What to Give a First-Time-Mom
Before I had a baby of my own, the commercial world of motherhood was one I would rather not enter. There was just so much stuff and options per category that I would find myself utterly bewildered each and every time I entered a mom and baby store! If the celebrant had a registry, oh I would rejoice, because then I would only have to choose a present based on what budget I have without having to know what that item was actually for. I mean, trust the would-be moms who made that list, right? Shopping time would take a mere five minutes as opposed to my usual walking in there, getting lost in all the cute clothes and baby stuff, debating with myself which item would be used more or better appreciated, all of which would consequently take a much longer time of say, 30 minutes but with the bonus of a headache.
So, for those who are in that boat like I was, I am saving you time and effort by giving you a list of items you could give your first-time-mom friend/colleague. You could be certain she would actually use or appreciate the items on this list, as they are based on what I’ve heavily used for the past fourteen weeks of my new mommyhood.
(Hence, alternate titles to this entry could be First-Time-Mom Essentials or What to Put in your Baby Shower Registry. Hihi)
I am very, very sure this post is going to be helpful. So, in advance, you’re welcome. Oh, and do try to stick to what’s in your FTM friend’s registry (if she has). It would be a waste to receive two bottle warmers she didn’t list down anyway :)
I have to mention too, that I sincerely recommend all the brands that I mention in this post. I wasn’t paid to do so, just a really satisfied customer. :)
ESSENTIALS FOR THE BABY:
Everyone knows what all babies do on the first few months of life - eat, sleep, and poop (newborns in particular could use up to twelve diapers a day due to their tummies being so small) - but not everyone thinks giving diapers on a baby shower / christening / dedication / first birthday is a good idea. But truly, diapers constitute probably about 90% of a new parent’s expense (unless she’s formula feeding, in which case, that would be the top expenditure). If you give this practical gift in different sizes, I guarantee that new momma would love you for the rest of her life.
If your momma friend chooses to formula feed, then on her behalf please please gift her with her chosen milk. I had no idea how much formula milk costed until recently, when I had to buy a gift for my niece. P1,400! And I suppose that would last only a week or two..
The diaper’s best friend. For every nappy change, probably 5-8 cotton balls would be used if you’re efficient, 10-12 if you’re OC. Do your friend a favour and give her a box. It’s not your usual gift, but she’ll thank you forever.
The cotton balls’ alternative. Baby wipes’ usage are forever and for everyone, not just for the little one’s bottom.
First-time-moms and newborns will go through laundry like crazy. There’s the baby who can sneak in a poop or pee surprise in the middle of a diaper change, the unsuspecting parent or bed/cribsheet either drizzled on or given a dung bomb. There’s the new mommy dealing with her newly spraying breasts, soaking clothes and sheets. There’s the new-born who hates taking her vitamins and spits it out on her bibs and clothes. And what about when she starts eating solids and rolling in the dirt? Man I can only imagine how many wardrobe changes would be needed then. So yup! I would rate baby detergent very high on this gifts-for-new-moms list.
SWADDLES (the traditional square ones)
For me, swaddles are mankind’s best creation for mothering. They can be used to swaddle the newborn (obviously), as a blanket, a nursing cover, a bib, a burp cloth, even for flat laying. I was so happy to have received a lot of these in different colours and designs. For a fashionista momma, they can even be part of the baby’s whole look. I was fortunate to have been gifted a set by my friend’s mom (brand: Bebe Au Lait). Locally, I bought swaddles from @babystudioph. Their bamboo swaddles are divine!
CLOTH DIAPERS (LAMPIN)
Caring for a baby can be incredibly messy. One would need an all-around wipe-around cloth you wouldn’t feel regret over for staining all the colours of the rainbow with. While I don’t use these to catch poop and urine (there are now prettier and more durable cloth diapers available for that), I use them to catch drool, spit-ups, letdowns, and a cover for baby’s head whenever we head outside. We also use them against Lilibubs’ skin every time we carry her, so that if either baby or carer sweat at the point of contact, baby’s skin would be protected.
