I usually send a gift for baby and a gift for mom — and, now that I have two children myself — often a little gift for the older sibling(s). Below, a few of my favorite items to give to baby:
I usually pair one of the above pieces with a little something else, like a pacifier clip, an Oli & Carol teether, a Wubbanub, one of these adorable elephants from my girlfriend Christina’s amazing company, or one of our favorite baby books.
For older siblings — especially toddlers between 2-3 years of age — I like to send along an activity that will preoccupy them during at least one or two dicey moments (ha!). Mini loves these puffy sticker sets, colorforms, puzzles (<<these are a bit advanced for a 2-3 year old but mini loves doing these alongside a willing aunt/sitter/parent; for something more self-directed, I love these), magnetic dress-up doll set, or a coloring roll. They are all great (quiet!) activities that can be reused many times over.
For the mom, my two favorite gifts are either a gift card to DryBar (if you have one local to you) or a gift bag of sandwich fixings. On the former: I treated myself to a blowout once every other week during the first few months after Hill was born and it was pure BLISS. Not only did it mean someone was taking care of my hair on my behalf (i.e., one less task to handle at home), but it made me feel more put-together and attractive when I was feeling absolutely gross. It also felt deliciously indulgent to sit and glaze over at a rom-com or read a book or just scroll through Instagram. I can’t recommend it enough. I’ve given a gift card to DryBar to a few of my other mom friends and one of them cried she was so excited by its prospect!
The latter gift is always a crowd-pleaser, and I usually try to drop it off within a day or two of their arrival back from the hospital. I go to a place like Citarella or an upscale butcher to have some high-end deli meats sliced, and then pair it with “fancy” mayonnaise (i.e., Sir Kensington’s — incidentally, one of the new dads was most excited about this mayo out of the whole bag! “LOOK! FANCY MAYO!”), grey poupon mustard, sliced bread from a good bakery, and a couple of different snacks that I wrap in cellophane bags and tie off with a huge satin bow (I also usually tie a bow around the mayo and mustard). I like to give dried apricots, truffle potato chips, yogurt or chocolate covered pretzels, and yogurt or chocolate covered nuts. I put it all in a big gift bag filled with crinkle paper and hand-deliver to the doorman/leave on the doorstep and then immediately text my friend once I’ve left the premises. (Never want to intrude that soon after baby is born!) A friend of mine did this for me just after Emory was born and it was absolute heaven to have the fixings for a quick lunch or midnight snack on hand.
If those are not options because you either don’t have a Drybar close by or don’t live close enough for a hand delivery, we received a few deliveries of Levain cookies from dear friends and MAN those were a joy to have around. Other great gifts if she’s nursing: Lake Pajamas Maternity Set, a Hydroflask or Klean Kanteen and some of her favorite snacks (I’m thinking Haribo candy…), a Storq nursing caftan (the best! wore this while pregnant and also nursing — chic enough to be worn out of the house), or a nursing nightgown.
But truly the greatest gifts I received with both mini and micro were routine check-ins from friends. In particular, I want to call out my friends Allison and Steph, who would drop me a line every few days: “Just checking in…how’s it going? What’s new with breastfeeding? How’s he sleeping?” They’d occasionally offer advice or encouragement or perspective or insight from their own experiences as mothers themselves, but mainly, they just listened. They gave me the generous prompt to share what I was thinking and feeling. And those first few weeks after a new baby arrives — wow. I mean, wow! There is a lot to contend with and, despite feeling largely surrounded by people (so many loving visitors!), it can occasionally feel lonely. Because even though motherhood is an experience shared by millions and millions of women, when you are entering into it for the first time and even the second time and maybe the third time (?), you are entirely overwhelmed by the enormity of its novelty to you. Emotions, hormones, and sleeplessness transform the mundane into the mammoth (and, occasionally, the monstrous). It is a wild ride. I can see this clearly now, safely ensconced on the other side of six months postpartum, but those early weeks are a blissful and challenging and exhausting blur that often left me aching for companionship. So that, too — let that be your gift. A quick check-in every three or four days, if well-received by the mother the first or second time.
P.P.S. I’ve had a number of requests for a post on weaning — will share that soon — but in the meantime, if you’re nursing and encountering challenges and in need of some companionship, here’s my candid experience nursing micro, part i and part ii. (Also, what to wear while nursing.)
P.P.P.P.S. If you are a husband reading this post and hoping to find inspiration for a gift for your wife: I love these engravable charm necklaces from Aurelia Demark as a splurge. For something more affordable, I had one of these rings engraved with mini’s birth date and initials, and something like this or this would be beautiful personalized with the baby’s name.