I’m interrupting my running posts because my BFF, Kate, suggested I write this post on what to buy new parents.
I’m actually hosting her sprinkle on Saturday — and BOTH of my sister-in-laws just had babies (yep, I’m officially an Auntie — times two!), so this is timely for me as well.
For starters, I should tell you that when I’m shopping for new parents I rarely buy off their registry. Yes, I’m one of those people. WHY? Well, because truly most of my favorite baby items are never ON the registry. And if they are, I hope their friends/other family members buy them. I’m not saying you YOU shouldn’t buy off the registry, but if you see 25 small blankets, 4 baby bath towels, and a wipe warmer — you can probably assume they got to the store and thought “OMG WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?” It happens. In fact, it happened to me.
I was one of those new parents once – and I was NEVER opposed to experienced moms buying what they liked. And you know what? Most of the time what they liked, I ended up liked too.
Small Gifts ($5-$15)
If you don’t know the parents well, or you want to buy a bunch of little gifts – here are a few suggestions.
Oh, how I love these things. They make the pacifer SO HARD to lose – and that in itself at a huge victory. Plus, they are adorable. I mean.. remember this?
E still loves his. He has one at daycare and two at home. He uses it only when he’s napping and I can him dropping that habit soon. I know that so many people will tell you not to introduce a pacifier when they are newborns, but I did with all of mine and they were never (EVER) confused about where they were getting their milk from!
Also, I have a thumbsucker – and let me tell you – that is a MUCH harder habit to break!!
I love, love, love buying baby clothes and will almost always throw in an outfit or two just because. My favorite places to shop for infants are Carter’s, Crazy 8 (<–my absolute FAVORITE place for baby jeans – and kid jeans), Target, The Children’s Place, and Old Navy. I love the “higher end stores” as well (especially, Janie & Jack, Gymboree, and Baby Gap) , but most of the time their clothes are little too pricey for me to justify.
Butt Paste/California Baby Wash/Aquaphor/Coconut Oil
My kids have all had sensitive skin as infants, and all of these products had helped minimize rashes/eczema break outs. The Coconut Oil is especially a miracle product because you can use it for all kinds of things (it’s also handy for constipation). We use it almost daily after a bath and seal it with Aquaphor.
Obviously. Seriously – when in doubt, BUY DIAPERS. They can always be returned for for bigger diapers if the baby outgrows them (unless your husband opens a pack mistakenly in the middle of the night – then they become gifts). New parents will never complain about diapers. Old parents won’t either.
I’m personally not a brand snob – but I do think that Pampers makes the best disposable diapers for newborns. Huggies are a close seconds — and Huggies are what I use now with E now that he’s older. Like most things baby related, certain brands/styles work for different babies. It’s ALWAYS good to have variety.
Medela Steam Sterilizer Bags
Screw getting a steam cleaner or boiling your pump parts, bottles, nipples, pacifiers, etc. If you have a microwave and one of these bags (which can be used up to 20 times) you are set. The best part? It SAYS pump parts on the bag – but you can use it for anything you need to sterilize. Bonus (besides the price) — it only takes a minute and 30 seconds!
Lansinoh Breastmilk Bags
These bags are better than any other breastmilk bag out there! If you know the mom is going to try to nurse/pump, then it’s a welcome gift.
Yes, there are a million and one types of bottles. Chances are the parents-to-be only registered for one kind. Since, I’ve been burned at this game — I recommend new parents register for 4-5 DIFFERENT type of bottles (just one bottle of each) and then later – once the baby has decided which bottle it prefers (some don’t have a preference, but some do and it’s baffling), they can go back and invest.
So, if you see a register with just one kid of bottle – don’t be able to pick out a different kid. There are a lot of REALLY great brands. B was a Dr. Brown’s baby, L was a Playtex Nurser baby, and B is a “whatever the heck the milk comes in is fine with me” baby.
Tommee Tippee Bibs
Dude… these are the BEST BIBS EVER.
Truthfully, I’m not a big bib person. I don’t use the cotton ones for spit up/drool (that just means more laundry!). However, when it comes to eating – these bibs are awesome. They catch a lot of food and they are completely washable.
I don’t know how it took 3 kids for me to discover them either.
Medium Gifts ($15-30)
Sleep Sheep/White Noise Machine
I looooooove E’s Sleep Sheep. We just used a white noise machine with the B & L, but the Sleep Sheep is even better.
E also has a Sleep Dumbo (his daycare provider gave it to him for Christmas!) that we use at bedtime that plays Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (which is what he naps to at daycare – it helped us finally make the transition to his crib).
Sophie the Giraffe
I know it looks like a $20 dog toy, but it’s SUCH a great teether. We actually left E’s at church a few weeks ago and haven’t seen it since, so I’m going to have to replace it.
I’m a huge fan of swaddling – because I think it really does calm newborns/infants and helps them sleep longer. I’ve tried a few blankets and my favorite is definitely the ones from Swaddle Design.
Their Ultimate Receiving Blankets are BIG and allow you to do a tight wrap – which is how I was still able to swaddle a gigantic 8 month old without his hands breaking free! They are flannel and while it seems like they could be hot – I used them the entire summer here (100+ degrees every day) without an issue.
They also make Muslin blankets, which I like – but I experienced A LOT more breakouts because they aren’t as sturdy. However, they are fabulous for covering a stroller or car seat!
You don’t need go pricey on the play mat/gym — but it’s one of my favorite baby items. It’s so functional!! E is almost 10 months and still plays on his. Although, it will probably be retired soon!
Larger Gifts ($50++)
Rock ‘n Play
You know about my love-hate relationship with this thing. Even though this thing kept the baby in my room longer than intended – I still swear by it. How I survived without it for my other kids is BEYOND me!
Pack ‘n Play
We still use the one we received as a gift 8 years ago. If I had to name ONE baby gift that I couldn’t imagine living without? This would be it. It’s VERY multifunctional – it serves as a baby jail AND a crib. And helps you contain the baby tornado!
Most people do register for this item — so if you see it’s available and want to splurge on a big gift, this is a GREAT one to pick.
When B was little I tried out a million baby carriers. A Moby (which I loved), BabyHawk, Ring Sling, and Peanut Sling are just a few. I didn’t find one I LOVED, but I used the ones I had often.
When L was little I bought the Beco Baby Carrier and it’s still by far my favorite. I also have an Ergo that I bought with E, and it’s just easier to get the baby into the Beco!
I even did Disney with a 3-month old – in the middle of the summer – with it!
Regardless of which one is used, babywearing one of my favorite parts about having a baby. It’s like snuggling while being in motion.
If you see someone has an Infantino or a Baby Bjorn on their list and you want to splurge – surprise them with an Ergo or a Beco instead — or even a Moby. They are all ergonomically correct and MUCH better for the baby’s hips and the parent’s back.
Skip the swing, bouncer, and Bumbo – and go for something the baby is going to use for more than 2-3 months. A Jumperoo, Exersaucer, and Walker can be used for 6-9 months — sometimes even longer if the baby is slower with mobility!
We have all three and use them at different times depending on what I’m doing at the time. For example — sometimes I just need him to be happy while I’m making dinner – so he goes into the Jumperoo, where my kids can jump with him and I know he’s not trying to put cords and dust balls into his mouth! Like he did this morning…
Soo… there you have it! This is definitely NOT the be-all, end-all list, but these are well-loved, well-used baby items (at least in my house) that I highly recommend.
Is there anything I’m missing?? Are there any favorite baby items YOU love to give as gifts?? Feel free to add suggestions in the comments!