A friend gave this to me and it’s been a very helpful product. I use it for diaper rash and once when Lilibubs had rashes. It works instantly! I haven’t tried it on myself though I’ve heard it does wonders on an adult’s skin, too.
Because baby has to have her own bag. Because she just has A LOT of stuff. Diaper bag has to be nice and fashionable too. Ever since I gave birth, I haven’t used any of my old bags, choosing just to put my barest necessities (cellphone, compact powder, lip balm, cologne, comb and brush, oil paper) in Lilibubs’ bag. Currently, we are using the Skip Hop shoulder diaper bag that Mothercare gave us. It does the job, though I would like to try a backpack one. Not in my current priority shopping list though.
IF YOU WERE TO GIVE BABY CLOTHES..
Undoubtedly, clothes are the most popular choice for gifts. And who can blame the giver when there are just so many cute options to choose from? One has to know though that panlakad baby clothes are almost always used only once or twice. Pyjamas and everyday clothes on the other hand, are sulit, but are also usually handed down by relatives or friends. In any case, do your momma friend a favour by not giving her long-sleeved clothes, they are just so hard to put on a squirmy newborn! Socks are better than booties, too, they are much harder for babies to take off. Oh, and everything made from bamboo is love :)
BIG TICKET ITEMS:
All babies eventually grow and need to be put in prams and pushed around. Some may not like it at first, but even if they don’t, parents would still find a stroller useful to bring when going out. Currently, we don’t consistently get to bring Lilibubs to the park (because we prefer to sleep in, and lately sicknesses abound) but when we go out to lunches, we put Lilibubs in her stroller while we eat. Pitching in with your friends to get a good quality stroller would be a much appreciated gift.
CARRIER / CRIB / CO-SLEEPER
Being a new mom entails a lot of research. Before I gave birth, I scoured momma facebook groups, posted questions on my IG, even monitored buy and sell pages to see what momma/baby stuff were usually on sale. And what I realised was how extremely PICKY some babies can be. I saw a lot of “Reason for Selling: baby doesn’t like being in a co-sleeper, baby doesn’t like being in a carrier, baby doesn’t like, baby doesn’t like”. I thought to myself then, can’t we mommas teach our babies to like certain stuff? But no siree. As what I’ve come to realize, babies DO come into our world fully equipped with a certain set of preferences. We can’t force them to like something just because we bought it, no matter how expensive said item could be.
So my advice for first-time-moms would be to borrow a friend’s baby stuff and have little one try it out for a few days. And then, if you’re sure you’re gonna get your money’s worth, go ahead and buy it.
NURSING (should the first-time-mom decide in advance to breastfeed)
DISPOSABLE / CLOTH BREAST PADS
The first-time-mom who suddenly deals with a milk factory in her chest would need a lot of these. They are like napkins but for the boobies, so that when those erratic letdowns occur, the bra/clothing wouldn’t get soaked. In the beginning I used so many of these even when I was just at home, but then realised that a cloth diaper would do the job and that I should just reserve these for when I’m going out.
BREASTMILK STORAGE BAGS
The nursing mother would need a lot of storage milk bags too, particularly when she plans to go back to work and start her own milk bank for her baby. Frozen breastmilk in a regular freezer in a two-door refrigerator is good up to three months, while the rule of thumb in storage is to keep at least twelve bags. In addition, to minimise spoilage, breastmilk should be stored in 2 and 4oz quantities. Hence, a pumping mother will go through breastmilk bags like crazy; it would be nice for her to have her own supply of storage bags before she delivers so that could be one less thing to think about.
A HAAKAA AND AN ELECTRIC BREASTPUMP
All a nursing mom needs to catch that letdown drip (haakaa) and to increase her milk supply / build her stash. One of each would do. FTM has to make sure to get the right flange for her nipple though, the wrong fit could lead to problems. I’m currently using the Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump from @theparentingemporium .
