Practical DIY Gifts for Mom: What New Moms Really Need from You

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Most new moms will tell you that the best gifts they could get are more money, more energy, and more time. Well, these DIY gifts for mom might go part of the way in making her life a bit easier during those first few hectic weeks. New additions to the family are always a reason to celebrate. But pregnancy, childbirth, and learning baby’s signals can take a lot of new parents -- even when they’ve done it before.

Many DIY gifts for mom after childbirth focus on the baby. New booties, blankets, and cute souvenirs of the special day are always appreciated. And they're so much fun to make. But so few of the lists of gift ideas you’ll find are really presents for the new mom. Self-care is often the last thing on her mind. So, this is your chance to step in and help her remember that taking care of herself isn’t just an online meme. It’s critical to caring for a new baby that she meet her own needs, too.

Sweet and Healthy DIY Gifts for Mom

New moms will need all the energy they can muster. And there’s no more delicious way to stay fueled than with some healthy snacks made with love. And a few indulgent ingredients. Oats, nuts, dried fruit, and little honey provides quick energy for new parents. These recipes are quick, easy, and economical, too.

No-bake energy bites

These no-bake energy bites have rolled oats and flax seed for fiber, peanut butter for protein, honey for energy, and chocolate for mood enhancement and other health benefits. And you don’t even need to be much of a foodie to make these. You’ll need a few common ingredients, a mixing bowl, and a freezer.

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

After mixing and freezing, pop into a freezer bag or reusable plastic container for storage.

Banana oat bars

This is another super easy treat, although this one takes some baking. New moms appreciate healthy snacks they can eat on the go. These homemade granola bars pack lots of healthful ingredients into a delicious bar that they can grab at any time of the day or night. Best of all, you’ll only need four main elements to whip up a couple of batches.

  • Butter or coconut oil
  • 2 large overripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates or raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • Ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, lightly grease a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with butter or coconut oil. Peel your bananas and then mash in a bowl until very smooth. They should be the consistency of baby food, so you may choose to use a blender or food processor. Add in the vanilla, then stir in the oats. Add the dates (or raisins) and nuts, and fold gently until they're thoroughly incorporated.

Spread the oat and banana mixture evenly in the baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon and then bake unit the edges are just crisp or about 30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into nine squares.

Home-Cooked DIY Gifts for Mom

Sweets are fine, but sometimes you need something a bit more substantial to keep you going. For brand new moms, quick, microwavable meals let them focus on parenting instead of cooking. Caring for older children with a new baby can often lead to exhaustion as parents get pulled in multiple directions. So, for parents with older kids, pitching in with a family meal will save them time and worry.

Puff Pastry Hot Pockets

These puff pastries make great “hot pocket” sandwiches for refrigerating or freezing. A batch of homemade hot pockets has all the filling goodness without any of the preservatives, too. These DIY gifts for mom are perfect for first-timers. You can heat them in microwave in about a minute if refrigerated or 2.5 minutes when frozen.

The only limit to the fillings is your imagination. Each recipe makes three hearty pocket sandwiches. You can also try other fillings like ham and cheese, shredded beef and cheddar, or pizza toppings.

For each batch of pockets, you’ll need a sheet of prepared puff pastry. You can purchase these in the freezer or dairy section of your grocery store. Lay out the pastry on a cutting board and cut into six rectangles by making three equal horizontal and vertical cuts with a pizza cutter. Then add the fillings below and bake per the instructions.

Chicken and Cheddar Broccoli Pockets

  • 1/4 alfredo sauce (you can purchase this in jars at your grocery store
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 whisked egg for egg wash

After cutting your puff pastry, spread three rectangles with a tablespoon of alfredo sauce each, avoiding the edges. Divide the broccoli, chicken, and cheddar cheese on each. Top with another rectangle of puff pastry and then seal edges with a fork. Brush with egg wash and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.

Date Night Kit

For first-time moms and dads, it’s all about learning how to care for the new baby. So, many new parents fail to find time to reconnect often enough after the new arrival. How about a night in? Since they’ll be spending nights in for at least the first month or two, why not give them a chance for an at-home date night? A basket that includes an easy-to-make supper, like pasta and sauce for two, along with crunchy breadsticks. A bottle of wine (or sparkling cider) and a romantic movie DVD will give them the tools they need for a quiet home date night. And don't forget the dessert.

Family Freezer Meals

Do you love to cook? You can show off your skills and help out the new mom. Especially if this isn’t baby number one, parents with other kids to care for will appreciate an easy family meal. Cook up a big batch of freezer foods they can pop into the oven to feed the crew. This will give mom more time with the new addition. Or even more time for a little self-care.

Pick kid-friendly casseroles and stews like lasagna, baked spaghetti, meatloaf, or chill pie. Choose disposable aluminum foil containers, so there’s no washing up to do afterward. You can even throw in a package of sturdy disposable dish ware and cutlery.

Self-Care DIY Gifts for Mom

Sometimes new moms forget to take good care of themselves. And new dads may be too distracted by the new addition. These DIY gifts for mom will provide a little extra pampering as well as some much-needed comfort.

Relaxing Sleep Spray

A new baby means that moms remain vigilant to any peep from the bassinet. But new moms also need their sleep. Adequate rest also helps them recover from one of the hardest physical tasks they’ll ever face. There’s a reason they call it “labor,” after all. This relaxing sleep spray includes lavender, which has been proven to improve sleep quality.

