Gift for a newborn baby
January 1, 2013 5:26 PM   Subscribe

New parents: what is a useful gift for you/and or your newborn baby?

My aunt is pregnant, and will be giving birth to a baby girl soon. This is the first pregnancy in a while in this family and I'm not entirely sure what to gift her! I know they will be getting a lot of clothes, so that is covered. So to all new parents: what is something you wish you got, or got more of, when you had your baby?
posted by raintree to Society & Culture (35 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
posted by k8t at 5:29 PM on January 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: k8t: Covered! :) the couple lives with my uncle's parents, so cooking/cleaning will be taken care of.
posted by raintree at 5:38 PM on January 1, 2013

I got my friend a baby bag/diaper bag, to hold all the crap she had to haul around, and she seemed very happy to get it.
posted by instead of three wishes at 5:39 PM on January 1, 2013

I haven't had kids, but I keep hearing that it's difficult to have too many receiving blankets, so I tend to get a bunch of those for expectant parents.
also, kid-appropriate sunscreen, since a lot of people don't think of it right off.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:50 PM on January 1, 2013

When asking our friends with newborns what they need/would like, we've had two specific requests for a mobile to hang over the crib.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:51 PM on January 1, 2013

I got this Skip Hop Pronto changing station for my daughter when she was a newborn. I used it constantly. It was good when out and about, either as part of a larger diaper bag or when the baby got bigger as something that could be thrown in the car/stroller on its own. My husband liked it too since it wasn't a purse-like diaper bag.

Outside of that, I liked getting diapers (since we went through so many in those early days), wipes and cute clothes. I know you said clothes were covered, but my girl got so many cute outfits (it's fun to shop for baby clothes), and I liked being able to dress the child in an outfit given to them by the person we were going to visit that day.
posted by melissa at 6:02 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

My latest go-to baby gifts which are big hits:
1.) Snuggledry towel. It's a giant apron made out of a soft bamboo textile that the parent wears while bathing the baby. You lift the baby right onto your chest and you fold the bottom of the apron/towel around the baby. It's much easier to handle a slippery baby with this towel plus it provides immediate warmth and security. The added bonus is this apron style keeps the parent dry during bath time.
2.) Tummy Tub. This is a bath tub that is shaped like a womb. It makes the baby feel secure and warm because he can cuddle up in the fetal position. I have seen a number of newborns and infants being bathed in the Tummy Tub and not once has one of them cried. This is especially nice for first time parents because it's very stressful to bathe a newborn, especially if he's screaming. Yes, it looks like a bucket but it is not. It's a carefully designed product that is safe for babies.
posted by Soda-Da at 6:03 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Food delivery service and/or frozen meals for after the baby came we're the best gifts I got. But if you are talking about material things to wrap up and give then I appreciated most our becco baby carrier. Is she registered? Anything you get her you should double check the registry first.
posted by teamnap at 6:03 PM on January 1, 2013

I'm on my phone, do cant get links, but Velcro closure swaddling blankets are the thing. After that, gift cards to Target or Walmart. I have a five-month old.
posted by OmieWise at 6:08 PM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Rectangles of cloth, in various sizes and materials--rags, blankets, cloth diapers (make great rags if not used as diapers), burp cloths,....

Things you can enjoy quietly with only one hand free and a baby on your lap?

Midnight snacks to keep you going through the early am feedings?

Baby books and toys.
posted by bfields at 6:13 PM on January 1, 2013

Sophie the Giraffe is an awesome teething toy. My baby loves it and apparently so do many other babies, read the reviews.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 6:13 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

posted by Leezie at 6:17 PM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Among other things, we were given loads of books. None were useful immediately, though the board books became so by 3 months. Still, it's awesome to have the beginnings of a library.
posted by kestrel251 at 6:18 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Braun Thermoscan thermometer. Wouldn't be without mine, a godsend when you need to get an accurate temperature reading from a fussy, wriggly baby.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 6:18 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Diapers. Sized bigger than the existing kid. Size two for a newborns won't get used immediately, but I really appreciate that stocked cabinet.
posted by mearls at 6:25 PM on January 1, 2013

Depending on how confident you are with newborn babies, and how well the parents know and trust you:

Wait a week or 3, or until parent is crying with sleep deprivation over the phone. Make or purchase delicious, healthy lunch for parent/s. Go to house. Remove baby from premises. Take baby to nearest mall/park/wherever. Walk baby until next feed is required, or it screams, or otherwise as instructed by parent/s.

Disclaimer: IANAP (I am not a parent), but I have done this for several close friends. Some of them have CRIED with gratitude.

