Motherhood

How to Support a New Mom From Far Away

how to support a new mom

A reader named Maud recently emailed us: “I was supposed to see my big sister deliver her first baby. It meant so much to me, but of course now I won’t be able to be there. Are there ways to support new mothers from far away? The Cup of Jo community always gives the best tips.” Great question, right? Here are four ideas (and I’d love to hear yours!)…

— A pep talk jar. Before my own sister‘s baby shower years ago, her friend had a brilliant idea: she asked my sister’s friends and relatives to write down reasons why she’d make a great parent. People mentioned everything from “her love of the outdoors” to “how she starts smiling as soon as you begin telling a story.” (They were so moving to read.) We then wrote all the reasons onto little slips of paper and put them into a jar, so she’d be able to pull one out on days when she needed a little boost. How sweet is that?

— Playlists and podcasts. New mothers usually spend lots of time feeding and rocking their babies. You could make playlists for her with different moods — say, cheery, relaxing, middle of the night, etc. to keep her company during those times. You could also round up funny and fascinating podcast episodes you’ve heard (I really enjoyed this, this and this).

— Nourishing food. Ten years later, I still remember every single food gift we received after Toby was born. Three standouts: chocolate-covered strawberries (fresh and delicious!), bagels with cream cheese and lox, and Jeni’s ice cream. They felt nourishing and full of love, and I was thankful for each bite.

— A treat just for her. New mothers work hard for their babies around the clock, so you could send something meant to take care of her — for example, this pretty pouch for carrying essentials or this clean lipstick to swipe on when she craves a pick-me-up. I remember my mom gave me a bunch of ponytail holders and I almost burst into tears with gratitude.

Thoughts? What would you add? Sending hugs to new and expecting mothers, and those who are trying. xoxo

P.S. 15 things I’d want to tell a new mother and giving birth during the coronavirus.

(Photo by Rob and Julia Campbell/Stocksy.)

  1. Jenny says...

    Also, a free gift to give: ask to hear her birth story if she wants to share! I had two amazing and empowering births, and I was so excited about them I wanted to tell everyone. I know lots of women also have the inverse experience and have some trauma from their births, I’d imagine that a gentle and nonjudgmental ear to listen to that would help some.

  2. Jenny says...

    My favorite gifts to give are pretty nursing pajamas and a new robe. It’s hard to feel human after giving birth, and something new and pretty to wear helps. When my youngest was born, my sister made and dropped off *22* freezer meals. We had to buy a deep freeze jus to store rhem all. My baby is now 12 weeks old, I’ve only cooked when I felt up to it, and I have 4 freezer meals left. It’s been an incredible gift.

  3. We had our 2nd a month before the pandemic really hit in the U.S. It’s been really tough. I think mothers need self care more than ever! Send her face masks, bath salts, fun nail polish, cocktail mixes, special wine, snack boxes, flowers and lots and lots of virtual pep talks and hugs! A special robe could be nice too :).

  4. Molly says...

    We like to send snacks and ready-to-heat food from Costco via Instacart to new families. Many of our friends and family members are spread across the country and while I would love to comfort them with something from my kitchen, it just isn’t possible.

  5. Lisa says...

    I was fortunate enough with my second child to be in the middle of a 3 year commitment to a charity board that raised money for our Children’s Hospital. While the support we gave the hospital was amazing, the best part was the meal commitment the members made for new mothers. I did not have to prepare a meal for 3 months! Dinner was dropped off 5 nights a week! While I normally really love to cook, the relief of not having to plan, shop, or cook for those first few months was an amazing gift. I am now way past the age where my friends are having children, but I try to give a ready to eat meal and one that can go in the freezer to all of my younger neighbors when they have children.

  6. Meredith Hake says...

    I have a 3.5 month old and I too remember every food item that was brought to us those first few weeks when we were too tired and overwhelmed to think about feeding anyone but the baby. My best friend brought so many amazing things but the fresh squeezed orange juice her and her mom gave us was the most refreshing, happy, delicious and special gift that made my day in that hazy time!

  7. Blakely says...

    I gave birth to my 2nd son in the wee hours of the morning on Monday, and we’ve home since Tuesday afternoon. It’s been a wild ride this week—but as was the case when our first was born, our village has generously supported us. In addition to calls, texts, and messages of support, they have sent:
    -Gift certificates to a local woman-owned catering business that prepares and delivers several kitchen table meals for the week
    -activities for my 3 year old from KiwiCo and others
    -flowers
    -jars of granola and one-handed nursing snacks (Big Spoon bars, anyone?!)
    -comfy PJs and slippers for me
    -gift certificates for lactation and other postpartum support from the doula collective that supported our birth

    Love to all of the birthing folks out there during this pandemic.

  8. Cynthia M says...

    Cookies- and books. I read constantly while breastfeeding. And our friends brought food by, but not always dessert. One family made me snickerdoodles and also gave me chocolate. My sweet tooth still remembers that though I’ve forgotten the food that came with it!

    • Jenny says...

      Ooh, books is a great one.

    • CEW says...

      I’d always liked my Kindle before kids but after I had my son it was ESSENTIAL. Sooo convenient for nursing at night.

  9. Kate says...

    I had a baby in February and the best piece of advice my mom gave me was – get a package of paper plates. Between learning how to take care of a tiny human, and learning how to breast feed, and sterilizing the pump, and cleaning the bottles and walking the dog, and figuring out when to eat and how to get sleep, oh and worrying about a pandemic – the last thing I had energy for was cleaning a bunch of dishes. I know paper plates might seem like a weird gift for a new mom but I guarantee, a basket of biodegradable plates, cups and bowls for a new mom will be the most used gift she receives.

  10. Zoë says...

    I don’t know how well this would hold up during this time of social distancing, but I remember being a brand new mom and just DYING for someone to clean my house. My husband was in school, so gone for most of the day and totally wiped out when he was home. My parents came into town and they were loads of help with the new baby (held him while I slept and showered, changed his diapers) but I remember just wanting them to do the dishes, or clear things off the floor, or vacuum. If I ever get the chance, when a friend becomes a new parent, the first thing I will do is deep clean their house (or pay for house cleaning, if you’re far).

    • Michelle says...

      I totally agree! I gave birth to my babes in The Netherlands and was lucky enough to have a kraamzorg ( maternity nurse) who comes to your house for the first week. I was surprised and delighted to find out that they do more than help you with your baby but are all about making sure you’re taken care of which often means doing the washing, changing sheets, light cleaning and in some cases preparing meals. A godsend!

    • Sonja says...

      My mom came and stayed with us before our son was born, after for a bit too. And she just cleaned EVERY inch of the house we were renting. We were good renters, took care of the yard, etc. but didn’t occur to me to take apart light fixtures and clean them with q-tips but it did to my mom! There was something so incredibly bolstering and peaceful knowing that everything was SO clean once we were home. The best gift we received.

    • Esther says...

      yes, yes, yes. My mom did this for us when we had our first baby, and now my best friend has had her first little one, and lives very far away, and its killing me that I can’t go clean and cook and do laundry for her!

  11. I am not a mom but these are wonderful habits to add to your daily life. Thank you ! :)

  12. Amber says...

    Sorry to veer off-course but that baby in the photo! Please hand him/her out to me !

  13. Hi! I’m a long-time reader of CoJ and can’t help but mention my company, Nyssa. We are three new moms who made the underwear we wish we’d had after giving birth and feeling totally let down by the flimsy mesh, which can’t hold those massive ice packs they give you at the hospital. We wanted to make something far more functional (FourthWear™ underwear essentially serves as one big pocket, so you can slip your ice pack right in, whether you had a vaginal or belly birth!) so that new moms can feel more comforted and cared for after experiencing birth. Plus, they are sustainably made and beautiful, so people can start to feel more like themselves vs. being a patient. They make a great gift! Sending positive thoughts to all the new parents out there!

