37 Gifts For The New Mom In Your Life — That Are NOT For Her Baby

Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.

They say having a baby changes everything. But does it? Yes, a new mom is bound to be a sleepier, more forgetful, slightly crankier — and, if she’s a birth mother, a sore and waddling and possibly pee-sneezing — version of her former self. But does having a baby make her relinquish all her former opinions, habits, and interests? Will she suddenly become a vegan, or vote Republican (please, not this year, think of the children), or decide she is no longer extremely excited for the Gilmore Girls reunion series? Of course not. She is the same person she always was. She just has a new, cute/loud, important, very expensive new person in her life.

I decided not to have a baby shower, largely out of fear of getting mired in tons of baby crap I didn’t want or need. But, my 30th birthday party — which I had been planning since, oh, my 21st birthday party — happened to occur when I was about four months pregnant. I didn’t think much of this fact (apart from having to limit myself to, like, 1.3 glasses of Champagne) until all of my awesome, thoughtful, creative friends came to my birthday party bearing awesome, thoughtful, creative gifts — for my 16-week-old fetus.

I know, #firstworldproblems, and I hadn’t asked for any gifts at all, and I am so incredibly lucky to have friends who supported me and my not-necessarily-super-planned pregnancy, and so on and so on. But I have to say, when one friend showed up with the fanciest grown-up cookies I’d ever seen and no baby stuff, I was like, “A THING THAT I CAN EAT??” and nearly wept. Because this was a friend who knew: that I was and am and always will be a person, who now happens to have a baby. A whole, adult person who loves (dare I say deserves?) cookies on her 30th birthday.

So maybe you, too, have a new-mom friend who is going through some shit / an identity crisis / Baby Blues / four cases of mastitis / what have you. You, too, can be that genius-gifting friend. Because girl has gotten enough onesies already, and kiddo will wear each of them possibly once, possibly never, sorry. What she really needs is something that will make her new, crazier (but still very much the same!) life as a mom a little easier, nicer, or at least more fun. Ahead, gifts your new-mom friend will truly appreciate.

For bonus points, throw in a mani/pedi gift card from her local nail salon.

Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish, $11.50, available at Amazon.
A waterproof e-reader with adjustable light and weeks of battery life should help her stick to her maternity leave resolution to read more.

Amazon All-New Kindle Oasis E-reader - 7", $249.99, available at Amazon.
When they can't make it to the spa, bring the spa to them.

HoMedics Dual Temp Percussion Pro Hot & Cold Massager, $99.99, available at HoMedics.
Giving a mom a mug may be as overdone as giving a mouse a cookie, but not if it's a true work of art — you know, one that wasn't made by a toddler. Plus, Mama needs her coffee. There's no point in fighting the facts.
Anthropologie Keep Company Mug, $14.00 Buy
They don’t call it “Mother’s Ruin” for nothing.

Artland Mixology Glass 40 oz. "Gin" Chemistry Flask Decanter, $29.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond.
Photo: Courtesy of Joomi Lim.
Nothing says “I’m going out without my baby” quite like jewelry that is actually hazardous for said baby.

Joomi Lim Bracelet, $88, available at Joomi Lim.
THE COOKIES. Remember what I said about the cookies that made me cry?

Williams Sonoma Sea Salt Caramel Cookies, $24.95, available at Williams Sonoma.
Photo: Courtesy of Gap.
Nursing bras are...a joke, I think? This “regular person” bra is MUCH more comfortable, and it pulls down (or up) easily — no hooks or clasps that don’t seem to actually function.

Gap Breathe plunge pullover bra, $29.50, available at Gap.
Similar to the nursing bra, the diaper bag also seems to be a scam. Isn’t it just — a bag? That happens to contain diapers? If not, this one is really good at faking it.

Urban Outfitters Double Pocket Tote Bag, $49, available at Urban Outfitters.
Photo: Courtesy of Love Like Red.
She’s probably going to need to thank somebody when this is over — even if it’s just her OB/GYN.

Love Like Red Thank You Kindly Cards, $5.25, available at Love Like Red.
The first lesson of parenting: NO TIME FOR SHOELACES.

Vans Moto Leather Slip-On, $60, available at Vans.
The second lesson of parenting: The era of “getting dressed in the morning and selecting a different set of coordinating jewelry to go with your outfit” (LOL) is over. These are chic; she’ll wear them daily until 2020.

JaxKelly Gold Dipped Amethyst Studs, $28, available at JaxKelly.
Photo: Courtesy of Diptyque
Repeat after me: A fancy-ass candle is ALWAYS the correct gift.

Diptyque Lavender Leaf Candle, $62, available at Diptyque.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon.
This was the first novel I read after my son was born, and it was so weird, it made my own postpartum-haze-land life seem downright ordinary. Plus, it has some very sweet musings on adoptive parenthood.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July, $10, available at Amazon.
Let’s be real: Birth and babies involve some unpleasant smells. Arm yourself.

