Becoming a mother is such a transformative time in one's life. From postpartum recovery to learning the rhythms of baby to finding joy in the fleeting moments, new parents and moms are juggling so much. Any time during the first few months welcoming a new baby is a good time to show love and support. In particular, the first Mother's Day marks a special milestone to celebrate. But what does a new mom really need? We've gathered gift ideas and resources for Mother's Day that range from practical essentials to the special items every mom truly wants.
We also include details on why a baby carrier, like the Tula baby carriers
we offer, are an incredibly helpful tool. (Hint: It's not to rush you back into active mode).
The answer is always food.
Welcoming a new baby should automatically come with a private chef and endless snacks, but it doesn't quite work out that way. Instead, the transition to motherhood fills the heart but can leave the stomach feeling empty. So one of the most impactful gifts you can help a 4th-trimester family with is food.
When considering delicious options for new moms, focus on easy to eat, nutrient-dense foods and snacks. Asking the family if they have a Meal Train set up is a great way to plan your delivery respectfully. It will include their food preferences, availability, dietary restrictions, etc. If they do not have a meal train, you can offer to set one up for them. This way, the new parents can have weeks of meals covered daily by family and friends.
Here are some ideas on what to bring hungry parents:
Postpartum food delivery does not have to include an elaborate meal. Often fresh or shelf-stable grocery items are helpful. In addition, bringing your personal favorite postpartum snacks will make it sentimental.
1. Breakfast items such as yogurt with granola (on the side), muffins, overnight oats (single serving in jars), and banana bread are great to help mom get her morning started on the right foot.
2. Nutritious snacks, including granola bars, hummus cups with pretzels or fruits, individual trail mix bags, and protein cheese and cracker packs, will come in handy when mom's energy may be dropping.
3. A try of pre-cut fruit is thoughtful and easy for a birthing parent to snack on without cutting it themselves.
Meals, other than a casserole
When dropping off entrees, it's important to remember why you're dropping these dishes off. You're trying to help new parents minimize their prepping time in the kitchen, so you will want to pick mostly hands-off dishes.
1. Frozen individual enchiladas to heat in the microwave/oven.
2. Frozen homemade breakfast burritos because one-handed food is convenient when holding a baby.
3. A delicious salad packed with toppings, protein, and the dressing separate.
4. Your favorite homemade soup is perfect, as many cultures believe that warming foods are the key to postpartum healing.
Other food-related gifts
Sometimes it's best to leave the cooking to the professionals.
1. Gift cards for Door Dash, Grub Hub, Uber Eats, or Postmates are great gifts. In advance of the baby's arrival, you might ask the family if they have a favorite delivery service.
2. Check if your area has chef-made prepared meal delivery services.
Team Tula enjoys Thistle and Methodology. This option bridges high-quality nourishment with convenience.
Would you appreciate the meal, but not the guests? Read our blog on "How to Say No to Visitors".
The gift of free hands and a full heart
Despite what most registry guides tell you, there are genuinely very few "baby gear" needs. You very likely need a car seat. However, you can actually skip the infant option. You will need to plan a way to feed them, clothe them, and create a place for them to sleep. The other dozen items on the registry list designed to hold a baby on their own may not be so critical. See, babies can't read. They don't know about all of these other items they are supposed to like, and they often don't. They also can't tell you ahead of time if they want to bounce, swing, sway, or none of the above. Instead, they tell us loud and clear when they arrive that they desperately want to be held. It's the biological norm for our species and has physiological benefits for babies and caregivers.
Babies expect to be picked up and held most of the time. The science is clear that that is good for them, but it can be challenging to meet that need all the time in our fast-paced society. That is why baby carriers or "babywearing" is so popular. Even before the stresses of modern times, caregivers have relied on babywearing. Baby carriers have been on every inhabited continent throughout history. We understand why!
Comforting your child so that they cry less has a ripple effect on the postpartum experience. There have been studies on maternal responsiveness because carrying, which one could deduce contributes to reduced crying and improved lactation success too!
Babywearing helps you get it all done...or not.
The 4th trimester is a time of great transition. It's not a sprint. While it is understandable that a mom would want to get back to doing things that you love and maybe some housework that they don't, babywearing is not meant to be a way for birthers to push themselves too hard. A carrier used from birth should be a bonding tool, not a way for you to keep up with a spotless home or rigorous physical exercise.
Many cultures have a 40-day postpartum "lying in" period. In this period, the birther is mostly in bed bonding and feeding their baby. They are BOTH taken care of by older women in their family. A baby carrier is not used so that a mother can get back to a life of chores or even child minding. Even If that is not a part of your familial traditions, you can embrace something like the 5-5-5 rule. This rule is a simple way to prioritize pelvic rest and getting to know your baby. A birther will spend 5-7 days "IN bed," preferably laying down as much as possible. The following five days are spent "on the bed." You are still resting your pelvis but sitting up more frequently. This second week might be a better time for a close (helpful) friend to stop in briefly to bring you a meal. It's also when an older sibling can get some highly anticipated time with mom reading a book or chatting. The last 5-7 days are "around the bed." This period is still limited standing, but stretching your legs more often. It isn't a cue to catch up on laundry. If you catch up on anything but Netflix, it can prolong your healing.