    • ami_in_germany says...

      This comment really scares me. There are things that people have apparently not told me about childbirth. I am honestly to afraid to look it up, especially since I have been on the fence about having children. Maybe ignorance is bliss in this case :D

      The list is great, even for non-mothers in stressed times! And that baby is so adorable!

    • Emily says...

      Ami, I found there were SO many things that happened with my body that I hadn’t heard about and wasn’t prepared for. I think that if you do decide to have a baby, it’s worth looking up before birth so that you’re not taken totally by surprise. But as unpleasant as some of it was, I certainly wouldn’t base my decision on those discomforts! They do pass. xo

  14. Danielle says...

    I delivered my first baby last month and was completely unprepared for the chaos of our first night home from the hospital. The newness of breastfeeding, swaddling, diapering and a newborn with reflux led to zero sleep for all of us. We woke up in a state of delirium to fresh coffee and donuts that were delivered via a food delivery app from friends that recently welcomed their own baby. The gesture felt like a big hug and a socially distant expression of “We understand. You’ve got this.”

  15. Anna says...

    For me, the best gift came from the people who were open to hear anything, particularly the very hard parts, and didn’t flinch at the telling. The gift of holding space.

  16. Keri says...

    My most amazing friend, Trisha, sent an entire ham after I had my first daughter. It was really, really perfect.

  17. Amy says...

    Definitely food. Also some nice soap, so her limited shower time can feel more luxurious! Or maybe shower steamers!

  18. Kate the Great says...

    There are two products that I’ve found that shrink after-pregnancy belly further than it will naturally: Trader Joe’s Lavender Scrub and Slab Soap’s Oregon Lavender bar (the one with bits of real lavender baked into it).

    To support local businesses, I have bought three bars of Slab Soap, made a card for each explaining what it is and how to use it, and sent each in the mail to my three pregnant friends.

  19. Anneka says...

    My friend gave me weleda arnica muscle soak when I gave birth to my first and it was my favorite gift. It is lovely and soothing and reminder to take care of myself. I love giving it to new mom friends now: https://www.weleda.com/product/a/arnica-muscle-soak

  20. A says...

    *Be right back, crying at my desk*

    CupofJo comments again for the win. What a fantastic and amazing group of women this is. <3

    Also, it is just really nice to know and see that the world goes on, even in these bizarre times. As someone who is just starting to plan a family and has been fretting about the state of the world, this post brings me joy and hope.

  21. Yolanda Gavin says...

    I just had to say, you sound like such a lovely sister x

  22. K says...

    I just gave birth last week to my second. We left our home in NYC to give birth in my hometown (after weeks of quarantine) so we could have family support afterwards.
    I’ve been really touched by all the different ways friends and family have reached out with support.
    Favorites include:
    – box of hand me down baby clothes
    – box of activities for my 4 year old to keep her busy and make her feel extra special.
    – take out from an amazing local restaurant (especially appreciated now when we don’t know when we’ll eat out again)
    – a care package for every member of the family. Dad got a vegan chocolate bar (he’s vegan and can’t eat the unending supply of desserts at my parent’s house). Mom got a bath bomb and cute ring to use to remember which boob I last breastfed on). 4 yr old got some adorable hair clips that made her so excited. Baby brother got a onesie with our NY neighborhood on it. SO thoughtful and sweet!
    – Last thing… simple texts that ask how I am doing specifically warm my heart. Sometimes we get lost in the excitement of the new baby and forget mama is recovering!!
    – Best new recovery product – Frida Vag Pads! They are extra long Witch Hazel wipe that is so much easier to use than the round Tucks pads! Target sells them online.

  23. Kate says...

    My son was born in February, so is now entering a very sweet stage of awareness and activity. Those early weeks can be hard and isolating (even at the best of times), though! Phone calls and texts from friends—with words of advice, encouragement, or just “Hey! How are you doing?”—meant the world to me.

    Other gift ideas for new moms—
    -A week of meal deliveries (or a gift card for a meal delivery service) (my sisters in law sent meals from Freshly since they weren’t able to drop off meals in person)
    -A Kindle or other e-reader and ebook recommendations (a Kindle is much easier to balance one-handedly while feeding a baby than a paperback)
    -Coffee or tea
    -A new mom care package from Small Packages Co. (https://smallpackages.co/)

    • Cee says...

      Yesssss omg seconded on Small Packages. I LOVE them! They make it so easy to order. Their New Mama box is incredible and I’ve sent it to 3 friends (no joke.. all of my friends are having babies right now and I suspect many more will be soon- ha!).

  24. Bianca says...

    there are many many middle of the night feedings (or really any time of the day), offer to be there while she does that – via text. I spent so many hours scrolling through my phone while nursing doing mindless things (amazon, instagram, etc) sometimes it would’ve been nice to chat with someone.

  25. Ashley says...

    A Dwell and Slumber house dress. I still live in mine even though my kids are bigger. It made being in pj’s all week feel a little luxurious and has plenty of room for belly’s and new mom bodies. Also nursing friendly!

  26. Nicole says...

    I love this post so much! I’d expand it to also include people who are sick, grieving, or lonely during this time. I was extremely ill and hospitalized for a week last summer – when I came home to recover, a friend sent a Spoonful of Comfort gift box to our family that was so thoughtful and DELICIOUS (and necessary because no one had the energy to cook). I’ve since sent them to several friends and family members and everyone raves about them. It’s also nice to support a woman-owned company. ? 10/10 recommend! https://www.spoonfulofcomfort.com/

    • Tara says...

      Nicole, thank you for this suggestion. My sister-in-law gave birth to their second child (my beautiful nephew Callahan) on April 24th and she and my brother and my 3.5 YO niece Clementine are figuring all of this out on their own without the Grandma Squad or BFFs that would normally be around to support them. I live in Seattle and they are in San Diego so soup, rolls and cookies are a great way to try to give them a break from afar! xoxoxo

  27. Sarah says...

    FOOD – I remember every meal I received after both my boys were born. All delicious.

    Quick calls or frequent texts telling her she’s amazing and doing a fabulous job being a mom!

    Cards – snail mail is the best!

  28. Allyson says...

    This is so timely for me! I decided to go with http://www.boardandyou.com which has all sizes of grazing boards and boxes with meats, cheese, sweets, etc. They’re beautiful! The Family Box is just $35, and they ship them and have local stores for pickup. I’m ordering one right now for my friend who just had a baby. Thanks for getting me thinking about it for all the great suggestions!

  29. Amanda says...

    My mom gave me a new pair of fuzzy slippers after I gave birth and they felt divine. I had swollen ankles from an emergency c-section and every time I put my feet up, I saw my cute slippers and felt an immense amount of comfort and love.

  30. MN Hazel says...

    One of the best best best things of support I received was from a neighbor. She texted to check in and I said it was really hard. The next day she left a 5 year one line a day journal for me. Just one line a day felt daunting at first, but being just one line I found myself jotting down a few thoughts. It became my small daily ritual to write down how I felt. Whatever I wanted. Just a few things. Often by the baby’s night light, squatting on the floor right before I got to lay down for an hour or two of sleep. Those extra two minutes helped me so much, and now it’s fun to see what I wrote (and easy to just read a sentence or two)!

  31. Claire Walker says...

    A gift certificate to a local restaurant that is delivering food or Grubhub (I used to do Grubhub before COVID but now I understand that they are taking a debilitating cut from restaurants’ profits so now going directly to the source). New parents are both too exhausted to cook and usually a little worried about their new financal reality – so giving them an opportunity to order out, guilt free has been my go-to gift ever since my team at work did it for me with baby #2!

  32. Rachel says...

    A little mama care package with bubble bath and a candle is a simple way to give a new mom a nudge towards taking some time and space for herself.

