Why the best gift for a new mom isn't a gift

Searching for the best gift for a new mom? Turns out the ideal gift might not be a cute onesie or baby products. Here's what seven women say they wish they had gotten.

By Natalie Bahadur

Why the best gift for a new mom isn't a gift
©iStockphoto.com/yuhirao
If you're a new mom, you've probably learned a lot more about motherhood than you ever thought you would. Despite the fact that there's nothing really new about motherhood -- let's face it, it's as old as humankind -- every new mother will embark on a journey that is incomparable to any other life experience. She'll discover things that are unique to her and her family, and each mother's experience will be exactly the same as, yet completely different from, any other mother's.

What new moms really want
Given that first-time motherhood is such a unique experience, it's difficult to know what new moms really want and need. If friends or family members of yours have recently had their first child, you may be looking for a gift for a new mom -- or perhaps you're considering how you can help. Interestingly, the things mothers want may be completely different from what you'd expect. We checked in with real moms to find out what they would have appreciated receiving from friends and family members. (And no, it's not another onesie!)

1. Spend time with others
"It was company that I craved, but couldn't get. Despite having grown into the best man in the world, my Calvin was a terror baby: crying, fussing, twisting…. He was never diagnosed with colic, but he was bad company as an infant. I love him madly and always have; I'm just being honest. And I was at my wits end. Not just tired, but bored out of my skull. I wish more people would have just stopped by and said, 'I don't know what you want to do -- go for a walk or park it here -- but I'd like to hang out with you, you and this crazy howler of yours.' Or 'I've got an hour (or 15 minutes or the entire afternoon) -- can I spend it with you?' That would have eased my frayed soul. I know people always feel like they can't drop by unannounced, but I disagree. New moms are usually up, so why not?" -- Jasmine

2. Help with household chores and babysitting
"When it comes to postpartum assistance, and having as many people in our household as we do, it was a real treat to have help with the housework, laundry and cleaning. Someone to run errands or bring the other kids to their activities would be really nice also. Above and beyond that is getting someone over to do your hair or watch the baby so you could go pamper yourself a bit, whether it be a mani-pedi, a massage or even just time to soak in the tub."  -- Jill

3. Someone to cook their meals
"The hardest thing to manage in the first few months was putting healthy meals together for my husband and me, which is especially critical if you''re breast-feeding. I didn't know about this at the time, but SupperWorks has this great package where friends of a mother-to-be can get together and make a month's worth of freezable meals. Such a great idea, and it would have been a huge help! And along the same lines, it's also really difficult to keep up on housecleaning if you're trying to follow advice and sleep when the baby sleeps. So gift certificates for a maid service would have been awesome as well." -- Jocelyn



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