There is absolutely nothing like bringing a new baby home. The early days are often filled with a balance of beautiful moments and chronic sleep deprivation. Those early days can be both magical – and incredibly difficult – which makes it the perfect time for a friend or relative to come to the rescue with a super awesome postpartum care package!
But if you aren’t a postpartum mom or haven’t been one in a while, you may need a hand with finding the perfect things to put in your new mom care package that are actually useful – and a bit pampering.
Let’s take a look at some of the best items for a postpartum care package that moms of newborns need and use (and they probably won’t be getting from anyone else!)
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What to Put in a Postpartum Care Package?
There are a ton of websites out there with thoughtful lists of the kinds of supplies that postpartum moms need, but honestly, I’m not a huge fan of putting supplies in postpartum care packages. A lot of moms have already purchased these things, and I hate buying things people don’t need.
If you really want to include some supplies, you should check out my post about postpartum essentials. It will point you in the right direction for items mom might need, but you might want to consider some of the items below as well.
I will focus on postpartum care package ideas that will help mom take care of herself body, heart, and soul, and might give her a little break or uplift during those early days. These are some of my favorite things I put in a postpartum care package for my friends and family.
Don’t run out and buy everything on this list. Everyone’s a little different, and you know that new mom best, so pick a few thoughtful items (I’d say 3-6) that you think your friend would love.
Practical Items for Postpartum Moms
The practical items on this list are highly useful, but they’re the type of things mom might not have thought to purchase for herself before the baby’s arrival. In fact, she might not even realize she needs them now, but she will definitely be grateful for them!
- Headphones: While feeding their baby, many moms like to listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Wireless headphones are best because they won’t get in the way of caring for the little one.
- Sleep Mask: Sleep masks, like the Manta Sleep Mask, block out light, making it easier for mom sleep when the baby does. (It’s so much harder than it sounds!)
- A cute sign for the door telling the postal worker (or anyone else) not to ring the doorbell. There is nothing quite like just getting your baby down for a nap and hearing the doorbell ring and the inevitable cry that follows.
- Water Bottle: Postpartum moms need to drink a LOT of water to help their bodies recover. If they’re breastfeeding, then they need to drink even more! The best water bottles are double-walled and aluminum, like the Hydro Flask, because they keep water cold for hours!
- Peri-bottle: Okay, this goes in the category of supplies, but honestly, can you have too many peri-bottles? The Frida Mom Peri Bottle is a quality choice, and it’s pink.
Any of these suggestions would be perfect in a new mom essentials gift basket.
A second (or third or fourth) time mom might already have thought of some of these handy things, however.
Care Package Items to Comfort Postpartum Moms
The items on this list are the “non-essentials” that deliver some well-deserved pampering to postpartum moms. They are items that will help her rest and help her body heal.
- Heated neck pillow: Carrying and nursing a baby can do things to your body that you just don’t expect. Heated neck pillows, like this one here, can be warmed up in the microwave and provide some relief and comfort for an aching neck.
- A comfortable throw: In the colder months, a nice throw will be welcome during nighttime feedings. Throws come in so many different designs and fabrics that you’re sure to find one that matches the mom’s style.
- Tea: Tea can be very soothing and a delicious way to get some more water into your body. There are teams out there meant for postpartum relief, but any tea that encourages calm (like chamomile) is perfect. Stick to herbal infusions, since some moms avoid caffeine when they are nursing.
- Candles: Soothing scents, like The Wax and Wit Lavender and Vanilla, really do help people release stress and relax. Stick to light scents that aren’t overpowering.
Little Things That Make Postpartum Moms Feel Like Themselves
It is all too easy to start to feel like you just aren’t yourself anymore when you have a new baby in the house.
You know… you’re tired, hungry, and you aren’t sure if you’ve even changed your shirt today. It’s hard to tell how long that spit-up stain has been there. You just want to take an hour-long hot shower, put on some makeup, and do your hair, just once.
Related: Best Baby Shower Gifts
Just in case your friend is going through this kind of struggle, some of these items might help her feel a bit refreshed, and more like herself again, even she doesn’t get the hour-long shower.
- Lip balm: Many moms report having very dry lips during the first few months after their baby is born. Moms who don’t normally have lip balm around will appreciate this gift. Get a multipack, so she can keep one in baby’s nursery, her purse, and wherever else!
- Makeup: If your friend loves makeup, then a brightening highlight powder or new eyeshadow may bring a spring to her step. (Skip this one if your friend isn’t into that kind of thing!)
- Face scrub or mask: Mom can go from tired to peppy after a freshly washed face, even if that shower remains out of reach! You can choose a soothing scent for relaxation or an invigorating scent (like citrus) for energy. No-mess, moisturizing facial sheets are a refreshing indulgence that she is sure to love.
- Journal: The gift of reflection! Capturing memories of a newborn is so special, but having a place to write down your thoughts and feelings is just as important. The journal doesn’t have to be a baby journal; it’s up to mom!
