Finding out one of your best friends is pregnant is one of the most exciting things – a tiny new life is on its way! Before being pregnant myself, I heard all the recommendations of gifts to buy for mums-to-be, but I didn’t really get all the practical gift ideas. Well, it’s funny just how much going through the experience changes your perspective and you realise just what items become totally necessary and are really appreciated. So I wanted to share the items that were absolutely essential for me during pregnancy and would be lovely to give as gifts to a newly pregnant friend. I’ve also got a list coming up of gifts for new mums too, so stay tuned for that one!
It sounds a bit weird, but after I bought these knickers from Matalan, I vowed to buy my next pregnant friend a pack as soon as I could. And luckily I’ve already got someone I’ve bought them for! It didn’t take long for me to start being irritated by my old knickers that seemed to sit at just the wrong place on my waist or hips and had elastic that really bothered me. I wanted ones that had a larger, wider area of stretch at the top and were soft everywhere else – so these were perfect. The stretch lace was very comfortable for the growing bump, and now I’ve given birth, I’m continuing to wear them every single day. I started with the big, black knickers that are recommended by everyone, but I ended up with a rash on my stomach in late pregnancy and just after I’d given birth, so I swapped back to my trusty Matalan ones and never looked back.
Along the same lines, I found I needed maternity clothes fairly early on. While I wasn’t necessarily showing all that much, I wasn’t comfortable in a lot of my old clothes from around 12 weeks onwards. But restocking a full wardrobe to last you another 6 months (or more – maternity clothes are good after birth too!) is hard on your wallet. I ended up creating what I called a “capsule wardrobe” of maternity wear with basics and a few fun pieces to last me through my pregnancy, but even this was expensive, especially when you consider all the other things you need to buy in preparation for a baby – car seat, pram, cot etc.
So an excellent idea is a gift voucher for somewhere you know does good maternity clothes for your friend. My recommendations would be high street stores like H&M (the best jeans!), Dorothy Perkins, ASOS and New Look. These are all affordable enough that a fairly inexpensive gift voucher could cover a few pieces of clothing.
A couple of key items that your friend might be needing, in addition to new jeans and tops, is pyjamas and bras. I found I was very quickly growing out of my bras, but it’s very important for these to fit well – not just for your comfort, but to prevent clogged ducts and mastitis in future too. I’ve got lots of info about maternity bras on my other blog here. But in terms of pyjamas, basically I wanted to feel more comfortable, especially as I got further into pregnancy, so wearing pyjamas and nighties from Primark in a few sizes up really helped. I also wore these in hospital after giving birth and am still wearing them back at home too, so they make a good long term gift!
One of my friends turned up with a packet of foam shrimps for me mid-pregnancy and I could have cried! Foam shrimps were a craving pretty much all throughout pregnancy (and kind of still continue to be!) and it was such a thoughtful gift. Find out what your friend is craving or get her favourite snack and she will love you forever, I swear.
Pregnancy exhaustion is real, people! First trimester especially, but also as I approached the end of the third trimester, I was struggling to get around and do a lot, no matter how much I wanted to. Luckily we’d prepared a big batch of freezer meals a few weeks before so we were ready to go. We’re still using up these now – I’d expected to need a lot more in the first couple of newborn weeks, but with Ben on paternity leave, he ended up doing plenty of cooking so we didn’t necessarily need them – but they were also amazing for those last few weeks of pregnancy too.
Prepare a few easy dishes in foil trays or freezer bags that you can just stick in your friend’s freezer, and I guarantee she’ll use them! We made 6 foil trays of lasagne – each is enough for 2 portions, perfect for an easy tea – several veggie burgers, trays of chilli, bags of hearty veggie minestrone soup and bags of puttanesca pasta sauce. So far, the lasagnes have been lifesavers!
And finally, that mum-to-be needs to enjoy the time she has to herself now, plus she might have a few aches and pains – I know I did! Treat her to a spa voucher or book her in for a proper chiropractic massage if she’s suffering with SPD or pelvic girdle pain. Acupuncture and reflexology have also been shown to help in pregnancy and she’ll really appreciate some downtime before life gets much busier!
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