The 20 best gifts for new parents
Skip the monogrammed baby blanket and give them something useful instead
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New parents receive a lot of gifts, most of them cute, not all of them practical. The last thing that overwhelmed new parents want to contend with is a bunch of stuff that they don't need taking up valuable space. Set your baby gift apart by choosing something they'll actually use; we’ve come up with 20 great gift ideas that new parents will really, really appreciate.
1. For the new parents on a tight budget: a diaper subscription
Babies, especially newborns, go through an average of 10-12 diapers per day. That’s a lot of diapers and a whole lot of money. Alleviate the need for a “we’re out of diapers” midnight run to the corner store, and sign your favorite new parents up for a monthly delivery of diapers. Honest Company's diapers are both soft and absorbent, and each box contains seven packages of diapers in a variety of seasonal prints, plus four packs of plant-based wipes.
2. For the new parents who don't have any family nearby: a Meal Train
Proof that a thoughtful gift doesn’t have to cost anything at all, Meal Train enables friends and family members to bring meals to hungry and exhausted new parents. Create a free account, input any dietary restrictions, add some available dates to the calendar, and invite people to sign-up to bring a meal. Even out of town relatives can get in on the action by having takeout delivered, or signing the new parents up for one of our top-rated meal kit delivery services.
3. For the new parents who are neat freaks: a few hours of house cleaning
The age old advice about sleeping while the baby sleeps can seem like a cruel joke when you have a sink overflowing with dirty dishes or a laundry mountain that rivals Everest. Send a professional to take control of the mess by giving the gift of a “Homekeeper” from Tidy. The Tidy app is easy to use and will permit the new parents to schedule a Homekeeper to come during a time that works (hopefully while the baby is sleeping so mom and dad can, too). Plus there’s no need for parents to fret about toxic chemicals: Tidy Homekeepers only use environmentally responsible, non-toxic and baby-safe products.
4. For the new parents whose baby arrived early: the best stroller
When a baby arrives earlier than expected, new parents are often caught off guard without all the necessary baby gear. Save the new parents in your life from having to select a stroller while in a sleep deprivation haze, and send them the best stroller. The Baby Jogger City Mini GT is lightweight, easy to fold with one hand, and can be used with an infant carseat attachment until the baby is old enough to sit up.
5. For the new parents who also have a toddler: an at-home massage
Giving birth, followed by feeding and carrying around a new baby, is physically taxing. Add to that the demands of simultaneously caring for a toddler, and it's a recipe for a full-body muscle ache. However, finding a way to leave the house to get a massage can be especially challenging when a parent has two or more kids. Send a much-needed massage to your favorite achy new parents with a Soothe gift card. The best part is that you don’t have to schedule appointments way in advance: Soothe sends a certified massage therapist right to your friend’s door within an hour. Select either a 60, 90 or 120 minute massage in a wide variety of techniques. Score yourself extra friend points by offering to come over and watch the baby while mom gets her massage.
6. For the new parents who don't have a laundry machine: a 3-pack of Pact Organic Cotton Onesies
First time parents usually underestimate how many changes of clothes their baby will go through on a daily (ahem, hourly) basis. Keep mom and dad from having to trek to the laundromat every day, and send them several packages of plain white organic cotton onesies. White is the best because it can be bleached (hello, bright orange baby poop) but also because it goes with everything.
7. For the new parents who need to stay hydrated: the best insulated water bottle
One of the most practical gifts for a new parent, especially if she’s a nursing mom, is an insulated water bottle. The 32 oz. Hydro Flask Double Wall Insulated Sports Water Bottle with BPA-Free Straw Lid keeps liquids cool and refreshing for 48 hours, and the straw top ensures that parched parents can easily drink one-handed. The Hydro Flask doesn’t cease to be useful as baby grows either: it’s the ideal choice for staying hydrated while out and about with a busy toddler.
8. For the new parents who are jet setters: a personalized L.L. Bean Tote
Considering how small they are, babies have a lot of stuff. Help new parents keep everything contained on the go with a personalized L.L. Bean tote bag. The classic canvas bag comes in a wide variety of colors, and it’s an incredibly useful gift for the baby days and beyond. We recommend purchasing the large size, because it’s big enough to hold a significant amount of gear, but not so huge that it’s difficult to wrangle. This is an especially thoughtful gift for parents whose child will be going to daycare, or for a family that plans to travel a lot, as it’s roomier and more versatile than a standard diaper bag.
9. For the new parents who co-sleep: the best set of sheets
The first few weeks of new parenthood involve spending a lot of time in bed, especially if the parents are co-sleeping with their baby. Unfortunately, all that time spent in bed does not usually translate into long stretches of quality slumber. Send the exhausted new parents a set of our top rated sheets to help make the few hours of sleep they do get totally restful. Brooklinen’s Luxe Core Sleep Set is super soft and stains come out easily (a huge plus when a newborn is involved).
10. For the new mom who is nursing: button-front pajamas
Few first-time mothers realize how necessary it is to have multiple sets of pajamas with button-front closures if you're planning to breastfeed. Save your favorite new mom from having to fumble in the pitch black with an over-the-head pajama top, and send her a set of Eberjey pajamas. While they’re pricier than the average pair of jammies, they are super soft and comfortable, machine washable, and they last for years, especially if you don’t put them in the dryer.
