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Are you still shopping for that new mom in your life? Or, are you a new mom who deserves a break from Christmas shopping & holiday prep? This week, I'm sharing my best ideas for useful gifts for moms with itty-bitty babes.
For me, the first three months of motherhood were BRUTAL.
I developed a new appreciation for what it feels like to be a 'hot mess.' And, I'm no stranger to a challenge; having survived med school and residency, I'm used to sleep deprivation, delayed gratification, and not having the time to prioritize my own well-being.
But, nothing prepared me for the so-called 'fourth trimester': that first three months during which your completely helpless baby struggles to adapt to the cold, loud, bright world ex utero. That time during which he's perpetually unhappy unless held or nursed (at least, that was the case with my little guy)!
I distinctly remember how horrible (wonderful, but still horrible!) those days were.
During this time, I discovered certain creature comforts that I would place somewhere on the spectrum between made-my-life-a-little-easier to instrumental-to-maintaining-my-sanity.
Some of these I figured out on my own and others were suggestions from wiser, weathered moms, who'd been through it before and come out the other side.
Whether you're a new mom or shopping for one, this is my list of new mom must-haves for the 'fourth trimester.' Please share this with anyone you think could use a hint this season!
1. A Streaming Service Membership
As a new mom, you spend a lot of time breast (or bottle) feeding. While your new babe's little face is a treasure to behold, you're probably going to crave some auxiliary entertainment.
I don't know anyone who doesn't have Netflix. But, there are a whole slew of other streaming services out there, like: Amazon Prime Video (included in the Amazon Prime membership), Hulu and HBO.
2. Wireless Earbuds
Every new mom has her hands full, literally and figuratively. The last thing she needs are pesky wires dangling from her ears, tantalizingly in front of her baby's face. The solution: wireless earbuds!
You can get these look-a-likes on Amazon for a quarter of the price:
Wireless earphones are multi-tasking must-haves. I've devoured an enormous amount of music, podcasts and audiobooks, all while doing the laundry, unloading the dishwasher and walking the dog. (If you want to read more on just how much I love these, check out this post on the best gadgets for decluttering your home).
If the new mom on your list is a fan of audiobooks, an audible membership pairs really well with these. You can use this link for free trial of Audible and two free audiobooks.
3. Baby-Proof Phone Accessories
i) A Heavy Duty Phone Case
Holding your baby + holding your cell phone = your phone hitting the ground more times than you can count. New moms need heavy duty protection for their phones. This is a lesson learned situation for me; I've had more than my share of shattered screens until switching to the Otterbox Defender case ($39.99, Amazon.com).
When researching phone cases (after my second screen shattered), I saw a video of someone drop testing various cases by throwing phones off the roof of an apartment building. The Otterbox-clad phone was one of the only survivors and that's what sold me!
In this case, my phone remains unscathed despite having tumbled all the way down the stairs and multiple face plants on the concrete basement floor.
ii) A Popsocket
This self-adhesive pop-up grip for your phone aids in one-handed texting and photo-taking: an essential for the new mom!
It nestles ergonomically between your index and middle fingers, providing a comfortable, secure grip. I rock mine on top of my Otterbox case.
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4. A High-Tech Baby Bouncer
If you're looking for a more substantial gift for that new mom on your list, consider a Mamaroo. This goes on the list of things I didn't have but wish I'd had. For the first few months, my son couldn't be put down for more than a couple of minutes without crying, and wouldn't nap for long unless he was held.
This sophisticated, motorized baby bouncer is equipped with five different movements (including 'car ride'). Friends with colicky babies have sworn that this is the only way their babies nap without being held. It also has a modern, minimalist design, which is hard to come by in baby gear.
5. Dry Shampoo
New motherhood will cause you to miss a shower (or two) every now and then. There's no better quick fix for flat, greasy hair than dry shampoo. My go-to: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo ($19, Amazon.com).
I've taken to washing my hair every other day, and find that using this on the in-between days keeps it looking, feeling and smelling great; it has the best light, clean fragrance of any dry shampoo I've ever tried!
6. A Capsule Coffee Maker
If you're anything like me, coffee becomes its own food group during those first, foggy, sleep-deprived months. It definitely helps to have a quick and easy supply at arm's reach. We used to have a Keurig machine, which worked well enough. But, since upgrading to our Nespresso machine, we've never looked back. It makes a delicious espresso (or latte) and you can make it a double or triple! And, it fits inside an average-sized cabinet.
7. A Self-Heating Mug
That cliche about a mom's coffee getting cold before she ever gets the chance to drink it----completely true! The solution: an Ember Temperature Control Mug ($79.99, Amazon.com) that keeps your beverage warm and even allows you to control and adjust the temperature remotely, via an app on your phone! This wasn't available during my mat leave, and I don't know if I would have splurged on this for myself. But, I think it makes a thoughtful gift for any new or expecting mom.
8. An Instant Pot
As a self-proclaimed terrible cook, I can't say enough about how much easier the Instant Pot ($65.01, Amazon.com) has made my life. Many recipes involve plunking all of the ingredients into the pot, locking the lid and letting it work its magic. See this post for more on how the instant pot has even helped to declutter our kitchen.
With the larger (6 and 8 quart) pots, you can even batch and freeze several meals worth of food in one shot. A definite boon for new moms!
There you have it: some practical gift ideas to make new mom life a little easier this holiday season!