Before I had my own baby, I’d show up to visit friends who’d recently given birth armed with a basic knowledge of the “gifts for new moms” rules as I’d understood them: bring a meal that can preferably be frozen, never stay longer than 30 minutes, and wash your hands—maybe even Purell them—before holding the precious child. Good enough, and always appreciated. But when I had my daughter, the moms in my crew took it to the next level: They came to my rescue with just what I needed, before I even knew I needed it—because I had no idea boob-shaped ice packs were even a thing.
How’d they know? Extreme thoughtfulness of course, but also the fact that they’d recently given birth themselves, and they knew that frozen casseroles and cute onesies weren’t always enough during those first few life-adjusting weeks. Of course, food will always be a universally loved gift, but a little something original to make your friend feel like herself again—think great super-soft tees that are easy to nurse in or a comfy robe—goes a long way.
To get the best intel on gifts for new moms, we went right to the source: Here, 19 women on the best post-birth presents they received. Scroll down to steal their ideas for the new mother in your life. And don’t forget: for the most part, the 30-minute visit rule still applies.