    A friend sent me Trader Joe’s chocolate covered sea salt almonds after my first baby and I melted with gratitude.

    I like to send a little box full of the little things it’s easy to forget when leaving the house: on the go snacks, sanitizer, lip balm travel sized sun screen, etc It’s nice to have extras of these to just leave in a diaper bag. . A little tinted lip balm in there for mama is nice treat too.

  33. alix says...

    A little different vein but I have a close friend whose baby is dying. How can I help? I feel paralyzed by knowing there is nothing that I can really say or do that would make a huge difference. Is there a guide of what I can do during and what to say after. It is so sad and my heart breaks for the sweetest boy.

    • Suzy says...

      My heart is breaking for your friend, though I have no words of comfort I can offer you.

    • Sarah says...

      There is Zoë Clark’s Baby Loss Guide. Also follow her on insta. But there really is nothing you can say or do that will make it hurt any less, make her feel any better or make a huge difference. So don’t be afraid of that. Saying anything, even if it’s in have no idea what to say’ is better than saying nothing and being distant. Ask her how she’s doing. Keep checking in on her for months. Take her lead – if she wants to talk about the baby in the future then do. Have courage. Xxx

    • Lisa says...

      I am so sorry for your friend Alix, and for you too. I can’t really help but I’m sure just knowing you are there to listen and thinking of her will help.

    • Missy says...

      I know your friend’s pain all too well. You’re already a great friend by seeking out ways to support. You’re right- there are no words that will take away her pain. Skip all platitudes and just be there. Listen. Don’t be afraid of the grief. Never forget her baby boy. Send random texts or cards. There is NO timeline for grief and it isn’t linear. In 2 years since I last held my daughter I’ve done everything imaginable: books, support groups, therapy, medication, memorial, etc etc. The pain lessens but is always present. I send you both so much love.

    • Kate the Great says...

      Unless she loves to cook, she may also appreciate food gifts. When I lived at the Ronald McDonald house and my baby was living in the hospital, it was such a comfort to be well-fed every evening. When you’re being buffetted emotionally with all the hard feelings, warm, already-prepared food you don’t have to think about is such a blessing.

    • Virginia says...

      We were really uplifted by gifts in part because they seem unexpected. Flowers. Cards. A guardian angel necklace. We were surprised by gift cards to really nice restaurants. It was unexpected but made us feel cared for. A framed print of a dove that actually goes with our decor, bc his “birth date bird” (it’s a thing) would have been a dove. I thought about buying myself a ring with his birth gemstone. I did buy myself a beautiful candle I lit every night for a while for him and I bought myself an adorable Jizo statue, a Japanese Buddhist sort of patron saint for lost children: https://www.etsy.com/listing/615259470/jizo-polished-white-porcelain-25-tall?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_b-home_and_living-home_decor-ornaments_and_accents-other&utm_custom1=0261e2d7-51a3-409e-bd54-aa9464e9392f&utm_content=go_270949115_21143306435_69017147795_pla-371215830637_m__615259470&utm_custom2=270949115&gclid=CjwKCAjwte71BRBCEiwAU_V9hyU6AsaGso-7lXm1qJ24h-9EZHkzVx28VRNUuW8OGrtyWfpNY8wQoBoC1XUQAvD_BwE

  34. Kristin says...

    . My best friend lives across the country and couldn’t be there for the birth of my first- she made me a care package that got me through that first couple of weeks. It had:
    -a comfy pair of wool socks
    -a homemade nipple balm that saved my poor boobs
    -m&m’s, granola bars and Swedish fish (all of my favorite snacks)
    -a pretty nursing bralet. This one, in particular, was much appreciated in those first weeks where I was engorged and leaking all of the time. Having something pretty to put on, even while wearing breast pads to catch the overflow, made me feel so much more human.

  35. Here are my favourite gifts for a new mom
    – lanolin to apply liberally to sore nipples
    – bedrest pillow (ideal for learning to breastfeed lying down, and the countless hours of semi-recumbent baby holding)
    – water bottle (preferably with a straw) so you can drink from odd angles without spilling everywhere, I like them to be thermal (because cold water at night when parched from nursing = hallelujah)
    – offer text support for new parenting / nursing / etc woes and triumphs

    if you are local / can organize this:
    – witch’s hazel and maternity pads (soak the pads in the wh, freeze, omg sweet relief for post-delivery)
    – loaf or muffins, so comforting postpartum

  36. Vanessa says...

    We just had our baby at the beginning of April, so we haven’t been able to have any visitors or helpers :( Thankfully we have all stayed healthy and enjoyed our time at home with a newborn.

    My sisters live far away but we’re so so thoughtful. Before having the baby, I received a super soft Athleta cardigan in the mail, perfect to wear over the hospital gown! I also got a box of Lush products, so I felt very pampered. After coming home, a delivery of Mexican food (& margaritas!) arrived at our doorstep. In addition to all of this, they check in with me daily. I love the phone calls and text messages.

  37. Brandee says...

    If you randomly wake up in the night to pee or you just can’t sleep, text her that she’s amazing and strong, that it’s hard, and that you see her pouring herself into that babe. If she doesn’t answer right away she will still see it at the next feeding.

    My postpartum season was brutal, and having a real friend with a newborn that I could talk to in those midnight hours was a lifeline. I try to make it a point to send a wee hours text to whoever I know is braving those waters.

    Also–food, and coffee, and Amazon/Target gift cards for when she inevitably needs to try a different kind of swaddle, pacifier or bottle.

    • maud says...

      Love this. Thank you

  38. A few days before giving birth, I ran into a friend in the street. She looked at my corner store bag of treats and said, Pringles and Skittles! I see! The essentials! When we brought our baby home a week later, this same friend came by and brought me soft pjs, three cans of Pringles and a GIANT bag of Skittles. I cried my eyes out then and I am crying now just typing this. I also cry on demand when I see big bags of Skittles. That gift made me feel like someone was truly thinking of ME.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Awww love that so much.

  39. Courtney says...

    Oh, yes, I also remember every food people brought after our kids were born! Pulled pork, chili, manicotti, my friend on the West Coast who somehow sent me muffins in the mail (?). Another friend texted that they were stopping at Trader Joe’s on the way to visit us and did we need anything. I responded with “Trail mix? String cheese?” and a few other random ideas, and she brought ALL of it. She’s the same friend who with our second brought a homemade pitcher of my favorite iced tea. But seriously, trail mix and string cheese and muffins are great because you can eat them one-handed. Fruit, water, tea, and coffee. Lactation cookies are good, but even better was when my friend made the dough, formed it into balls, and froze it, so I could bake them whenever I wanted (which was a lot).

    Stuff I like to make for new moms: lactation cookie dough, pasta (macaroni and cheese usually), soup or a salad, banana bread/muffins. Tucks pads! Lanolin, colace, stuff they might be embarrassed to get or not think of but will probably need.

    Our birth class instructor said that when she had her first, she remembered going into the kitchen after a midnight feeding and just tearing into a rotisserie chicken in the fridge because she was so hungry and it was just there.

    Takeout (or gift cards for takeout) is so helpful. Gift cards for ebooks so they can read while they’re nursing/rocking the baby. Cards or notes in the mail welcoming the baby and letting us know they were thinking about us. Lotion. I got an eye mask scented with lavender that I still use. Friends who asked for pictures were always great–obviously I was taking a million, but showing the interest and commenting on how cute/sweet/big/etc the baby was and how great a job I was doing made me happy. Lots of check ins over text and phone calls.

    I obviously have a lot of thoughts about this! I agree with others, even if you can’t be there now, being there in a few weeks/months when it’s safe is helpful too. When the adrenaline drops off and the sleep deprivation really hits, it’s so helpful to have another helping hand.

