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9 thoughtful things to stash in your favorite new-mom care package.

Making time for self-care is essential for everyone, but it's especially important for new moms.

9 thoughtful things to stash in your favorite new-mom care package.
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Healthy Essentials

12 days after his scheduled arrival, baby boy Alexander Anselme Keith came into the world on the morning of  Oct. 5.

His mother, Peggy, is one of my best friends in the world.

Little Alexander, hanging out with his penguin and lion friends. Image via Peggy Gordon, used with permission.


I met Peggy in our first year of university in Canada, where we're from. We were nerdy and witty, obsessed with "The Simpsons," boys with bleached hair, music trivia, and flavored vodka.

Over the last 20 years, we've grown up a lot. Our hair is better, our eyesight a little worse. There's a lot less body glitter and a lot more coffee. Peggy got married. We've both established careers and traveled. While I'm not sure I'll ever have kids, I knew from the day I met her that Peggy's fierce devotion and powerful capacity for love would make her a wonderful mom.

And, of course, she absolutely is. Once baby Alex gets a little better at object permanence, I'm excited to take on my role as a goofy, nerdy aunt and teach him about Monty Python, Harry Potter, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Me on the left, Peggy on the right. It's 1998, if you couldn't already tell by my hair. Image via Heather Libby.

In the meantime, I have another important job as a best friend: helping his mom maintain her sanity and composure while she adapts to her new role. Even though we're in the same city, I can't be there with a wipe for every stuffed nose or soiled backside. I can, however, share with her some lovely little items that'll make her busy life a little easier and her downtime a little more relaxing. Making time for self-care is essential for everyone, but it's especially important for new moms. After all, we can only fill up our children with love if we’re full, too!

In honor of my wonderful friend, here’s what I’m putting in her care package:

1. Specialty dark chocolate

The health benefits of fair-trade dark chocolate may be up for debate, but that it is a wonderful, delicious indulgence is not. Coupled with a wheel of local camembert, some crackers, and a mandarin orange, it’s a nice treat for mom on her own or to share with dad on an impromptu date night once the baby is off to bed.

Image via Pexels.

2. Escapist reading material

The world can seem like a dismal, ridiculous place at times. But this baby — and all others born in 2016 — have the potential to grow up and change it. I picked up a Rolling Stone magazine featuring a beloved band and a book about our shared favorite nation (Canada!) for a glorious, positive distraction.

3. Tinted lip balm

Because looking and feeling put together isn't something moms should have to give up.

4. Face wipes

Blessed are you, quick-cleansing wipes. Image via Healthy Essentials®.

These face wipes are great for busy mornings that start too early, or for those times when she just needs a quick refresh.

5. A silky moisturizer for (almost) baby-soft skin

When mom is snatching a few hours or minutes of sleep at a time — and trying to raise a quickly growing bundle of love — remembering to take care of herself isn’t always a priority. This AVEENO® Daily Moisturizer will keep her skin soft and moisturized all day.

6. Dry shampoo

In my opinion, dry shampoo is the greatest innovation of the 2000s. It foofs (yes, that's the technical term) up flat, dirty hair in seconds, making the choice between "Mom gets to wash her hair for the first time in four days" and "Mom cleans spit-up off the couch before it dries" a lot less disappointing. (If you can't find dry shampoo, sub in JOHNSON'S® baby powder — it can actually serve as a form of dry shampoo!)

7. A sleep mask for napping during the day

A two- or three-hour feeding schedule makes things like daytime and nighttime seem pretty arbitrary. For moms who prefer a little darkness when they sleep, this mask comes in pretty handy during tandem afternoon naps with a sleepy babe.

8. Fancy caffeine-free herbal tea

Because it smells and tastes like relaxation. Mmmmm.

9. Hot water bottle and fuzzy sleeve

Making a baby and giving birth is some of the hardest work a mom's body will do. This hot water bottle will help sore muscles relax as her body heals. Added bonus: It looks like a giant wooly sock!

BRB, going back to the store for one of my own. Image by Heather Libby.

There's a lot I still don't know about life. One thing is for sure, though: Taking time to care — for ourselves and for those we love — is essential.

I've been friends with Peggy since we were dorky teenagers, and I know we'll be friends when we're older, grayer, and probably not wiser. Whenever we can be, we're there for each other. When we can't be, care packages are a great alternative!

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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