Having a first baby is a big deal. A really big deal. I remember with my first not wanting a baby shower because the thought of having to deal with all the stuff I knew I would receive was an unnecessary stress. But baby showers are fun and a great way to celebrate the coming addition to a family. So, many new parents find themselves with a car load of stuff they never really wanted and now have to fit into their tiny condo! Even with a baby registry, many new parents register for items that well meaning friends have told them are “must have” that don’t actually work for their baby.
Here are my top 5 baby gift ideas for that new baby that will make you a rock star friend or family member:
Even if you don’t have money to spend, you can give your time. It’s the biggest thing that goes out the door with a new baby. Give a homemade card with offers to clean one week, meal prep the next, and maybe some baby care while the new parents nap. The very best gift I received was a friend who told me a week in advance that she would spend the night with my six week old. All week I clung to the idea that I would get a solid five or six hours of sleep. I had time to pump and prepare for my “night off”. It was a huge gift and it didn’t cost her a thing (except, well, some sleep!)
I’m a fan of Mabel’s Labels. I love their products and can’t think of a better gift that takes up no space and adds to the overall efficiency of a home with a newborn! Their new baby combo is the perfect personalized gift that you will be thanked for long past the original gifting! No one thinks of labelling their baby gear until they can’t find it, or two identical toys are on the floor, or you see a mom walk out of the daycare with what looks suspiciously like your kid’s hat… Labels make life with kids easier and Mabel’s Baby combo is an awesome, affordable gift idea.
3. Gift Certificates.
Everyone wants to go buy the new baby a new outfit. Everyone. But the truth is most newborns don’t want to wear frilly dresses or vests or dress shoes. Yes, they are adorable. Yes, they are fun to buy but they are a big waste of money and your friend will sob with gratitude when she can use that gift certificate you gave her instead of packing away the outfit that they took one photo in. Ideas for gift certificates that will make you the best friend ever?
- Meals, particularly restaurants that deliver.
- Photographer, remember all those new outfits they are receiving from friends who don’t know better? Purchase a session with a newborn photographer and those outfits will last forever!
- An organizer. Seriously. Having a new baby in the house means unprecedented levels of planning ahead and organizing that sometimes could use the help of a pro.
- A massage. After the rigours of childbirth, a massage is always well received. After my second was born, my friend (an RMT) came to my house, set up her table and massaged me for two hours!!! The. Best. Gift. Ever. I still tear up at the thought of it.
- Spa certificates. Maybe massage isn’t your friend’s thing, but she might like a pedicure and when that comes with the offer to walk around the block with the baby in the stroller and a promise to return if s/he needs mamma? Priceless.
- Grocery stores. These can be used to buy the essentials that new parents often don’t expect in their new baby budgeting.
- Cleaning services. If you are not up to cleaning for your friend, offer to pay a pro to come!
4. Good books.
Obviously. Good books are the foundation of early literacy and reading to your baby is the gift that keeps on giving for later success in life. Read my post on why reading to babies matters here. There are so many quality books for babies, I couldn’t possibly list them all. But my advice is to look for:
- award winners (Newbery, Calecott, etc)
- beautiful illustrations for picture walks
- board books or sensory books that can be tasted, touched and not destroyed by infant hands. Often called “touch and feel books”
- classics that have stood the test of time (Goodnight moon, Runaway bunny, Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown bear, Guess how much I love you)
- books that offer skills embedded in the story (for example, in The Hungry Caterpillar babies are exposed to numbers, colours and prediction)
5. High quality non toxic toys.
Imaginative play starts early and high quality toys are the key to unstructured play. Consider buying infant toys that
- are made of wood and other natural materials.
- have no plastic components
- are soft, think organic plush toys
- are free of visual noise. That means they don’t blink, light up or otherwise “entertain” the baby.
If you’d like more lists of great books for every age and stage of kid, come follow me on Pinterest: