Basically, I got a basket and filled it with everything the new mother will need to start nursing. When I brought home my newborn, nursing was pretty much all I did or thought about. It's hard to figure out how often to nurse, how long, which side, is the baby getting what it needs. If that isn't enough, you also have to deal with the discomfort! Swollen breasts and chapped nipples. It gets better, but that first week is the worst!
The basket a good thing for the mother to have during the first few days when she's still recovering and can't go anywhere. She's also not likely to get the things in the basket from anyone else, or for herself. I'm a big breastfeeding advocate, too, so I like giving the mother some encouragement.
The biggest reason I like this gift, though, is it's for the mother and not the baby. I want the baby to have cute boots and pink tutus as much as anyone, but when I really care about the mother, it's nice to know I'm helping take care of her.
Here's a list of all the things you could put in the basket. My basket only included the first seven things (if you included everything, it would be a pretty big basket!).
- Nipple cream. This is a must! I had no idea latching on would hurt so badly. Luckily it becomes more comfortable later, but for that first week, lanolin was a life saver.
- Nursing cover. I could never nurse in public with just a blanket as cover. My baby likes to kick and squirm so much that I know she'd throw a blanket right off. A nursing cover straps around the neck or the arms. I don't go anywhere without mine.
- Breast pads. These soak up any milk that leaks. I don't need them anymore, but when my milk first came in, I would often wake up at night in a puddle of milk. Every mother has had that awkward moment when they leak in public and have to hide a conspicuous wet spot on their shirt, and breast pads prevent that.
- Milk bands. I used to latch hair clips on my bra to keep track of which side I nursed on last, but milk bands work better (and they look better in a basket). It's a rubber bracelet with numbers on it so you can keep track of not only what side you used last, but also what time you nursed and for how long.
- Nipple shields. These are used when the baby has problems latching on, so hopefully the mother won't have to use them, but they supposedly help with sore nipples too.
- Oatmeal. I don't know the science behind it, but mothers everywhere swear that oatmeal helps them produce more milk. I swear by it too... it really works!
- Charts. Before my baby and I got a good rhythm going, I spent all my mental energy trying to keep track of all the times I nursed, how many diapers my baby had gone through, whether I needed it increase my supply, and so forth. The basket can include several print outs to make the mom's like easier: click here, here, and here to view the ones I used.
- A water bottle. The best way to keep up a milk supply is to drink a lot of water.
- A nursing book. La Leche League recommends The Womanly Art of Nursing, but there are many other books on nursing the mother might appreciate.
- Mother's Milk. It's a tea that's also supposed to boost milk supply.
- A night-time nursing bra. I loved mine.
- Nursing clothes. There are lots of clothes besides bras that make nursing easier, like night gowns, tanks, and shirts with stretchy collars.
- Lactation cookies. A lot of people on Pinterest are pinning recipes for cookies that are supposed to increase supply. I've never tried them, but they'd be fun to give to someone.
- Burp cloth. When my baby was still spitting up, I was constantly searching the room for a nearby burp cloth. You can never have enough of them!