35 Postpartum Gifts New Parents Will Actually Use
Jun 22, 2023
By Emily Farris
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If you know someone who has just given birth (or is about to) I completely understand the urge to buy something plush and adorable for the new baby. But while you’re at it, don’t forget to pick up a postpartum gift for the birthing parent. Because let’s be honest: Newborns have it made. Everybody wants to hold them and feed them and tell them how cute they are. New moms and caregivers, on the other hand, lose sleep, bodily autonomy, and the chance to eat and shower regularly.
Instead of a cutesy gift basket filled with self-care items they might not actually need or even get a chance to use while tending to a baby’s every need, consider something that will make a brand-new parent’s new life a little easier in those hectic first few months. Think ready-to-warm food, easy ways to hydrate, and an adult-size soft something they can throw on over a nursing bra when someone unexpectedly shows up at the door.
Whether you want to send a physical gift or you prefer something you can deliver via text today, here are the 35 best postpartum gifts for new moms, birthing parents, and newborn caregivers.
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When my oldest son was born, friends stopped by with takeout and homemade meals. I was so appreciative, but most of them (naturally) wanted to meet the baby and hang around to chat. I didn’t have the heart to say no—they were bringing me free dinner, after all—but I was sleep-deprived, adjusting to life with a tiny human, and struggling to breastfeed. Plus, I was recovering from 30 hours of labor followed by an emergency C-section. I was far too exhausted and weepy to make small talk, and I resented having to put on a shirt to welcome (temporarily) unwelcome guests into my home.
All I really wanted back then was for a mushroom-and-onion pizza or lasagna Bolognese to magically appear on my doorstep (in those first few weeks, even ordering delivery felt like too much). And I wanted to be able to eat it without having to put on clothes or make small talk with anyone. So if you want to be the true MVP of your loved one’s postpartum period, send some food they don’t have to think about. You’ll have plenty of time to snuggle that baby and catch up later.
With a new baby, I was lucky if I had time to sit and eat one full meal a day. But breastfeeding also made me ravenous, so a constant supply of finger foods I could shove into my mouth with one hand was necessary for my survival. A little snack also gave me a little burst of energy for those middle-of-the-night feedings. All of this is to say that whether the new parent you know is nursing or not, they’re going to need snacks, and lots of them. In addition to sweet treats, consider sending a few somewhat-nourishing options (like the Sakara protein bars or trail mix below) to help make up for those meals they’re surely going to miss.
Morning coffee rituals are great and all, but with a brand-new baby terrorizing the home, sometimes you just need coffee to magically appear in front of you at any hour of the day or night. And that’s almost possible. Actually good instant coffee is a thing now, and with an Epi-approved pod machine, high-quality espresso-style shots and drip coffee are as easy as pushing a button. If the new parents in question already have a good coffee setup, a subscription to some of the best beans you can buy online will always be appreciated. And if they’re tea drinkers, consider giving the gift of Epi’s top-rated electric kettle—which will never get too hot or boil over.
Most people could probably stand to drink a little more water throughout the day, but when my body was first trying to make enough milk to sustain a whole other human, I could never seem to drink enough. Then I started using the electrolyte-heavy hydration supplements meant for athletes. I no longer felt thirsty all the time and I even noticed a little increase in my milk supply. I loved the convenience of Nuun tabs; they dissolve like an Alka-Seltzer tablet so I could just drop one into my cup with one hand. I’ve since discovered Liquid I.V., which is great too, but it’s sweeter than Nuun and the powder needs to be stirred to fully dissolve in water.
For a more gifty-gift, pair the hydration supplements with an oversize insulated water cup—because there’s a very good chance she’s still using the giant plastic mug that got sent home from the hospital in the same bag as the perineal squirt bottle and a week’s worth of mesh underwear. While I’d usually recommend a leakproof water bottle, in this case something with a handle and a straw is the easiest to finagle with one hand when holding a baby.
If you’re not familiar with the new parents’ favorite snacks and entrées, or you just prefer to keep things super simple, go for a food delivery service gift card. These generally make great gifts for anyone going through anything, ever, and the early days and weeks of the postpartum period are no exception.
Have you ever heard of Baby Jail? Probably not, because it’s a term I made up for a very real situation, which is this: one adult home alone with a sleeping infant and therefore unable to leave the house. It’s particularly frustrating for a sleep-deprived new parent who might not realize they’re out of toilet paper, dog food, or baby formula until it’s too late. But we live in the future now and there’s an app for that. Multiple apps, actually. Services like Instacart and Shipt will send a shopper to a variety of stores like Costco, Target, and CVS on the user’s behalf and a gift card or membership is a perfect postpartum gift that will be well received any time in that first year.
My oldest was a few weeks old before I discovered the beauty of babywearing (a.k.a. hands-free baby holding), but it was my first big milestone as a new mother because it meant I could use both my hands at the same time again. This super-soft, breathable wrap-style carrier from Solly Baby allowed me to snuggle my son while also washing dishes or using a knife and fork to eat my dinner. It’s since become my go-to baby shower gift and while the whole wrapping thing can be a little intimidating at first, the brand has plenty of video tutorials and even offers free virtual consultations.
A stylish, cozy robe is the perfect gift for a chest-feeding new parent. For the first three months of my son’s life—otherwise known as the fourth trimester—I lived in high-waisted leggings and nursing bras. Putting on a shirt and then taking it off to nurse again was a whole thing, and most of my clothes didn’t even fit me anyway. My solution? Keeping a couple of cute, breathable robes around the house that I could slip into if I needed to cover up to quickly answer the door—or otherwise feel at least a little put together.
For most first-time moms and birthing parents, self-care gets put on the back burner for a few months minimum, though often for the entire first year of the baby’s life (and sometimes even longer). So while you might be tempted to hit up Etsy for one of those cutesy new mom gift boxes or postpartum care packages with lotions, essential oils, skincare, and bath bombs, I strongly suggest something they’ll actually use. Because the truth is they’re barely going to have enough time to bathe and brush their teeth, let alone pamper themselves. No, what a postpartum parent needs is something to help them feel less gross when they can’t remember how long it’s been since their last shower. And that thing is dry shampoo.
There’s a good chance that most parents-to-be put most of the important gear on their baby registry including a stroller, baby monitor, diaper bag, and maybe even that Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Kit. But if they didn’t register for a nightlight or white noise machine, this is your chance to deliver the perfect gift for making middle-of-the-night feedings and diaper changes a little easier. This Hatch nightlight is also a white noise machine and clock and a caregiver can control every feature from their phone with a sleeping baby in their arms.
For dry climates and winter babies, consider gifting the postpartum parents you know a Canopy humidifier. I’ve been using mine for a few months and I wish this company had been around when my babies were born because the claims about it being the cleanest—and easiest-to-clean—humidifier are 100% true. I’ll never get back the hours of my life I spent deep-cleaning inferior humidifiers with q-tips and toothbrushes, but now you have the power to save new parents from the same hassle. If you’re feeling extra generous, make it a gift that keeps on giving by bundling the device with a filter subscription.