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Gift Ideas for Expectant Mothers

May01

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pickles.jpg
Photo by eek the cat
Amy,
So, I am in that point in one’s life where it seems that every time I turn around another friend is pregnant! I LOVE giving gifts. And I especially like to treat the mom-to-be with a little something just for her. I mean, anybody can go out and buy some baby clothes, and by default they’re going to be adored because they are, well, ADORABLE. But, when I learn a friend is pregnant, I want to get just HER something nice. Usually, my go-to-gift is a fun book of baby names, some Godiva truffles, and a jar of my homemade pickles…ha ha, get it?? Nothing elaborate, just a “Congratulations! I am thinking of you and so happy to hear the news!” sort of thing.
But, with the weather getting warmer, I don’t want to ship chocolates. I’d like to mail some nice bath products instead. But, I have no idea what a pregnant lady might find good or useful. I only have a dog! Were there any bath or skincare products that you really liked while pregnant? Or maybe something totally random that you received when you were expecting that would ship well? I Googled “gift ideas for expectant mothers” and got a great article about hiring a decorator to help with the nursery designs or a new digital camera! Haahaaaheehaa…yeah. I’ll do that as soon as I can remember where I misplaced my trust fund. So, nothing that’s going to break the bank, ya know?
All the best,
KW

Well, damn. It’s obvious that none of MY friends cared enough to Google “gift ideas for expectant mothers” because I received ZERO digital cameras or interior decorators when I was pregnant. Thanks for nothing, FRIENDS.
(Thanks for the entry title idea, though!)
I LOVE your ideas, by the way — particularly the homemade pickles. That’s outstanding. I would have eaten the whole jar in one sitting. (FULL DISCLOSURE: I would still eat the whole jar in one sitting.)
As for bath products — yes, also a very good idea. You would not believe the crazy stuff that happens to a pregnant woman’s skin. I itched for months. I got weird bumps and spots. I was extra sweaty. And I loved taking baths. I loved bubble bath, those fizzy bath bomb things, bath oils (sooooo good for the inexplicable itching), really nice moisturizers…whatever. If you have a favorite bath product, I bet your pregnant friends would be thrilled to get some. We’re cranky and swollen, but essentially not all that picky.
A few general guidelines for giving skincare/bath stuff to pregnant women, in case you want to be extra thorough with your shopping: Her sense of smell may be heightened, and she may actively recoil from certain scents and fragrances (especially in the first trimester). So stay away from anything with a really strong, overpowering smell. Think light, fresh, clean. Lemon is good, especially if she’s suffering from morning sickness.
Or! I kind of love this idea! You could swap out the chocolate truffles for some chocolate bath products (like this set by Philosophy) to keep with your pickles and chocolate idea. Or thisHershey’s Sweet Chocolate Body Butter, for a cheaper option. If she has a sense of humor, this set of cocktail-and-booze-related body washes> or the “Congratulations Bubbly” body wash would be fun.
(Though some women might be sensitive to stuff that smells like “food.” I was VERY ILL for a good six months of my second pregnancy and while I think I would have been fine with the chocolate and cocktails and citrus, I get some nostalgia nausea by imagining my pregnant self smelling some of Philosophy’s other offerings, like “vanilla birthday cake” or “pink frosted layer cake” or oh God, don’t send anything that smells like cake.)
(Real cake, on the other hand, is fine. Fake cake, no. Ugh.)
Besides the smell, some pregnant women are going to be extra cautious about ingredients. Natural and organic are good. “Real” ingredients are good. My mother-in-law got me some handmade olive oil soap and a body oil at a farmer’s market and oh my God, that stuff was amazing. (I would TOTALLY recommend a bunch of stuff from LUSH here, but it’s all labeled “may melt” on their website, so…not really solving the shipping problem. But you get the idea. Think green!)
Now…personally, I would NOT have really dug one of those mother-to-be gift sets that are all about the stretch mark creams. Thanks to my first pregnancy, I know firsthand that most of these products don’t actually work. You either get stretch marks or you don’t. You’re playing the genetic lottery, and while moisturizing your skin is good, there is no magic ingredient in any of the anti-stretch-mark creams that actually, clinically, conclusively prevent stretch marks. Also (and this is JUST ME, mind you), I can’t help but think that reminding a newly pregnant woman about stretch marks via a gift early on is a little: “here you go, good luck down the road when you get really fat and stretched out and whee!” I’ll buy my own Mustela or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter, thank you. For a gift from a friend, I’d prefer a little non-pregnancy-related indulgence that doesn’t remind me of the not-fun aspects.
(Also more pickles.)

