Looking for some good gifts for pregnant women or new parents? Good on you!! If there’s ever a time in life when someone can benefit from being lavished with thoughtful gifts, it’s when a baby is on the way. (Or, probably even more, after the baby has actually arrived and we new parent’s are sleep-deprived, love-drunk, irritable, joyful automatons.)
So, here are 40 great gifts for pregnant women or new parents (please note that some of the links above are for affiliate products, meaning if you click and buy, you’re helping me keep this website running at no extra cost to you.)
Books for the little ones
I don’t think you can ever have too many of these. The best books for babies and children are the ones that adults really like to read aloud – ones that rhyme and/or have clever storylines. Here are some of my (and the boys’) all-time favorites:
1. Where’s My Mom? (Julia Donaldson)
2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
3. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book (Rod Campbell)
4. Kisses for Daddy (Frances Watts)
5. Giraffes Can’t Dance (Giles Andreae)
6. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (Sherri Rinker)
Don’t forget about Mum and Dad on the book front. If Mum doesn’t already have a kindle and she likes to read, this will allow her to read while breastfeeding. You can easily hold it with just one hand. I recommend the Kindle Paperwhite because it’s back-lit so you can read it in a dark room. You would not believe how many books I went through in the wee dark hours during those early months with both kids.
When buying books for a woman, don’t go for pregnancy books (most women facing labor and delivery for the first time have researched it thoroughly already). Instead, think about getting her a novel or a book relevant to the period after the baby is born. A personal favorite is Vicki Iovine’s very funny The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood.
If you’re looking for a total break from all things pregnancy and baby, here are some smart but light-hearted favorites (click on the covers for more details–and in the interests of full disclosure, I wrote the one in the middle).
For fathers, skip the “pregnancy resources” as well. They’re helpful, but far too many people spend a lot of time focusing on the pregnancy and very little or no time thinking about what comes afterwards. Go for something like The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year.
Also, don’t forget that you can send an Amazon Gift Card by email so that Mum or Dad can pick out exactly the books (or anything else) that they want.
Music is essential for unlocking and expressing emotions that are hard to put into words. Songs are also used to lull children to sleep across many countries and cultures. So here are just a few musical ideas…
6. Music for the baby. By far my favorite children’s CD is Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs. Great melodies, and because the songs are not in English, the lyrics don’t get stuck in my head. I also like The Planet Sleeps.
7. An ITunes Gift Cards so that parents can buy lullaby music or music to listen to while feeding. My favorite music to listen to while feeding is chanting by Benedictine monks – so soothing. This CD is a good one – Chant: Music For The Soul.
8. A small set of compact iPod speakers for the baby’s room so that parents can slip in an iPod rather than messing around with CD’s. This is a great option that not only docks an iPod but an iPad as well, and also shows a digital clock (very helpful when you’re bleary eyed at 3:30am and wondering what time it actually is): Dual Charging Stereo FM Clock Radio with Lightning Dock and USB Charge/Play for iPod/iPad and iPhone.
Toys and touchables
Especially before a baby can move around under their own steam, having lots of objects for them to focus on and touch can really help keep them entertained and content. It’s true, you can always empty the kitchen drawers and hand them a whisk (good for 15 minutes, minimum), but here are some other options that also come in handy…
A Baby Play Gym. The one I got only cost $30 and it’s some of the best money we spent after Baby Fabulous arrived. The play gym is also light enough to pack in a suitcase, so especially useful for travelers.
Soft cuddly toys for the crib, like these cuddly blanket toys can also come in handy. Our firstborn slept with one of these for almost two years.
Finally, consider a colorful mobile to hang over crib or change table. Be wary of picking ones that are too heavy in case they happen to fall or get tugged down onto the baby. This Tiny Love Classic Developmental Mobile is affordable and incorporates black and white contrast, which young babies love. Another option is a baby crib mirror like this one, Baby Stimulation Crib Mirror. Young babies are fascinated by mirrors.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re going to the grocery store or France, every parent needs a diaper bag or a Travel Diaper Backpack (preferably one that includes a roll-out change mat and cold storage for at least one bottle.) This Damai Large Diaper Tote is affordable and functional. You could also stock it with travel wipes, diaper disposal bags, and diapers.
A baby carrier. These can be expensive, so you might want to liaise with the parents about which brand they’d like. We settled on the ERGO Baby Carrier. We tried them both, but the Ergo worked better than the Baby Bjorn for us.
A stroller. If you’re looking to splash out, this is a great present!! We bought a Baby Jogger City Elite Single Stroller and I cannot tell you how much I’ve loved this stroller. It’s sturdy, light, and great for venting in hot weather. It also has a huge sun canopy with see-through plastic panels that allow you to easily keep an eye on the baby and has a host of other great features. Love it!!
