Having a baby is hard, especially your first, and that’s where the New Mom Care Package comes in.
The best way to care for a new little human is to make sure your own head is above water, and a new mom care package can make the difference between sink or float in those early days.
So what can you put in a care package for a new mom? Whether you’ve got your first baby on the way, you’re headed to a baby shower, or you’re looking for extra ways to bless someone in your life, here are 9 gift ideas for new moms to ease the postpartum struggle.
1. Meal delivery
I’m three kids in, and it’s still hard to figure out what’s for dinner. I think back to those first days with a newborn and can still feel the rush of gratitude for the people who dropped off a meal.
Dinner was so far from my mind then; I was consumed with my newborn’s Feed, Change, Sleep, Repeat cycle. It was an endless loop. Besides, who can possibly think about what to make for dinner when you’ve barely slept and haven’t showered?
So, you’re wondering what to put in a new mom gift basket?
One word for you: Food.
A new mom can often forget about her own basic needs, so food as a gift makes perfect sense. Bring her a meal, yes, but these days food comes in many packages:
- Sign her up for a meal delivery or grocery delivery service. Our favorite has been HelloFresh. You can use my personal referral link to get $120 off your first six HelloFresh orders ($40 off your first, $30 off your second, and so on).
- Stock up her freezer with healthy freezer meals.
- Restaurant gift cards are a huge plus; even if she’s not ready to go out yet, her favorite foods can come to her.
If you can take away the stress of meal prep, it’ll free her up to do what she’s going to spend all her time doing anyway–caring for her newborn–and this way, she won’t forget to eat.
Maybe other moms might feel differently, but if you can only pick one thing from this entire list to gift a new mom, I’d say help with meals in those early days takes top priority.
The new mom is giving all of herself to her new baby; help her take care of herself.
2. Comfortable clothes (especially post C-Section)
Although some new moms have a planned C-section for medical reasons, others sit in the camp of “this wasn’t part of my birth plan.” C-sections are major surgery, and the recovery is, understandably, rough.
One of my biggest concerns post-C-section was having clothes that wouldn’t aggravate my incision. And hey, you might’ve blown your budget on pregnancy clothes, but think of this season as your new job. You’d get some new clothes for a new job, right? This is no different (except all of your previous jobs probably gave you time off).
Target has some great postpartum pieces. (Ok, full disclosure: if Target is a flame, I’m a self-confessed moth. I can’t seem to stay away.) But, if you’re looking for a good brand solely dedicated to pregnancy and postpartum clothing, check out Kindred Bravely.
Their designs are high-quality, functional, and comfortable. Plus, their products are designed by moms, for moms.
Looking back now, here are the items of clothing that massively helped me during my c-section recovery. If I hadn’t had these things, I would’ve certainly wished I had.
Because the c-section scar is pretty low, items like high-waisted leggings or underwear which hit above the incision are post-surgery musts. Target has some super comfy, high-waisted leggings.
These Postpartum Active Maternity Leggings get good reviews, especially from women who have had a c-section. As the name suggests, they’re also great for pregnancy, too.
High-waisted underwear like these High-Waisted Postpartum Recovery Panties (5-Pack) from Kindred Bravely can really help your recovery. They provide the support and coverage you need, and they go nowhere near your incision.
I ended up getting a bunch of different postpartum panty styles from Kindred Bravely, and they were a total lifesaver for me.
Loose and flowy
Loose skirts, maxi dresses, or even harem pants will be your new best friends postpartum, and especially post-c-section. This Zora nursing and maternity maxi dress could be a good option, as it combines functionality and comfort.
Easy for breastfeeding
If you decide to breastfeed, you’ve got to invest in some high-quality nursing bras. Nursing/sleep bras were my savior during those first months, supporting me in my soreness and also helping to contain the milk leaks.
You might be tempted to go straight for whatever is laciest and sexiest, but unless they’re also the most comfortable thing out there, the sexy bras can wait.
This French Terry Racerback Nursing & Sleep Bra from Kindred Bravely checks all the boxes for me.
There are so many styles of nursing bras around, but I’d say prioritize the ones that are softest, most supportive, and ones you can sleep in.
But hey, there’s nothing wrong with lace! I really like this Lace Minimalist Nursing & Maternity bra. I just probably wouldn’t sleep in it.
“Comfortable” doesn’t have to mean you wear a shapeless nightdress 24/7, either. Childbirth in all its forms makes you feel, and, let’s be honest, look like you’ve been hit by a truck (unless you’re Kate Middleton), so wearing something flattering can be a huge boost to the postpartum psyche. I love this Nursing and Maternity Tie Dress; it’s casual, still easy to feed the baby in, and yet something beyond a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants.
If you’re the friend hunting for a baby shower gift, the new grandma looking for ways to spoil her daughter (in-law), or you’re the new mom brainstorming ways to help you get through this season, I’d say the same thing to all three of you: consider comfortable, breathable clothing that takes the stress out of nursing and makes c-section recovery as smooth as possible.
