When I discovered my sister-in-law was expecting her first baby, I was so excited for her that I immediately got in the car and went shopping. But despite having three children of my own, I stood motionless in the middle of the shopping centre, faced with a momentary blank. What did she actually need?
I thought back to when I was pregnant with my eldest. What did I really appreciate receiving when I was pregnant for the first time? What did I receive multiples of? What was I given, but never actually used?
In the end, I came up with a hamper which I felt carried all the useful essentials, plus a few fun gifts as well.
These are some great gifts for new parents:
Clothes hamper People tend to buy a lot of new clothes for the baby because they’re small and cute, but what happens after the baby vomits on them the first time? This is why a clothes hamper is an essential gift for new parents.
It will depend on how much room they have and if they have a particular colour scheme in mind, but a hamper can be as simple as a tall wicker basket or soft sided toy box. Avoid ones with lids, as new parents rarely have a spare hand available when changing dirty babies. Another bonus is that you can fill your laundry hamper with other gifts.
Room/bath thermometer It may not be an essential, but I love having a room thermometer so I can tell how hot or cold my kids’ rooms are. There are even brilliant models which can also be tossed in the bath as well, and it also happens to be a clock. Either way, these are great gifts for parents who relish knowledge, and let’s face it – first time parents want to know everything about their child.
Ear thermometer No one wants to think about their brand new baby getting sick, but the first time your baby gets a temperature it can be frightening. Although not recommended until baby is 3 months, a good quality ear thermometer is a great gift and they are easier (and more reliable) than trying to stick a glass tube in baby’s mouth or under their armpit – there are also models which you simply aim at the babies head.
Plain white towelling nappies These soft white fabric nappies can be used as… nappies, sure, but they have plenty of other helpful uses such as to throw over your shoulder to protect from possets, wiping up spills, keep one in the pram and car to use as emergency change mat or sun shield.
Nail clippers When I was a brand new mum, I remember reading something that suggested you nibble your baby’s fingernails off. Don’t be that person, get them some special, tiny baby nail clippers.
Water bottle There is a law that says the minute you sit down with a baby you will immediately get thirsty, especially if you are on your own. If you’re breastfeeding, it is even more likely you will feel parched as baby drinks. A beautiful, durable, BPA free drink bottle (glass tastes best but consider the sleeplessness of the new mum and the likelihood they may drop it) is a great gift to keep on the table where they tend to feed baby. If you’re being really helpful, throw in a box of tissues and a cute notepad and pen.
Books There are some absolutely classic books that need to be part of every new parent’s library. You can buy them as board books so baby can easily turn the pages, and they’re (a bit) harder to destroy. Essential titles include Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox, The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and my personal favourite (it may be for older kids, but you may as well get in first) The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.
Hooded towel Bathing your tiny squirming baby can be terrifying – they get so slippery! You also need more hands than you physically have, which is why a small, hooded towel can be a great help, especially for winter babies. You can wrap baby up and keep their head warm while you carry them from the bathroom to the bedroom to get dressed.
Magazine subscriptions Websites like this are awesome and they are a great way of getting information quickly, but nothing beats being able to flick through a magazine – whether you’re stuck on the couch with a sleeping or feeding baby or you just need to hide out in the toilet for five minutes peace. You can either give them a gift voucher for a subscription site such as isubscribe, or you can go one step further and get them a subscription. Good ideas include cooking magazines for food ideas (especially useful when there are fussy kids as well as time-consuming babies), parenting magazines, gardening or craft magazines and celebrity mags.
What do you think is an absolutely essential gift for new parents?