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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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17 Responses to “Gift Ideas for Expectant Mothers”

  1. Darcey May 01 at 12:12 pm Reply Reply

    I know this is mostly for shipping gifts to friends, but something I’ve done for a couple of my local friends is to get them gift cards to the places that they are getting food cravings.
    One friend of mine craved the little mini Mayfield ice cream cups – the ones that come with the little plastic spoon for kids’ birthday parties — even though it was the SAME recipe, the strawberry in the regular gallon size didn’t taste right. So I went to Costco and picked up a pack of 36 and brought them over with a big bow on top.
    I also did things like pedicure gift certificates (since at some point, you won’t be able to reach and/or see your toes), as one friend of mine was pregnant over the summer and couldn’t stand having ungroomed feet.
    Anything that lets someone else take care of them for a while is great…

  2. Joceline May 01 at 12:39 pm Reply Reply

    I’m excited to see what others comment about here, as I could use some ideas too.
    A word of caution on bath products: know your friend and her preferences well before shelling out on this stuff! I’ve gotten so many lovely bath-product gifts over the years that I’ve just had to pass on to another friend without ever enjoying it first. I have extremely sensitive skin that breaks out into itchy rashy hives at the blink of an eye. I feel so badly when I can’t enjoy a thoughtful gift!
    Some things I’ve enjoyed in the past: Fun healthy snacky foods (stuff that would ship well: dried fruit, nuts), pregnancy tea (Baby to Be tea was my favorite), a funny book about motherhood.
    How sweet of you to think of your friends in this way!

  3. Mehgan May 01 at 12:49 pm Reply Reply

    This may be kind of lame, but when I found out that my best friend was expecting I made her a pregnancy journal. I bought a pretty scrapbook (pale green, it had the word “journey” embossed on the front) and made up scrapbook pages for some of the random things she might be going through during her pregnancy. Some of it crossed over into “baby book” territory (pages to show off photos of her growing belly, and a baby shower page) but the rest of it was mainly pretty pages that had places to journal or doodle what was happening, her thoughts and reactions to the changes going on in her life and her body.I attached envelopes to certain pages and folded up pretty paper, so she could write notes to herself or to her child, a nice place to keep them without having them be on display in the book.
    Other things I’ve sent: goofy cards from Hallmark and Target, just something silly every couple of weeks or months to let her know I was thinking about her, and what an amazing person she is. Slip a $$5, $10 or $15 iTunes or Starbucks or Target gift card inside and she can treat herself to a decaf latte or whatever her thing is.

  4. Allison May 01 at 1:51 pm Reply Reply

    Prenatal massage gift certificate. I’m at 35 weeks and I would very much like somebody to give me one. :)

  5. mmc May 01 at 2:43 pm Reply Reply

    My favorite present I got when I was pregnant was a jar of pickles with a gift certificate for ice cream. Funny, and will ship well too!

  6. Heather May 01 at 3:36 pm Reply Reply

    I’m so with you on the stretch mark creams! That’s just rude :P

  7. Linda May 01 at 4:45 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Heather. I bought this stuff for a friend when she was pregnant: http://www.kalyx.com/store/proddetail.cfm/ItemID/755089/CategoryID/5500/SubCatID/875/file.htm
    It totally went over my head that she might have thought I was all, “HERE! FIX YR STRETCH MARKS,” instead of what I actually thought, which was pregnancy = dry/itchy skin = body oil. You may lambast me in the comments, though I still feel horrible about it :(

  8. Victoria May 01 at 5:20 pm Reply Reply

    You are the best friend ever! While I love my friends and family, I was a bit miffed when I had my baby shower and did not receive one thing for the pregnant mama. I would have even been happy with stretch mark cream (especially Burt’s Bees Mama Bee, my favorite which I am quickly running out of in the third trimester). From now on, I am always including a little something for the mom-to-be in shower presents.
    My recommendation: gift certificate to a salon for a pedicure, manicure or prenatal massage. But make sure that the salon is set up for pregnant women! My MIL got me a certificate for a hot stones massage at a place that does not serve pregnant women – which just made me more wistful for a prenatal massage. I just can’t justify spending the money on myself.
    Also, luxury travel sizes of toiletries would be great to bring to the hospital. Or anything to remind her that everyone does remember she exists and is not just a host body at the moment.

