Ah new parenthood, whilst you have been gifted THE most amazing present in your beautiful new baby, caring for a newborn can be an exhausting time for new parents!
Whether it’s your first time, or your fourth, you’re dealing with all of the changes that a new baby brings – sleep deprivation, adjustment to your baby’s unique needs, learning to breastfeed, hormonal shifts, physical and emotional changes, learning to navigate your relationship as new parents and perhaps juggling the needs of more than one child.
Phew! I feel exhausted just reading that list.
So what do new parents need?
Sure it might be useful to receive a sparkly new household appliance, some clothes, or a department store gift voucher, but nothing beats gifts that make your life easier.
Here are my 7 gift ideas for new parents:
Yes! So simple but SO appreciated as time poor, sleep deprived, new parents.
The last thing new parents feel like doing (or should be doing) in the early weeks with a new baby is shopping and preparing meals.
New mamas in particular need to ensure they are eating well to support breastfeeding and recovery from pregnancy, labour and birth.
Whether it’s the delivery of a home cooked meal, a hamper of fresh fruit, organisation of a healthy meal delivery service, or an online grocery delivery, this gift is sure to be well received.
Trust me when I say you will never appreciate the gift of food more than when you are busy caring for your newborn baby.
Now you probably won’t feel comfortable heading too far away from your new baby in the first couple of months, but having a trusted friend or family member offer to look after your baby is a wonderful gift to receive!
It may even be that you don’t leave home, but that you take some time to rest, sleep, have an uninterrupted shower/bath, or sit and relax outside with a cup of tea, knowing you don’t have to listen out for your baby.
It may even be as simple as feeding your baby and then having your trusted person take them out for a walk in the pram or carrier to give you some quiet time alone – even if it is only for half and hour, it can make the world of difference!
When you are feeling comfortable to leave your baby for an hour or two, a lunch or dinner with your partner can be a lovely way to spend a bit of time together – although you may find you still end up talking about your baby for a majority of the time.
Hire a cleaner
Taking the pressure out of your day-to-day life is something I am really big on talking to parents-to-be about!
Arguing over simple household chores can be the biggest source of conflict for new parents – so delegating what you can is a great way to reduce the chance of tensions rising over jobs and role changes.
Receiving a gift of a household cleaner is definitely at the top of the list for the new parents that I have chatted to about what they would really love to receive. Now this doesn’t have to be a long term investment, maybe just for the first 6 weeks postpartum can really help reduce the stress that having a messy/dirty home can cause.
While you are busy nurturing your new baby, its essential that you be nurtured too!
Gifts that promote relaxation, make you feel good and enhance feelings of well-being could include:
- aromatherapy oils and diffuser
- scented candle
- relaxing bath salts
- herbal teas and a special tea cup
- in home massage
- pampering voucher (or if you’ve got the skills, offer to do something yourself)
- natural body lotion/hand cream
- an eye mask/pillow
As the proverb says “It takes a village to raise a child” and as I like to also say, “It takes a village to raise a mother”.
Parenthood isn’t a journey we should travel alone.
Accepting the offer of help as new parents may not be the easiest thing to do – we are raised in a culture that values the ability to do things on our own, without help!
From help with older siblings, to folding washing, mowing the lawn, walking the family dog, picking up some supplies from the shops, or sharing a shoulder to cry on, it all makes life easier if we aren’t doing it alone.
Now this is definitely the most coveted of all items for new parents! But how to receive it or gift it you ask?
Whilst a full night of uninterrupted sleep may not be on the horizon any time soon, having that trusted friend or family member I mentioned before care for your baby while you catch a little extra sleep or rest is worth its weight in gold!
You can also look after your partner’s wellbeing by checking in with each other and giving yourselves that break when you really need it.
Becoming Us Book
Now I am very cautious when it comes to book recommendations for new parents – everyone has their own ideas on how they would like to parent and there are soooo many different types of books offering all sorts of advice and to be honest, it can be overwhelming with all of the conflicting advice available out there.
This book is different. It’s a book dedicated to helping you navigate the big changes that parenthood brings to your relationship.
Author Elly Taylor has drawn on over fifty years of research and the experience of working with hundreds of new parents to write this guide to relationships after children – and specifically, how becoming a parent can transform your relationship in positive ways.
And if you can get your hands on a copy before you have your baby, even better.
You can buy a copy of Becoming Us here.
A what you may ask?
Most people don’t even realise that postpartum doulas exist! But once I explain what a postpartum doula does, the most common response I get from Mums is “I wish I had of known about you before I had my baby!”
A postartum doula will help you with things such as emotional and physical recovery from birth, bonding with your new baby, breast/bottle feeding, soothing and settling, newborn care, relationships and much more.
Having the support of a postpartum doula will help ensure you are well nourished, cared for and at ease in your new role.
You can find out about the many (researched) benefits of having your own postpartum doula here.
Instead of well meaning advice, offering encouragement is much more beneficial.
New parents are bombarded with all sorts of different advice.
Instead of being told what you should or shouldn’t be doing, gentle encouragement and praise will help new parents feel more confident and at ease.
It’s really easy for friends and family members to not realise what a sensitive and vulnerable time new parenthood is.
Sometimes a heart-to-heart chat can help to let loved ones know if there is more advice being offered than encouragement or support.
Do you have any ideas you would add to the list?
Are you a mama-to-be? Find out about how you can prepare for a nurtured transition into new motherhood here.