Brands like Kindred Bravely and Target don’t think new moms should have to choose between being comfortable and looking put-together, and I agree with them.
If you’re not sure what items of clothing the person might like, why not slip a gift card for a mom-wear brand into the postpartum gift basket?
3. Diaper caddy
If I could guarantee one thing about newborns, it’s this: they will need their diapers changed all the time. You might have a fancy changing table in the nursery, but if that room happens to be either upstairs or somewhere across the house, you probably don’t want to haul the baby there every time he needs a new diaper (or, as was typical for my kids, an entirely new outfit).
So, what goes in the new mom care package (besides thousands of diapers and a million wipes?) A cute diaper caddy can be a lifesaver for a tired mom. Even a wicker basket will do the job!
I also like this Lily Miles diaper caddy/tote bag on Amazon; it’s easy to carry, and easy to stock.
Check out this post for more info: 20 Things To Put In A Diaper Caddy
Whatever you get, find something fashionable yet functional that can hold diapers, wipes, maybe a fold-up/portable changing mat, some burp cloths, and one or two spare outfits.
Depending on the size of your house, you might even want two caddies. Now you won’t have to trek halfway across the house for things easily stowed in an accessible room. Save that energy for the diaper change, and save that fancy changing table for the midnight mayhem.
4. Interactive, educational toys
The baby has slept, he’s been fed, he’s got a clean diaper… now what? What are you supposed to do with a tiny human all day?
I remember feeling a little lost with my first baby. Caring for her took up so much time, and yet there still seemed to be a lot of hours in the day to fill. Plus, what about her development? What does a newborn even need?
I’m a big fan of both Monti Kids and Lovevery’s interactive toys now, and I wish I’d known about them when my oldest was a baby.
This Newborn Gift Set from Monti Kids could be a great addition to a mommy-to-be box.
This might seem like yet another thing for the baby, but it can definitely benefit the mom, too:
- She can build confidence in how she interacts with her baby. That doesn’t come naturally for everyone.
- She can feel confident that she’s supporting her baby’s development, helping to improve his vision and ability to grasp.
- If that tired mom does need to step away to make coffee or grab a moment to herself, she can know her newborn will be thoroughly entertained and distracted while she’s out of his sight.
Even slightly older babies need some time “apart” from Mom! The Lovevery Play Gym would be a great new mom gift, giving the baby something to focus on besides his favorite person.
It’s perfect for the newborn age up until the baby is able to crawl away and start pulling things out of cabinets instead.
5. Essential oils
Postpartum recovery is tough, no matter how you gave birth. One thing I would’ve hated to be without in my own postpartum recovery? Essential oils.
I know some people can be skeptical about essential oils. While some studies reveal using essential oils can benefit human health, other studies are inconclusive. They’re not quite at an FDA-regulated medicine level, but many people do find them helpful in treating certain ailments and wounds.
Here’s a quick list of a few oils that a postpartum momma might find useful:
- Tea tree – anti-microbial and healing properties, good for tears or stitches
- Lavender – healing and calming; can also improve sleep. Some people use lavender and tea tree together in a perineal spray or on postpartum pads
- Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium – helpful in easing after-birth pains
- Roman Chamomile – calming effect, can help with baby blues and anxiety
You can use essential oils in a few different ways. Some of the most popular include:
- Diffuser – allows you to inhale the oils; it disperses tiny particles into the air.
- Roller bottles – allows you to apply the oils onto your skin. It’s important to mix essential oils with a carrier oil, as that helps dilute them and not harm your skin.
- Essential-oil infused epsom salts – for using essential oils in the bath. You dissolve the Epsom salts into the bath water.
- Jewelry – These act as mini-diffusers, so you have continuous exposure to the essential oil scent throughout the day.
I won’t wade into the many specific instructions on using essential oils (there are entire blog posts about that!) but I have a few tips:
- Be sure you’re buying undiluted oils from a reputable company. I really like the Vitruvi line on Amazon.
- Never ingest oils
- Oils are concentrated and need to be diluted with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba
- Consult a doctor before diffusing oils around a newborn
- Do your research before applying oils topically while pregnant
Sleep, peace, and a fast-track to healing – the perfect gifts for first-time moms.
6. Nursing pillow
Of the hundreds of pillows you had during pregnancy, let’s talk about the most important one you’ll need postpartum: the nursing pillow.
Breastfeeding takes such a physical toll. Besides engorged breasts and sore nipples, my neck and back felt the strain. Babies don’t weigh much, but have you ever held an eight-pound weight in a specific position for hours on end?
Breastfeeding in particular can affect your posture, but even bottle feeding gets tiring without proper support. The right nursing pillow can make all the difference in your feeding experience.
I really like Boppy’s range of nursing pillows; the curved aspect allows for a variety of feeding positions, depending on what works best for you and your baby.
