The Ultimate New Parent Gift Guide
New parent gift giving is a minefield! When we were expecting with XO, we received some really lovely gifts. New parent gifts ranged from the thoughtful, to the seriously?! We ended up with so many clothes, that we pretty much only had to buy basics, like vests. This amazing and it saved us a tonne of money, but a particularly thoughtful friend always gave us store gift cards. She said dressing your child is very personal and it’s very difficult unless you know the person really well – she was right, most of the clothing gifts we got were great, a lot weren’t though and weren’t my taste. I did however keep them, dress him in them for photos and take him wearing them to meet the gift givers.
Fast forward a few years and Quin was born, the excitement was over for everyone else, the new parent gift train had dried up. I was thrilled! I finally got to dress my baby the way I wanted to! I’d ebayed/sold the stuff I didn’t like, kept the stuff I did – and had got over the guilt of taking gifts back to the store (my mum, bless her, started to give gift receipts, although we have very similar tastes or shopped together so I rarely return anything she gives!).
I had another lovely friend who, a few days before XO was born, bought me round a whole bag of baby toiletries – sounds boring, I know, but a SUPER thoughtful gift. It’s actually one of the main ones that I always remember receiving. So when she announced she was having a baby I wondered what to get her and her fella.
The Genius Moment when I came up with the New Parent Gift Box
OK so I knew her Fella before I knew her, he used to work with me. I really wanted to give them both a gift. Most new parent gift boxes end up geared either towards mum or baby. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always moaned about the fact that people congratulate the Dad when a couple get pregnant, since he doesn’t do any work at all during pregnancy, but all joking aside, I really did want something for the Fella too – Dads so often get overlooked on the new parent gift front!
Enter The Baby Owner’s Manual” by Quirk Books – this is, I swear, THE ONLY parenting book I have ever read. Full of practical tips, like how to change a nappy, how to swaddle a baby – I mean I’d never held a baby, I don’t think, let alone one that was a couple of seconds old! It’s straight forward, quick to read, none judgemental and witty. I originally bought this book for my partner when we were expecting XO, as a joke – but we really never needed anything else!!
I added a “Yay! Mismatched stud earrings” gift card for Momma, because really I just can’t help myself and the little top was too cute, despite my own advice on new parent gift giving (below)…..I just couldn’t help myself!!
Tips on New Parent Gift Buying
If you are going to buy clothes for the baby, they are SO cute, it’s hard to resist, and if a friend has a girl, with two little boys, I just go crazy over dresses – If I ever had a girl I think I would be totally sick of dresses, very personal to the mum, but I just can’t help it (see point 3 below)!!!
- consider going for a 3-6 / 6-9 month set of clothes. The new parents will be swamped in loads of (super cute) new born gifts, by the time they get to 3, 6 or 9 months – your gift will get tonnes of wear!
- Remember to factor in the season as well, and buy for the appropriate season when the baby turns the age that you bought for!
- Consider adding a gift receipt – just sayin.
I know it is really dull, but I often give baby toiletries, maybe it’s just me, but when I was pregnant I totally didn’t think about buying all that stuff. Some excellent ideas to get you going:
- Nowadays (we didn’t have these when XO was born 4 years ago) there’s this marvellous product called a water wipe on the market! The midwives and health visitors will try and make you use cotton wool….but water wipes are incredible, they are basically a tissue soaked in water. I mean who fills a tub of warm water at 2-bastard-am in the morning after giving birth to soak cotton wool in to change a bastard nappy?! (I don’t recommend buying these at your local boots and then putting them in a posted parcel, they weigh a tonne and will cost you a fortune in postage.)
- Palmers bottom butter (way more aesthetically pleasing than sudocreme, even though they are basically the same thing)
- Cotton wool (go for the pad type, not the ball)
- Nappies, go for a size up from new born. If mum and dad run out, you can always put a larger nappy on a smaller baby….it doesn’t work so well the other way around.
- OK this one is technically for mum but Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream is a saviour – I’ve used it when I’ve been out of nappy cream as a barrier for nappy rash or even lip balm!
When you go baby toy shopping, either be really confident (a parent already, or acting on sound advice) or consider adding a gift receipt. I *can* tell you not to buy any Jelly cat products. When XO was born we got 4 of the fu*kers in various different colours and sizes – neither of my kids particularly like soft toys.
- Bubble machine – this is the gift that will keep on giving. If you want to win at gift giving – this is THE one. A first time parent might assume you are mad when they open their gift – shortly after they will bow to your incredible wisdom. Go for a battery operated one, we have this one. Basically you lie the baby in a bouncer/insert into ring of neglect and turn on bubble machine. Voila! Sensory play right in your own home. As the kids get older whip it out in the bathroom, will buy you enough time for at least a glass of wine. Bring it out at birthday parties, bring it out on play dates – winning for years!
- Manhattan Toy skwish is probably one of our favourite gifts to give. We have had excellent use out of it for both boys. The shape and colours are appealing to young babies and helps them to develop their co-ordination grabbing. It’s also appealing during teething.
- Wooden cars – these are excellent gifts, all children love to push the cars along, and excellent for tummy time for small babies.
If you are going to buy toys as a gift, then please do consider buying wooden toys instead of plastic. Wooden toys are much more sustainable and have less of an impact on the environment. They tend to last a lot longer too and can be passed down or on. Our two favourite brands are:
Hape – excellent design, well thought out, perfect for developmental stages, durable and have an excellent environmental and ethical policy
Orange Tree – because of their little London toy car set….If they are good enough for Prince George!