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Gift ideas for new moms

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Practical gifts she will love

Need practical gift ideas for a new mom? After a woman has a baby, the newest member of her family receives cute little outfits and stuffed animals and more presents galore. But what about the mom that did all the work? What about the woman who's recovering from a major event for her body? Forget flowers ... these practical gifts will really make the new mom smile.

New Mom with Friends

My mother once told me that when a woman has a baby everyone forgets about her and focuses on the baby, therefore the nicest thing a person can do is give her something that is specifically for her. After all, it's the mom who carries the baby for nine months and then goes through childbirth.

These practical ideas will touch the new mom in wondrous ways. Whether it's a gift of time, thought, help or something else, giving the new mom something is a fantastic way to honor her role in the baby growing process.

So, what's a good gift idea?

Some hands-on help

After having a baby, there is so much on a mom's plate: a child to care for, recovery, managing the normal day-to-day life, making sure everyone is fed, clothed and happy. So, having someone to help with the day to day things can be a huge help.

"The very best gift I was given was after the birth of my fourth child. My cousin visited me in the hospital and offered me an afternoon of taking all three of the other kids to the park on the weekend after I came home from the hospital. Those few quiet hours were so fabulous. And she also took her camera with her and took great pictures of the kids on the playground," says Ellen Hofstetter Jaffe of Hilltop Early Childhood Services (earlychildhoodinfo.com).

Whether it's babysitting other children or lending a hand around the house (or even spending a night or two to take the lead with the night shift), an offer of help is huge for new moms.

Foooooood!

Similar to an offer of help, bringing a ready-to-go meal for the family is a fantastic present for new moms. Whether it's one meal or a week's worth of meals, having the stress of "what are we going to eat?" taken away is a huge help and a bigger gift than just the cost of the ingredients.

"My friends all got together and signed up for a day to bring a meal to my family so that we didn't have to cook or think about meals for an entire month. They brought enough to have leftovers and we were set. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to not have to worry about dinners that first month. All we had to do was buy some basic staples and the rest was taken care of. Some friends even brought enough to freeze for a meal at a later time so really the meals lasted even longer," said Suzy Martyn, author of Enjoying the Ride: Tools, Tips, and Inspiration for the Most Common Parenting Challenges.

A group effort like that can be coordinated between friends or even with a group or office, or you could just bring a single meal. However it's done, it's a great help for the new mom and her family.

A plant

Celebrating the birth of a child with the birth of a plant is a wonderful way to recognize the significance of birth. For Mary Talalay, the plant came by way of a gift certificate to purchase a tree. "This was so special and given to me from a friend. Every time we see the tree, we think of her and our daughter really takes care of her tree - waters it, talks to it, etc. It's really a wonderful gift and great for the environment," says Mary.

You can also lend a hand for the new family by planting the tree for them - but be sure to check with them first as to where they want it.

Something she doesn't think she needs

For moms on their second go-around at motherhood, there are certain things they already know, like what diapers work the best for them and whether it's truly necessary to pre-wash every single thing that might someday touch baby's skin. But lots can change between baby one and two. Is there something she doesn't know she needs that you used? 

For mom of two Katie Molinari, that something was a coverup for breastfeeding in public. "The best gift I received after birth of my second son was a Bebe a Lait nursing cover – aka 'hooter hider' – because the second time around, a girlfriend told me you end up doing so much more nursing in public. (It) has been very convenient and comes in an array of different styles and colors," says Katie, a PR rep for Method.

Tell us: Share your best new-mom gift idea! Comment below!

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