  40. Maureen says...

    This is so random, but one of the best little gifts a friend gave me was a velvet hair scrunchie! I was never one to sleep with my hair in a ponytail, but after giving birth had the WORST night sweats and having that soft scrunchie to keep my hair off my neck without pulling at my hairs was so wonderful. Such a small thing but really made a huge difference :)

  41. Cynthia says...

    These are all lovely ideas, but I just have to share my nightmare! My aunt and uncle never had children and had no clue what taking care of a baby was all about. So they brought me a brown paper grocery bag full of unshelled butterbeans from their garden a couple of weeks after my oldest was born! I put a blanket on the carpet, laid her down, and she napped while I shelled butterbeans. Had I been a member of their church, I would have gotten a casserole, hot rolls, and dessert. Although it wasn’t funny at the time, I still chuckle about it today.

    • Rebecca G. says...

      As a girl from the South, this made me laugh. Nothing like someone bringing you more work to do, but they meant well. Sweet.

    • Bren says...

      This is so funny! Every new, tired mom’s dream…a huge bag of butterbeans to shell hahaha.

  42. Ari says...

    1. Food you can eat with one hand – I rarely had both hands free
    2. A fancy face spritz – can make you feel refreshed and recharged even without showering, etc.
    3. Constant check-ins and being willing to catch whatever she’s throwing your way. Sometimes, I wanted to talk about PROFOUND MOTHERHOOD. Other times, I wanted to talk about something mundane like a certain plot on a TV show. It is so lonely that it’s nice to have someone with you (mentally) where you are in that moment.

    • Maud says...

      love this!

  43. Caitlyn says...

    Podcast recommendation – “Why Mommy Drinks” – it’s a hilarious show with two hosts and a guest who all share a story of when motherhood has “broken them” (it’s almost always laugh out loud funny, occasionally more heartfelt).

  44. Amber says...

    It is hard. It is painful. You do have angry thoughts at time and moments of regret. It’s ok. You are a human being. Parenthood is a wonderful roller coaster of emotions and nobody trains parents to be parents. It doesn’t get easier but how you handle it changes. Give it time. Sounds cliched but it is true.

    • June says...

      Hi Amber, I’m a first time mom of 11 days and struggling – your honest words bring me comfort and hope. Thank you!

  45. Devorah Backman says...

    A couple small things that I wanted or received that made a big difference:
    – bowls of really good pre-cut fruit. I was craving refreshing, sweet fruit, but the hassle involved in cutting up a mango or pineapple made it kind of impossible. A friend sent over fresh cut fruit and berries from a local produce store that made a perfect one-handed snack while nursing or rocking the baby. It sounds simple but it makes such a big difference.
    – nice hand cream and fancy lip balm. Between the hospital and dehydration from nursing, my lips were so chapped. A fancy lip balm (like the Sugar brand) is such a nice treat.
    – A huge insulated water bottle with a straw. My husband got this for me, and would fill it with ice and water before bed. When I woke up to nurse, inevitably parched, it would still be ice cold and I could wedge it next to me in the rocking chair and sip.
    – fun takeout food just for me. People bringing over pans of lasagna was nice, of course, but what I remember most is the friend who showed up with a couple rolls of sushi and a frappucino.

  46. Avigail says...

    Food food food food and more food! All a new mother needs is food! Just send me food! Or cash. Cash buys food lol.

    • Madi says...

      Haha. This is what I’ve been thinking. All I remember from my first few weeks is the feeling of being SO hungry ALL THE TIME.

  47. MK says...

    This made me tear up… I’m expecting my second this summer, and have no idea when the baby will be able to meet friends and family. Support from other women means the world, and serves to bolster the spirits.
    Lots of love to expecting mamas!

  48. Motherhood is god in shape of a feeling.

  49. danielle says...

    we had to travel to another country a few weeks before I delivered to give birth, so weren’t in our home (without any nesting time). the day we got out of the hospital, our friends had arranged for groceries to be delivered and it was the most amazing thing with so many thoughtful touches – lots of prepared meals, veggies, cheese, coffee, candles (and matches!), and a nice bottle of wine. I didn’t actually know you could get groceries delivered so it was a double miracle – but made the first few days just that much easier to adjust in a new space and made us feel so loved.

  50. Hilary says...

    In addition to food, jammies and lotion (all of which are wonderful!) I have a few more suggestions from a mom of a 3-year old who is due with #2 in Nov:

    – Just spend time. My best friend from high school would text to say she was in my neighborhood and could I chat for a few? I always, always wanted adult company to not feel so alone after my partner went to work and her presence, even if just for 45 minutes, always made my day better. A socially distant porch visit would still be so great right now!

    – Pick a child, any child! Already anticipating that life with a 3 year old and newborn will be bananas. Deeply hoping that friends will come over and either hold the babe or entertain the toddler because I know everyone is gonna need attention and I already feel short in that area some days (quarantine is not helping with this feeling!)

    – For those with experience in this arena, don’t make a thing out of breastfeeding. It’s great if you can swing it AND there are lots of reasons, not just medical, why it doesn’t work for every mom. I pushed myself to breastfeed for a year because every doctor, friend and book I’d read said that was the gold standard. And my kid had trouble at the beginning, then I was waking myself up on business trips (where I might otherwise have gotten some sleep!) in 2-hour increments to pump. I pumped in planes and the back of taxi cabs and made myself exhausted, emotional and full of shame. And after 8 months of that insanity, my boobs quit. There was nothing left. And my child is as healthy as smart as the next one. So for round two, I will breastfeed only as long as I feel like it’s good for both of us.

    I attribute breastfeeding and the associated lack of sleep and feelings of shame and inadequacy to a lot of my postpartum anxiety. If I could give any new mama a gift, it’s that there are a lot of ways to be a great mom and absolutely none of them have to do with breastfeeding. FED is best, and however you do that is great.

    • k says...

      amen.

    • RM says...

      Hilary, I just wanted to say thank you for this. I only managed to exclusively breastfeed for a month before the doctors concluded that my son wasn’t gaining sufficient weight, and then I pumped to supplement the formula until six months, when I was so miserable, exhausted, anxious and stressed that I had to stop completely or I think I would have fallen apart. I work in public health and know the benefits of breastfeeding so I wanted him to have the immunity, etc – but I just couldn’t do it anymore. In March when he was seven months old, we all contracted Covid-19 and he was sick for weeks. He is much better now but part of my fear at that time was that I hadn’t managed to give him enough breast-fed immunity to get him through…No one should have to live with that feeling. But he pulled through because he’s a strong baby! I appreciate breastfeeding but am so grateful to read your perspective!

    • Tara says...

      Hilary you are right on! My “babies” are 16 and 14 and my dear sister, who is younger than I but had kids first shared a wonderful piece of advice with me: “Whatever works for your family WORKS.” Everyone has opinions, and some are far too free with them or can’t see any alternative to them. Healthy mom and healthy baby are the goals and there are many paths to that! She also gave me a great tip when my 2nd arrived–before you get ready to feed the baby, line up 3 positive options for your firstborn. I swear as soon as I sat down to feed the baby he decided to play in the fireplace! But having a puzzle, or some cars, or some play doh at hand so we were both saying YES to something fun vs. a lot of “Oh don’t do that!” or “Stop” or “No” was so much better for all three of us! Congratulations on your growing family!

    • Kay says...

      I attempted to breastfeed in the hospital but my son would just not latch on. Once I got home, I tried again but he wouldn’t and I decided it wasn’t worth the frustration. I was also overwhelmed by how much he needed me and knew that if I spent predominately the whole day breastfeeding I would for sure fall into a deep depression. In order for my baby to have a healthy, happy mama, I had to be selfish and think about myself. God is good, my son is 13 months old and he has only had 1 fever due to teething. He is developing beautifully, healthy and happy. Make sure you take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally because that impacts your baby as well.

