What To Buy New Parents

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?

"I love my wubbanub." (Thanks to @kwidrick!)

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!!

Cute Outfit

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.

Morning baby spam: chillin with his friends. He loves the heartbeat sound from his Sleep Sheep.

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.

Sophie must taste good. He jumps when he makes her squeak - it's hilarious.

Swaddle Blankets

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!

Play Mat/Gym

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!

A glimpse of things to come. #trouble

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.

Baby Carrier

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…

An HDMI cord, a sneaker, and a bookcase. #babyMacGyver #trouble

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!


  1. says

    We were definitely registered for 25 baby blankets and multiple bath towels…and we learned right away how off base we were!

    We got a Rock N Play when AJ was just a few weeks old once I remembered you showed us the one you had for E & that you said he slept fairly well in it. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with it — LOVED that it helped AJ actually sleep, but hated trying to transition him out of it into a flat crib. I still recommend it to other people though :) I wish AJ liked the Wubbanubs — but sadly, he doesn’t. He stopped liking that shaped pacifier when he was only about 4 weeks old and we had to switch to different ones. Which means he loses his pacifier at night ALL THE FRIGGING TIME. I want to start weaning him from it, but I’m just now sure how to…and I’m not sure I have the energy yet either. And yes, as a previous thumb sucker, couldn’t agree more about this being better than AJ sucking his thumb. (But I’d be lying if I told you I never grumbled “Why don’t you just find your damn thumb??!!” in the middle of the night before…
    Theresa recently posted..Maybe

    • says

      I feel the same way about the Rock n Play – I actually just bought my brother one (he didn’t register for it).

      I’m sad that AJ didn’t like the wubbanub! Livie didn’t like that type of pacifier (hence the thumb)- so it can be hit or miss. I actually tried to get E to take another paci and he wasn’t having it!

      Believe me, you are better off with the paci. I’ll let you know the REAL end result when L gets braces. *sigh*

  2. says

    Definitely don’t buy blankets! We have gotten so many blankets from people. I like the Nose Frida too.

    Is there an advantage to having both a Moby and an Ergo? Besides that Jason feels silly wearing the Moby?
    Lee recently posted..Awesome Things

    • Emily says

      The Moby has a limited lifespan – good for newborns but it’s too stretchy to be safe for very long. A SSC (soft structured carrier) like the Ergo or Beco will give you the best combination of ease and longevity, since they can be used well into toddler years (my 3 year old still fits, and while I wouldn’t want to carry her TOO far, it’s useful for overwhelming situations, like airports). You can also wear them on your back.

      Hardcore baby-wearers use woven wraps, which also have a long lifespan, but they require more technique and are a little more involved, especially if one parent isn’t super “into” the whole idea and just wants a no-brainer solution. My friends who use them are super into them, though.

      • says

        Yes, what Emily said :) I was only able to wear my babies in the Moby until they were around 18lbs. Then they just didn’t feel secure anymore. However – they are a GREAT introduction into babywearing with newborns especially. You can also get it on you and then drive to your destination and then pop them in, which I appreciated with a newborn.

        I used the Beco with Livie until she was 3 — she would probably let me still wear her if I let her! She’s a snuggle bug though.

        Also – the woven wraps can get REALLLY pricey. I looked into it when I was testing out everything with B, but I had to reel myself in.

  3. says

    I am not sure what rock I have been living under, but I have never heard of a Wubbanub and I NEED this in my life! I am so sick of Chet spitting out his pacifier only to have it roll under the couch or coffee table. I am going to purchase this ASAP:-)
    I loved the Summer Infant Swaddle Me. I sucked at trying to swaddle with a blanket and these made my life so much easier.
    Oh, and I second the Nose Frida. Gross concept, but gosh darn, it works!!
    Amanda recently posted..Sunday Snaps

    • says

      It is the best invention EVER! Especially if your baby like the Soothie pacifiers.

