A friend of mine is expecting her second child.

As I pondered possible gift ideas, I kept coming back to one thought: mom needs gifts too.

When I recall the early days with Little Dude, here’s what sticks out: I spent so much time worrying about all the things I had to do for my Little Dude, and the household, and my family, that I didn’t stop to consider all the things I should be doing for myself. I paid for that oversight with dizzy spells and all manner of aches and pains.

Self care. It’s a mantra health care professionals the world over preach; in practice, it is so hard to do when you’ve just brought a dependent little newborn home.

With that in mind, I decided that what this mom-to-be needed more than anything else was a care package designed just for her.

It is the start of what I hope will be a new trend in gift-giving for all my expecting friends.

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1. Start with a container that can be repurposed once baby arrives.

I selected this small cloth basket. In retrospect, I could have sized up. Either size can hold diapers, toiletries, toys, or any other goodies once they’ve done their job as a nursing support kit.

2. Add some hand sanitizer.

I remember sanitizing again and again whenever I sat down to care for baby. I like Babyganics because it is mild and doesn’t smell harsh or tear up my hands like other sanitizers.

3. Add a tool for self-reflection.

I chose this beautful journal for moms because not only does it contain daily prompts on motherhood, but it is designed to hold brief reflections (about five lines per day). No new mom has time to write a novel, but these reflections will be fun to look back on some day. The journal spans five years, so mom can see how her perspective shifts as her children continue to grow.

4. Consider the older child (happy child = happy mom).

I added several activities to engage big brother while mom is handling baby. First, I found a cute book about big brothers that will hopefully make him feel special. Perhaps they can start a tradition of reading together while mom nurses. Then, I added some crayons and mini coloring books for fun.

5. Add snacks. And more snacks. And maybe even more snacks.

I remembered the hungry that accompanied nursing, especially in the early days, and threw in a lot of easy grab-and-go snacks. My absolute favorite nursing snack was a pack of BelVita biscuits. I swear, the carbs and grains helped me maintain my supply (no scientific evidence for that, of course). Peanut butter crackers also made the cut, along with some granola bites and hard candies. Anything that provides a healthy energy and calorie boost is a good choice.

6. Add some tea.

With relaxation, hydration, and even lactation in mind, I chose several teas to add to the basket. First, I added some Mother’s Milk tea. Then, just in case mom wasn’t feeling or needing that, I added some Jasmine tea – soothing, without the peppermint that might tank a milk supply.

7. Throw in some chap stick.

Recalling those days when doing anything to make myself feel more put together was a luxury, I added some flavored chap stick. That way, if mom’s stuck on the couch for a while, she can at least do something to perk herself up.

Side Note: I wanted to throw in some nursing supplies: nipple cream, disposable breast pads, compresses, etc. However, I wasn’t sure where that line between “hey that was thoughtful” and “stay out of my baby’s mealtime” fell.

I hope some of my ideas inspire you to pamper a new mom in your life. Definitely share if you have good ideas for your own mom-to-be care packages.

Also, I’d love your thoughts on a full-on nursing-geared basket, if you know that’s what mom plans? I know I likely would have appreciated that, but I also know I already had most of my supplies for actual nursing by the time Little Dude arrived.