(Admittedly, not really a physical gift for the baby. But certainly a gift for the parents, which indirectly is sure to benefit the baby.)
posted by Salamander at 6:28 PM on January 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

Does your aunt have a baby registry? if so, get her something off of it. At the very least, take note of what has already been purchased from it. It' s not very helpful to get her something that she either already has or doesn' t want. (I have a 12 week old).
posted by amro at 6:37 PM on January 1, 2013

Lately I've been giving new parents of my acquaintance aden + anais swaddle blankets. They seem ridiculously expensive and perhaps a little twee, but man do they get used. They're big enough to firmly swaddle even a bigger baby, and light enough for summer usage. They're also nice for general wrapping/propping/cushioning/covering the carseat needs for infants. My cheapest friends, the ones who got everything for their baby off of craigslist or at garage sales, recently bought a new set because they were using the ones I gave them so much.
posted by katemonster at 6:40 PM on January 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Salamander has a nice thought but you need to determine if your aunt and uncle are the type to go for this. No one was going to take my baby out without me at that age.
posted by amro at 6:41 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

(father of a 5-month-old here)

Don't get them anything they can't use right away- size 2 diapers and Sophie the Giraffe are nice, but until the kid can use them they're just in the way.

Some stuff not mentioned that was really useful in the first month:
- Sleep Sheep
- Burp cloths. You can never have too many. Seriously. These guys do personalized burp cloths that are (a) totally cute and (b) high quality.
- NoseFrida Snotsucker
posted by mkultra at 6:48 PM on January 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am not yet a parent, but I have been doing a lot of research on this because my baby is due in a month. I also think that gifts of time or chores are lovely and one of the best gifts a person could receive, but if you are looking for suggestions of stuff....:

Does she not have a baby shower registry? If not, you will probably want to get her something that is either a thing where having a lot of them is a good thing (burp cloths, diapers, etc) or something that's sort of unusual, to make sure she won't get the same thing from someone else. I think something like a mobile might not be a great idea if you haven't been asked for one, because a lot of people get excited about decorating the nursery in a certain way, and you want to make sure you're getting something they'll like.

A few of the more unusual things on my registry include:
- NoseFrida nasal aspirator (read the reviews, good for a laugh)
- A Pottery Barn hooded towel
- Zutano owl blanket - I just think this is adorable

oh and I got the aden+anais swaddle blankets and they seem really nice and come highly recommended. Regarding the thermometer suggestion, ear thermometers may be nice and easy, but they are not accurate (sorry NDD). To get an accurate temperature, you need a rectal thermometer. For more ideas, check out Lucie's List - it's an awesome website for baby newbies.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:50 PM on January 1, 2013

x-posted I can't believe someone else came and recommended the snot sucker at the same time! ha! jinx...
posted by treehorn+bunny at 6:51 PM on January 1, 2013

A bunch of giftcards to take out of local restaurants is nice. Swaddle blankets are nice too.
posted by k8t at 7:14 PM on January 1, 2013

Not a parent, but the presents I've bought for new parents that have gone over well have always been outfits for the 3-6 month range appropriate to the season they will be then. New parents now will have lots of newborn and 0-3 winter stuff, but might not have 3-6 month spring/summer stuff.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:51 PM on January 1, 2013

My favorite baby shower gifts were gift cards (Amazon and American Express. Avoid Babies R Us, their prices are way too high), which let us buy all the things we didn't receive from the registry (which not many people used). I would recommend avoiding blankets because you can be sure plenty of other people will be supplying them.

You can't go wrong with clothes, anything larger than newborn size would be good (such as 0-3 months). I've read that you should avoid buying newborn sized clothes because the baby could be too big for them as soon as he's born, but we didn't have that problem.
posted by Circumstands at 7:59 PM on January 1, 2013

amro - Oh, definitely. You don't just turn up and say 'I'm taking your baby'. You bring the lunch and *offer* to take the baby out in its stroller. But yeah, it only works if the parents trust that the baby is as safe with you as it is with them. (I was surprised/flattered at how many of my family and friends apparently do think this.)
posted by Salamander at 8:09 PM on January 1, 2013

There were a bunch of recent threads on this subject. I will say, as the mom of a 4 month old, that yes, there can be too many blankets. We have roughly eleven million, and you need about four, maybe eight if your kid is especially pukey. Swaddles are good, though my kid figured out how to break out of the velcro in about two minutes, after which we switched to the zippered kind. The Sleep Sheep is lovely, but has only 22 & 44 minute cycles, so not so useful if you want to keep it on in the kid's room all night. I'd say that you might consider the parents and their social circle - if they're likely to get only whimsical cute gifts, then definitely get them something practical, but if they're likely to get mostly practical gifts, a cute stuffed animal or a little heirloom of some sort wouldn't hurt. In everyone's desire to be helpful, we didn't get much in the way of sweet teddy bears or things for the kid to treasure always.
posted by judith at 8:13 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I paid my 5 bucks to offer some suggestions :). My daughter is 13 weeks so this is all pretty fresh still.

- Thirding the NoseFrida and Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. The NoseFrida gets some serious snot out. It is truly amazing. The Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are large enough and stretchy enough to get a good tight swaddle and are flexible in use. I use them all. the. time - cover her cars eat out in public, for night swaddling, during the day when it's warm and she needs just a light blanket. Both are worth the money.

