The weeks and months after you have a baby are probably the least stylish of your life—unless you count baby vom and eye bags as must-have accessories. Don’t get us wrong: there’s no reason new mums should give a hoot about their appearance, and we’re not putting on the pressure. But (speaking from experience) some women feel better when they look better, or at least, less like a swamp thing. That said, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to indulge new mums with luxuries that they wouldn’t buy themselves. So here are the essential fashion and beauty gifts for husbands, mums, sisters and best friends to buy. (If in doubt, there’s always cake—you can’t go wrong with cake.) —Aileen Lalor
a pretty nursing bra. Most nursing bras fall into the "over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder" category: built for comfort and practicality, not good looks. The Anita Fleur Wireless Nursing Bra ($72) is pretty—sexy, even—but also practical and so, so comfortable, which is why we’ve ordered two more. (We also love these similar offerings from luxe lingerie line Mayana Genevière.)
a nursing tank. We don’t much care for special nursing dresses and such—nine months of pregnancy is quite long enough to ditch your normal wardrobe, thank you very much. Instead, we wear a plain tank under a top, then hoik up the top to discreetly feed. Our tank of choice is the Mother Tucker Nursing Top ($119), the only nursing garb we own. It offers gentle tummy compression, which can supposedly help reduce loose skin and minimizes that “OMG my insides are all in the wrong place” feeling.
gentle skin care. During pregnancy we got such bad eczema that we had to ditch all our hi-tech cosmetics—no fun for a beauty junkie. Then we discovered Toronto plant-based brand Graydon. We love everything we’ve tried, but especially the Green Cream ($35). It’s easily absorbed but hydrating, and makes our skin so glowy we can skip serum.
tinted moisturizer and concealer. New mums don’t have the time to painstakingly blend foundation, so tinted moisturizer is ideal. It evens out skin tone and makes us look healthier, but can be applied perfectly on zero sleep. We like Bobbi Brown’s Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 ($46) paired with Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Waterproof All Day Extreme Wear Concealer ($27), the best concealer we’ve ever tried.
posh shower products. Before having children we thought that bubble bath was a nice gift for a new mum. Ha! Now we know that a long soak is nigh impossible—the most one can hope for is a hasty shower while the baby wails in her bouncy chair. A far more useful gift is some fancy, lovely-smelling shower gel, such as Clarins Tonic Bath & Shower Concentrate ($34). There’s some evidence that regular exfoliation can reduce crepey post-baby skin, so a nice exfoliant that she can use in the shower, like Lush’s Scrubee Body Butter ($8), might go down well, too.
a great new ’do. It’s challenging to keep hair looking on point after a baby arrives—forget about those six-weekly visits to the hairdresser for a trim or root touch-up. For occasional hiding of greys, there’s L’Oreal Root Cover Up ($11), which is sprayed directly on to roots. It lasts till the next wash and comes in seven shades. The ultimate lovely present is to accompany your new-mum pal to her hairstylist so you can mind the baby while she gets pampered.