Read these 10 Brand New Mom Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Baby Gifts tips and hundreds of other topics.
As the best friend, mother, sister, cousin, or even grandmother, it probably doesn't feel like your place to educate the new mother on how she's suppose to feel, or what she should do to transition easier into the role of new mother. You might feel torn between offering your very own words of wisdom, or keeping your lips shut.
Some people really don't mind offering advice whether it's been solicited or not. If that doesn't sound like you, but you really feel that there are things the new mother would benefit from knowing, think about buying books for new mothers. There are so many on the shelves, you'll probably have to buy two or three to cover what's on your mind. Want her to know about natural remedies for colic? You can find a book on that! Want her to know how to cure post natal insomnia? There's information on that too!
Books are perfect items to put in the new mom gift basket. If the mom-to-be is feeling a little sensitive, she probably won't feel the need to get defensive when she gets some nice books as gifts. Now, if you highlight and circle in red ink certain passages of the books, she might become a little annoyed. Just give her the books and leave it at that. Eventually, she'll find some time to flip through them and, who knows, she just might find something useful.
Unless you've been living in a cave, you've probably seen how many parenting books there are on the market. Everybody seems to be an “expert” on the topic and, unfortunately, there are so many different opinions and suggestions that it can turn a new mom into an angst-ridden basket case.
Books for new mothers make a great gift, but if you're buying more than one gift, make sure they don't have too much conflicting information between them. One author might recommend picking up a crying baby, while another author might say the exact opposite. Books are great, but make sure they're written by reputable, experienced authors before you buy them. Tell the mom-to-be that the books are just meant to help. Nothing should substitute good old fashioned advice from the doctor.
Not sure what category of books for new mothers you should give? If you'd rather stay away from preachy books, think about buying something funny instead. The advice in them probably won't be scientific at all, but they should produce a good, healthy bell laugh. When the new mom is knee-deep in dirty diapers, a crying baby, and excessive sleep deprivation, she's probably going to need a good laugh.
What often happens with a group of friends is that they all begin marrying around the same time, and then they all start having children around the same time. So, there's a good chance that if you're pregnant, a good friend probably is too. You could take advantage of this time to make fun of your friend's rapid weight gain (because of course you still look like a million dollars), or you could be a little more mature than that and start a new mother support group.
There are a lot of advantages to new mother support groups including:
How many pregnancy kits did you have to go through before you actually believed the results? You were hoping you were pregnant, but when the stick turned positive, you just couldn't believe it was true. First of all, you accidentally dropped the first stick in the toilet which might have skewed the results. Then you left the other pregnancy kit by a hot window and you figure it could have thrown off the results. Back to the store for four more kits! You bought the cheap one, the expensive one, the one that gives a plus or minus sign, and the one that turns either pink or blue.
The results were all the same: pregnant! The next step is telling the parents and the in-laws. Don't just blurt it out over Sunday brunch, get creative and go shopping for a gift that will tell the story. For example:
Have you been looking at yourself in the mirror these days, wondering how you could possibly be a grandparent? Becoming a grandparent usually has none of the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with first pregnancies. Your biggest job is to love and spoil the child with anything he wants. Finally, you get to sit back and just enjoy the grandkids. Let the parents worry about the big stuff!
The funny thing about grandparents is that they don't usually wait until the official baby shower to give gifts. Nope, the shopping usually begins the minute the pregnancy test kit leaves the shelf. Seasoned mothers have a weird way of detecting even the slightest change in their daughters so that when word finally gets out that a new baby is on the way, the grandmother-to-be often says, “I knew it! The minute I noticed the upper left side of your ankle swelling, I knew you were pregnant.”
Commence with the gift giving! Out of the bazillion baby gift choices out there, here are five ideas:
Exercising after the baby is born is a lot easier than you'd think. It's easier if you exercised regularly before you became pregnant, and during your pregnancy, but anyone can do it. You don't need a lot of extra money, a gym, or a babysitter. Newborns sleep a lot during the day, so take that time to pop an exercise video into the DVD. You can buy just about any kind of exercise video these days from low impact, to high impact step aerobics. You could do yoga, Pilates, kick-boxing, weights, or dance moves.
If you live in a big house where you can exercise away from the nursery, you won't be worried about waking up the baby. In a smaller house or apartment, exercising with headphones on will keep the noise level down. Most baby monitors come with light sensors so that if the baby cries, you'll know it by the flashing lights. So, if the music is cranking in your headset, no need to worry!
