The idea of the “push present” – a gift given to a new mom after she’s had a baby – is pretty new, but it has caught on like wildfire. Traditionally given to the new mother by the new father, push presents are also becoming more common among friends and relatives.
The difference between a push present and a traditional baby shower gift is that a push present is a gift intended for the new mom, rather than the baby. Instead of strollers and onesies, they’re more along the lines of jewelry. The push present is meant to signify gratitude to the mother for the last nine months of pregnancy, and the work and attention it took to culminate in a healthy birth.
You can blame celebrities for the trend: Jay-Z gifted Beyoncé with a massive sapphire ring after the birth of their baby Blue, while Rachel Zoe scored a 10-karat diamond ring after giving birth to her little boy. You may not have Jay-Z’s budget, but that doesn’t mean you should be stumped for gift ideas. You can still celebrate a new mom’s transition from pregnancy to motherhood without spending as much.
As with most gifts, it’s the thought that counts, and keeping your thoughts on making a new mom’s first few months as comfortable and as special as possible can help point you toward an ideal gift. Here are several ideas to get you started.
Push Presents on a Budget
Jewelry is still the gold standard for push presents, particularly from the new father. But you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton on diamonds to acknowledge a new mom’s journey. Choosing jewelry with gemstones (such as the new baby’s birthstone) is a great way to keep costs low while still offering a luxe gift.
A diamond-based piece can nudge you closer to the $1,000 mark, while the same piece made with gemstones may run from $150 to $250. Or, you can select something with less adornment, such as a plain band to wear with her wedding set to commemorate the occasion. This should cost less than $100. When it comes to fine jewelry, the least expensive pieces are those made with fewer components, or smaller pieces (rings and earrings versus bracelets, watches, and necklaces).
Fine jewelry doesn’t have to be the only option. Costume and handmade jewelry can pack a punch, and can often be personalized based on the new mom’s preferences, along with baby’s initials, birth date, birthstone, and other identifying factors. There’s a wide range of what you can spend on personalized jewelry, since stamped silver usually costs under $50, but adding gemstones or purchasing personalized fine jewelry could land above $100.
My favorite place to shop for new mom jewelry is Etsy, where I can find handmade stamped metal jewelry or something truly unique. You can also find vintage pieces there and on eBay that are lower-cost, but are still special and unique for a new mom.
2. Something Personalized
Personalized jewelry always makes a special gift. You can purchase items such as a ring with the baby’s initials, a new monogrammed necklace, a stamped metal cuff, or even a piece etched with the baby’s fingerprints by purchasing a customizable piece. I even have a necklace etched with one of my children’s footprints: I was able to send a scan of the footprints to a custom jewelry maker (found on Etsy), who then laser-etched them onto a small silver tag for about $40.
But personalized jewelry isn’t the only way you can customize something for a new mom. I love the idea of a personalized embossed leather journal ($20 to $50), where mom can jot down baby’s firsts and any thoughts that she wants to remember throughout the first year. Or, go with a personalized picture frame ($30).
You can really get creative and use your own skills for a personalized, handmade present. One of my friends created a shadow box, which is a box-shaped pictured frame for 3D items, with special mementos from my pregnancy, such as baby shower invitations and my hospital bracelets. It was sweet and thoughtful – two factors for a perfect push present.
3. A Service
Offering the new mom a service – whether you pay for the service or you offer it yourself – is a great way to stay on-budget while offering maximum value for a push present. The first weeks after bringing home a new baby are a whirlwind of weird schedules, stolen naps, and major changes, so pitching in and making mom’s life a little easier can be a lifesaver
Consider offering these services (or paying someone who can):
- Housecleaning Services. You can either offer to clean and organize the new mom’s house, or purchase gift certificates for a professional maid service (usually by the hour). Paying per hour depends heavily on your geographical location, but you can expect to spend $15 to $35. Make sure that you properly vet the maid service if you choose to go that route, and remember that a professional cleaning service with good references is a must. Or, gather a group of friends to help clean and tidy before mom even comes home from the hospital.
- Freezer Meals. A new mom doesn’t have a lot of time to cook, so making a few freezer-friendly meals and stocking her fridge can make all the difference for when she gets sick of take-out. You can find a ton of meals ideal for freezing (think casseroles and lasagna). With $50, you can make four of five great-tasting meals that a new mom can pop in the oven.
- Babysitting. Even the most devoted mom needs a few hours to herself, so offering your services as a babysitter works as a valuable, but totally free, push present. Just be sensitive to a new mom – she probably won’t want to leave the baby in the first week or so (and may not feel up to it). You’ll also need to consider feeding schedules, especially if the new mom is breastfeeding. Still, if you time it properly, you can offer even a breastfeeding mom an hour or two to take a shower, run to the store, take a walk, or something else to get out of the house and recharge her batteries.
- Massages. Best left to the pros, buying a gift card for an hour-long massage will probably cost you about $50 and work wonders for a stressed-out new mama. This gift works great in tandem with babysitting services – offer to watch the new baby while mom is pampered for an hour.