  51. Jess says...

    My sister had her first baby just as the stay at home orders began, so she has been finding it really hard to have had no visitors or help at all. I have been trying to support her by checking in with her often everyday. Letting her know that I am available anytime to talk, nothing is too trivial, and letting her have a safe space to be upset about how hard it all is, because she also feels guilty complaining because others are having to deal with deaths of loved ones during this pandemic, and people keep telling her how lucky she is, because “she would have been at home with her baby anyway”. Our favorite thing is to share gifs of Moira Rose talking about ‘Bebe’. “shouldn’t Bebe be dormant?”. I can’t wait to visit my new niece.

  52. Jean says...

    One of my favorite gifts was a delivery of (sort-of random) groceries from Good Eggs. A rotisserie chicken, pre-made sides, pints of ice cream, produce, nuts and chocolate. We grazed on it for a good week! It’s now my go-to for new parents. XO

  53. Ashley Stevens says...

    I just had a baby (6 weeks ago!) and a good friend sent a bag of her favorite local coffee from across the country. It meant so much and was so fitting for all the tired days ahead. Other friends used food delivery services to deliver us meals. These unexpected treats meant so much.

  54. Karin says...

    The best gift I received was a set of nursing pajamas. They were fresh and new and meant that I didn’t have to face wearing another pair of maternity pants because that’s all that fit me.

    • Megan says...

      I second that. Fresh pjs are the best.

  55. Erika says...

    The book “Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts”, which is a comforting, illustrated guide on postpartum anxiety and depression by the Postpartum Stress Center. It was so helpful for me with my second child and I wish I had while facing deep anxiety with my first child. I plan to buy for all new moms that I know.

  56. Lora says...

    Motherhood is all consuming for so long. I promise going to help in a few months (whenever you can) will be just as helpful. My sister came to help when my second baby was 4 months old and it was such a relief!!

  57. Dtiz says...

    I think the only food I was gifted was nursing cookies which amazing and felt like they were just for me! My sweet sister-in-law sent me a floral arrangement which I never remembered to water since taking care of a new baby was taking up 100% of maternal energy. Send food, not flowers.

  58. Sarah says...

    A bath bomb, lavender weighted eye mask (she can benefit from that while feeding baby), breakfast foods that are easy to heat up (bagel, quiche), fancy cheese to snack on after baby’s witching hour, unnecessarily large baby bows (or fanciful equivalent – it’s so fun to dress up your kiddo at home with no where to go! Bonus if it’s mommy and me matching, that is also surprisingly fun)….also snail mail – notes that arrive every week telling her what a good job she’s doing/how hard it is/how her body and mind don’t need to feel “normal” because she’s becoming something different… lots of FaceTimes! Congrats on your newest family addition! Hope you get baby snuggles in person soon! And prayers for a safe delivery for your sister!

  59. Leah says...

    When my oldest was born we had no family around to help. The most thoughtful, memorable gifts I got was a huge “bouquet” from edible arrangements. In those hazy few days when you have no idea what you are doing, no time to make food or eat, that bouquet was my life line.
    I now send it to every new mom I know, and it doesn’t disappoint.

  60. Holly says...

    Meal train, pizza, nursing cookies, coupon book for free pedicure, coffee, nap, pick up groceries, etc

  61. I was supposed to be a postpartum doula for my friend in Portland (I live in LA), but because of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to travel and be with her. In her first week home, she voiced how making the transition to a family of four was already difficult, but then the added isolation from family/friends due to shelter-in-place orders made the experience exponentially worse.

    Since I couldn’t be there physically, I sent her a care package to remind her that she isn’t alone. The package included:

    Manuka honey to sweeten her day.
    A floral bandana to add a little cheer to her wardrobe.
    Nucifera balm to hydrate her skin from hand-washing, baby-washing, etc.
    A sunflower growing kit so she could steal some time away with her three-year-old and plant some beauty in her backyard.
    And because of visitor restrictions during these pandemic days, I asked which restaurants she and her husband enjoyed, and sent delivery from there.

    It’s amazing how love knows no distance :)

    • Michelle says...

      This is so so sweet! You are such a lovely friend!

  62. Elly says...

    A friend ordered us an epic feast from our favorite take-out place the day we got home from the hospital, it was amazing.

    I imagine if I was giving birth now it would be lovely for someone to manage my grocery delivery so I could get food staples (baby carrots, bananas, etc) without having to figure out various delivery services/go to the store.

    Also, I would love carte blanche to call/text the middle of the night to chat about big or little things.

  63. K says...

    Just had my second a few weeks ago, and actually am finding not being able to have visitors or family staying with us to help this time around has made it easier. Of course my husband is home working too and it is very helpful that he is around to watch the first or even both so I can take quick breaks to shower or take a nap during the day and feel sane still, and we worked out a lot of the kinks of being home together in March when we first started staying home. It is sad that my extended family cannot meet my second babe in person but it is a lot less drama, and no dealing with other people telling me what to do, more space at home, no worrying about their feelings too, no feeling bad about having to say no to anyone sick coming over, no relatives not understanding or remembering what it’s like to just give birth and having unrealistic expectations of me (I had relatives expect me to keep a clean home still, show them around the city when they visited). I have actually found it quite nice (note: I am an introvert so staying at home has not been too hard for me. I even feel socially overwhelmed more than missing being out and social!). And there’s less pressure to have to go out and do things or feeling bad for missing out. I think otherwise I would have felt bad for not taking my older one to his usual activities or parks, etc. but now I can’t anyway. Everyone we know is home too! I’m forced to rest at home which is good for me. Gift cards for GrubHub, UberEats, etc. , gifts for the older kid (kiwico is great!), and gift cards for baby supplies or whatever I want have been so helpful. Also got myself a new pair of comfortable nursing friendly pjs (to rotate with another set when it inevitably gets poop on it). Someone dropped off some groceries and soup at our door. I wish someone would send me fancy chocolates. Haha. I would’ve appreciated nursing friendly clothes because no one told me how much nursing takes up your life and it feels nice to wear something new and pretty:) Oxyclean spray also is helpful to get out poop stains quickly. People just sending gifts, instead of saying “let me know if I can help. ” When I’m tired and busy, the last thing I want to do is come up with a courteous way of someone else helping us wondering if it’ll be received okay. We usually don’t tell those people even if we need the help because it’s just awkward. I much rather prefer people just figure it out and send it to me. I can imagine it would be harder if I was a new mom though who may not have that network of parent friends or prior experience. What has saved me this time around is going to bed early (with my first) and getting at least 3 hours of sleep (while my husband stays up with the baby and a bottle, while he finishes up work or watches TV etc), and then us trading off. He goes to bed still at a reasonable time and gets enough sleep, and i am less tired when staying up and getting interrupted sleep.

    • Rachelle says...

      This fits my experience perfectly! I feel a little guilty saying it but it’s been easier for me for all the readings you mentioned.

    • Kat says...

      we just had our first in early March, right before lockdown, and I am feeling the same way! The thing giving me the most anxiety about these early days was honestly managing family visits and expectations, and being alone with the baby all day for weeks after my husband went back to work. There are definitely major downsides and fears associated with the pandemic and lockdown, but I have been soaking up all the time I can with our new little family. It has been a huge relief to have my husband here working from home, and we have had so much more bonding time than we otherwise would have. Our relationship with my in-laws is pretty tough, so it has been amazing to not manage that at all, plus zero fomo with our friends and colleagues.

  64. Amo says...

    One thing to remember is that new parents keep needing help after the first couple of weeks. We were so fortunate to have many people bring us food right after our baby was born – but the meal I remember the most was the one my friend brought over right after I had gone back to work after maternity leave. I had told her what a rough time I was having and she brought over the most delicious, healthy meal the next day. I still tear up thinking about it!