Don't underestimate the power of walking. While your friends are pushing their limits at the local sweat shop (i.e. fitness club), you'll be strutting your stuff down the street…pushing a stroller. Babies love that gentle rolling action and it's the perfect place for them to nap. While baby is sleeping, you're carving out a new set of post-pregnancy glutes.
No matter what gifts for the new mother you decide to buy, make sure to add a few little “extras” before you wrap it up. New moms, or soon-to-be new moms, have no idea what kind of hormonal rollercoaster they're in for. Factor in some good old fashioned sleep deprivation (a friend of a friend actually paced the hallway cradling a pillow in her arms until she snapped out of it and realized the baby was still in the crib) and the new mom is going to need a new mother support group.
So, when you're gathering up things to put in the new mom gift basket, make sure to add some resources for her to call on. Add the phone numbers of experienced moms willing to lend an ear, or contact information for local new mom support groups. Keep a backup copy because the mom-to-be might toss them out believe she won't really need that kind of help. Chances are good she's going to change her mind.
It's really important for the friends and family of the new mother to be aware of the differences between post-partum depression and the blues. Surprisingly, post-partum depression might not really seem like depression at all. You imagine someone down in the dumps and crying all the time (which can happen), but it can also mean an overly anxious mother who's afraid to be alone with the baby. The new mom might have severe insomnia, might be constantly angry, or may not want to have anything at all to do with the baby. She might even feel guilty about everything real and imagined.
If you notice anything like this, get her to the doctor's office as soon as possible. Keeping an eye on your friend's post pregnancy health might just be one of the best gifts you can offer the new mother.
It's not a big surprise that your body changes when you're pregnant. For one thing, your belly gets quite large as the months go on. You get a little off-balance. Your once cute belly button now looks like a UFO landing pad and you spontaneously start leaking all over the place.
Those die-hard exercisers might be surprised to suddenly have a lot of back pain, joint pain, or muscle aches. Not only is the skin stretching and changing, so are the joints and muscles. While the uterus grows, the rest of the body has to do some subtle shifting to accommodate the growth. All of this shifting and cartilage loosening means that the fitness-buff mom-to-be is going to have to adjust to a pregnancy fitness regime. It might be okay (with doctor's permission) to stick to the regular fitness routine in the first trimester, but as the pregnancy advances, taking advantage of pregnancy fitness classes is a good idea. These are classes that are specifically designed for the changing pregnant body. You can buy pre and post pregnancy fitness classes on DVD (make great gifts for the new mother!) or sign up for classes like water aerobics with a certified trainer.
If you're not exactly a fitness freak, but you want to incorporate a little pregnancy fitness into your lifestyle, talk to your doctor about it first. Half-way through a spinning class isn't the time to discover you have extremely high blood pressure.
Pat yourself on the back because you are one great friend! You've organized an elaborate baby shower that goes against every grain of your moral fiber. It's time to bite your lip and prepare to play every silly baby shower gift you can come up with. There'll be bows on heads, baby word puzzles to complete, and asinine memory games. Live with it. She's your friend and you do want her to be happy don't you?
Sometimes pregnancies are so full of trials and troubles that it's not a huge surprise when the mom-to-be goes into premature labor. Other times, the birth of a premature baby (or preemie) is a complete shock. Your first instinct might be to turn the baby shower into a welcome-baby-shower, but don't do it. The first thing you need to do is make sure mommy and baby are okay. Preemies are underweight and at risk for a number of health problems. So, busting down the pediatric corridor in a baby shower Conga line is probably not a great idea.
Hold off on the baby shower until after mom and baby come home. At this point, your friend doesn't really need any more surprises, so talk to her about having a get-together with close family and friends. Then, dig out the gifts for the new mother and have a party. If you're good, she might even let you hold the baby.
Buying the new mom a gift basket is a great idea. If this is her first baby, she has absolutely no idea how much she's going to need a little tender loving care of her own. So if you're going with the idea of a gift basket, make sure it's truly for mom and not just a sneaky way to add yet another teddy bear to the pile. If you're strapped for time, you can always buy pre-made new mom gift baskets. Depending on where you shop and how much you want to spend, these baskets contain anything from spa essentials, to gourmet chocolates.
Got a little bit of time to personalize the gift basket? Make your own and add any or all of the following suggestions:
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|