The Best Postpartum Gifts: Postpartum Baskets & Meal Trains

Postpartum mamas work hard taking care of a newborns that need to eat, sleep and have diapers changed every few hours. Husbands, partners and family members can all chip in, but it’s mostly the mama doing the work those first few weeks (or months). I’ve long thought that mamas don’t put enough things on their registries to help themselves during the postpartum period. Diapers, wipes and onesies are great, but those won’t fill up your cup when you’ve been awake all night long and you can’t remember the last meal you ate.

I want to share two postpartum gifts that no one is talking about. Even today, I come across pregnant women that haven’t heard of a meal train. Let’s fix that ASAP and put some gifts in your path that will help refuel and refill your mama mental and physical capacities so you can rock the newborn period.

square brown wicker basket on table
Photo by Vinícius Estevão on

Postpartum Baskets

Postpartum baskets are a basket, box, or other decorative item filled with goodies for mama to use during the postpartum period. Think yummy foods, soft PJs, nutritious snacks, smell-good bath and shower items, and mindless but entertaining magazines.

I like to use a basket that mamas can reuse for toys, onesies, diapers/wipes – but a bag filled with goodies has the same effect (no one is disappointed by a paper bag from Trader Joe’s.

First, think about your mama and what she would need most. Mamas that are breastfeeding like to have things to look at while nursing. (This is the ONLY time I still buy magazines!). If I know my mama is a reader, I’ll drop an amazon gift card in for her to buy some new audiobooks to listen to while nursing. If my mama is a foodie, I’m headed to Trader Joe’s to buy her the yummiest snacks on the shelves and a bottle of her favorite wine, tea or soda.

If there are other siblings or fur babies in the family, I like to drop a gift in the basket for them.

Really, the sky’s the limit.

Use this list to brainstorm:

  • Epsom salts (choose a large bag of regular salts or pick a lovely scented brand for some relaxation)
  • Nipple ointment or cream (my favorite is MotherLove)
  • Breast cooling/heat packs
  • A heating pad or rice sock…or both
  • Essential oils (lavender or citrus flavors are great for postpartum)
  • Quality chocolate for snacking (Godiva, Lindt…you get the idea)
  • Yummy, high protein snacks (highly recommend Perfect Bars – no affiliate, just love the product; also try fun snacks from Traderr Joe’s)
  • Comfy PJs or robe
  • Wine
  • Candle
  • Fun magazines (TIME, specialty editions, sudoko, Reader’s Digest)
  • Pack of chapstick
  • Hand cream/lotion or foot cream
  • Shower scrub
  • New loofah, scrub brush or exfoliator square
  • Shower steamers
  • New book or kindle giftcard
  • Gift for baby or sibling
  • Card with encouraging words and wisdom
  • Gift cards
  • Comfy socks
  • Yummy, nutritious snacks – PB bars, nuts, good chocolate

I’ve seen a basket also work well as a gift from a group of people – such as your work, church or friend groups. Everyone buys a few things and the basket is presented from the group.

For mamas that aren’t doing a registry, baby shower or a sprinkle, these baskets are a way to really shower your mama with love. Keep reading to learn about the other gift no one is talking about – meal trains.

baked lasagna on a glass tray
Photo by Anna Guerrero on

Meal Trains

When we had our first babe almost 7 years ago, we did not prepare well for the postpartum period. Yes, I was a nurse-midwife but I hadn’t had children yet.

At that time my husband and I were in an Air Force squadron that brought meals to families after babies were born. They set up something called a meal train. A meal what? Meal train.

Picture casseroles lined up like train cars on a track. That train has one destination: your house!

Anyways, people brought us meals every few days for two weeks. It was an amazing gift that I have vowed to give anyone I know thats having a baby.

You may know all about meal trains, but many people still have not heard of this amazing gift.

The website has the best set up for meal trains.

For the mama, you can customize your meal preferences (i.e. no hot dogs please!), the drop off time you prefer for the meal, how many people are needing food at your house (ex. your in-laws are in town to help with the baby – you would have two extra adults to feed), and which days of the week you prefer meals are provided. There is an option to add a grub hub gift card if you can’t provide a meal for the family to choose a meal of their own fro m a local restaurant.

For those brining the meals, sign up is easy. You are able to see what everyone else is bringing so that there aren’t 6 lasagnas delivered in 2 weeks. The mama’s address and phone number are easy to see in case contact info is needed, but also so there aren’t unnecessary calls or texts to the family while they are trying to carer for their newborn.

As far as set up, meal trains can. beset up before birth or after birth. It only takes about 15 minutes to set the whole train up on the website. After set up, you can send the link to whoever is interested in signing up or share it on your social media.

Really, this is one of the best things to share with someone who asks “Is there anything you need?”

“Yes, we would love a nutritious, hot meal. I’ll send you the link to our meal train for more info!”

Whether you choose one or both of these postpartum gifts, I know the mama you shower with love will be beyond appreciative.

In the clinic, I try to talk to families about meal trains and I encourage them to set one up for their friends or family members!

Postpartum care extends beyond what a midwife, physician or lactation specialist can offer. Ultimately, it’s support from your social circles that really makes the difference 🙂

If you are loving these ideas, don’t miss my postpartum guides (heck, you could put a set of the guides in a basket – especially for a new mama!) The guides are packed with postpartum education, resources and ideas to help you rock postpartum. Around here, we’re trying to disrupt traditional pregnancy and postpartum care with novel tools and ideas. The guides are a first step to revolutionize postpartum care.

If you have a friend that is about to birth a baby, share this post with her so she can get that meal train rolling!

1 year ago on the blog…20 Tips for Mamas During Pregnancy

2 years ago on the blog…How to Recover From a 24-Hour Shift

3 years ago on the blog…Friday Five (#24)

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