So much attention and planning goes into preparing for a baby. And rightfully so, having a child is one of the most life-changing experiences that occurs. Who knew a 6 and 1/2 lb human could require so much stuff?
I didn’t until I faced the wall of 8,968 pacifiers while registering at BuyBuy baby.
Of course, the baby has very specific needs and certain equipment and accessories that will aid the parents in loving on that precious bundle once he/she arrives. Many of these needs include clothes, blankets, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, books, car seat, stroller, crib, bassinet, etc. The types of gifts often presented at baby showers.
The new parents, though. The parents are in for a change that everyone knows is going to be jolting. It’s exciting, it’s anxiety provoking, it’s breathtaking, it’s fun, and it’s exhausting.
The primary need that baby will have once he/she arrives is attentive, loving, and compassionate parents. I’d like to propose that perhaps some of the gifts associated with having a baby should actually be for the parents, and not the child. Giving the parents tools to feel human in the midst of early parenting will be a blessing they will remember forever, and will actually be a valuable gift to the baby as it may enhance the parents’ ability to be present in the midst of chaotic and sleepless times.
Gift Ideas for New Parents:
Each category could be made into a themed gift basket, or given individually.
- Stress Ball – One for next to the rocking chair. Those middle of the night fits can cause everyone to go a little crazy. Suddenly, you understand how some people can actually shake their baby. This is a good place to take out that anger and frustration.
- Chocolate – Because what stressful moment is not helped by chocolate?
- Advil – Or any other drugs/oils that assist with anxiety and headaches.
- Massage for Dad – Birthing is hard for dad, too. Particularly and especially if dad was the birth coach. Sympathy pain and fatigue are real to these men! No, they do not require the same level of recovery as mom, but a quick massage might soothe any aching muscles from hours of hand holding, encouraging, pacing, sleeplessness, and laying on that joke-of-a bed in the hospital room.
- Mani/Pedi gift card for Mom – Only mom will know when it is a comfortable time for her to break away from baby. Perhaps you provide her with a gift card for a mani/pedi and offer to be available to watch the baby when she feels ready! Finding a salon close to her home would be best.
- Book of encouragement – Have friends & family write notes to both mom and dad that highlight their positive attributes and how those characteristics will enable them to be wonderful parents. Include any verses, quotes, or wisdom about child rearing.
- Eye Mask – Napping when the baby naps feels pretty impossible with daylight. More melatonin is actually produced the darker it is. Having an eye mask can make daytime (and night time sleep) possible.
- Ear Plugs – When someone else offers to do the middle of the night feedings it can be difficult to sleep through the baby crying. Ear plugs can drown out all the noises and help make sleep more attainable.
- Lavender Essential Oil & Diffuser – A high quality essential oil by Young Living, DoTerra, or other reputable companies (not the synthetic stuff) can help baby and parents sleep. Encourage them to put a drop on the bottoms of their feet at night and put a few drops in the diffuser.
- Sound Machine – This precious gift from above can provide just the lull necessary to stumble into a much-needed slumber.
- GrubHub (or delivery meal service) gift card – Let’s be honest, an entire church or neighborhood cannot bring enough meals required by the new-baby fatigue. And thawing frozen food can get monotonous. Giving a GrubHub (or other delivery service) gift card allows the new parents to simply press a button on their phone or tablet and freshly prepared food shows up at their front door.
- Starbucks gift card & a bag of pre-ground coffee – A substantial Starbucks gift card that can allow for a coffee a day for a month is great! Take heed that some nursing moms prefer decaf or half caff coffee. You may consider providing both.
- Bottle of wine – Lots of mamas give up wine for pregnancy. Nothing is sweeter than a couple glasses of wine with a meal after childbirth.
- Frozen Meals – Bringing a meal to a family with a new baby is a common gift provided by community members. Consider doubling two of your families’ meals that week and freezing half for the family with the new baby. This way they can simply thaw that meal on nights that are hard.
- Monthly beer, coffee, or wine Subscription – There are so many of these wonderful services that now exist. The gift that keeps on giving. Simply google “monthly wine club” and you may be surprised at the plethora of options. Parenting during these early days is exhausting and new parents are doing well if they remember bread and eggs from the store. Provide some icing on the cake by ensuring they have a monthly prize to brighten their day. That way, when the 4 month sleep regression comes along, or the first tooth, or the baby’s first cold, you’ve given them a gift that makes them smile simply because you thought ahead.
- Netflix membership – Cluster feeding and a never-ending nap schedule can lend itself to lots of Netflix binges. It’s also an easy, effortless way the new parents can bond in the evenings without having to muster up energy to talk. Other ideas in this category would include a substantial iTunes gift card for people with apple TVs, or a Hulu membership.
- Lactation Cookies – Whip some of these up for the new mama and you’ll be on her list of favorite people for sure (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/232191/lactation-cookies/). If you don’t have time to make them, some grocery stores (like Sprouts) sell them! (Located by the baby food).
- Nipple Butter (earth mama angel baby kind is great!) and nursing pads – this is probably least awkward if you are close to the mother and female-to-female, obviously
- Water Bottle – Nothing causes outrageous thirst like breastfeeding for hours straight. Consider a bottle with a straw.
- Clean, Yummy, Healthy finger foods – Did you know more calories are required for breastfeeding than for pregnancy?! Breastfeeding is hard work! Mamas can experience a hunger so tremendous they feel crazy. Finger foods that can sit in bowls around the house by nursing stations are perfect go-to’s for the nursing mama. Think of foods that can be eaten with one hand, do not cause a mess or lots of crumbs and do not require refrigeration.
- Magazines – Pumping is no joke. Browsing youtube and facebook can become quite monotonous. Get the girl a variety of magazines to look through.
- Gift Card – If there is a mamahood-type store in your neighborhood, get a gift card so she can purchase her own accessories and supplies based on her desires and needs. Maybe you can even include a brochure about breastfeeding support groups and services provided by this store.
- Professional cleaning/gardening/snow shoveling/dog walking service – What a blessing this would be to new parents to not have to fuss with these sort of details! You may want to first confirm that this service would benefit the parents and that arrangements have not already been made.
- Pretty Sign for the door “Baby Napping, please don’t ring doorbell” – The most annoying occurrence is when the baby finally falls asleep and someone with UPS or FedEx comes knocking at the door to deliver a package. With the doorbell comes dogs barking, the baby crying, and the onset of an incredible headache all at once. Consider having a sign made for the parents to put out during nap time. http://beforenoonpaperie.com – Kelly makes beautiful signs! (Or you could just order one to be displayed in the nursery with babies name, birth date, weight, and length).
- Baby subscription Box – Having developmentally appropriate toys around the house is important. Being new parents is overwhelming enough, trying to discern what to expose the child to and when can be something that is compromised in the haze of crying, diaper changes, sleeplessness, and feedings. Look into a company like Hoppi Box (https://www.hoppibox.com) to ensure the baby has appropriate toys at every stage of early development.