    • Fay says...

      I love this idea! I remember going back after maternity leave and thinking THIS is when I need the food/care/encouragement. For me, that time was much more lonely/exhausting than the newborn months.

  65. Caitlin says...

    When my daughter was about 2-3 months old, my sisters bought me a gift card for Stitch Fix. It was a lifesaver! I was in between maternity clothes and real clothes, and of course none of my old clothes fit. I wanted to feel like myself again, but was overwhelmed by the idea of going shopping. For my first box I asked them to send me 5 pairs of jeans, just to be sure I would find a pair that fit! Being able to try on some pretty clothes that actually fit my new body, and not having to leave the house for it, was such a treat. It was one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever gotten me.

  66. Miranda says...

    I’m not sure if everyone would be into this, but when I was a new mom, one of my best friends was living on the east coast. I live on the west coast and so when I was doing the dreaded 3am feeding (obviously the hardest of all) I knew I could text her if I needed a boost because it was already morning for her. It was such an incredible mood booster/loneliness cure to just talk with a friend in those dark and exhaustion-drenched hours. All of which is to say that I think a wonderful way to support from afar is to offer to be that middle of the night buddy, if time-zones allow.

  67. Reading this cheered me up, it is exciting to think of all the new mothers this spring :) I would recommend Coffee + Crumbs to any new mother-a wonderfully encouraging podcast and essay collection. Beautiful and honest conversations about loneliness, memory making, and marriage-all of it. I started with this podcast episode, right after my son’s birth, and have been listening ever since: https://www.coffeeandcrumbs.net/podcast/season-two/31/the-one-with-all-the-birth-stories.

    • jen. says...

      yes to coffee + crumbs!!! they were the *only* good thing that came out of all my frantic google searches during my pregnancies, and i’m pretty sure i’ve bought at least six copies to give out to women i know who are first-time mommas. i love how none of the essays contain advice; they’re simply stories of other people’s experiences and how they navigated through the same challenges that i’m going through.

  68. Pam says...

    A nice hand lotion! New parents wash their hands so often (after diapering, bathing, etc.) and this is a treat. Also it feels good to get something for you, not just sweet presents for the baby.

  69. AMK says...

    -A large water bottle with a straw
    -portable snacks and nuts that can be eaten during baby feeding time
    -toy/books for older sibling
    -gift cards
    -basically anything to let them know you are thinking of them (contactless porch dropoffs, etc).
    -delivered hot meals

  70. shelley says...

    I felt like a lot of people gave us dinner but no one covered breakfast. I always make two quiches and get a big bottle of iced coffee and a creamer and make a few batches of mini muffins. People always say how thankful they were to have a yummy hearty breakfast in the morning after being up all night.

    • Julie says...

      That’s a good one!

    • Amanda says...

      This is a great idea, I love it. Quiche is great too because it never feels like the wrong time of day for quiche.

    • Erika says...

      For a few years, I’ve used new babies as a reason to drop off a box of assorted items from our local bakery. I don’t visit or even ring the doorbell. I just let them know it’s there and to enjoy. Scones, muffins, granola and cookies can be enjoyed as breakfast as well as mid-day or midnight snacks.

    • Liz says...

      Yes! Breakfast was always a bleary eyed moment- my favorite was a breakfast sausage wrap that we could microwave from my mother in law. You need help in the morning after being up.

    • shelley says...

      Yes Erika! I drop off this big breakfast at the door and just sent a text as I drive away. I always make sure to visit with new babies at some point but I think the surprise breakfast without any visitor is everyone’s favorite part of it.

  71. MelB says...

    I found having a baby isolating and lonely at times. Being up at night nursing a baby, I ended up watching a huge amount of The Wire. I only have brothers, but I would have loved it if I had a sister who was watching the same shows around the same time as me. I would have been so sool to text/talk about my favorite parts. Whether it’s something happy like Jane the Virgin, nostalgic like Gilmore Girls, or amazing like The Wire, it would be fun to have a show-watching companion. (I’m also a pediatrician, and by my third baby I was prepared for days and nights to be confused for a while, which means lots of binge-watching)

    And my favorite baby gift was a four-pack of Jeni’s. My husband and I savored each pint. These days, I gift new moms with pints of Jeni’s from her cookbook.

  72. Rosie says...

    All I wanted was food so that is my go to. They usually get a combo of chicken divan (my grandmother’s recipe, of course), chocolate chip banana bread that is wrapped to be frozen in case they already have a lot of stuff or want a treat for later, danish, fruit salad, crudites with a homemade dip, or Smitten Kitchen’s chicken salad and good bread. I usually aim for something that can be grazed on or eaten with one hand and a hearty meal. When I had my little one I thought casseroles were the best whether store bought or homemade. I fondly remember making our way through a party size Stouffer’s lasagna and how satisfying it was.

    • Cynthia says...

      Chicken divan is one of my favorite casseroles!

  73. Meghan says...

    My college girlfriends and I always start a 30-day text chain anytime one of us has a new baby. We solicit 30 snippets of text-able advice, funny stories, or inside mama jokes and dole one out each day after the baby is born. It was a lifeline for me after my first and I am greatly looking forward to hearing from all my best friends again in November when I have baby #2. It felt like I wasn’t alone during a time that can be so isolating, and even if I didn’t always respond, I knew they were there for me, cheering me on.

  74. Kate says...

    I love the idea of a pep talk jar! Nine years ago, we took a class at the hospital where we were delivering our son that was taught by a warm, and sort of zany, nurse educator. She told us that she had sons and her gift to her daughters-in-law was to take them out a little before they returned to work to and watch their babies while they tried on new clothes and then to treat them to a new outfit for work. Not really feasible during the pandemic, but now that I have 2 sons I always think that this is the sort of mother-in-law I would like to be for their future partners.

  75. hm says...

    My boss sent my older child (who was 3 at the time) a disposable camera and a photo album when our second was born. We had to explain about 400 times where the pictures “went,” but the photos she took are the most hilarious little time capsule.

    Another good gift option is just a pretty water cup mom can carry around with her, and a reminder to her partner that their job is to keep that cup full. There is no thirst like breastfeeding thirst.

  76. d says...

    Before the birth–hold the negativity or scary birth stories. This is a time for positive birth vibes and there is so much to look forward to.

    After the birth–Quiche! A friend of mine brought me a quiche, and it was the best any-time healthy meal or snack, so easy to warm up and so customizable.

    My heart goes out to all the new mommas and their families right now. Blessings to you and your beautiful babies.

  77. Emily says...

    I had a baby girl 10 days ago (my second) and people have been so sweet even though we can’t have the usual visits. Friends and family dropped off meals and snacks (homemade granola bars for late night feeds and cut fruit are two standouts) and one of my friends gave me a book of poetry, which was also perfect for these sleepy newborn days. I would read a poem or two during night feeds and just let the words and images wash over me. I also FaceTime my mom every day.

  78. Julie says...

    I’ve been sending my mama friends lots of cards, I know mother’s day has passed but this one is great: https://efrancespaper.com/collections/greeting-cards/products/bathroom-peace

    Or Emily McDowell’s You’re Doing a Great F*ing Job card, or this You Are Not Alone card: https://emilymcdowell.com/collections/lisa-congdon/products/lisa-congdon-you-are-not-alone-card

    I’ve also sent gift cards for ebooks (a lot of my mom friends swear by kindles while breastfeeding). I preordered a friend a book for something to look forward to since there’s so much uncertainty about other things to look forward to.