  9. Jen L. May 01 at 6:26 pm Reply Reply

    I agree with Victoria: things to bring to the hospital are wonderful! My mom and grandma sent me nursing-friendly nightgowns for my shower. They were much prettier than the hospital gowns and didn’t embarass me in front of visitors. One even had a matching robe! Cute,non-skid slippers or slipper socks are another thought. The ones they give you in the hospital are often khaki and ugly.
    You are so sweet to do this for your friends!

  10. Sarah May 02 at 11:16 am Reply Reply

    As a maker of pickles, you might appreciate the handmade – there are a ton of great shops on Etsy that have bath products:
    SoapalayaSoaps.etsy.com
    HendricksHearth.etsy.com
    Basically just go here and look around:
    http://www.etsy.com/category/bath_and_beauty

  11. Della May 02 at 10:11 pm Reply Reply

    Just seconding (or fifth-ing?) the prenatal massage gift certificate idea. My doctor actually ordered me to get one (I know, awesome, right?)… only we’re unemployed and can’t afford it. IRONIC!
    Anyhow, I don’t think I’ve ever met a pregnant woman who wouldn’t love to have a massage.
    One gift I got that I enjoyed was a baby handprint kit (the stamp kind, but the little plaster kind would have been cool, too).
    Examples:
    First Steps photo/footprint combo frame: http://www.baby-memory-books.com/First_Steps_Footprint_Frame_White_Frame_p/gg-3052w.htm
    3-D replica kits (gotta check this site out, words don’t do it justice. available in different styles like pearlized. non toxic, wiggle friendly…. awesome.) http://www.castingkeepsakes.com/luna-bean-deluxe-baby-casting-kit-p-256.html (link goes to kit with two refills for $40. kits available for as cheap as $10)
    And something a little different: http://www.target.com/Handprints-Tower-of-Time-Blue/dp/B0007ICPOE/sr=1-3/qid=1241316588/ref=sr_1_3/189-3552879-3680209?ie=UTF8&frombrowse=0&index=target&rh=k%3Ahandprint&page=1 A five-pack of molds for doing on each birthday up to age 5 (or up to age 4 if you start at birth)

  12. Susie May 03 at 6:40 pm Reply Reply

    I had a friend give me a set of Burts Bees stuff – lotion, body wash, lip balm… and then also some baby clothes with the little Baby Bees set in it. I loved it (I love Burts Bees anyway), but I also loved being taken care of :)
    The salon certificate is a good idea too… I’d like to get a really good haircut before the baby comes, the kind that you can grow out for a while without looking all raggedy.
    You’re a super nice friend – I’d also eat the whole jar of pickles in one sitting.

  13. Britt May 03 at 8:06 pm Reply Reply

    The best (and most extravagant) gift I got was a series of pedicures so that at least part of me was cute. With the swollen feet, I was sporting lots of flip flops. She joined me for the pedicures, so we had some “girl” time before there was a real little girl in the picture, too.
    I say go with the pickles and chocolate theme, though. Fun, thoughtful and silly.
    (I would have been ill at almost any of the smelly stuff; also, there are warnings about baths over 100 degrees — not as much fun to “luxuriate” in bathwater just hotter than we are.)

  14. Kailee May 04 at 12:47 pm Reply Reply

    Huzzah! My question was answered! Thank you, Amy! And thank you commenters for all of the great suggestions. I picked up the Philosophy chocolate bath gels this weekend. I really loved that idea. But, I have TONS of great options for the next friend who announces her pregnancy. Which, according to my calculations, should be in about 10 minutes!

  15. Kate May 06 at 7:52 pm Reply Reply

    When I was waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for my overdue baby to make his appearance this past December, one of the things that took my mind off the fact that I was STILL pregnant was going to dinner and a movie with my husband (seriously, we even saw The Punisher just because it was out). It was also nice because since having the baby, “date nights” are a lot harder. So, my suggestion would be something along the lines of gift certificates to movie theaters or favorite restaurants for some very important “couple time” before the baby comes.

  16. Jade Sep 22 at 8:38 pm Reply Reply

    I’m planning to give my pregnant sister some natural and safe house cleaning products. I found BabyGanics by accident in the store and I loved the product coz it’s organic and won’t irritate baby’s skin.

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