Skip the clothes: 10 Awesome Gifts for New Parents
Before I popped out a kid of my own, my typical new-parent gift was books and clothes. Usually some absurdly cute outfit, maybe a pair of adorable moccasins. Whatever it was - I tried to pick things that reflected the parent's style. And for books — a copy of I'll Love You Forever, because I adore that book and could read it over and over (even though I turn into a total puddle each time I read it to Remy.)
Since Remy, my approach to a great baby shower gift has changed, A LOT.
My #1 priority now in a gift is usefulness, and then style.
Your kid has maybe one opportunity a month (if that) to wear a frilly dress or mini tuxedo in their first six months of life. It might be crazy cute, and totally their style, but as a new parent there are things you NEED way more.
So for those friends, grandparents, siblings, etc who are looking for the perfect gift for the new parents to be, here is our top 10 list:
1. SLEEP SACKS (duh.)
Starting with this one because it's the obvious gift coming from us, but also one of the most useful.
Lots of people register for swaddle blankets (which I found totally useless and a pain in the ass), but very few people register for wearable blankets (often referred to as sleep sacks). This is odd to me. You use the swaddles for maybe three months, if at all. Sleep sacks though? Those often are used up to ages 2 or 3!
Wearable blankets are a great way to promote safe sleep – as regular blankets in the crib are a no-no these days until 12 months of age. Sleep sacks also keep more mobile kiddos from climbing out of the crib. PLUS — many kids (like my own) may be old enough for a blanket but are ninja sleepers and can’t keep a normal blanket on for the life of them.
Sleep sacks / wearable blankets are intended to be worn over PJs, and you'll need them in various sizes and weights depending on season and climate. The MiliMili blanket is perfect for warmer climates – or for those that keep their house warmer than 70° at night.
Want to upgrade your gift? Buy your friend few different sizes & weights of wearable blankets to last them through their first year!
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2. ZIPPERED PJs.
Newborns live in these things. When babies are little, they are going through an endless cycle of sleep, eat, spit up, poop, sleep. And PJs are the best suited attire for this phase of life.
Heck even my 1.5 year old wears her PJs until we decide to leave the house or she covers them in food (often the latter proceeds the former.)
Just make sure to get the PJs with zippers, because snapping up 20 snaps in the dark in the middle of the night for a diaper change is NO FUN.
Our favorite PJs? The Bonds wondersuit (shown above) - they come from Australia, have cuffs on the ankles and arms so you can fold them into footies and mittens, are really soft, and have the COOLEST patterns.
How cute would this be under a MiliMili sack?!
Upgrade your gift: Pair a size 3-6 month or 6-12 month PJ with a coordinating wearable blanket (obviously we mean ours!).
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I don't often see books on a registry. I assume because people know they'll be getting them one way or another. Or maybe they figure they won't need them until the baby is older. And both might be true — though, I'd counter that reading to your baby, even when they are a blob that just sleeps, poops and eats, is a good bonding activity, and a great part of a nighttime routine – so start early! Regardless, this isn't a ground breaking suggestion. Books are a great, standard baby shower gift.
Some direction in terms of what books to get? Some of the simplest books, especially those with lift flaps like Dear Zoo, Baby Talk, and anything from Karen Katz, are huge hits with babies and toddlers.
Another tip? Avoid the classics. They are wonderful, but everyone tends to gift the same books and new parents receive multiples (i.e. Dr Seuss, Pat the Bunny, Goodnight Moon...). If you want your gift to stand out, try something new (or ask your recent parent friends what books their kids love).
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BIG fan of this product: the Tote Savvy enables you to use your existing purses as diaper bags. It’s a wipeable organizer - complete with a changing pad and TONS of pockets (some specifically sized to hold bottles), and comes in a few different colors. Your wallet should fit nicely in the center - and when you want to swap purses all you have to do is use the handles to pull the Tote Savvy out and pop it in a new tote (something I do multiple times a week.)
Upgrade your gift: Buy the Tote Savvy and the stuff to fill it (diapers, wipes, a bottle, hand sanitizer, lotion, change of clothes, stain remover pen, table wipes...)
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According to a friend who works in this industry — only 40% of households have a diaper pail.
Well, I have two because they are wonderful (we use the Ubbi).
Its clean, white, and keeps out all kinds of horrid scents. I can fill that sucker to the brim with diapers and Remy's room still smells just fine (well, until you open it — so do it quickly!) Plus I don't have to carry disgusting diapers outside after every single change, or wrap each up individually in a dog-poo bag.
Upgrade your gift: Add DIAPERS, DIAPERS, DIAPERS!
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For new parents that travel a ton, this is so helpful. Usually these sets come with a brush for cleaning bottles, a mini brush for getting into the nooks and crannies, and a built in drying rack. It’s something I never would have thought to register for, but definitely bought myself after our first trip with Remy. If you exclusively breastfeed, this will be useful later on when they switch to sippy cups.
Upgrade your gift: Throw in some earth-friendly dish soap + some awesome bottles (we love the ones from Como Tomo) and sippy cups (Munckin 360 for the win!).
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7. WIPEABLE CHANGING PAD
Yes, you can buy printed cloth ones that coordinate with your nursery - but why create MORE laundry than you have to? And, this is coming from someone who loves design, prints and colors!
We have loved our wipeable changing pad. When diapers are on the messy side, its easy to clean up with some spray cleaner and wipes. And with all the diapers + laundry associated with a new kid, one less thing to clean is an amazing gift.
Upgrade your gift: Get a cute caddy with butt paste, cleaning product, and hand sanitizer to go with the pad! Oh and more diapers!
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8. NEW PARENT CLOTHES
Post giving birth, your maternity clothes tend to be too big, and your pre baby clothes are still too small (hello super-fun diastasis recti pooch!)
So why not help your friend be ready with some stuff for HER. I lived in button up blouses, easy to pull down tanks, wrap dresses, and leggings during my maternity leave.
Upgrade your gift: Make it a couple gift & get the dad something too — like one of those rad baby wearing shirts so he can enjoy some of those wonderful chest to chest snuggles.
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This may seem generic, but baby stuff takes up tons of space and it can be so difficult to keep your house looking decent among a sea of toys & stuffed animals. After having Remy I found myself hitting up Tar-jay and Ikea to buy a new basket every few months. In particular I love both the seagrass and the woven rope ones, because they easily fit into lots of home decor styles. We have a couple large ones for plush animals, a smaller one for blocks, and a medium sized one for miscellaneous toys. We also have a couple baskets for books to keep in her room and the living room.
And how cute does a baby look in a basket?!
Upgrade your gift: get a basket + a cute laundry hamper that coordinate.
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10. BLACK AND WHITE TOYS
This may seem like an odd recommendation from a company all about COLOR — but when babies are first born, their eye sight sucks. They are mainly relying on your scent and a blurry outline to know who you are.
They also are colorblind, so black and white toys are awesome for the first few months. We had a play-gym for Remy that had a ton of hanging plush dolls on it - but only the zebra interested her when she was itty bitty. And during tummy time (an activity she hated) the only thing that kept her from crying were black and white graphic books.
You might also consider getting some hanging toys — like these featured above — to hang from the baby's stroller, play gym and car seat, as tiny babies don’t have grasping skills or the ability to sit up to play with things when they are itty bitty.
Upgrade your gift: a total black and white set for early childhood development — including books, toys, plush animals, and a play mat!
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So what did we miss? Anything you love giving new parents now that you've been one yourself? Or that your friends told you was incredibly useful and appreciated?