One of the things I get asked most about from mates who haven’t yet had kids – is what the hell they buy another friend who has just had one. What do they want? What do they need? What will be useful? What will make it feel a bit easier for them? And, whilst obvs everyone is different, I thought I’d lay out some ideas that I have loved (or would have loved), in case it helps you out of your present-buying sitch.
And y’know what? It truly doesn’t have to cost the world. I probably would have sobbed if someone had left me an orange Twirl on my doorstep with a Post-It note that said ‘you got this’. The little bits of help and love feel huge when you’re swinging down from that hormonal new-baby high.
(Oh and disclaimer, you can always just ask your just-had-a-baby mate what she wants if you do want to treat her to something, but if she’s anything like me she likely won’t reply for two months. Soz…).
Anyway, here’s my (non-exhaustive) list…
Thought I’d start with the obvi one – but truly there is no greater or more appreciated gift in those newborn days than good grub. Nah scrap that, it doesn’t even need to be good. I once sent a mate an entire shoebox filled with chocolate bars, and one of my fave post-baby presents the second time around was a doorstep delivery of Tupperware filled with homemade spaghetti bolognese.
You’re always hungry in those early days and constantly craving sugar, so any help with meals (or snacks) is bloody brilliant. Other ideas include sending COOK vouchers (the most heavenly ready-meals), a Just Eat voucher for a dreamy takeaway, or easy-to-prep food from somewhere like Pasta Evangelists. Described as ‘a food hug when you need it most’, the Food Doula delivers nourishing meals specially designed for new mums. Owner Kate is currently on maternity leave, but it’s definitely one to bookmark for future friends’ babes.
If you’re unable to physically drop food (or gifts) off due to the pandemic or distance, sending something that can squeeze in through the letterbox is always a grand shout. Food-wise there are some incredible bakers out there who send letterbox goodies like brownies and cookies – check out Baked By Harri, Hetty’s Kitchen and Deviant Cookies.
Admittedly, not all new mums love flowers (another thing to keep alive), but I adore having something bright and happy to look at to distract me from the rest of the chaos. I always recommend Bloom & Wild (prices start from around £20/£25) and there’s always a voucher code to be hunted out online if you’re a new customer.
In those super early days time to yourself is rare and anything you can do to claw back that fresh and feeling yourself sensation feels like bliss. Whilst body oils and moisturisers often felt like too much of a luxury I didn’t always have time for, things like slightly-more-expensive-than-usual bubble baths and shower gels were always incredibly appreciated.
Or what about a top-up of a skincare or make-up product you know she loves – even if it’s to save for a little bit further along the line. Want to spend a bit more? A voucher for a massage or spa day would be THE DREAM.
Baby clothes that are semi-practical.
The second-time round I didn’t need much in the way of baby gear, but I did appreciate getting a few basics (things like vests, sleepsuits, leggings and cardigans) in bigger sizes. I feel like they grow out of newborn and 0-3 months so quickly and you’re still in such a haze that things aren’t worn or appreciated as much.
Going forward I think I’d buy friends things like Lindex wrap vests (seriously one of my favourite bits of babywear – they last ages size-wise and wash so well), and leggings with built-in feet so dreaded baby socks can be avoided – H&M do great ones and I’ve even started to spy them in sets in the supermarket too. Oh, and zip-up bodysuits are a game-changer – Bonds Wondersuits are the bouji option, but you can find great high street versions too.
Something for their other kid.
The transition period of bringing home a new baby when you have older kids is always a bit tricky for everyone involved and causes such a clash of emotions. I really adored it when friends and family dropped things round for my new baby but also included something for my toddler too. It made the whole thing seemed much more exciting for him and stopped him feeling left out – even if he was just a new toy car or sheet of stickers. Plus it would buy me a little bit of extra time where he was entertained which was always a bonus.
Of course there’s the standard vouchers – food ones as mentioned above, pamper ones as mentioned above, or vouchers for places like Marks & Spencer or John Lewis which can go towards baby clothes, bigger items or something for the new mum. But there’s other kinds of vouchers too – like homemade ones. A voucher that says you’ll take the older kid to the park and for ice cream, a voucher that says you’ll come round and make dinner (when lockdown is over) or a voucher that says she can request a coffee and a croissant dropped round when she desperately needs it. Basically, a voucher that says you’re here to help out – because sometimes actually asking for help is the really hard part.
Hope this helps you out in some way!
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.