      We are hit or miss on the Nose Frida – but he wasn’t really sick until recently and regardless of what we use on his nose, he’s terrified. Lol

    • says

      I saw that — I stocked up during their last $10 sale. I promise you – there is nothing cuter than their boys Rocker jeans. I think Alex needs a pair :)

  4. Emily says

    I would just like to add that if the parents-to-be are intending to cloth diaper, DO NOT BUY THEM DISPOSABLE DIAPERS. If they want to have disposables for backup, they’ll buy some. Not that you suggested this, Michelle, but I’ve seen that a lot – people clearly express that they’ll be cloth diapers, put cloth diapers on the registry or even a note that they will not be using disposables, and they still get a crap load of diapers at a shower. It’s insulting – even if it’s meant to be helpful, the message reads like, “Oh, you’ll never be able to keep up with cloth, you silly naive person!”

    This time around I’m really into our bouncy seat – Fern hated all baby holding contraptions, including but not limited to cribs, PnPs, bouncy seats, rock and play, bassinets, car seat (etc, etc, etc), but Harvey really likes the vibration and I ended up buying the same one that my mom borrowed when we visited her. Bare bones Fisher Price version with a few dangly toys and a D-battery powered vibration that is NOT ON A TIMER. I also am loving the CoCoLo Perfect Calming Center, which is a vibrating mat that goes under the crib mattress. Since our crib is side-carred to the bed, I can feel the vibration too and it’s like sleeping on one of those massage chairs. So awesome – I see why he likes it. It also has a remote that works from another room, and I can zap it on if I see him start to stir on the baby monitor while I’m working. Fern would have hated it, but great option for kids that like that type of soothing (he also has liked his carseat from day one, whereas Fern screamed pretty much until 6 months or so).

    I also love my Beco and Ergo. Aaron uses the Beco more – he likes that it has the panel so you can’t accidentally drop the baby out the bottom, since he is used to wearing a hiking pack with a waist belt, and it’s kind of habit for him to undo the waist strap first. I prefer the Ergo, since Fern did a lot of in/out/in/out when she was a little bigger and wanting to explore, plus I could put it on around her if she was asleep on my chest. I never figured out the Moby – Fern would be so riled up by the time that I got it on that she hated it and Harvey liked his carseat so much as a tiny that I let him stay in it when we ran errands (I know, not recommended but oh well!)

    My absolutely best purchase this time, though? The $40 Bugaboo Frog that I bought secondhand. I NEVER get crazy deals on stuff, but this was amazing (it’s discontinued, but the similar Bugaboo Chameleon retails for about $900. I put another $60 into it replacing one part and buying the carseat adapter (which was also amazing, because almost no strollers are compatible with our carseat, since it has an unusual base). We used the bassinet for him to sleep in for holiday travel and now I alternate using the fully recline-able seat and the carseat adapter. Love, love, love it. I get sweaty easily, so I like to have a stroller for all my crap even if I end up wearing baby.

    I think a great gift would be something like an Amazon gift card, though (or a Prime membership if they don’t have one!) Now that I’ve had two very different kids, I think there is something to be said about buying the minimum and stocking up on Amazon credit so that when you realize, hey, this kid hates being swaddled but loves white noise, you can have a great white noise machine overnighted to your house and you aren’t stuck with a bunch of those swaddle sacks (or whatever, but we sold a bunch of stuff that Fern never used and would have been better served not buying it in the first place).

    • says

      I was going to add that to my post – but then thought, well even if they got them — they could return them! Lol. That’s just me not thinking anything of it though! I would really hope that they would instead by cloth diapering gear (like inserts and diapers) and whatnot. But I guess not, huh?

      That is definitely an amazing deal on your stroller! I feel that way about the car seat that Jamie found for me (less than $50 for the Britax B-Safe).

      I would like to like the Ergo more – maybe I just can’t get it on right? I need an expert to help. Can’t you just fly the kids down here for the weekend?? :)

      I agree on Amazon! It’s been such a lifesaver this time with E. How did I survive without it for B and L??

  5. Angie says

    I agree with all these items! I also think books make great gifts too. Even if you get multiple copies of one they often get destroyed!

    • says

      Oh yes! I actually really liked this Aiden and Anise burp clothes I bought this time around — where they act as both a burp cloth AND a big (not that we really use it as a burp cloth that often, lol).