Many extend their postpartum weeks to include "around the house" and "around the block." Staying close to home isn't just about a mother's physical recovery. It allows your baby to acclimate too! Suppose a mother is eager to plan time with extended family. In that case, the "around the block" week is a better opportunity because physical symptoms are lessening and feeding is a bit more established.
We mention this because babywearing is often seen as a way to keep up with life as though the body did not just go through a massive change, and you don't have a brand new human here with you who is still getting used to this world. Many birthers wear their baby in a ring sling before leaving the hospital. The carrier's value isn't just for postpartum efficiency. It's to help you meet each other's needs. It might give a parent their hands-free to feed themselves or a free hand to scroll on their phone while nursing. If a parent does have to leave the house for a newborn checkup or postpartum visit, it can help them feel a little more like themselves without pushing a heavy stroller around. For many people, the feeling of lightness without a heavy car seat in their hands can make the experience of leaving the house less stressful and more enjoyable.
The other advantage is baby getting used to a carrier earlier in life while they are a touch less wiggly and opinionated. Learning the process in that time (or preferably) before birth will make it easier later. The more comfortable and confident someone is using a carrier, the less stressful it will be for baby too! We like to remind caregivers that babies don't like getting into things. They rarely like getting into clothes, changing diapers, or strapping in a car seat. It's the process that upsets them, not the end result. Getting efficient with your carrier will make life easier down the road. Luckily, Tula carriers are intuitive and straightforward to use.
What Tula makes the best gift for a new parent?
Understanding what an important role babywearing can play for a new mom, you might understand why parents have more than one carrier in their collection. Baby Tula makes a few perfect options for newborns that grow with your baby, like our Signature Ring Sling
, and Explore Carrier
A ring sling is a simple single layer of woven cotton fabric that adjusts over the shoulder. It is a popular option because of its small footprint in a diaper bag, simple design, flexible sizing, flowing aesthetic, and flexibility for feeding a baby. In addition, it is the only option where a baby can lay semi-reclined to feed. A ring sling is not just a newborn carrier, though. It makes an excellent option for a hands-free hip carry as baby grows! Tula Signature Ring Slings come in various color options under $80.
For our buckle carriers, the Free-to-Grow and Explore are our best sellers. They both have a weight range of 7-45 pounds, are size-inclusive, and grow with baby. The main differences are that the Explore offers a forward-facing position for baby, and the Free-to-Grow has a less structured silhouette.
Both are available in the popular Tula Linen collection on sale for the first time this Mother's Day. Of course, we also have Coast Mesh carriers and the exquisite Signature Collection carriers, and the printed cotton that Baby Tula has been known for so long.
If you're not sure what carrier is best for you, take our quiz to find out which carrier we recommend for you: Take the quiz
Help them really relax.
It's easy to tell a new mother that they need to relax. Unfortunately, it's far more difficult for that to be done. If we want moms to get the rest they need, we need to help make that possible for them. Taking things off the new parent's plate can significantly help them. Gifting services like laundry, cleaning, and dog walking can help them prioritize bonding with baby without the stress. While you can offer to come in and help them with laundry, it's such a tender time that it's improbable that they will take you up on that. Many new parents believe they should be able to do it all and fault themselves when they can't. Gifting a personal service to help is like sending them a get out of jail (or overwhelm) free card before they need it.
There are also professionals called postpartum doulas who make it their life's work to make this season of transition easier on new parents. A postpartum doula aids in newborn care and cares for the birthing person as well. It's their job to be a professional baby soother and guiding, nurturing, and non-judgmental support person for the birthing person. Many people like to have a postpartum doula overnight so that the couple hours between feedings can be used for more restorative rest. Giving the gift of hours with a postpartum doula will go much further than more cute baby clothes.
Feeding is another area that can be a little complex for families at first. If the parents choose human milk for baby, having support with that can go a long way. Luckily many lactation consultants will do house calls to visit new babies and help them with latching. They can provide so much more support than the lactation counselor through a hospital because they spend time focusing on you. Often, they will bring a scale with them for weighted feeding that will ease new parents' minds. They can even assist with teaching how to properly bottle-feed breastmilk so that it is not wasted. These skills can be invaluable, especially if the lactating parent is returning to work outside the home after maternity leave. Many families do not even know to ask for lactation services on their registry. Looking up an IBCLC in your area and choosing to fund that for a family would be a great gift!
As you can tell, ultimately the gift you provide a Mom doesn't have to be extravagant. REMEMBER: Keep it simple, full of love, and something you give or provide that supports them.