I remember the day before I went into labour with my little boy.  I was organising the nursery and sorting through all the amazing gifts we had been given for my baby shower, and I felt so ready and prepared for his arrival. 

I had three nursing pillows, two mobiles, a million muslin cloths, piles of clothes (some still had the tags on when they became too small for him). 

I was so grateful for the kindness that my friends and family had shown me, but as soon as the baby was here 72 (ish) hours later, I realised that there was one crucial thing I had forgotten about.

Myself and my partner.

My baby was swaddled in gorgeous clean cellular blankets, while me and my partner were still in our pyjamas from three days ago.  My baby was nursing peacefully on his nursing pillow, while his mum and dad were snacking on flapjacks when we could.  My son was lathered and massaged head to toe in organic olive oil every night, meanwhile my skin was begging for more than a quick wet wipe face wash.

And I kept telling everyone I was doing alright, and would they mind holding the baby while I had a quick shower?  Or ate half a meal standing up in the kitchen?  Or put a wash on?  But what I really wanted to do was sit and hold my baby, feeling clean and full and relaxed.

Now, there’s absolutely a limit to what can be achieved in those first few weeks and months as you adjust to parenthood.  The house is probably going to be messy.  You’re probably going to be eating leftovers.  But that doesn’t mean that you need to totally neglect your own needs.

If you have a friend about to become a new parent and are stuck on what to buy for them, it might be a nice thought to offer practical ways to keep mum and dad sane.

Batch cook some meals

Getting a varied and healthy meal in the early days can be really difficult, so getting your friends some freezer meals, either store bought or home cooked, can be a really thoughtful gift.  Even if you’re stuck for time, you can make a little extra every time you cook and freeze a portion or two over time, and deliver to them either before or just after the baby is born.

Some good quality candles

The visitor onslaught is real in those early days.  Midwives, family, friends, in-laws, drifting in and out of your house, right at the moment where it’s almost impossible to clean.  Get some non toxic, non allergenic, gorgeous smelling candles, so they can at least offer an inviting smell, even if the washing is piled up in the corner!

A Travel Set

I know what you’re thinking: where is a new mum going to go?!  And to be honest, I don’t think I ventured further than the end of the garden for a couple of weeks.  But the amount of times you forget to drink water, or your tea goes cold, or you don’t dare move to charge your phone in case you wake the baby, a travel kit is a really handy way to make sure everything is in reach while you need to sit still.

I hope this has given you food for thought when considering a gift hamper or ways to show you care for the Mum to Be. Baby clothes are sweet but mum and dad might just need a helping hand.

Blog post by Hannah Selby-Hughes