10 great gifts for pregnant women

(Looking for gift ideas for pregnant women or new parents? You might want to jump over to my updated post on this topic instead – 30 great gifts for pregnant women and new parents)

I had a dream about the baby last night! (This deserves an exclamation mark because by this stage of pregnancy apparently normal women spend many nights dreaming of their baby. This is my 2nd dream. Ever. And last time I dreamed I forgot the baby when I went out to dinner with Mike.) So, feeling all proud of myself for being so maternal-like, I was pretty excited to relay this dream over breakfast.

“I dreamed the baby fell down a flight of stone steps when I was trying to teach it how to walk,” I told Mum.

“Stone steps,” Mum repeated. “How old was this baby?”

“Oh, like, two or three months,” I said. “But that’s not the point. The point is, when it got hurt and cried I picked it up and comforted it. And then I took it somewhere in the car and I put it in a car seat!”

It…?” Mum repeated.

OK, so maybe I haven’t perfected this whole maternal dreaming thing yet. There’s still time. A couple of weeks, anyway.

So speaking of dreaming, I’ve been waking up from my dreams every morning now feeling as if the flu and my ninetieth birthday have arrived overnight. All my joints hurt, particularly my hands and fingers. Sometimes first thing in the morning I can barely make a fist. Dr Google assures me this will go away when my ligaments tighten up again after delivery. It better, or the poor little “it” will just have to lie at the bottom of that flight of stone steps and cry, because I won’t be able to pick “it” up.

I am not the only one with sore hands, however. A parcel arrived at the post office on Friday and it seems that two of my friends, Robin and Jenn, have been very busy indeed working their own fingers to the bone on my behalf.

Robin lives in Texas and Jenn in Kansas, but they decided that, “the best way to recognize the arrival of baby McWolfe, a ‘lil one born of a long distance love story, was with a collaborative project that was created via hours of phone calls, text messages, skype dates, and extensive emails that included the frequent exchange of spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations.” Then they got together in Texas to bring the whole project to beautiful completion.

(I could say something here about how this process is indeed similar to the one that led the creation of baby McWolfe in the first place, but I’ll refrain to avoid scandalizing my Nanna).

So why the sore hands and fingers in Texas, you might ask? Well these two dear friends knitted and crocheted us the most beautiful baby blanket. A blanket they insist is not meant to be an heirloom but meant to be used, get dirty, thrown in the wash, and eventually wear out. “It’s meant to be the hug that we’re not there to give,” they wrote.

The blanket is gorgeous, and Mike and I are humbled and overwhelmed by the thought, time, and love that went into making it.

In fact, I’ve felt humbled by love a fair bit since we announced our pregnancy. Other friends in the States boxed up maternity and baby clothes and mailed them to me in Australia at considerable expense – I’ve been wearing those maternity clothes almost daily. In fact, a number of friends in three different countries have gifted us second-hand baby clothes. I have not yet bought a single new piece of clothing for the bub, but don’t worry that he’ll be wanting for warmth. When he fell down that flight of stairs in my dream the little tyke wasn’t naked – he was wearing a perfectly lovely second-hand jumpsuit.

I could go on and on, but let’s just say that Mike and I have been virtually showered by gifts big and small from around the globe and we are touched and grateful.

So, in celebration of the blessings we’ve received I thought I’d share a list of ten of the more unusual gifts we’ve received. Wondering about what to give an expectant mother? Here are some ideas:

  1. A homemade breast-feeding support pillow in the shape of an elephant.
  2. An iTunes gift card to buy music to listen to while breastfeeding.
  3. Lullaby music for the baby (so far I particularly like Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs and the Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics.
  4. Baby items that will bring back memories (this weekend I received a bib covered with tiny whales from visiting friends – it’ll be a memory trigger as we spent much of the weekend together watching for whales spouting out at sea).
  5. Books on parenting (as opposed to pregnancy and delivery, which she has probably already procured).
  6. A My Baby’s First Year book to record important milestones.
  7. A colorful mobile to hang over the baby’s crib.
  8. A diaper bag for traveling that includes a roll-out change mat and cold storage for at least one bottle.
  9. Story books to read to the baby. Check out this post for great options: What do writers read to their kids?: Five authors share their favorite children’s books.
  10. Donate your time and energy to host a celebratory gathering or a baby shower.
  11. A wooden hand-crafted crib that the baby’s great grandfather made for the baby’s grandmother. (Yeah, OK, that one might be a bit hard to pull off, but that’s what our little one will be sleeping in for the first eight weeks of his life while we’re still here in Australia – Pa set it up for me the other day).

