This summer, five of my dear friends, including my sister, are expecting babies. That meant five different baby showers where I actually wanted to shower both the baby and the mother with copious amounts of cute stuff.
Of course, as a birth doula, I am offering my professional support and resources to them. However, this is soooo different thinking through baby shower gifts for 5 babies who will be in my life FOREVER. Usually, when I am invited to my clients showers or mother's blessings, I am intentional about purchasing a gift specifically for the mother. In this culture, we are not mindful of the needs of the pregnant person but instead shower the baby. As a birth worker, I like to remain mindful of the pregnant person.
But again, this time around it is soooo different being "responsible" (I mean these kiddos will be my nephews - all boys!) for both baby and mother! Since this shopping spree has been so important, I wanted to share the practical products that I've deemed worthy of my friends - and my clients.
First things first, I swear by babywearing! There is nothing like having that sweet babe cuddled up to your in a cozy carrier. Aside from the obvious adorbs of babywearing, there are a ton of benefits to baby and the parents.
- Human contact: Research shows that babies' nervous system, cogitive development, and physical growth is improved when babies have physical contact. I mean a hug or spooning does that for me too! I can only imagine how beneficial it is for a person new to this world.
- Bonding: The closeenss to the baby facilitate bonding between the two parties. The baby is growing in trust of the person caring for them. The carrier (mom, dad, caregiver, grandparents, etc.) is growing in awareness of this little person and all their personalities, emotions, and needs.
- FREEDOM!: It frees your hands! End of story! Life after a baby can be all-consuming. Wearing the baby provides it with comfort for extended periods of time, Your baby gets your physical contact (which they may demand at times) and you get to complete a task using your hands. It's awesome - you just wait!
- Convenience: Lugging a stroller in and out of the car, house, etc. is A LOT. I often tell my clients to put the stretchy wraps on before getting into the car. Once you have arrived at the destination, you can put the baby directly into the carrier. Boom, DONE! (Says the person with no children!) Carriers are just so easy during the hectic season of parenthood.
Another gift and company that I love is the DockATot. This thing is amazing!! Working nights as a postpartum doula, I have seen this product be a game changer for many families. It offers baby such a snug, comfy resting place. Thus, offering parents a little more sleep...maybe! It can also be used just about anywhere as a nap spot while at a park or for tummy time on the floor at home. I purchased this for my sister who wishes to co-sleep with her sweet bub.
Recently the American Pediatrics Association recommended that babies should be in the room with the parents until 6 months because it reduced the risk of SIDS. With the knowledge of the birth disparities and infant mortality rates amongst the black community, I was a bit more invested in the postpartum period of my sister and nephew. My purchases were not only about quality products but made with deep intentions to get both of them off to a great start during the postpartum period. Co-sleeping offers the benefits I desire my sister and nephew to have. The Dockatot is a product that helps them accomplish that. Plus it's super cute!!
As a birthworker, you hear of all the new products that surface everyday. The HaaKaa Silicone Breast Pump was one of them. Many doula-mamas raved about this product for several reasons:
- It caught the milk from one boob as it leaked, while they nursed on the other. This happens...often! Depending on your letdown, supply, and nipple flow, you may be drenching your baby with the opposite breast during feeds. The HaaKaa lets you collect the milk. Breastmilk is the milk you will cry over if it is spilled or wasted. Every little bit counts!
- It helps relieve the pressure of engorgement whether during the period before the supply regulates (first few weeks) or if it has been a long time since you have nursed or pumped.
- Aids with oversupply. It allows the breasts to be emptied without actively stimulating them to produce more. The sucking mechanism (with a baby, manual pump, or electric pump) can add to the oversupply. The Haakaa pump is simply a suction cup. You give it a squeeze and out comes milk.
I purchased this $20 gem for two girlfriends who will return to work. They both are in the healthcare field (a nurse-practioner and a midwife) and can not always predict when they will be able to take a pumping break. This pump allows them to collect as they go and to relieve themselves of engorgement, if need be throughout their workday.
I am personally obsessed with is Modern Burlap. You may have seen their cute swaddle blankets with the awesome messages on social media. The founder of this company is fellow mom of 3 kiddos and took an idea and blew it up. I love supporting small brands, especially those ran by mothers. The intention and heart in all of her products (blankets, crib sheets, bibs, and more) is evident! I love the basic swaddle blankets so much because they are so versatile. You can use them as a swaddle, blanket, floor cover, burp cloth, nursing cover, etc. Check them out!
All of the previous items are mainly for baby with the parents in mind. Unfortunately (for them), I did not get to purchase this gift for my friends this time around. But, I have made the decision that this will be my signature baby shower or mother's blessing gift: a gift card to Spa Lé La.
Self-care is so important and so ignored during the postpartum period. At Spa Le La, not only do they offer affordable, refreshingly bomb services but they provide complimentary childcare while you get them. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!! I don't even have a kid but I want one just to take them to Spa Lé La! Every detail about this place is designed with mom and baby is mind. The atmosphere has the perfect spa vibes plus the services and products used are non-toxic and safe for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and your little ones. From here on out, I will be purchasing my pregnant friends, a NAP at Spa Lè La. Yep, there is a NAP ROOM!
These are just a few of my favorite items to gift people or that I recommend to my clients if asked.
Feel free to share your favorite pregnancy, baby, breastfeeding-related product or service. So many parents are sure to benefit from your experiences!