Think up ways to make a new mom’s first month easier. Maybe you help shuttle her older kids to various activities, or offer to do a few loads of laundry when you come over. Service-based gifts are usually the least expensive, but they’re also the most thoughtful and touching.
4. Chic Loungewear
I’ve had two kids, and despite my best efforts to get dressed, the first month is spent in yoga pants and t-shirts. Not only are they comfortable, functional, and washable, but when you’re stealing sleep whenever possible as a new mom, you need to be wearing clothes that allow you to stop and drop just about anywhere.
That’s why my go-to gift for my friends who have new babies is some pretty, chic loungewear that helps them feel great and still be totally comfortable. My favorite places to shop for loungewear are both Gap and Old Navy, since they have extensive loungewear and pajama sections. Since new moms might be a little self-conscious of their new bodies, I always opt for loose, flowy clothes, like a pretty pair of silky pajama pants and a couple of basic nursing camisoles. For about $50, you can finish off the gift with a comfy pair of slippers or socks, and you have a thoughtful present that keeps mom’s comfort in mind.
5. Tech Gadgets
When thinking up push presents, you may be considering something more sentimental. But sometimes, function rules all, especially for a new mom.
Tech gifts can be pricey, but are genius for larger groups of friends and family members who want to pool their funds to help a new mom adjust to life with a baby (and keep herself entertained along the way). While new moms are busy, they also end up spending hours nursing, rocking, and holding the baby in the same position, which can mean extreme boredom.
Here are several tech gifts that may be very much appreciated:
- Tablet. You can score a tablet computer for around $200, and it’s a total lifesaver for a rocking chair-bound new mom. She can catch up on her social networking, watch movies and TV series, play games, and even get some bills paid online, all without moving from her favorite chair, and without the bulk of a traditional laptop.
- Digital Camera. A good-quality digital camera (you can get a solid point-and-shoot Nikon or Canon for $150) is a thoughtful gift that lets the new mom remember absolutely everything, from her little one’s first smile, to his or her eventual first steps.
- E-Reader. Any new mom soon becomes an expert at doing things with just one hand. When you’ve always got a baby in your arms, trying to turn the pages of a good book is tricky. That’s why e-readers are a genius new mom gift. From $50 to $100, depending on the brand, a new mom can hold a lightweight version of the latest novel, all while turning the pages with a press of a button or flick of the finger.
- Video Streaming Service. Did you know that you could buy a service like Hulu as a gift subscription for around $8 per month? Alternatively, Netflix sells gift cards online and at Staples in a number of different amounts, redeemable for subscription services. You can gift a few months to help mom save her sanity while glued to her rocking chair or couch.
Tech is meant to make lives easier, and that’s true for new moms too. While they might mean pricier push presents, teaming up with other well-wishers can ease the financial burden while offering a truly useful gift for a new mom’s first few months at home.
6. Planned Getaway
Why not plan a little staycation for when the new mom is fully recovered and looking to get out of the house? It doesn’t have to be anything too extravagant, but grabbing the Pack and Play, booking a hotel room with a great pool, and whisking the new mom away for a stress-free, all-planned vacation in town can help her get out of that new-mom rut. You’ll obviously have to play it by ear, but usually it’s safe to plan a short outing after baby is six weeks old.
Go for an area no more than an hour away, and plan a few easy activities. If it’s warm, it might be something as simple as laying by the pool. If the weather is cooler, load up the stroller with blankets and check out a family-friendly museum or other attraction.
A short, planned staycation shows that you’re thoughtful and sensitive to the mom’s needs, while respecting the fact that she probably doesn’t want to be far from her baby. A change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered in terms of making a new mom feel totally special and cherished, all on a smaller budget.
I love local deal sites, such as Groupon, to find discounts on local attractions and events. Just make sure that you read through each voucher’s terms to ensure that they’re transferable.
7. Sleep Kit
Sleep is the most precious commodity for a new mom. Creating a thoughtful sleep kit (and giving it along with an offer to babysit while she catches a few winks) might be a priceless present.
Here’s what you can include:
- A sleep mask
- Ear plugs
- Some lavender oil or soothing bubble bath
- Thick socks
- Comfy pajamas
- A blanket
Package all the sleep goodies together, and schedule a time where you can come over and take care of the baby. Any new mom can tell you that a few hours of rest can make all the difference when it comes to being the best mom possible (well worth the $50 to $75 you spend).
Whether you have $30 or $100 to spend, don’t feel pressure when you hear about the push presents of the stars. A push present is meant to be a thoughtful and unexpected gift, so there’s not really any strict etiquette for the event.
By taking some time to think about what a new mom needs to feel comfortable, rested, and celebrated, you can come up with the perfect gift for her after she’s brought her new bundle of joy home. A homemade or thoughtfully chosen gift will probably trump a pricey present for a sentimental new mom any day.
Have you ever given or received a “push present?”