The 10 Best Gifts for Labor and Delivery Nurses

Gifts for your L&D nurse: A lot of patients want to pre-plan gifts for labor and delivery nurses.  This post is from a L&D nurse, and will tell you what gifts for nurses are expected and when to give it!

Labor Nurse with a gift

First off, hello! I’m Hilary — many people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse 👩‍⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind this website Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺​ And clearly — after 20 years of being a labor nurse I know what they REALLY want.

Be sure to grab my printable hospital bag checklist right here:

Gifts for Labor and Delivery Nurses

We live a life of tipping.  We tip our doorman, our garbage man, and our mailman — but the area of health care hasn’t really succumbed to tipping. Perhaps for a few reasons…

  • Price?  who’s going to tip 20% of your delivery bill?  Umm… no one.
  • Sometimes you can’t actually put a price on our services.
  • People of all income levels come to the hospital.
  • The nurses really don’t expect anything — you won’t find tipping envelopes in your bathroom.

And perhaps, most of all — tipping healthcare workers is actually not legal — at least not for the nurses to accept (with some exceptions).

I love my job and I love my patients, and let me equivocally say that I very rarely get a gift.   And that, is OK.

I am 100% not in it for the delivery nurse gifts.

I love my job because I am helping new moms.  Not because I’m hoping for some lotion. 🙂

That isn’t to say that hospital staff doesn’t appreciate them during long 12-hour shifts.

I also REALLY want to say that NO ONE expects every expectant mother to give us a gift. It’s a perk when it happens — but we are there to make sure you and baby are safe and happy.

Why is tipping healthcare staff illegal?

Well, a tip is meant for exceptional service –right?

BUT, in health care, we really should be giving exceptional service to EVERYONE.  Most of all, I shouldn’t only give exceptional service to someone who looks rich and may tip me better than the homeless woman down the hall.

I am a big believer in this.  I rarely look at people’s insurance.  Once women are in gowns it’s often not as apparent who has money and who doesn’t — and I want to love and serve each of them the same.

Now, be rude to me or condescending to me, and that’s another story….

SO — you trying to tip me, that’s not illegal.

BUT, me taking it, that IS illegal.

I’m not saying that they can throw me in jail — but I can say that the hospital can get in trouble and I could lose my job.  In the healthcare ethics classes I have gone to for my work, they have made it VERY clear that tipping is NOT OK — for the reasons mentioned above.

Also, because people who are paid through government dollars (aka, Medicare or Medicaid) are not able to take tips.

Now, I have had one exception and that is the red envelope.  Some Asian families will prepare envelopes of thanks in advance for those who participate in the bringing into the world the new baby.  Not taking the envelope it is VERY rude.  So, as long as the envelope had less than $5 we were able to keep it.

**Some hospitals are more/less lax on this — so you may want to check with your nurse if you’d like to give her something really nice.  But, officially — gifts JUST for us with more than $10-15 in value are a big no-no.

What nurses can accept for thank you gifts?

Nurses are allowed to accept products.  But, at a low dollar amount.  I am not sure the dollar amount, but it’s low maybe $5.  If you bring me a lotion or a cookie — I can take that.  But, officially, we shouldn’t take gift cards or cash for any reason (although I have seen managers turn the other way when a patient is very generous).

Please note that the amount nurses are able to accept varies between hospitals, but a small inexpensive gift is almost always OK (you can call the unit ahead of time to check).

We are also able to accept larger valued products for the whole unit.  A tray of cookies, lunch for everyone.  Things like that.

And honestly, the BEST gifts we get is for you to have a great birth. And, great births start with great education. One of the BEST things you can give your nurse is being confident and prepared in the labor room. This class does just that in 3 hours time!

You being prepared is probably the BEST gift you can give us! It sounds dumb, but I REALLY mean it!

Ideas for nurse gifts

Ok, as a nurse since 1997, this part is sharing some of the best nurse gifts out there!

Food.  Food is always welcome.  If you’re going out for dinner, maybe ask her what she’d like and bring her back some.  I ALWAYS appreciate this, even if I sometimes turn it down.  It’s very thoughtful, and not a lot of extra work for you/your family.

Baked goods for the staff.  While you may just see one nurse, there is a crew of people behind her that are also helping out.  Techs, secretaries, housekeeping, doctors, managers, etc.  By bringing a tray of baked goods, everyone can share.  Remember that you will have both delivery nurses and postpartum nurses.  Those can be separate areas, so sometimes two trays is a great way to thank all of the staff.

Candy — clearly, we don’t eat much…..  If you could give us a way to pee without leaving your room, that would be awesome too. 🙂 Sweet treats can be shared and enjoyed by all the staff. These make it so cute!.

Lotion — our hands get SUPER dry as we wash when we’re in the room or sanitize, each and every time we’re in your room (plus, somehow hospital air is dryer).  I thought this set was pretty cool, and still under the dollar amount (and you could give one to each of your nurses). Lotion is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give.

Lip Balm — Just like your lips get dry during labor, ours get dry in there with you. I thought these were so cute. Or these if you prefer a “slim” balm. Thi sis a great idea for labora nd delivery nurse gifts.

Snarky Tee’s — I have yet to meet a labor nurse who didn’t enjoy a little snark. I thought this T-shirt was so fun and cute, often nurses like to wear long t-shirts under scrubs if they get cold. There were also a bunch of other cute options available on that page too. This one might be a good one to give a nurse after delivery. 🙂 You (or a friend) may even have a Cricut you can make a few with iron-on vinyl! This would be amazing for your best labor and delivery nurse!

