A friend of mine here in Atlanta is pregnant, due next month. As is my typical approach to gifts, I wanted to get her something special and meaningful. I knew she was planning to breastfeed, and since it is a topic very close to my heart, I thought a gift of things to make that journey easier for her would be special for both of us. I had a lot of fun putting it together!
As with any kind of basket gift (i.e. collection of items), this can get very expensive if you are not careful. It’s a great gift when you have a lot of time to find items at good prices to avoid the total cost being like $300. :-)
Here is the basket I gave to my friend:
A rundown of the things I included in my gift basket, with notes and other suggestions:
* Book: “The Baby Book” by Dr. Sears
I wanted to include a book, and debated about which one. I finally decided an overall baby book would be best, but here are a few other suggestions if you want something specifically about breastfeeding:
“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League International
“Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding” by Dr. Jack Newman
“Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding” by Ina May Gaskin
Peaceful Parenting‘s Amazon store of recommended breastfeeding books: http://astore.amazon.com/peacefparent-20?_encoding=UTF8&node=1
* Baby Carrier: Moby Wrap
Baby carriers go hand in hand with breastfeeding because not only does it hold your little baby close, but you can also feed them while they’re in the baby carrier. I think the Moby Wrap is especially good for little newborns. I had promised mine to this particular friend, but hadn’t actually given it to her yet so I was excited to include it in the basket. I also printed off the instructions for how to use it, and a few cautions about wrapping it safely, and folded it up in the Moby. This might add significant cost to your basket, but if you have a carrier you’re willing to give away or if you are handy with a sewing machine, it can be a really nice touch. Some other ideas:
Bbay K’Tan – similar to a Moby but much simpler to put on/take off
Ring Sling – easy to make
Mei Tai – I’m told this is also another easy one to make
An extensive list of everything you’ve wanted to know about baby carriers, to give you other ideas
* Nursing pads: reusable
I was going to just get the Lansinoh disposable nursing pads, since those are what I used, but a friend of mine makes them and offered me a good deal on 4 pairs. Two were made with minkee and are soooo soft. I hope she likes them! I’m sure you can find reusable nursing pads without too much trouble anywhere that sells cloth baby/mama related things (cloth diaper retailers, Etsy, etc).
* Pain relief: lanolin
This is a must-have for any breastfeeding mother! I used this stuff like crazy when Savannah was a newborn.
* Pain relief: Gel Soothies
I put the question of what to buy for the basket on one of my forums, and one of the moms suggested these. I had never heard of them, but when I saw them in the store I thought they sounded brilliant. Perhaps it was because Savannah was a summer baby, but I would have loved the cool relief of a little gel pack. I added these to my basket, and I hope they are as useful as they seem they would be! I found these at Babies R Us made by Lansinoh, but I think there are other brands that make them too.
* Distraction: nursing necklace
Nursing necklaces are for the baby to play with while he’s nursing, to distract him from playing with Mama’s hair or her shirt or her other breast… I was going to buy from Etsy but I actually ended up making it, and it was very easy. I happened to find a local bead store going out of business, so I picked up the doughnut stone for a very good price. I just used a leather suede cord and knotted it around the stone, and added a wooden bead for decoration, and I was done! I made it extra long so my friend can choose to cut it to the ideal length. There is a picture later in the post.
I had a lot of other ideas for items that I didn’t end up including for various reasons (cost, etc.), but I’ll list them here in case you’re looking for something else for your basket.
* Water bottle (because it’s important to keep hydrated when you’re a nursing mama!)
* Healthy snacks like granola bars or crackers (for those long nursing sessions!)
* Lactation cookies like Milkin’ Cookies (a cute idea, but when it came down to it I decided not to include anything that might make her feel that her supply is inadequate. Chances are she’ll be fine!)
* Lactation tea (for the same reasons as the cookies above)
* Puzzle books
* E-Reader gift card, if the mom has an e-reader
* Nursing bracelet (I found some really cute beaded ones on Etsy that help you count how many hours between feedings and remember which side you nursed on. I decided not to include it because I didn’t want her to think she needed to schedule her baby’s feedings or be concerned about how many hours had passed. It can be a useful tool, though!)
* Burp cloths
* Nursing cover
And now, a few other things in my basket. I made a little bookmark and stuck it into the chapter on breastfeeding in “The Baby Book”:
I designed and printed it on cardstock. It has the name and number of a friend of mine who’s an LC, the website address for a local breastfeeding online support group, La Leche League’s local hotline, the website for our nearest LLL group, and links to kellymom.com and infantrisk.com. Quick reference for those middle of the night stress times!
And a close-up of the nursing necklace I made:
One last thing… In the card, I included a letter that I wrote to her. I shared briefly my breastfeeding story (I had a really rough start), and talked about how my struggle led me to doubt my own abilities to mother, and how the encouragement of friends was the only thing that got me through it. I wrote how she could always call me if she had any trouble and that I would be happy to help or just be a listening ear. I also included the different local breastfeeding support groups and numbers she could call – basically everything on my quick reference card, with more detail and explanations of what these numbers/websites were actually for. I really wish I’d had this available to me when I was a new mom and overwhelmed with EVERYTHING (I’d also bought a house, so maybe that added to the stress?). The thought of trying to find an LC was just too much at the time, though I really do regret not seeing one sooner. (I ended up going to one when Savannah was 8 months old and I had that breast abscess – but that’s a whole ‘nother story!) I think just making those numbers available to her will make a huge difference.
I hope she likes it and finds it useful! I really had a lot of fun putting it together!