  • 2 teaspoon witch hazel
  • 4 ounces distilled water
  • 20 drops lavender oil
  • 4-ounce glass spray bottle

Use glass, as essential oils can corrode and leach chemicals from plastic bottles. If you like, decorate the bottles with paint, ribbons, stickers. Or, if you’re not very crafty, a vintage perfume atomizer will look great on her nightstand for years to come.

Add the ingredients to the spray bottle and shake well. Add a pretty tag with instructions that include shaking the contents before spraying her bedding. She should also avoid using it on the baby’s bedding.

Handmade Heat and Ice Packs

One thing many new moms need is a reusable ice pack for those first uncomfortable days or weeks. If you’re crafty, why not create a set of matching hot and cold packs for the new mom? And while the rice heating packs below can be used frozen, we recommend making separate cold and hot packs. Many new moms use cold packs for relief of episiotomy pain. This means she’ll most like need several ice packs, so she has spares to keep frozen on hand. She’ll also appreciate several washable covers.

DIY Cold Packs

Homemade ice packs are easy to make. Add one part rubbing alcohol to two parts water to keep it from freezing solid. This makes the ice pack flexible, so it fits more closely against the body.

To make the ice packs:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Food coloring
  • 2 quart-size Ziploc freezer bags per ice pack

Add water and alcohol to one bag. Then add food coloring; blue is popular because it’s less likely someone will mistake it for something edible. Then, try to remove as much air as possible from the bag and seal. Put this bag inside the second bag with the seal side down. Remove the air from that bag as well and seal.

DIY Cold Pack Covers

Depending on the size of your quart bag, you’ll need fabric large enough to wrap entirely around the ice pack, while allowing for seam allowance and a flap. For example, if your quart bags are 7 by 8.5 inches, you’ll need fabric that measures at least 10 by 22 inches wide for each cover. Choose a soft flannel or soft terry cloth.

For each cover:

  • Cut out your fabric into a 10 by 22-inch rectangle
  • Iron and pin the perimeter of your material by 0.5 inch all the way around. Stich around the edges to create a nicely finished edge.
  • Lay your fabric face down and fold over the bottom 9.5 inches. It will almost be folded in half, but you’ll have about 2.5 for the cozy flap.
  • Fold down the flap and iron. Then, pin the flap in place on both sides.
  • Topstitch up each long side of the cozy, sewing down the edges of the flap.

Trim your loose threads, and you’re ready to slip the ice pack into the cover.

DIY Heating Pads with Covers

What’s better after you’ve just had a baby than an adequate supply of soft-covered ice packs? Matching heating pads for sore shoulders and cramps, of course. Feeding and carrying a baby can result in unexpected neck and shoulder pain. And then there’s the abdominal cramping that comes along with post-partum recovery.

These hot pads are filled with rice and mold easily around shoulders, necks, and bellies. Choose fabric that contrasts, coordinates, or matches your ice bag covers. For these, however, you’ll need a tightly woven fleece or other knit fabric that can contain small grains of rice.

Quilting “fat quarters” are perfect for making these rice bags. They measure about 18 by 22 inches and are sold separately rather than by the yard. Quilters love them because they can purchase a variety of different fabrics with an assortment of patterns. For the same reason, they make sewing homemade heating pads a breeze. Or use up your fabric remnants, since these hot packs can be any size you like.

For each heating pad:

  • One quilting fat quarter (or fabric measuring about 18 by 22 inches)
  • Rice (about 6 to 8 cups)
  • Funnel
  • Sewing machine

Cut your fabric and lay it out right side up, then fold it in half with the right side together. Iron it flat, then sew up one short side and the long side. Fold over the opening at the unstitched short side about an inch and iron into place. Then, using the free arm on your sewing machine, hem the opening.

Turn the right side out of your bag and pull out the corners. You may want to iron it flat. Then, mark the exact center on the longitude with a sewing marker pencil. Top stitch down your mark to create two separate pockets in the bag. These channels help keep the rice distributed more evenly.

Fill each channel fully with rice using the funnel. You can also add aromatic herbs to the heating pad. Consider chamomile, lavender, or jasmine flowers to mix in with the rice. Finally, stitch up the open end with a topstitch. To use, warm in the microwave in 20- to 30-second increments until hot but not scalding.

Sitz Bath Tea Bags

Make up some soothing herbal tea bags for the new mom to use in her sitz bath. These are just the right size for a soothing bottom soak. These herbs provide relief from incisions and tears as well as hemorrhoids.

Mix up the following dried herbs and flower in equal measure:

  • marigold flowers
  • dried comfrey leaves
  • lavender flowers
  • St. John’s Wort flowers
  • plantain leaf
  • yarrow flowers
  • Epsom salts

Chop up the herbs and flowers and mix well together with Epsom salts. Then use coffee filters to make tea bags. Trim the sides of the filter and add about a tablespoon to the middle. Fold the filter to create the tea bag. Staple the tea bag closed, adding twine or string under the staple for easy removal from the sitz bath.

Place your tea bags in an attractive moisture-proof container to keep the herbs dry. Or, place into a pretty basket she can keep them in her bathroom for easy access.

Choosing DIY gifts for Mom

While baby showers are a lot of fun, most of them focus on providing the new mother with items she’ll need for the baby. Blankets, onesies, and extra diapers are all fabulous gifts. But don’t let mom forget about her own needs. The post-partum weeks are some of the toughest weeks in a woman’s life. She’s still recovering from pregnancy and childbirth. And as well as providing the best care for her new infant, she also needs to take care of herself.

Hopefully, this list of DIY gifts for mom will help her during these hectic weeks. Nutritious meals and a few extra comforts will go a long way in showing how much you care. And best of all, you’ll be able to make them yourself from the heart.

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