Those first days/weeks of unlimited latching would hurt like crazy. Purists would suggest that your breastmilk alone can heal your sore nips, I found that untrue hihi sorry! So once in a while when the pain was unbearable and I felt like I could treat myself to a little relief, I applied nipple cream. I tell you, it felt like sinking your overtired body into a warm bathtub. Sarap! A lot of mommies recommend Lansinoh. I used Biolane and it served its purpose well, too.
NURSING WEAR / COVERS / BRA GCs
My wardrobe has been completely run over by breastfeeding-friendly clothes. I actually removed my regular clothes from my closet and hid them in a suitcase - I knew that if I wanted to breastfeed Lilibubs for an entire year, then all my clothes should be suited for this particular purpose. I thought at first that I could settle with a few blouses / dresses, then realised that I am a girl and I would like to have a good variety to choose from, thank you very much, haha! The FTM might want to receive nursing dresses that are suited for formal events (probably in white/beige and black), pambahay and panlakad dresses and tops. Button-down dresses and tops also make for good nursing wear though they are less discreet, of course. I find that clothes from @bub.and.weave, @elin_ph, and @nazzycollection are of good quality.
A minimum of two nursing covers should be good for swaddles could also function as covers. I love the classy and breathable covers from @littlek.ph that’s made from bamboo. Other covers feel heavy and suffocating for the baby, hihi.
Nursing bras would make a breastfeeding mommas life a whole lot easier. I’ve tried the ones from @mamawayphil and they’re of a good and stretchy material. Now about to look for a strapless nursing bra hihi that I can wear to work.
In my recent blog post, This First-Time-Mom’s Advice to Future First-Time-Moms, I wrote about how important it is to hire a lactation consultant days after you give birth. Majority of us first-time-preggos think that breastfeeding is something that comes naturally, hence, no help is needed. This thinking couldn’t be farther from the truth. When I nursed my baby, I suddenly understood why a lot of my mommy friends said that breastfeeding was a lot harder than giving birth. At the same time, most mothers would naturally prioritise baby stuff than themselves, so getting a LC might be the farthest thing from her mind.
Sponsor your friend with a session with a lactation consultant. This is one of the necessities I should’ve prioritised (I had to be hospitalised with mastitis before I booked an appointment - it could have been avoided sheesh). What she’ll learn from an LC she will carry and use for the rest of her breastfeeding life. I recommend Ms. Tin Cervantes (0906) 316 0978.
NICE TO HAVE
Whether a mother chooses to exclusively breastfeed, pump, bottle or mixed-feed, a steriliser will always be useful. There are other baby items that do need to be cleaned, like aspirators or medicine droppers. If your group of friends could also pool in money for such a gift, your momma friends would very much appreciate it. But of course, the old-fashioned boiling water works like a charm, too. It’s just that the modern steriliser will save you a lot of time and effort.
I love my diaper caddy from @mommyfiedph. I put all Lilibubs’ essentials and toiletries there (most of the items above plus cotton buds, baby wash, baby oil, comb, nail cutter and nail file, manzanilla, etc). It helps that everything is just in one place and can easily be carried from one area of the house to another, too.
DIAPER PAIL (DIAPER TRASH CAN)
While the poop of purely breastfed babies do not really smell, it still has its own distinct scent that would be nice not to have in your bedroom / nursery, hihi. I’m not sure about formula-fed babies.. but I am sure that once the little one starts eating solids, it’s gonna be one smelly poop bonanza every diaper change, haha. This works for garbage segregation too.
Man, I can’t believe this entry took me two weeks to finish. This is all I could squeeze out of my sleep-deprived mind for now. If I do think of something else, I’ll just add to this list.
Thank you as always for visiting my site and reading my entries! Hope I’ve been of help.