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 rundown 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 cute basket, decorative storage bin, or even a gift bag to keep it simple. Most new moms who 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 consider if it’s their first baby (I sure didn’t!). Gather some of these essentials, and the new breastfeeding mama in your life will be so glad you did!
1. Portable snacks.
Oh, yes, snacks. There’s nothing quite like nursing to make you absolutely ravenous all.the.time. Stock up on single-serving, easy-to-grab goodies like granola bars, dried fruit, and small packs of nuts. My go-to place for this kind of thing is Trader Joe’s. There you can also find dark chocolate covered everything – from cherries to pretzels to coffee beans (which work wonders for sleep-deprived parents). I probably went through at least one box of Trader Joe’s granola bars per week during those first few weeks of round-the-clock nursing.
2. A refillable water bottle.
In addition to hunger, nothing makes you thirstier than nursing. 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 at easy reach is essential. These are a recent favorite, but there are tons of great options out there. They even make these fancy new motivational water bottles that encourage water consumption.
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 (recent 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 supplements are a few items that worked for me, but there are many 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. You can even toss in a container (or packets) of oatmeal, as this is also considered by many to help increase supply (definitely true in my case).
5. Self-care products.
It’s no secret that breastfeeding can be painful. There are many 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. Many of my new mom friends rave about nursing cups as well.
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 many long months of pregnancy!), adult coloring books, and colored pencils (for that mama who wants to cultivate her 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!