These are just a few of the things we’ve received that have made me smile – but the creative possibilities to bless a new family seem endless, really. If you live locally you could assemble an envelope full of take-out menus from local restaurants and include enough cash to order dinner one night during those first few weeks post-birth. You could organize for a house cleaner to come in once or twice. If she’s into yoga, perhaps look for a yoga DVD she could do at home when she can’t get out to attend a class. And, of course, practical gifts such as diapers, small toys, nappy rash cream and the like never go astray.

What favourite baby gifts have you given or received? Other ideas? Help out people who will visit this post looking for gift inspiration by leaving a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, stick around! Subscribe to my blog by RSS or by email (enter your email address top right) to receive updates about our adventures in parenthood and in Laos, and check out some of the following pregnancy and parenthood-related posts:

  1. Koi Maan Luuk: Or, I Am Pregnant
  2. Finding Out You Are Pregnant, In Slow Motion
  3. Life Lessons on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding from Cows
  4. It’s a…
  5. Ten Good Things About Boys: Attaining Synthetic Happiness One Gender Stereotype at a Time
  6. Lessons in breastfeeding from cows, take two
  7. Tough Love Take One

14 responses to “10 great gifts for pregnant women

  1. Wow! That is seriously the coolest baby blanket I have EVER seen. I want to be your baby just so I can use it! 🙂

  2. Oooh, gorgeous blanket! And DO use it! They really do withstand the kiddos wear and tear. T has one that he still takes to school for his naps every week, and there is nary a rip or run! He slept with it soley till age 2! Will has one as well and it holds up just fine, especially since he throws all his covers out of bed every night 🙂

  3. Michelle Williams

    Lis, my most memorable baby dream was that she had to LEARN TO TALK so that she could TELL ME that she was hungry. I hadn’t figured it out yet 😦 And, I will admit, to having typed that entire first sentance with “it” and having to go back and correct it to “she”. She was a she well in advance 🙂

  4. Someone drove past our place each week and pulled our bin up the driveway for me when the twins were born and Andrew’s ankle was broken. It was so kind and practical.

  5. The blanket is lovely, and I like the elephant pillow, too!
    Some of my favourite gifts were:
    a soft blanket (though not handmade)
    a cute slip-in photo album (because I’m too lazy for scrapbooking and writing stuff down)
    a cherry pit pillow (to relieve baby’s stomachaches)
    animal-shaped towels and washcloths (not necessary for a baby, but makes toddler and preschooler bath time so much easier!)

    I haven’t had any baby dreams during my pregnancies. And still my main reason for looking foward to the birth is not to eventually see my child but that I will feel better (My fingers hurt, too, I’m still nauseous almost every day and I suffer from pre-birth insomnia).
    But there is no need to worry about a lack of maternal instincts. It takes some time of knowing each other to fall in love with another human being. It will happen to you and me 🙂

    • What is a cherry pit pillow?? I’ve never heard of them. Sorry about the sore fingers, the nausea and the pre-birth insomnia (yeah, sleep’s not been great on this end either). Hope all goes well in this final countdown for you.

      • A pad filled with dried cherry pits, similar to grain pillows, if you heard of them. They are heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer and soothe all kind of pain. Small ones can be warmed and put on baby’s tummy during a colic.

        I hope all goes well for you, too.

  6. I have gone through your blog and read the list of gifts for pregnant women. Perfect list..just awesome. I am bound to say that you have given a nice effort to create such a nice list!

  7. I would have to add two things here. 1) lambskin for the baby to lay on – can be taken everywhere and the texture is something the baby remembers so is a “soothing” surface, and 2) flannel blankets (made to fit a crib mattress). I have since made them for my siblings’ babies (who are now all in school [elementary to college]) and they have been used until worn too thin to wash without large rips occuring. Both items were easy to carry, lightweight and helped create an atmosphere of familiarity for the baby – which helped ME a great deal!

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