Flowers (I don't own enough vases!), baby grows (often bought too small, especially if you have over a 9lb'er and they last a matter of days), teddies (unless they are the jellycat ones), baby record books (oops still haven't filled mine in for Finn), spa vouchers (not so fun by yourself and with lactating breasts), pink and blue stuff (often naff)....these are the classic baby/ new mum gifts. Don't get me wrong, all very nice to receive and much appreciated thank you but thinking about being a mum for the second time has really made me think about what is REALLY nice to give and receive. If you're trying to avoid the stereotypical and have a hip new mama to give to these are my recommendations. OK so most of what I mention are more for the mum, but hey they are the most important person once the little one arrives and they need all the TLC they can get! Anything to make them feel human or encourage them to have 15 minutes time to themselves is a bonus.
My top websites and recommendations are:
- Don't Buy her Flowers - we love this website, set up by the lovely Steph, it has brilliant boxes of gift packages for new mums. Everything from recovery to date night parcels - all designed to make you feel good. Dry shampoo, scented candles and thermos mugs are some of the great ideas within the gift boxes.
- Cult of Youth - every woman loves jewellery and Kelly has a great selection of 'Mother', 'Mama' and initials necklaces at really affordable prices. This will definitely brighten a new mums day and they are good for everyday wear. Factor in time here as each piece is made to order so isn't the quickest gift to order
- Tiba & Marl - this new baby change bag company set up by 2 mums has the best modern change bags around. They have a good unisex choice and have also started doing a bum bag for those super hipsters out there! Jem & Bea and Kaos also have a nice selection of modern baby change bags
- Cook - nothing beats someone dropping round home cooked meals once you've got a newborn (my father in law did meals on wheels for us for the first few weeks when we had Finn - a complete life saver!) However, not all of us have family on the doorstep so the next best thing is Cook - an award winning, home cooked meal, frozen and delivered to your door. Food is SO important at this time, you need energy and often forget to feed yourself. So stock up on these meals, arrange to have some delivered or get vouchers as a gift. The beef bourguignon and sticky toffee pudding look especially good... Nom nom nom
- Grace & Thorn - the place to go to for an alternative to flowers; succulents and airplants. These plants will bring a smile to any new mums face, plus they already come in a vase or pot and are minimal care, nice and easy. We love the animal succulent heads and plant selection box. They now have 2 shops, one in Hackney and the other in Soho, or you can order direct from the website
- Mantra / Affirmation Cards - These brilliant cards draw on techniques from mindfulness and hypnobirthing, the yesmum affirmation cards are your daily pat on the back. A quick, straightforward way to access the power of positive programming and start each day with strength and self-assurance. They also do 'mum to be' cards and also 'mini' cards for your little ones, we love this idea, simple and effective. Susie Verill from My Milo and Me, has also started doing some mantra cards that are more humorous - you need to contact her directly if interested
- Toiletries - dry shampoo (as they really won't be washing hair as much as they would like to), scented candles (to cover up baby poo smells), nipple cream by Lansinoh (if breastfeeding), mama mio body products and kokoso baby coconut oil (amazing all round oil for baby and mum care) are just some of the useful products to give to a new mum
- Mere Soeur - Boob mug or One Good Mutha Mug. To celebrate boobs (especially a good one if breastfeeding) and being a mum
- Selfish Mother - in the Mother shop they have some lovely ideas including tote bags, candles, greeting cards, notebooks and of course the famous Mother tees and sweats
- Boxsets, Chocolate and Wine - with the amount of staying in that's about to happen these make up the essential kit to get you through those long days. I always buy the green and blacks mini or tasting selection box :)
1. Cult of Youth Initials Necklace, £32. Add mum and/or babies initials. Also available in rose gold or silver
2. Tiba & Marl Leopard print Baby change 'clutch' bag, £35. We love this luxury change mat, cleverly disguised as a clutch bag, with all the zips and pockets to keep baby change bits all in one place
3. Fourth Trimester Magazine, £4.00. Support this kickstarter campaign by buying a new mum this brilliant magazine filled with articles that tell the whole truth about those postpartum days and motherhood
4. Care and Essentials New Mum 'Don't Buy her Flowers' gift box, from £43. Includes beauty products, tea, chocolates, magazine and a scarf
5. Cook vouchers. For use on home delivery services, in store or even order meal boxes directly so they don't even have to make the order themselves
6. Cult of Youth 'Mother' Necklace, £35. Also available in rose gold or silver
7. Yes Mum affirmation cards, £10.50. 31 cards come in a clear plastic box with instructions
8. Some like it Hot 'Don't Buy her Flowers' gift box, from £17.50. Includes a thermos and shortbread with options to add on extras too. For all the tea and biscuits they will be getting through...
9. Grace & Thorn Plant Selection box, £60. Includes an animal succulent pot
10. Black & Gold 80s Mother Sweat, £40. In a relaxed boyfriend fit. All profits go to Women for Women International
11. '99 Pick-me-ups for new mamas' book, £7.95. Hourly doses of laughter, relaxation and reassurance that she’s not “doing it wrong.” I also recommend 'How to be a Hip Mama without losing your cool' by mum boss Jenny Scott
12. Zara Animal print Scarf, £17.99 - Oversize scarves are the perfect gift for a breastfeeding mum. they give subtle cover up and also great for those post birth days when to be honest you still look 6 months pregnant and want to cover up a bit. This one is in the sale but Zara have a great inexpensive selection all year round