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Personal Emergency Preparedness/Gift Idea

In the previous five postings I discussed emergency preparedness from food to clothing, lighting and health care in general. I’d like to take this opportunity to advise you about being packed or semi-packed for an emergency, and what a thoughtful gift either a full travel bag or partial one makes.

Although I normally consider the bags necessary for hospital stays , they would be time-savers and life-savers in any other emergency that made you leave home quickly.

It took me some time to think of this, several emergencies, actually. After nearly sending my husband home with instructions as to what to bring to me when our then two-year old son had a concussion, I should have known that a bag should be ready. But, like most people, even a near-stay in a hospital with a child,(the docs decided to release him), I figured it would never happen again. When I got sent to the hospital some years later with a kidney stone, I was not prepared.
The docs saw another problem and when the kidney stone gave me trouble two weeks later, I had a bag packed, and was ready for subsequent hospital visits, even those for tests that should not have been overnight stays; I was ready anyway.

Even then, it took me until a couple of months ago when my son went unexpectedly to the hospital and I had to run out and buy some basics for him that I did consider throwing a bag together that any of my men could use in an emergency.

Ten years ago I had thought to give given a small suitcase to my daughter-in-law before the birth of my grandson. I packed in it what I considered most of the essentials: A nice robe, matching slippers, tooth brush, tooth paste, hair brush, hair ties, dusting powder, deodorant, disposable pink razor, nice lip balm, hand and body lotion, nice soap, facial cleanser and moisturizer…and room for her personal effects.

This idea is not just good for a new mother; anyone you know who will be going into a hospital or finds themselves in a hospital to be with a loved one appreciates the thought and help.

You can go as personal as you’d like, or as expensive as you’d like…depending on your budget, their needs and how well you know the gift recipient. Let those factors be your guide. Does she really need your help? Get as many basics as you can in travel sizes or samples from a cosmetic counter or beauty sales representative and make sure you add the robe and slippers. Can you afford better? You can add her personal fragrance, or line of fragrance products, skin care items, a book, etc. If you don’t feel comfortable giving a particular person hygiene products, then I gave a small case with a bedjacket, maybe some nice dusting powder or lotion, a pair of slippers, a notebook and decent pen, as I have done. Those have been big hits, especially with women facing surgeries that may make them feel that they are losing some of their femininity. Help make them continue to feel womanly and attractive; give them pretty, personal, pampering gifts.

For my men, I have in my closet a bag packed a couple of new boxer briefs, and tee shirts,(fortunately, they are all approximately the same size and only my husband lives with me now), a couple of pairs of socks, slippers, a robe, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and a couple of disposable razors…just enough to make any hospital stay comfortable, or to get them ready to get out of there. As a gift for a man, or young man, you can leave out the undergarments, (depending on your relationship, the man’s needs and his embarrassment threshold), but leave the robe and slippers. I’d add a notebook and pen, a book or magazine,(depending on their taste), and lip balm and maybe a nice men’s, or basic, skin lotion . If you know their taste, add aftershave or  body spray,(especially nice for a teenage fellow).

For a child, I’d give a robe and slippers or slipper socks, lip balm, body powder, nice soap. And add a book,(coloring books and crayons for smaller ones, game books for older ones, reading books for all). Add a game that can be played from bed.(I made a tabletop hopscotch game for a young girl who had leg surgery) Or any other without small, lose-able parts that you can think of.
If a family member is spending a great deal of time at the hospital with a loved one, consider a bag for that person. You might consider adding some food treats,(reasonably healthy ones) to the bag as well.

If you are packing a prepared bag for yourself, by all means add undergarments and some very comfortable clothing. You may be somewhere looking after someone else, and you will not be wearing hospital gowns. Make sure you have comfortable shoes.
Pack at least one book, pen and paper or notebook, plus any and all personal needs. Make it items that you will not miss in your daily life, but would be comfortable having or wearing. If money is a problem, start putting away some at a time. Do one for everyone in the family and take into consideration growth-spurts for children. Just today a train derailed and 1000 people needed to evacuate their homes in a southern state. You just never know.

The case need not be expensive, or even actually a case. A zipper or drawstring bag will do just as well. Remember to use your knowledge of the person for whom you are creating the gift. Use the person’s needs, embarrassment threshold and your own budget as a guide.

[Note: I just received a shipment from “Faith ,Soap and Love” of solid cake moisturizer.Tracy makes incredible soaps and lip balm and now this,a spill-proof heavy-duty fragrant moisturizer.  These would be great for a traveler’s gift as they can be taken on airplanes in carry-on luggage,(it isn’t liquid.) See  her products here:Faith, Soaps and Love.

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