  6. says

    We always do the ‘need it in the middle of the night stuff’ …Mylicon, infant Tylenol, etc. Just did that last wknd for our friends and their twins. Plus an obscene number of outfits. But they were on sale! And twins! :)

    • says

      I think that’s a good call too! I seriously have to CONTAIN myself when it comes to baby shopping because I would buy everything. Seriously – I’d just wrap up the store if I could. OMG, I cannot imagine having twins. Can you??

  7. says

    This is a great list. I wish that Baby E liked her wabanub. The only thing that saved us when she finally started taking a paci was a strap for it.

    The Nose Frida has been a lifesaver for us. I would also recommend this diaper cream (http://www.citymaidgreen.com/products-page/lil-squirts-baby/lil-squirts-baby-diaper-balm/) . It is all natural, coconut oil based and made locally.

    The other thing that would be great is more outfits in larger sized. We got a ton of 3 and 6 month things, but not much that was bigger.

    BTW…I can’t believe how big E is getting!
    Heather recently posted..Best Damn Race Orlando Race Recap

    • says

      The Nose Frida has been hot or miss with us. We (thankfully) didn’t need to use it much when he was younger – but now it’s just like the other thing that we used with the other kids. They were terrified of it, but it did the job! Thankfully, we taught B and L how to blow their nose early.

      I agree on bigger outfits – although that can also be hit or miss when weather is involved. Not that it’s really involved here. Lol!

      I can’t believe how big BOTH of our kids are getting. And that we didn’t meet last weekend. Lol.

  8. Gina says

    I also love to shop off the registry;-) Both of my kiddos swear by their luvies (small snuggly blankets). We got one that my 2 year old still has to have nightly as a surprise gift that came in the mail from my husband’s cousin & my mom had to buy one for Shelby. It’s kind of my favorite gift to give now! I know not all kids take to a special blanket, but it’s so fun to find stuff not at Target sometimes:-) Not hating on Target…they take lots of my $$. Also their brand diapers work awesome & I’ve used them with both kiddos & save a lot of $ for anyone wondering about brands:-)

    • says

      Agreed on finding stuff not at Target! AND on the Target diapers. I actually find the best deal through Amazon, but if I’m short and can’t wait 2 days, Target is definitely my backup!

      And Livie still has her blankie she’s received as a gift. She’ll be 5 in 3 weeks – she loves that thing!

    • says

      I feel like with each kid they keep coming out with more and more awesome baby products that make life easier! Another thing I would potentially add to the list is a Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. Not sure if that was around when you had H, but I wish I had known about it sooner!

  9. says

    Those Tommee Tippee bibs are THE BEST! We just got them and love them. H is a super messy eater, which is adorable but not fun to clean up after. There’s still a big mess but at least half of it now gets in the bib. (Though she did dump the bib over her face yesterday, but it was cute.) My neighbor lent us her Rock n Play and it was amazing when H wouldn’t sleep anywhere else (her bassinet went unused and at 2 months we transferred her to the co-sleeper without problem, then the crib was an easy transition from there). I love my Ergo but my husband doesn’t like it and honestly I’m fine with that because there’s almost a food difference in height between us and we would constantly be changing the straps if we were both using it.

    I’m going to look into the Sleep Sheep. H goes to sleep just fine at bedtime but has been waking up tons at night and needing us to rock/nurse (well, I nurse, J can’t do that) her back to sleep. It’s been going on for weeks now and we can’t seem to break her of this habit (cry it out isn’t our thing). Maybe a soother would be helpful for her. Can the baby turn it on herself during the night if she needs it or would we have to run in there? Or does it run continuously? I will need to research this. Hmmm…
    Jen recently posted..Nine months!

    • says

      If you need continuous white noise, I recommend something else. We used this one with the other two: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/1/24046-homedics-soundspa-sound-machine.html. It died after 4 years of use – which isn’t bad for $20!

      We go back and forth with sleep issues too. He’s currently getting 2 more teeth and trying to either crawl or something – so he’s a mess at night. I know once he starts walking it will get better – and I figure that will be sometime in the next 4-5 months, so there’s an end in sight!!

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