If you know an expectant mama who plans to breastfeed, a really fun shower (or anytime) gift is a nursing mom’s survival kit. Before I had my son, a close girlfriend of mine who is a two-time mom gave me the run down on what I should have on hand to make those early days and long nights a little easier. She even placed little handwritten post-it notes on each item. This way I knew what the heck to do with everything and why I needed it (I was clueless!). I can’t tell you how glad I was to have this stuff on hand during those 3 a.m. feedings. Especially when I could avoid sending my husband to the drugstore to search for who knows what.
A kit like this is easy to put together. You can fit it all in a classic basket, decorative storage bin, or even a gift bag if you want to keep it simple. Most new moms that plan to breastfeed will register for some of the more common nursing essentials – like a nursing pillow (My Breast Friend was my favorite), nursing cover, bottles/milk storage and pump accessories – so those aren’t included here. This nursing survival kit is for all the other stuff. All the things that mamas won’t register for or might not even think of if it’s their first baby (I sure didn’t!). Gather some or all of these essentials and the new mom in your life will be all set!
1) Portable snacks.
Oh, yes, snacks! There’s nothing quite like nursing to make you absolutely starving all.the.time. Stock up on single-serving, easy-to-grab goodies like granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts. My go-to place for this kind of thing is Trader Joes. There you can also find dark chocolate covered everything – from cherries to pretzels to coffee beans (which work wonders for a sleep-deprived mama). I probably went through at least one box of Trader Joes granola bars per week during those first few months of round-the-clock nursing.
2) A refillable, non-toxic water bottle.
In addition to hunger, there is nothing quite like nursing to make you so thirsty. So thirsty, you think you’ll die if you don’t get your hands on some water, and quick. To produce milk you need to stay well hydrated so having a decent-sized water bottle handy is essential. These are some of my favorites, but there are tons of great options out there.
3) Lip balm and hand cream.
Breastfeeding can be very drying (see #2 above). Get a moisturizing lip balm (like this multipurpose standby or another fave) and a small tube of hand cream (current fave) so that she has these items at an arm’s reach.
4) Milk-making support.
Mother’s Milk Tea, Oat Mama bars, and Fenugreek are great supplements. These are a few ideas that worked for me, but there are lots of options out there so include whatever you like. Many mamas don’t have supply issues, but for those that do, having some tried-and-true products on hand to try can really put your mind at ease.
5) Self care products.
It’s no secret that breastfeeding can be painful. There are lots of great products out there that can help provide some relief, from creams (try this or another favorite), to pads (I loved these and these) to hot/cold packs.
You can customize and add other fun things that you know she likes, such as her favorite magazines, books, Milkscreen strips (for that mama who you know will need a glass of wine after 10 long months of pregnancy!), adult coloring books and colored pencils (for that mama who has an artistic side), face masks (for those precious moments of “me time” post-baby), or comfy socks or slippers.
Most gifts she’ll receive will be all about the baby so it’s nice to give her something just for her. Have fun with it!