A Card — a gift certainly doesn’t need to be big to be meaningful.  One of my favorite gifts ever — I had a bad delivery and the woman’s mom sent me the nicest card about how she’d always remember what I did to save her grandchild.  I still have it.  Gives me many warm fuzzies. These are already themed for you, or just use regular ones (I love how those look!). Cards are REALLY thoughtful gifts for labor nurses, and really brighten their day! We often have patients just send them to the unit (and our director makes sure we get them) — bonus that you also don’t have to take baby/yourself to the hospital for that!

Pens — We’re always losing pens and loving some. These are my favorite, and these are amazing (and we’ll always remember you with those!) I also loved these labor-specific ones. 🙂

Badge Reels — Nurses all need badge reels, and getting a few fun ones like these might be a fun way to say thanks. These are a bit cheaper (and more generic for any nurse). AND labor nurses love these dilation beads you can clip onto a badge (you could even make some if you were feeling crafty — each bead represents a cetimeter). This is one of my favorite gifts for nurses.

Hair Ties are always appreciated. Love these, very nurse-appropriate (and I really like the price tag).

Some other gifts you can consider hand sanitizer, a coffee mug, a water bottle, or protein bars.

**Especially if you had a scary delivery we LOVE to know how things are going once you get home.  HIPPA rules prohibit us from finding out too much after you leave, but I had a mom try to die on me once — she went over to ICU and I never heard too much afterward.  The unit got a Christmas Card of her twins and I was so happy to see they were doing well.  It was better than any gift I’d gotten!**

When to give labor and delivery nurse gift?

All of these can be brought when you deliver, or afterward.  We’ve had patients do it both ways.

Some people keep the gifts in their room and offer them as staff come in, and some people take them to the nurse’s station (although, if I had my choice I’d say to take them to the nurse’s station as I am often busy when I’m in your room and later feel awkward about asking about it).

If you had a specific nurse you appreciated (or the one who delivers you) — feel free to give it to them at the end of their shift, or before they transfer you.

I forgot to bring anything last time (lame, I know) and I dropped something by the nurse who delivered me. For me, it was more important to write to her exactly how she’d helped me because I knew that words mean a LOT. So don’t forget to do that if it’s after the fact and you have a bit more time. 🙂

Pro Tip: Do not feel weird about bringing something by afterwards. It really means a lot no matter when you do it! You can always just leave it for them, and the unit is good to make sure they get it. We all know that a thank you is almost as good as a paycheck. 🙂 You can also always as to see if they’re there, and seeing mom thriving post-baby is a BIG gift too!

The Problem with a Gift Card

While normally I’m a HUGE gift card fan, they can be problematic in the labor room. You may have several nurses, you may have a lot of staff that were very helpful. Often smaller gifts can be better as you can appreciate each one.

However, I have seen patients who had a specific nurse that really helped them come back with a gift card after birth (and often our manager has looked the other way)…. so, that’s something to think about if you really want to tell someone specific thanks for their hard work and help afterwards.

How many Nurses Will I Have?

As an average guess I would think 2-3 L&D nurses and 4-6 couplet, or mother baby nurses (that can really vary if they are on the schedule multiple days). However, it really depends on how long you are in labor and how busy the hospital is at the time of delivery. Sometimes I am with patients the full 12 hours, and sometimes I jump around and you get a lot of us.

Pro Tip: Baked goods are nice way to thank your whole delivery team — even doctors take a brownie on the way out their door. We work long shifts and we’re all always hungry. 🙂 That way you don’t have to worry so much about how many team members there are — just bring a package of cookies or something from the grocery store for all the team members

Also, if your baby goes into the NICU you’ll have a neonatal nurse to consider (you can see how this can be a bit of an issue).

Also, remember that after you have your baby, that unit (called mother/baby, couplet care, or postpartum) is often staffed with different nurses.

FYI, if you have a longer induction or a c-section you will likely have more.

And, if you’re wondering the difference between labor and couplet care, I go over ALL of that in this course. Couplet or mother/baby are the nurses who help you after you have the baby.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget you providers –– ones you saw in the office like a midwife or a nurse practitioner, or if you provider did something great at delivery don’t hesitate to write a thank you note and give a small gift.

Do you have to bring gifts?

Absolutely not. Nothing is expected. Verbal appreciation, especially about anything specific you enjoyed is just as welcome, and you can obviously bring gifts for your labor nurse later if you want to.

We know you have had a lot to prepare, and it is not expected. Especially when it’s a surprise you’ve even come to our unit (like with preterm birth or a problem found at one of your appointments).

I also have a second post on labor nurse gift baskets you might enjoy on my sister site!

So, that’s that.  A few final thoughts:

  1.  Never feel bad you don’t have a gift.
  2.  You can always bring something later (and if you get caught-up in new-mommy-hood, that’s fine too).
  3. NEVER forget to say thank you.  You may never know what she did that saved you.  You never know the meals she missed, or the pee she held.  We do it because we love it — and we enjoy a paycheck.  A loving thank you goes a long way. 🙂 A heartfelt thank you is always a special time for your delivery staff.

Ok, now that you have the gift ideas taken care of — let’s get you PREPARED for that big day!!!! Remember, this class has many perks:

  • It can be done in just a few hours
  • It is an all-in-one class for pregnancy, birth and postpartum life.
  • Is created by one of the top labor nurses in prenatal education — and will keep you both engaged!

Come join me! Get 10% off with code PC10.

Or, if you’re not quite ready for the full class, check out my free prenatal class — It’s your first step towards being your own birth boss.

Originally Posted Here

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