Juliette Has A Gun Mad Madame, $145, available at Sephora.
Photo: Courtesy of Me Undies.
The self-proclaimed “world’s comfiest undies” — for that transition time between hospital mesh panties (how I miss thee) and the lacier varieties.

Me Undies Women's Cheeky Brief, $16, available at Me Undies.
Mo’ babies, mo’ messes. Get her a cute thing in which to toss all the tiny crap toys that will inevitably cover her floor.

Threshold Felt Basket Brown, $24.99, available at Target.
Photo: Courtesy of Glossier
A solid trick for faking eight hours of sleep.

Glossier Super Glow Serum, $28, available at Glossier.
Photo: Courtesy of Olly.
And an even better trick for actually getting eight hours — okay, maybe six. (This is best for formula-feeding mommas; the breast-feeders should check with their docs before taking any new supplements.)

Olly Restful Sleep Gummies, $13.99, available at Olly.
It’s like the old adage says: Organization is key to not going batshit. Or something.

Sugar Paper 2018 Signature Agenda, Chambray, $48, available at Sugar Paper.
Photo: Courtesy of Stumptown
Whether or not she cut down on coffee during pregnancy, she will need it now.

Stumptown Chemex Brewer, $46, available at Stumptown.
Photo: Courtesy of Chewable Charm
Yes, this is technically a “teething necklace,” but let’s just call it “babyproof fashion.”

Chewable Charm Black Teething Necklace, $26.50, available at Chewable Charm.
Because she’s supposed to sleep when baby sleeps, but what if that’s noon in the living room, dammit??

The Sleepy Cottage Sleep Mask, $14, available on Etsy.
If she’s one of the lucky few to get long-term paid parental leave, she’s going to be spending a lot of time in pajamas. Might as well make them delightful. (Bonus: dark fabric + pattern = vague protection against pee/puke/bloodstains! I mean, never mind, birth and motherhood is all cuddles and clean sheets.)

Floreat Silk Sleep Pants, $118, available at Anthropologie.
See aforementioned comment re: pajamas.

Muji Linen Twill Slippers Ecru, $24, available at Muji.
Muji Linen Twill Cushion Slippers Ecru L, $24.00 Buy
So she can make like some upper-class mom in Victorian England and “go have a lie-down.”

Charles and Ray Eames Small Dot Pattern Pillow, $150, available at MoMA.
Photo: Thrive Market
If she’s given birth vaginally, her doctor may suggest avoiding baths for a few weeks. Make it worth the wait.

Evolution Himalayan Crystal Bath Salt, $14.95, available at Thrive Market.
Photo: Courtesy of Anomie
And why not make it a bath time that pays appropriate homage to how we all got here in the first place?

Anomie Private Parts Bath Mat, $60, available at Anomie.
Photo: Courtesy of Herbivore.
If the website blurb speaks truth, this mask will help her literally shed her skin, which is about as good a rebirth metaphor as I can muster. (Also, I really just want this, because it’s supposed to be great, but also because I want to put blue stuff on my face and scare my child.)

Herbivore Blue Tansy Mask, $48, available at Herbivore Botanicals.
Photo: Courtesy of Ulta.
The lipstick is mightier than the sword (when you’re trying to leave the house/seem human again).

Ulta Fuschia Fever Lipstick, $8, available at Ulta.
Photo: Courtesy of Try the World
Nothing improves #momlife quite like mastering the art of one-handed eating.

Try the World Snackbox, $15, available at Try the World.
Time to raise a glass — because 40ish weeks of uterine hijacking is a long effing time.

Del Maguey Mezcal, $46.19, available at Master of Malt.
Aren’t we all?

Private Party Always Hungry Sweatshirt, $79, available at Private Party.
Photo: Courtesy of Earth House Oils
This “baby oil” is actually ALL for mama. The lavender, jasmine, and sage supposedly help the uterus contract and tone before and after birth. I'm not sure if that's scientifically proven, BUT I BELIEVE.

Earth House Oils Baby Oil, $18, available on Etsy.
Photo: Courtesy of Lula's Garden
Because plants are calming, or something, and good for...your oxygen? I dunno, it's pretty (and low-maintenance).

Lula's Garden Spirit Garden, $35, available at Lula's Garden.
Photo: Courtesy of La Vie Boheme.
Everybody talks about prenatal yoga, but IMO postpartum yoga is even more necessary. Your pal needs some Zen; help her out.

La Vie Boheme Yoga Earth Prism Yoga Mat, $86, available at La Vie Boheme.
Clean out all that crap, mama.

Herban Lifestyle Café Noir Scrubbing Bar, $11, available at Herban Lifestyle.