  79. Megan Lec says...

    Love these ideas. I’m due in October and am so curious how different this delivery will be from my first. For mommas with other little ones, little treasures for the new big brother or sister are so helpful. While in lockdown my mom has sent us along little puzzles or stickers for my son to play with and they’ve been a welcome surprise each time :)

  80. Sarah says...

    Give her a chance to talk. Talk about the birth, talk about being a new mom, talk about how quickly her life is changing. Tell her over and over how amazing her baby is and what a good job she is doing. Give her a chance to make meaning from her own experience. Be her cheerleeader. Reassure her. Let her talk out her concerns and be a sounding board for problem solving. Don’t compare. Only offer advice when she asks for it. So many caring and well meaning friends were so quick to protect me from their mistakes and offer advice. Sadly, most of it wasn’t relevant to my situation. More than anything, I needed someone to listen. I’ll finish with this. When my OB met me and my newborn for my postpartum visit she made me feel like a million bucks. My newborn was sleeping. She said “wow, look at how calm and beautiful this baby is. You are doing such an amazing job. This is a testament to what an amazing mother you are”. I felt like a million bucks at the time. Looking back now, all six week old babies nap, and I’m sure she finds a sincere way to compliment all new moms, but that sincerity helped carry me through a lot of sleepless nights.

  81. Jill says...

    When I had my now 2-year-old, I was struck at how happy I was to receive gift cards for ubereats, grubhub, etc. because I could use them immediately for sustenance! I can’t tell you how many people got my daughter frilly dresses in size 6-9 months that she never wore.

    And a way to send support longer-term: I was at a baby shower a few years ago for a cousin when her husband came for a few minutes and “needed to show her something urgent” outside for a few minutes. When she left, everyone wrote my cousin a letter of encouragement or advice. We put them in envelopes and put a post-it note on the back if we wanted it sent at a specific interval (like around Thanksgiving or at 6 weeks). Her mom collected them and mailed them to her roughly once a month for the baby’s first year. I think new parents can get a little overwhelmed in the beginning and then the support just drops off. It must have been so nice to get periodic notes of love!

  82. Sonja says...

    The best gift I received after the birth of both of my children was the gift of food. My father in law brought over his homemade red sauce with meatballs and chicken and potato soup. My mother in law brought a casserole for the freezer and fresh baked cookies. It was simply the kindest gift to be home after a c-section and nursing my new baby with a week’s worth of nourishing meals. I felt so loved and just taken care of in those sleep deprived days coming home from the hospital.

  83. Bea says...

    I had a baby (my second) a couple weeks before lockdown. The thing I appreciate most is when friends and family try to help entertain my 6 year old from afar. The baby has colic and it’s extremely tough, and most of my energy goes towards her… it’s especially exhausting because all my postpartum help was cancelled. So when people send activities for big sister (Kiwi Crate, activity books, crafts, already assembled school projects, etc.) I find myself tearing up with gratitude.

  84. Nicole says...

    I’m 33 weeks pregnant with my third baby. My other kids are still very needy at ages 2 and 4, and all the grandparents live out of state. I think the hardest part of this entire pandemic is going to be beginning the postpartum phase without any help from family or friends. We all know “it takes a village” but it’s so disheartening that my village can’t physically come together. I really hope we are gifted a few delivered meals because it would be a DREAM to not have to worry about meal prep amidst everything else.

  85. Allison Leigh Kreider says...

    a former colleague of mine started a business that delivers care packages to new moms filled with products that will help her heal and find comforatble after delivering https://www.mom-box.com/

    i gave one to my best friend after she had her son and she loved it! she said it helped her find and learn about products she otherwise wouldn’t have been able to find at her local target or pharmacy.

    it is a great way to pamper the new mom in your life and support a small, female owned business!

  86. I always give my new mama friends a super soft and comfy pair of jammies (Aerie has some great options but I’ve gotten very sweet baby doll sets from Target as well) and a six pack of bottle of their favourite wine. I think pyjamas are a nice reminder during those middle of the night feeds and cozy days at home with a newborn that someone was thinking about them while they were busy thinking about their new babe! Bonus if the jams have nursing access, of course.

    Side note: I also remember every meal we were brought after our first baby was born! Funny what our brains remember.

  87. Adel says...

    Something with the baby’s name monogrammed on it- towel, blanket, bib- it never fails to excite new moms and makes them feel very “thought about”

  88. laura says...

    love the bagel idea but $55 to ship a dozen to Maine? Crikey!

  89. SW says...

    At my baby shower a few years ago, guests decorated diapers to have on hand when we brought our baby home. Some had funny messages and drawings, others were encouraging and sweet but it was so fun to go through those stacks of diapers in those first few weeks and think of how loved we were! Maybe you could decorate and ship a bunch and have other friends and family do the same?

  90. Stephanie Panach says...

    When I was pregnant – my best friend put together a special bracelet with a bead from each of my friends and family that attended by baby shower. Each one was a prayer and special thought for a healthy and happy delivery. It was something I could wear during labor to have all of them with me during that time.

  91. Beth Ann says...

    I always say at bare minimum SEND FOOD!! Fruit baskets, snack baskets, or even frozen dinners from places like Omaha Steaks or Williams-Sonoma if there isn’t a local one you already know and love. For the new mom I like to send a favorite body scrub or fancy new water bottle or a gift card to get some fresh yoga pants. I don’t send bath bombs because if she’s had a c section, you can’t soak in the bath for a few weeks postpartum, and also, who has the time?? A decadent scrub in the shower feels indulgent without having to “schedule” the time for it. Lastly, if there are other kids in the house, I send things to keep them busy while mom is busy with baby. Kiwi Co boxes are fanatic for this! Magnatiles, puzzles, and coloring sets are also great options.

  92. abby says...

    A good friend moved out of state right before having her first child. Normally when a friend has a baby, I bring a meal for the new parents. Because I couldn’t make the meal, I utilized Postmates and sent a meal of their choosing on the night that worked for them.

    Also, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy getting personal notes in the mail. Even just something small that let’s the new parent(s) know you’re thinking of them, is so helpful during that first period which can often be full of sleeplessness and anxiety.

    Offering to come and babysit as soon as it’s safe to do so to allow the parents to have a night (or if you’re really ambitious a weekend) baby free.

  93. Toni says...

    I’m heading into the hospital next week to give birth (followed by a 2 week quarantine with just me and my husband after we leave the hospital) and all I want are phone calls and texts and zoom chats and Facetime. I just want to hear from and see all the people I love as much as possible. Who cares if my place is a mess? Who cares if I cut my husband’s hair and now he looks like a k-pop star in the front and Billy Ray Cyrus in the back? Who cares if my glasses are kinda broken and I look like a caricature of a nerd? Just call me and tell me about how you think our new little gal is a source of light in the darkness. And please share something happy in your world too – even if it’s just that you managed to brush your teeth 2 times in one day (woohoo! I’ll drink to that soon enough!)

  94. Suzie says...

    I recently had my first baby during the UK’s lockdown. It has just been myself and my husband looking after a newborn with no outside assistance or visitors (no one bar us two has held him in five weeks). The things we miss most are the joy that other people have upon seeing him, so if you can, try and have short but frequent video calls. I also got a board book with photos of family for him to see which makes me feel a bit better about him having never met them. Handwritten messages of love and cards that we could put up around the house also made us feel less alone in those difficult first couple of weeks.

  95. Kelly Folks says...

    Bath bombs are great! The best thing about them is that they are JUST FOR HER.

  96. Omaya says...

    Same here about remembering every little food gift in the weeks after my little one joined us! Food planning is near impossible in the beginning, so this kind of help is essential. I remember what kind of day I was having when my aunt sent over our family’s albondigas (Mexican meatball soup), I remember that my out-of-town in-laws had our favorite BBQ meal waiting for us the moment we walked in the door from the hospital, and I remember that our friends who were getting married two days later came by with the most delicious homemade mac and cheese.

    • Sondra says...