Keep it where you often feed your baby so you’re more likely to use it. You might even want one in the car for when your baby is screaming and you have to pull over in some random parking lot.
Even if you have the most laid-back personality on the planet, much of that “no worries” attitude makes a beeline for the nearest exit when you have your first baby.
Sleep when the baby sleeps, those wise people tell us. But it’s hard to do that when you’re constantly worrying if the baby is ok. Is he still breathing? Is she too hot/cold? Seriously, how are we supposed to relax, let alone sleep, when all of this is so new – and we have no idea what we’re doing?
That’s why I love everything about the Owlet. Man, I wish I had one of these when I had my first. Think of how much less worry, and more sleep, I might’ve had! (Ok, I actually can’t promise tons more sleep. You’re caring for a newborn, after all.)
But as far as removing some of the new-mom worry, the Owlet is great for putting sleep-deprived minds at ease.
Owlet has two main products. First, their Owlet Cam is a baby monitor/camera which tracks the baby’s heart rate and average breathing rate, sending the HD video straight to your phone.
They also have a Dream Sock, which is just what it sounds like: a “sock” that fits securely on your baby’s foot. It tracks Sleep Quality Indicators like heart rate, average breathing rate, wakings, and every little movement.
Owlet also sells these products together, called the Dream Duo.
Not sure if the baby was really sleeping? Not sure how long she slept? Now you don’t have to wonder. Goodbye stress, hello peace of mind.
I know our mothers and grandmothers got through early motherhood without high-tech stuff like this. But if they’d had the option to use an Owlet, I bet many of them would’ve snapped up the opportunity.
Maybe you can’t justify the price yourself, but this could be a perfect baby gift registry addition. Friends and family of new moms might like to pool their resources and add the Owlet to a postpartum care kit.
8. Postpartum Supplements
The postpartum season is a time of depletion. You’re exhausted, you’re potentially giving a huge amount of your own nutrients to your baby through breastmilk, and you’re trying to heal from your birth experience. That’s why postpartum supplements are such a great addition to a new mom care package.
A warning, though: many supplements out there still aren’t giving women what they need. I’m a big fan of thoroughly researching supplements, and in my search for the best postpartum supplements, I’ve settled on two great brands: Needed and Ritual.
Needed has a range of different supplement plans, but the Fourth Trimester Plan would be particularly apt for a new mom.
It’s a 9-part plan which includes a multivitamin, Omega 3s, and collagen along with Needed’s Stress, Sleep, and Hydration support. They’ve also added Vitamin D3/K2 and Choline, especially important for breastfeeding moms.
It does has a hefty monthly price tag for the subscription, so if you’re looking for something a little more manageable, I’d recommend Ritual’s Postnatal Multivitamin or protein powder mix, Daily Shake Pregnancy & Postpartum. Each offers crucial nutrients for physical recovery as well as lactation.
As a new mom, you might often be low on energy, but postpartum supplements can go a long way in bringing you back to full strength.
9. Streaming service subscription
And finally, what I consider to be a completely legit postpartum gift: a subscription to a streaming service. Netflix, Disney Plus, Peacock, Hulu – these days, the list seems endless.
For some moms, the night feeds are so numerous and seem to take so long, that it might help those slow nights pass a little quicker if she could grab snippets of an episode of Downton Abbey or Gilmore Girls, even if it’s just on her phone. This also helped me stay awake during the night feeds.
Or maybe the baby is napping, and the mom knows she too should sleep, but she just needs to feel like her own person again. She decides to catch the next episode of her favorite true crime documentary instead.
New motherhood is amazing, but it can also be pretty mundane. If you think the soon-to-be mom in your life might appreciate having access to a streaming service while she’s folding thousands of tiny onesies, then this could be the cherry on top of the awesome new mom care package you’re putting together.
New Mom Care Package FAQs
What should I put in a new mom care package?
Keep the focus on the mom, unless it’s a baby-related item that will also help the new mom in her role. Three main areas to prioritize: sleep, food, and postpartum healing.
Here are even more ideas: The 12 Best Gifts For Newly Pregnant Women (Not For Baby!)
How do you create a care package for a new mom?
There are no hard and fast rules on how to create a care package for a new mom, but practical thinking is always welcome. If you’re getting her a diaper caddy, for example, why not fill it with diapers and wipes, too?
What should you put in a care package for a new mom with a baby in the NICU?
Because a NICU stay is a huge disruption to everyday life, a new mom might appreciate practical items even more. You can’t go wrong with microwavable meals, travel toiletries, or even a financial donation to help with extra costs. There’s nothing wrong with asking her outright: what would you find most helpful during this time? The answers might be unique to every woman.
If your loved one is about to become a mom and you’re reading articles like this, chances are she’s already won the jackpot in terms of support.
I hope these ideas have given you a better perspective on the new motherhood journey, the challenges a new mom might face, and specific ways you can show up for her.