- WHITE NOISE! I downloaded this on iTunes but you could purchase the CD. One night I couldn't get her to settle down so I thought I would try it and she practically went comatose in my arms immediately. I have my old iPhone in her crib overnight playing this on loop. It sounds crazy but she has been sleeping at least 7+ hour stretches followed by 3-4 hour stretches for me since I started doing this at 7 weeks when she moved to her crib. I also use it at nap time during the day, it makes her realize its time to sleep and she goes down without issue pretty quickly. We also have a Sleep Sheep and while its certainly more cuddly than my old iPhone, it stops after 45 minutes so when she wakes in the middle of the night, she doesn't settle herself down as easily. BEST SIX BUCKS EVER. I even use it in the car through the car stereo system and it keeps her from crying.

- Pacifier clips. My daughter was constantly losing hers and they would always fall on the floor. I got sick of having to bend down to pick up a pacifier while holding a baby and having to wash them all the time. Every morning I clip one to her and we are good to go. No more looking for lost pacifiers because when you need one, you NEED one.

- Rock n Play. She slept in this for 7 weeks at night and now I use it when we are hanging out, to bring her into the bathroom while I need to shower, and for overnight trips we have taken. It folds flat and is super light. She loved it from day one.

- Snugabunny Swing. I have practically cried with appreciation for my friend that gifted this. it was a god send at 3 am when nothing else would settle her down. Bonus points for not requiring batteries.

- Speaking of batteries, I am now getting rechargeable batteries because god, we go through a lot.

- Pack n Play w Newborn Napper and changing station. This is set up downstairs and its great to have a fully stocked changing station downstairs. She also loved the newborn Napper. It vibrates and would lull her to sleep.

- Kick n Play Piano. She has been into this since around 9 weeks. She will entertain herself on this for 30-60 minutes. Once she could use this, I was able to eat with two hands and do housework again. Added bonus is all the kicking helps her move gas along.

- Arm n Hammer diaper pail. I have yet to smell a dirty diaper from this thing.

- we received a personalized baby blanket from this etsy shop and its great. It has her initials on it so it won't get lost at daycare, is super cute and packs well in the diaper bag. I actually purchased two more so we can leave one in the diaper bag, one at daycare and one at home.

- I was gifted quite a few sleepers and a few weeks after my daughter was born, went out and purchased more of the footed Sleepers with zippers instead of snaps. Fumbling with those snaps in the middle of the night while sleep deprived sucked.

- maybe more for the parents than the baby but right after we had the baby, we got a Keurig and saw a lot of use, especially in those first sleep deprived weeks.
posted by polkadot at 8:27 PM on January 1, 2013 [7 favorites]

Oh yeah...and include gift receipts. My daughter has four piggy banks, three my first Christmas ornaments and two of the same talking dog.
posted by polkadot at 8:31 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Typing one handed with baby in my left arm, happily wrapped up in a miracle blanket.

I'd also recommend (depending on your budget) the momaroo, something interactive for tummy time, kicky pants pajamas are deliciously soft and comfy, a seamless gift certificate, a baby k'tan carrier, and some landing pads for baby to place strategically around the house (I love the Fisher Pice rock n sleep).

posted by ohyouknow at 9:55 PM on January 1, 2013

My friend had a baby a couple weeks ago.. I waited it out to see what she would need, and got her a wet/dry bag.
posted by getawaysticks at 6:13 AM on January 2, 2013

Two things I was surprised I didn't have enough of: crib sheets and onesies.
posted by Eicats at 7:16 AM on January 2, 2013

I'd like to nix the receiving blanket notion, because (1) they're basically too small to use for anything after about the first 6 weeks, and (2) everybody gets 10x the number they actually need or use for... whatever they're good for.

Baby 411 -- lots of people will give baby picture books, but what you really need is a good resource for information and reality-checking, and this one covers everything you need to know for the first year. If you could only have one parenting book, this would be it, for everything from diapers to solid foods, comparisons of the various sleep advice books, and what science says about Dr. Spock, all without fearmongering or dismissing popular approaches. They'll thank you again and again.

Second favorite would be a small-size sleep sack -- parents these days are paranoid about SIDS and babies suffocating, and a sleep sack allows you to keep them warm without worrying about the blanket rolling off or sliding over their head. No tight binding swaddle, but we used these until age 2-3. Bonus that it slows their mastery of the dreaded Climbing Out of Crib skill...
posted by acm at 7:34 AM on January 2, 2013

After the birth of my child, I discovered I really appreciated any gift cards/certificates from general purpose stores or supermarkets. Yes, the clothes and toys and blankets that we received from relatives were put to good use, but the extra money in those cards didn't require the kid be a certain age, as I always needed paper towels, diapers, formula, or other things from warehouse stores. You could check out places like Costco, Target, or even Amazon if the parents do online shopping.

Or, you could chip in towards the purchase of additional car seats if you expect more than one car to ferry the kid about.
posted by CancerMan at 10:05 AM on January 2, 2013

Seconding the Snugabunny Swing. Like polkadot says above, it always seemed to work when nothing else did.
posted by mkultra at 6:45 PM on January 2, 2013

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