      We had a baby in mid March and have been self quarantining since arriving home from the hospital. The best gifts for us have been books sent on Amazon, cut up fruit from a neighbor, and daily texts from my sister asking for pics of her new nephew.

  97. M says...

    My banker delivered her third in April. We have a good connection so I sent her the most beautiful card with a link to your post on delivery during covid-19 and a little ziplock full of Sequoia seeds, (from the enormous tree in a nearby park where I walk in daily), that she can plant in the new baby’s name if she likes.

    • Kim says...

      So sweet!

  98. cat says...

    love these ideas! I’ve been struggling with this too, as I watch many of my friends go through pregnancy alone or lonely in this time. one other gift recommendation for the birthing parent that I love to give is a Postpartum Recovery Kid by FridaBaby. So much in those first few weeks is focused on the new baby, but sometimes the person who just BIRTHED a baby deserves some love too!
    https://frida.com/collections/mom

    ps- just a gentle reminder than not all people who go through pregnancy and delivery identify as she/her. <3

    • SC says...

      My husband and I had our first baby the day shelter-in-place went into effect so have been navigating the first 7 weeks on our own. These are things that were/would have been amazing!
      1. Meal delivery gift cards!!! Door dash, GrubHub, etc. or just having a meal delivered to them as a surprise. Just choose a dish for them and they’ll be so grateful. I did not have the mental bandwidth or energy to look through a restaurant menu and choose what to eat. Anything would’ve been great at that point! Or set up a meal train and get the emails of their friends ahead of time.
      2. A nice robe. She’s going to spend a lot of time in it with all the nursing and breastfeeding. A pretty one makes those spontaneous in-the-moment pictures a whole lot cuter.
      3. A lux soap or lotion like Le Labo. Showers are few and far between in the beginning so they already feel like a treat. How amazing would it be if you have some really special products to go along with it?
      4. Good chocolate. Because chocolate makes everything better.
      5. Frida mom peri bottle (if they haven’t given birth yet and plan to do so vaginally). Just trust me on this one.
      6. Earth mama nipple balm

    • Bb says...

      What kind of a gift do men who have given birth typically appreciate receiving?

  99. Abbie Toner says...

    I always liked to send a pair of new pajamas. Something comfy for those early days that would feel a little special, but comfy.

    • Erin says...

      Seconding this idea. My sister sent me a great set of nursing PJs and a short robe when my oldest was a newborn and I really, really loved them. Also, I found nursing to be both lovely and very, very boring. For the boring bits, I was glad I had a New Yorker subscription because the magazine is breastfeeding-friendly reading: There are lots of words on every page and the pages lie flat. When I was just figuring out nursing, it took forever to get the baby latched on and then I’d feel like I couldn’t move my arms at all, so having something LONG to read hands-free was key!

  100. Molly says...

    Just brought my second home from the hospital. Here are some things that have been/would be nice:
    -gift cards for take out (seamless, caviar, etc.)

    -amazon/target gift cards (I know there are issues with amazon, but with a new baby you sometimes need something delivered fast!)

    -ask what brand/size of diapers they’re using and send a box – or send the next size up

    -flowers are always nice!

    -a fun toy to keep any older siblings occupied for a while

    -use Shutterfly or another photo site to send a framed photo or other photo gift of any pics they used to announce on social media

    -or, just text to check in and ask how they’re doing! That’s really the nicest thing you can do!

    • Sondra says...

      Yes!! My sister sent us diapers from Target when I complained we were running low. She didn’t even tell me, they were perfect!

  101. LK says...

    My sister is having her second baby in less than 4 weeks! I feel so sad I’m missing the end of her pregnancy and the delivery. I also am missing time with my niece – who will turn 2 in July. This is probably the 1 thing I really am upset about (so thankful for my health, job, etc). My sister also lives outside of NYC so we’re scared about her time in the hospital.

    This is perfect timing – we want to know how to support her during all this.

  102. Anna says...

    The best gifts I received from loved ones from far away when I had my babies were: a cleaning service a few weeks after my baby was born (it was so nice to go on a long walk and come home to a sparkling home ! The bathroom really needed a scrub by then and I was way too tired to do it ), and postmates or grubhub giftcards for nights we wanted to order in food. Both were so needed and made me feel so loved!

  103. Sarah Etheridge says...

    Something to read. A friend bought me ‘Nobody Told Me’ by Hollie McNish and her poems about pregnancy and new parenting carried me through the highs and lows and long nights. It was like having a friend alongside me saying ‘I know’…’me too’…
    https://holliepoetry.com/2015/09/17/nobody-told-me/

  104. Tali says...

    This fabulous and stylish water tumbler! I always forgot to drink enough while breastfeeding and this is a great no spills way to keep it close! Plus it doubles as a coffee mug too.

    Simple Modern 20oz Voyager Travel Mug Tumbler w/Clear Flip Lid & Straw – Coffee Cup Vacuum Insulated Flask 18/8 Stainless Steel Hydro Water Bottle Pattern: Carrara Marble https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SSH3DZH/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_PSAUEbNVAHYVS

  105. Caitlin says...

    I love all of this! I’m 35 weeks pregnant now and recently received a Lush gift box with soaps and lotions from a sweet friend in the mail. There’s something extra touching about getting a gift that isn’t just for the baby – it feels like an acknowledgment that you’re still a separate human and not just an incubator.

  106. Michele Godwin says...

    I wish someone had told me that it was hard: breastfeeding is hard, being in charge of another human being is hard, navigating a new dynamic with your partner (if you have one) is hard, sleep deprivation…all of it is hard. And because it’s so hard, it can really really suck. I wish someone had told me that I might feel pangs of regret and wonder “what the hell have I done?!” and that it’s ok to feel that. I wish someone had told me that just because I might drive around the city to figure out where all the fire stations are, in case I decide to leave my baby at one of them, doesn’t mean I’ll actually go through with it. And that I’m not a monster. And that parenting stays hard but changes in the ways that it’s hard. And that drugs are readily available and not at all a bad idea.
    And that nipples can get a yeast infection.

    • Caitlin says...

      Nipples can get a yeast infection?! God, women are strong as hell. Michele, you, in particular, sound strong as hell.

    • Stephanie says...

      Hi Michele – I just want to say, though we’ve never met, I can tell you are a wonderful mother. What I recognize in your words is that you may be your own biggest critic (I am of myself too). But, your baby is so lucky to have you. You are not a monster – far from it. And, you deserve to be held, loved and supported. Sending you a big hug from afar.

    • K says...

      Michele, I don’t know you or your situation but what I hear is how hard you’re trying, and that is a beautiful thing. Motherhood is a huge gear shift, and it can take time to adjust. Have faith in your abilities and know that you are not alone. If medication or talking with someone would help, don’t be afraid to reach out. I send you my very best, wherever you are.

    • Katie says...

      Oh my goodness, those first weeks/months of new motherhood are SO hard!! I definitely had moments feeling so overwhelmed, sad, anxious, regret…. One of my good friends is due in a few weeks and I let her know that if she is finding all of it overwhelming and hard that it is totally normal and that it does get better and it’s important to ask for help if it doesn’t start to get better. I was so lucky to have sisters and a mom who I could be totally honest with about how hard I was finding it and they all told me it was so hard for them too. I took such comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone. I hope you know you are’t alone either and you are doing an amazing job! And breastfeeding can be painful enough without thrush! Hope you’re healing. Sending love! xo

    • jen. says...

      motherhood is so much about the tension between joy and grief. you are grieving the lifestyle you had before you had a baby, and none of that at all touches the joy of the life you have now that the baby is here. they don’t negate each other, they somehow coexist, and it is like that for the rest of your days as a mother. the cycle of looking forward to when xyz is over and then once that stage *is* over, grieving that it went by so fast, but then also looking forward in awe at the stage that your kid is now in.

      also, michele:
      you are a good mom.