In the search for the perfect baby gift, although it may be tempting to buy every cute little outfit you see, the best source for gift ideas is the mother-to-be. Trust us, she has been thinking about what she needs since the day she found out she was pregnant. If for whatever reason, you cannot fulfill the new mom’s request, here are some ideas for practical and thoughtful gifts almost any mother-to-be would enjoy.
For the first time mother… This is the mom who has the greatest need. Most likely, she needs everything from clothes to cribs, strollers and linens. Therefore, you really can’t go wrong in choosing a gift.
Common necessities for a first time mom include:
Baby bath soap
Brush & comb
Alcohol pads (for belly button cleaning)
Infant acetaminophen or ibuprofen
Baby towels & wash cloths
Other useful items…
Pacifiers & straps
Diaper bag (hey, stock it full!)
Baby bath tub
Sling or Infant carrier (like Snuggli)
Baby bouncy seat
More expensive items: (Think about chipping in together with co-workers, friends or family members to get these items.)
For the nursing mother:
Lansinoh Reusable ice packs
Nursing gowns (matching mom and baby gowns are a big hit!)
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League (excellent book)
Most mothers-to-be and other gift givers will think of these common necessities. Some unique gift ideas take a little more thought and effort, but are certainly worth it. Some of the following ideas cost nothing but your time and end with a super gift for the mother-to-be.
To help mom cut down on routine expenses after baby arrives, you can begin collecting coupons for baby items such as diapers, wipes, food, formula, etc. If you begin clipping when you find out the happy news, you will have a great stash of money saving coupons for mom. Just make sure to check the expiration dates. Most of the coupons for these items expire well into the future, but it’s best to be sure they’re well after baby’s due date. If you’ve got the time and desire, you might even organize them by date for her and place them in a coupon organizer.
Gift certificates are a great gift for moms-to-be, especially when the gender of the newborn is unknown. Try and stay away from specialty stores unless you know that the mother specifically likes their products. Department stores (such as WalMart, JCPenney, Kmart, Target, etc.), kids stores (Toys R Us, Kids R Us, etc.) and mall gift certificates are certain to please even the pickiest mother. Gift certificates to restaurants and grocery stores are sure to come in handy when finances might be tight after the baby is born. Also a very thoughtful gift would be entertainment (movies, movie rentals, etc.) gift certificates. Most new parents feel guilty about spending money on themselves. You might even offer to babysit while they use the gift certificates.
Sign mom and baby up for baby clubs. Stores such as Publix, Target and Eckerd Drugs have personalized clubs targeting new moms. These clubs often include free products, coupons, discounts and sometimes monthly magazines/mailings/newsletters.
Send mom free magazines. Many publications offer a free first issue. If you don’t wish to purchase a full subscription for mom, at least she can get a good idea of publications she likes and continue the subscriptions on her own.
If mom is an Internet user, spend some time researching interesting parenting or pregnancy web sites. Gather these links for mom and email them to her. Some of these sites will have email lists specific to parenting styles and goals. Many infant product manufacturers have fantastic sites, with Pampers’ being one of our favorites.
One of the best “no-budget” gifts you can give to the new mom is to help mom out by stopping by the few first weeks after delivery to help with mundane cleaning tasks. The new mother will appreciate being given some quality bonding time with baby with out worrying about the dirty dishes in the sink or the crumbs on the kitchen floor. For those with a bigger gift-giving budget, contract a maid service to come in a few hours a week for general cleaning assistance.
Deliver casseroles ready for the freezer to mom’s house near the end of the pregnancy. This will allow her to pop one out, warm it up and serve dinner with minimal effort. Gift certificates as mentioned above to take-out or delivery restaurants will also be very useful.
Just for Mom-to-be… Baby, baby, baby…Mom’s the one with the sore feet and stretch marks. Most new moms would love pampering items such as scented lotions, comfortable gowns and robes, bath oils, slippers, massage oil (get Dad in on the pampering, too). Dermoplast is a wonderful product to give to mom before delivery. Dermoplast is an analgesic cooling product which is a godsend for moms who’ve had episiotomies or have torn during delivery. You can find this product (which, by the way has been tested and approved by both authors) at most pharmacies.
A simple Call… Very often towards the end of pregnancy, moms become isolated due to conditions related to the pregnancy. Or there is the reverse, where she is working up to the last minute and totally exhausted. A simple call to tell the mom you are thinking about her and wish her well is one of the most thoughtful things you can do. Let her whine about her swollen ankles, commiserate together about her frustrating Braxton-Hicks contractions and just be there for her.
Don’t forget Dad… Dads are often overlooked at this special time. You can involve dad by giving him a gift of lawn service for the first month so that he may spend this time with baby. He may also appreciate an outfit for baby with his favorite team logos on it. (Go Bucs!) Dads also are often proud to wear “New Dad” type T-Shirts, hats or buttons.
Don’t forget sibling… Big sister or brother can often feel left out during this busy and exciting time. It would be a nice idea to get a few special non-baby related gifts for them. This doesn’t have to be an expensive gift, something as simple as a coloring book and crayons, cars or their favorite character merchandise. If the sibling is going to attend a baby shower, be sure he/she is included and has a few presents to open, too.
A note for buying outfits… Although newborn outfits are irresistible, they are often outgrown quickly. Babies who are large at birth may not get to wear newborn clothes at all. It is a good idea to buy at least six month sizes. Also, leave the tags on and keep receipts just in case that ultrasound was wrong. Make sure to ask the mother-to-be if she wants clothes for the new baby. If this is a second baby and is the same gender as the first, more than likely she already has a closet full and has other ideas of items she really needs.
All in all, this is a wonderful time to celebrate the arrival of a new little human to this planet. Celebrate in any way you can to welcome the new baby.
In the search for perfect baby gifts, although it may be tempting to buy every cute little outfit you see, the best source for gift ideas is the mother-to-be.