'Food, food and more food.' 30 women on the things that helped the most after having a baby.

When I had my first child, the best baby shower gift I received was a surprising one.

It was from my friend Emma and it was a box filled with things I’d never even thought of that were essentials, and were just for me: maternity pads, breast pads, nipple cream, body wash, body lotion and a lip balm - all absolute hospital new mum essentials. 

When I had my second child, I knew to buy all the above things myself so the best pre-baby gift was some food essentials. 

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My friend Jess brought a big basket of delicious deli foods - salami and other cured meats, soft cheese, antipasto goodies, and a bottle of bubbles - all things I had missed for nine months that were thoroughly enjoyed as soon as I’d popped my bundle out. Plus, they were the perfect snacks (not the bubbles) while breastfeeding.

Next weekend, I am organising a new baby celebration for a girlfriend who is having her third child next month, and I needed some gift inspiration and some reminders about what new mums want and love. 

So, I put the word out to the Mamamia community asking for the best new baby gifts they’ve either given or that they received.

Here's what they had to say:

1. "I had twins and one of my colleagues bought me four boxes of newborn nappies. It was a sensational gift."

2. "The Dinner Ladies voucher - hands down the best gift. It was an absolute godsend."

3. "I was gifted a post-natal massage voucher from one friend, the absolute pinnacle gift. It was heavenly."

4. "Food, food and more food. Homemade lasagne dropped on the doorstep, snacks to have while breastfeeding - healthy, easy to eat meals were just the best."

5. "The Motherhood by Jamila Rizvi is my go-to gift."


6. "My girlfriends banded together and paid for a cleaner to come for the first six weeks. It was so wonderful to have the floors, bathrooms and kitchen properly cleaned each week, the laundry folded, and the sheets changed."

7. "A drink bottle you can open with one hand to keep Mum hydrated while breastfeeding. It’s my go to baby shower gift, and it is always a hit."

8. "My best friends did a meal roster for me for the first six weeks. I’m a single Mum so it was absolutely amazing."

9. "My sister and mum bought me a new breastfeeding-friendly outfit for myself. It was so lovely to have something new to wear that zipped down the front for easy feeding access."

10. "Breastfeeding cookies and all the tea! I’m a massive tea drinker and my girlfriend knows this, so she gave me a big box with yummy breastfeeding biscuits and all these delicious caffeine free teas. They became my 11am treat each day."

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11. "I loved friends that came for short visits with a takeaway coffee and food. Then we’d have a coffee and a quick chat together, I’d hand them the baby while I had a shower and once I was out and dressed, they’d bugger off. A 30 minutes max visit was just right."

12. "A friend came and changed my bed sheets - it was the greatest gift ever."

13. "A proper thermometer, like an expensive ear or forehead one. I always gift this. Someone gave one to me at my baby shower and it seemed like such a sad gift, but it was actually the most useful thing I received."

14. "Meals. And someone cleaned my kitchen. I still remember and love them for it 14 years on."

15. "I bake snacks for friends with new bubs - muesli slice, banana bread, overnight oats - things that are nourishing and quick and easy to eat."

16. "I gave my sister a St John’s Ambulance first aid training voucher for parents, she loved it!"

17. "A friend bought me a voucher for a baby shop that ships quickly. She said there is always a thing (different type of swaddle, noise machine, blackout blind) that you don’t discover you need until baby comes home. She was totally right!"

18. "I always gift a nice set of pyjamas and a hand lotion to expecting Mums. I remember how nice it was to have something comfy and pretty to change into after giving birth and to have my hands smelling of lavender."

19. "A girlfriend gave me 10 newborn zipper onesies. She said I didn’t want to be fiddling around with buttons - she was correct. And she said that my baby would poo and wee his way through at least three per day. Again, she was correct."


20. "Fruit and grocery boxes. I had four girlfriends organise a delivery each week for a month. So every Tuesday, a box of yummy fresh fruit and grocery staples (nice bread, milk, butter, wheels of brie) arrived on our doorstep. I didn’t need to go to the shops for the whole month - it was amazing!"

21. "A quality towel with my daughter’s name embroidered on it. Extra special when your child has an uncommon name you never see on things."

22. "Someone gave me a beautiful pack of Body Shop goodies for the hospital. It had body wash, body butter, lip balm - all these nice things that made me feel so refreshed after the intensity of birth." 

23. "My sister-in-law gave me a couple of really fancy baby suits - the ones that cost like $50 each that I couldn't justify buying. It was such a thoughtful gift."

24. "A first aid kit. I’d never thought of it before, but it was one of the handiest motherhood gifts I received."

25. "A newborn photo shoot. I didn’t actually think I wanted this, but it was a beautiful experience and the photos are just lovely and capture that really special moment in time."

26. "A labour bracelet. I ended up having a c-section, but I held the bracelet in my hand while it was happening. It had beads from everyone important in my life all threaded together and presented to me at my baby shower. I still have it today and will always treasure it."

27. "Lactation cookies! They might not do anything, but were such a good snack to have when my husband was back at work and I couldn’t get away from bub to make food."

28. "My mum filled my freezer full of meals before my second was born. It meant so much - the time, effort and cost involved in making all those meals was really appreciated."

29. "An extra large muslin cloth. It was great as a light layer in summer, a big cover for the pram, and really good for swaddling her in."

30. "Gifts for my older children to make them feel special too. One girlfriend turned up with a gift for all three of my children (seven-year-old, three-year-old and newborn) and I really appreciated the thoughtfulness."

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