Also, these Handy Stroller Hooks really do come in handy. We had two, and they were used often to hold grocery bags, purses, and bags of beach toys. Highly recommended.
Finally, for frequent travelers here are a couple of other items I highly recommend…
A U-shaped pillow. These are good for breastfeeding but also versatile enough to be excellent support for when you’re travel on a plane, etc. A pillow like this was a lifesaver on many inter-continental flights for us.
Also consider getting a Travel Bassinette. These little cots pack up small and light. The Samsonite one that friends gave us packs up into something the size of a large book that weighs only 600g. When unfolded it can sleep a baby up to a year old and is mosquito netted.
I don’t think I bought any clothes for our firstborn until he was older than 12 months! Clothes make a great gift, but if you’re going to buy baby clothes buy clothes in sizes of 6-9 months or larger: New parents tend to receive lots of newborn clothing that the baby outgrows very fast.
All about sleeping
Speaking from experience, if you give a new parent something that helps them or their baby sleep better, they will love you forever and name their next child in your honor. Try these ideas
Video Baby Monitor. A baby monitor with audio and video is enormously useful, especially if you live in a split-level house or during those long dark hours when you wake up wondering what a certain sound (or lack of sound) might mean. These are not as expensive as you might think – we got ours (a similar model to the link above) on sale for $100.
A Baby Secure Sleeper. These little cots can be placed in the bed between the parents’ pillows, allowing you to sleep your baby close to you without worrying you’ll squish or smother them. Really, really useful on those nights when you have to put the pacifier in 132 times or pat them to sleep.
A nightlight to plug into the bathroom and/or the baby’s room. This is invaluable for those middle of the night feedings when you want to keep the ambiance dim but don’t want to trip over the dog. This fun Constellation Night Light Turtle even projects stars onto the ceiling.
For when the shit really hits the fan (or the floor, or you)
For the practical-minded among us, here are several presents that are bound to come in handy.
Diapers. And lots of them. If parents are planning on using cloth diapers like BumGenius 4.0 Pocket Cloth Diapers, those things are expensive and you need about 20 of them. If they’re not using cloth diapers they’ll need literally thousands of disposables. This is one gift sure to be used. We’ve tried four different cloth types and the Bumgenius are our favorites. They’ve had four years of near-constant use now and they’re holding up well.
Baby wipes. Another gift guaranteed to be used. Play it safe and buy Sensitive Baby Wipes.
Also, nappy rash. It’s going to happen. They will need something like Desitin Diaper Rash Cream or Amolin.
Finally, One thing a new baby garuntees is a lot of regurgitated milk, so why not pass along a pack of cloth diaper squares to be used as “spew rags. And a A good quality fluffy baby bath towel for the baby.
Parental sanity savers
Becoming a parent is a real roller-coaster, and there are several things that can really help you ride out the roughest parts of the track. Here are just a few…
Lanolin for breastfeeding : Breastfeeding can be unexpectedly painful (as in, agonizing), particularly during the first two weeks. Get high quality lanolin cream like Lansinoh HPA Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers that she doesn’t have to wipe off before feeding – this can really help. If she’s having trouble with extreme pain and bleeding nipples get Nipple Shields overnighted. Scratch that, drive out and buy them at the nearest drugstore before the next feeding. It’s that important.
A voucher for a massage, manicure, or facial: The first massage I had post birth was one of the most pleasurable physical experiences of my life. This gift is even better if it comes with an offer to mind the baby while you use it.
Babysitting: Offer to mind the baby while Mum and Dad go out to dinner or lunch together.
Housekeeping: Whether it’s just one or two visits, or several months worth, this gift will be greatly appreciated by a new parent who doesn’t have to spend precious “baby is asleep” time scrubbing a bathtub.
Meals: Make them and drop them off or provide gift vouchers for take out. This takes one thing off Mum’s (or Dad’s) to-do list for the day.
You’d be amazed at how quickly you forget the milestones and the sparkling moments that pepper every day. Buy them a My Baby’s First Year book or calendar or a Keepsake Memory Book of Baby’s First Years to help them capture some of the memories. A Mom’s Five-Second Memory Journal is another good option.
Also, someone gave us a cool blank calendar like this one (Baby’s First Year Calendar) that you decorate with the accompanying stickers to celebrate milestones like “baby’s first smile” and “baby rolls over.” I think this calendar would be even cooler if there were a sheet of stickers for events like “baby’s first projectile poo” and “baby first vomits in freshly washed hair” and “parents’ first dinner date post-birth” (not to mention some other less PG-rated stickers). Alas, I couldn’t find those sorts of stickers anywhere. If you wanted to jazz this gift up, you could make some.
Any other ideas for useful or fun gifts for pregnant women and new parents?
Add them below to help give others inspiration.