11. For the new parents who are exhausted: our favorite espresso machine
There’s nothing more exhausting than having a baby, and many new parents keep going thanks to a hefty dose of caffeine. Make it easier for your friends to get their much-needed shot(s) of espresso without leaving the house with one of our favorite espresso machines, the Gaggia Classic Pro. The compact machine features a foaming wand in case mom or dad prefer a latte to a straight shot of java.
12. For the new parents whose baby is a light sleeper: one of the best white noise machines
Unless the new parents were smart enough to enlist the help of a seasoned parent when putting together their baby registry, there’s a pretty good chance that they did not know how vital a Dohm Sound Machine is when it comes to keeping babies asleep. The Dohm is not fancy - it only has two settings - but it’s highly effective. Our roundup of the best sound machines provides a number of options if you want a machine that offers a bunch of different sounds, but babies seem to respond particularly well to the sound of the Dohm. We suggest gifting new parents with two white noise machines, so they have one for the baby’s nursery and one for their own room to help them sleep more soundly, too.
13. For the new parents who are novices: an easy way to swaddle
The nurses at the hospital make swaddling look easy, but in reality it’s nigh on impossible to get a baby swaddled tightly enough with a regular blanket. One of the best gifts to send to first-time new parents is a pack of the top-rated SwaddleMe swaddling blankets. Thanks to the brilliant sack-like design, as well as some strategically placed velcro, it’s easy to get a baby tightly swaddled even without years of experience. With a reasonable $29.95 price tag, you might as well send a few different sizes so there’s room for baby to grow.
14. For the new parents who are germaphobes: elegant hand soap and lotion
Keeping their bundle of joy from getting sick is priority number one for most new parents, which means lots (and lots) of hand washing. Spoil mom and dad with a beautiful bottle of Compagnie de Provence liquid hand soap in one of their signature scents, including Mediterranean Sea, Rose or Grapefruit. The moisturizing soap comes packaged in a big glass bottle that looks chic next to any sink, but the cost makes this an item that few parents will splurge on for themselves. Spoil your favorite new parents by also including a tube of coordinating (or contrasting) hand cream. The thick formula is moisturizing but not greasy, and it’s a welcome balm for dry, cracked, changed-too-many-diapers hands.
5. For the new parents who prefer chic baby gear: the DockATot
A big challenge, especially for first-time parents, is finding a safe place to put their baby down when they need to do things like use the bathroom, take a shower or cook a meal. The DockATot solves this issue in a stylish, portable and effective way, and it can be used for sleeping as well. Designed for babies from zero to eight months, the DockATot mimics the confining space of a womb, thereby calming baby and (ideally) promoting longer stretches of sleep.
16. For the new parents with a sense of humor: an alternative to the typical parenting book
Caring for a newborn can be stressful, and it’s easy for novice parents to feel as though they’re doing everything wrong. Send some comic relief, as well as the reassurance that every parent messes up, with a copy of Welcome to the Club 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming. Written by the creator of The Ugly Volvo blog, the book features colorful illustrations as well as laugh-out-loud funny “milestones” such as “First Time You Hold the Baby Over Your Head and He Vomits All Over You”.
17. For the new parents who had a long labor: postpartum healing products from Earth Mama Organics
Give the new mom in your life a truly thoughtful gift with a selection of Earth Mama Organics' postpartum and breastfeeding products. The Herbal Perineal Balm and Herbal Sitz Bath are truly a blessing when it comes to easing the bathroom discomfort during the first few weeks, and the Organic Nipple Butter offers relief from the dry, cracked nipples that are inevitable if mom is breastfeeding (it’s also a fantastic lip balm). C-section mommas will appreciate a jar of the Organic Skin & Scar Balm which can be used to reduce the appearance of both C-section scars and stretch marks.
18. For the new parents who can't see without their glasses: easy-to-fasten footie pajamas
By far one of the most brilliant inventions in baby-clothing design, MagneticMe uses magnets as closures instead of zippers, snaps or the dreaded buttons. Newborn babies often need to be changed in the middle of the night, and fumbling with snaps or buttons in the dark while half asleep is a special kind of Hell. Surprise and thrill the new parents in your life by sending them a selection of MagneticMe footed pjs in assorted sizes and patterns. Crafted from 100% cotton, they're as soft and adorable as they are practical.
19. For the new parents who need a nap: the best sleep mask
Significant stretches of quality slumber are tough to come by during the baby days, but a great sleep mask at least makes it easy to sleep anywhere at anytime. The Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask is a comfortable, contoured model that stays in place all night and has an adjustable velcro strap. Order one for both mom and dad and then offer to come watch the baby while the new parents nap.
20. For the new parents who need everything: an Amazon gift card
No matter how well they prepare or how many gifts they receive at their baby shower, new parents are still going to need to buy some gear. Let them select exactly what they want or need from the comfort of their couch/bed/baby’s nursery, with an Amazon gift card. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s also easy to purchase: just select the design, type in the amount you want to spend, and have it sent via email to your favorite new parents. The perfect solution for a practical, last minute gift.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.