimes a placebo is just as good. And they are full of fibre, iron, b vitamins and other good stuff (including sugar and fat- yessss!). Click here for a recipe I have used previously.
Meals- Offer to pop over to cook a meal and, of course, do the washing up afterwards. You might have to feed the new mother too, they will probably have no free hands.
Alternatively you could bring something homemade and stick it in the fridge or freezer, for later. You can buy disposable foil trays in supermarkets that can go straight in the oven.
If you can’t be arsed cooking, how about a Cook voucher– they make “food like you would at home”, it’s pretty tasty and they deliver.
Other food items likely to be gratefully received are:
Chocolate, biscuits, cake and other high calorie unhealthy (delicious) snacks.
Healthy snacks, like fruit, dried fruit, nuts etc. Graze do gift vouchers for their mail order snack boxes which are healthy(ish).
Aside from wanting to eat everything in sight, I also remember being extremely thirsty. Our baby boy sucked the moisture (and life) out of me like some kind of massive leech.
Coffee and tea- A new baby means lots of visitors, which means lots of tea drinking. The caffeine means the new parents might have a chance of being awake enough to hold some kind of conversation. Herbal teas and “lactation teas” are also nice gifts for a new mum.
Alcohol- No explanation needed.
Water bottle, hip flask or travel mug- They can be filled up and kept next to the new mum on the sofa, available at all times. There’s no point in having all that lovely drink, if it’s out of reach because mum’s being held hostage by a sleeping baby. Being able to see a cup of tea on a coffee table, just inches away from your grasp is paramount to torture.
Things that were out of bounds during the pregnancy
Being pregnant sucks. Not only do you suffer every physical ailment you could possibly imagine, you can’t even cheer yourself up by eating your own body weight in swordfish or marlin.
Cheese- Brie, Camembert, soft goats cheese, Stilton
Pate and cold cured meats
Soft boiled egg- Let’s face it, nobody else is going to turn up with a soft boiled egg in a gift bag. Original.
It’s hard work being a new parent, offer to help out or buy vouchers for services.
Cleaning- Cleaning gift vouchers are available to buy.
Babysitting- offer to babysit older kids, or a promise of future babysitting when the baby is a bit older.
Other stuff for mother’s sanity
Having a baby is likely to drive you a bit mad.
Subscription to film and TV streaming- I can’t say I would have had the concentration span to watch a whole film, but I found episodes of TV programmes were much more manageable. Click here for a comparison of the main streaming services and save the new parents from the endless stream of smug twats on property programmes (guaranteed to drive anyone insane).
E reader- great for reading one handed and in the dark.
Downloadable audio books- Let someone else do the hard work. Childrens’ books are also available, which could be useful for keeping older kids entertained.
Music downloads or streaming
Wireless headphones- Enable the new parent to listen to music etc, without waking everyone else who’s in close proximity, when the milk monster’s dining at the 24 hour mummy cafe.
With a newborn, I never really had any time for pampering- having a shower was a big achievement and frankly anything beyond that would have been a miracle. I did like burning essential oils, however.
Essential oils- Essential oils have many reputed benefits for new mums, from relaxation, to healing wounds and helping lactation. Follow this link to get some ideas of oils that might be beneficial and how they can be used.
Got any more present ideas? Please comment below! Or take part in our Facebook group forum here.