We'll give you a clue; it's not a fluffy toy.
1. Slippers that you can legitimately wear to the shops
Your recently mothered friend has barely slept in days, she's run out of? everything? the newborn is finally asleep in the wrap carrier, and she needs to put her shoes on to go to the shop. Eh, not happening. What she needs are slippers that magically transform into shoes? like, Mahabis. They're a firm, but comfy felt inner slipper, onto which a rubber sole easily attaches, for outdoor use. And they look cool, so to the untrained eye, they're just super modern-looking plimsoles.
2. A lot of coffee
Maternity leave means coffee on the move - though imagine the pain your banjaxed buddy will feel when she takes the bundle out for a walk, in hopes he'll fall asleep, so she can have a coffee on an obliging park bench; then he does, but she hasn't gotten to the coffee place yet? and she couldn't possibly take the pram into the midst of all that clanging. Noooooo. What she needs is her own personal coffee station - anything from Dublin Roasters 3fe will go down a treat with coffee-lovers; and their Klean Kanteen travel mug keeps coffee hot for six glorious hours.
3. Ready-to-post thank you cards
There's little more stressful than an out of control list of people to thank for gifts and no time in which to buy, write and postcards. Any new mother would delight in these gorgeous Irish greeting cards by Kilcoe Studios at Irish Design Shop - put postage stamps on'the envelopes and she might even cry for joy - plus, they're non-event-specific, so they'll work for her sister's last-minute birthday package, too.
4. The scent of freedom
New motherhood comes with a host of special smells; some of them wonderful (the baby's head; the baby's hands; the baby's belly); some of them not so wonderful (the overflowing nappy bin; your own unwashed person). And, quite often, the superhuman sense of smell your friend acquired, while preggo, is sticking around, well into the postnatal period; so olfactory experiences can really affect her mood. The quiet few hours after baby has hit the scratcher, becomes a sacred time for the frazzled Ma and infusing those hours with a scent that says ?grown up? - Antique Library by Cloon Keen Atelier is just the ticket - makes it extra restorative.
5. Nursing bras that aren't hideous
New mothers usually spend so much time and money kitting out the prize results of their hard labour, that there's little of either left to sort themselves out. And since nursing bras don't get much public viewing (though, certainly not none), quite often those white cotton basics are allowed to become grey, bobbly rags; not exactly boosting mom's already lagging self confidence. Your pal will delight in a gift voucher from Cake Maternity - it's comfy, pretty underwear (with some saucy options, too) that you don't have to leave the house to shop for. Win, win.
6. A place to hide
Especially for any living in an apartment or mini house, new parents can find themselves physically buried by the scale of accouterments that come with their cherub. And the thoughts of going to IKEA to sort out some storage furniture could be enough to tip them over the edge. Now, this option only applies if you really get your mate's interior taste; but if you do, you'll gain all kids of hero status by showing up with something that will hide some of the fluffy junk, while actually making their house look better. This natty IKEA Kvistbro storage table is just the ticket.
7.?Her favourite bag
Many new parent guides will suggest using your nappy bag as your handbag, to cut down on what you need to drag around with you. Well, wouldn't using your actual gorgeous handbag as a nappy bag be much more sensible? Just because your buddy has a baby, doesn't mean she thinks baby pink polka dots are her key winter accessory look, now. So, instead of a bulky and not-too-chic nappy bag, gift her with a clever and thrifty baby bag insert - like the Totesavvy - which has a pocket for everything and will fit in any medium sized handbag. If you're feeling super generous, deliver it fully installed in a new lady bag, too - Zara's bucket bag is perfect for cramming the kitchen sink into.
Opener photo credit: amazon.com