- Dry shampoo: Let’s face it. Sometimes it’s nice to have your hair look good without needing to wash it, right? Dry shampoo to the rescue! And the postpartum mommy will be able to make an emergency grocery-store diaper run without feeling self-conscious
Food Items for Postpartum Moms
Food is one of the most useful gifts for postpartum moms, and typically one of the most appreciated. They need balanced nutrition to keep their energy up and to allow their body to heal, but it can be hard to find the time or energy when you have a newborn to do that.
I like to include some snacks that can be eaten on-the-go and with a baby in tow so that mom can munch while she feeds her precious new baby.
- Granola bar or something similar like a breakfast bar or protein bar
- Trail mix
- Energy balls (there are tons of recipes online for these, but my local health food store sells them too!)
- Chocolate covered nuts or cranberries
- Nut butter and apple slices, proportioned and ready to go! (not good if you’re mailing your care package but fine for hand-delivering!)
- Cut veggies and small containers of hummus (also not good for mailing)
- Dried fruit
Of course, you could also put a cookie or two in there, and no one would be sad about that!
Gift Cards for Postpartum Moms
If your basket doesn’t feel complete, a gift card might be just the way to fill it. Or, if you know your favorite postpartum mom has a craving for something she probably won’t order for herself – bingo!
- House cleaning service: It is wayyy too easy to fall behind on the house cleaning with a new baby. Take it from me! And who would say no to having someone else deep clean the bathrooms?
- Memberships to audio services: I’m talking about services likes Audible and Spotify that give moms something to listen to while they’re feeding baby at 3 am. Then you can share your favorite playlists with her!
- A gift card to their favorite store: Everyone could use a little retail therapy once in a while, and moms of babies are less likely to buy something for themselves. This way, she can pick something out and have it dropped on her doorstep – compliments of you!
- Take-out food: Who has time to cook when there are baby snuggles to be had? Try to pick a restaurant that delivers for extra convenience.
The great thing about many of these gift cards is that they let mom get something she really wants and wouldn’t normally buy for herself. So, skip the baby shop gift cards for this purpose and include a loving note about how she deserves to treat herself to something special!
Related: Best Gifts for a New Dad
What MAYBE NOT to Put in a Postpartum Care Package
I’ve seen some pretty strange things end up in postpartum care packages that are 100% well-intended but aren’t really going to help the postpartum mom very much.
- Bath bombs and bubble baths: Most postpartum moms aren’t comfortable taking a bath. (Unless it’s a therapeutic postpartum sitz bath!) It can be hard to get in and out of the tub, especially for c-section mamas. Bath bombs are great once healing has begun, though. So, if you are delivering your care packed 5-6 weeks after baby, it might be okay.
- Onions, garlic, peppers, spicy foods: Your friend might love these things, but the flavor can transfer to breastmilk and turn some babies off. It’s is best to avoid these unless you know mama is a big fan!
- Anything about getting your body back or sparking your romantic life back up: These may be well-intentioned gifts, but you don’t necessarily know what your friend or relative is feeling about these subjects. It is best to let them seek this information out for themselves, so they don’t feel any more pressure to spring back than they probably already do.
- Your favorite sleep training book or any parenting book: Again, a well-intentioned gift, but moms are going through a lot during those first few weeks postpartum. New moms may be wondering if they’ll ever get the hang of parenting. A book can add to those feelings. Again, unless asked, it is best to let them seek out this kind of info themselves.
- Essential oil diffuser: This is kind of a touchy subject. Some people see no problem with diffusing essential oils around small babies, and others are more cautious. I say, skip this particular gift unless you’re certain mom wants one and has done the research on safety.
While there are times when these things might be okay in a care package, most of the time, it is better not to. I’m especially careful about these items when making a postpartum new mommy care package.
What Do Moms Want After Giving Birth?
Sleep. Time. Energy.
The things that moms REALLY want after giving birth don’t necessarily fit in a basket with a bow.
I’ve got some ideas of creative ways you can help a postpartum mom get these intangibles. If you want to toss some “friend coupons” in your basket, go ahead, but you could also just offer to help because help is the ultimate gift!
Here are some ways you might be able to help:
- Do a load of laundry or another chore.
- Pick up a grocery order.
- Run an errand like picking up older children from school.
- Sit with the baby while mom takes a REAL shower.
- Take pictures of the family together.
- Write an encouraging note.
- Fill up a gas tank or take the car in for an oil change.
- Offer to help her take an outing. It could be as simple as a walk around the block to decompress.
- Leave dinner on their doorstep with paper plates and plastic cutlery, so there are no dishes.
- Make freezer meals if they have room in their freezer.
- If you’re great at something, offer your services. For example, if you’re a pro pantry organizer, see if mom would like her pantry organized!
It is important to remember that different people want and need different things. Some people will be excited to have you in their home and offering to cook them dinner. Others might be in “hunker down” mode in those early days, and not want a lot of people swarming around their house.
Check with your friend first and select something you know they’ll love.
Remember It’s a Gift
When it comes down to it, your postpartum care package is a gift. It’s a way to make sure your friend or relative is being looked after when she’s busy looking after her newborn. It should include things that will lift her up, give her time, and help her rest.