5 Gift Ideas for New Parents & Babies

Finding a gift for parents-to-be for their baby-to-be that is not only useful, but meaningful is a tricky task. Based on what I have received for my kids and the gifts I’ve given that ended up being home runs, I’ve narrowed down the type of items that stand out, help out and will be cherished.

Must-haves: If you’re a parent yourself or have a close relationship with little ones, what’s the one thing you couldn’t live without? Perhaps it’s a good pillow for feeding. A comfy baby carrier. A magical toy that somehow always got your baby to quiet down. Sometimes the advice of family and friends holds more sway than books and online forums. Pass along your knowledge through giving the one thing that helped you care for your baby.

Anything personal: Remember your favorite toy as a kid? Wrap it up. You don’t have to find the exact same puzzle or edition of your most-read book. Something similar will do just fine. My brother-in-law did some Internet digging and learned that his favorite childhood bear was still being made and bought it for my daughter. I’ll be making sure that stuffed animal stays out of the donation box, even when she turns 20. Just be sure to let the parents know why you’ve chosen the gift. It will be fun for them to play with their baby and tell them about the aunt/uncle/friend who used to play with something similar.

Handmade: The best pieces of clothing I received for my kids were hand-knitted sweaters from my sister. Not only did my daughter and son (and all babies) look adorable in their knitted sweaters, but my sister crafted them—with her own hands! They outgrew them in a matter of seconds, but I will hold onto those sweaters forever. My kids also received a plethora of handmade quilts and blankets from grandmothers. I’ve always loved the idea of wrapping up in a quilt that was carefully made. Not a crafty? No problem. There are many artists and crafters out there who sell their goods.

Big and neutral: Unless this is the last baby for your friends and they’ve already found out the sex, buy neutral clothes in sizes larger than newborn or 0-3 months. If they’re waiting to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl, gender-neutral clothes are a must. But, even if they know they’re having a beaming boy or gorgeous girl, you can still give neutral clothing—it’ll come in handy for the second baby if they happen to have a boy-girl combo.

Why larger clothes? Because babies grow and they grow fast. While it’s a bit of work to sort through clothes and organize them by size, I was relieved and grateful to have so many 3-6 months clothing options. It only took my kids a couple of months to outgrow the smaller sizes and with it already being difficult to get out with a newborn, not having to shop was fabulous.

A note on preemies: My son was born 8 weeks early—while I was out of town. Not only did I not have a “take home” outfit with me, but he was, well, preemie size. Everything I had at home was newborn size and larger. Thanks to quick-acting family, we were gifted enough preemie outfits to get my son home and last him until he outgrew them. So, if you catch word that someone has delivered their baby early, send them a few preemie outfits. (They’re hard to find, too, so your efforts will be doubly appreciated.)

Something for mom: When one of my friends was pregnant, she said more than once that she couldn’t wait to “get her body back.” I didn’t understand, never having been pregnant myself at the time, but I took a chance and gave her a gift card to a popular lingerie store. I slipped a note in that said it was for that day she “got her body back.” Now that I’ve been pregnant and given birth, I realize that it was an awesome gift.

After going through the body-changing process of pregnancy and childbirth, you’re left with panties and bras that don’t necessarily fit anymore. And, after 9 months of let’s face it, comfy underwear, mom is probably ready for something a little more on the exciting side. Not to mention, her breasts, ahem, have probably settled into a new size and shape. But, don’t dare buy her clothes or lingerie—let her do the shopping.

What have you given or received that has made it to your must-have or must-give list?

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