Baby gift for parents in small apt.? (in Greece)
February 27, 2015 2:54 AM   Subscribe

My neighbors are having a baby soon, and I'd like ideas for something useful to give them that won't end up just taking up space in a small apartment. I'll probably be ordering from Amazon UK or eBay UK. We're casual friendly but not close, so offering cooking or housecleaning help wouldn't be appropriate. (I feel pretty sure the new mom will have her mother with her at first.)

There's no registry, and food items aren't a good option because they have a small shop selling specialty food products (organic, etc.), so can get whatever they want via their suppliers.

Something I saw recommended in a different new baby thread was a nursing pillow (for example, this), but I worry about this in terms of space, and in case they already have something similar (I don't know how common these are).

This is their first baby, and their apartment is one bedroom, double living room (there's a sliding door in-between, so one larger or two smaller rooms), very small kitchen, altogether maybe around 70 sq m / 750 sq ft., or less, without much storage space. Thanks for any ideas!
posted by taz to Shopping (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Having just had Peanut #2 almost a month ago, I can tell you that the most useful items I got from Peanut #1 were the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets and packs of washcloths; the workhorses are these Ikea ones, but I also have some softer terrycloth ones that get a lot of use as well. The blankets work as swaddles, breastfeeding covers, stroller shades, and even a makeshift scarf to cover up boob leakage (if you don't get the cutiesier ones with animals or obvious baby prints).

Alternative idea is buy an outfit for the future - everyone gives you 3 month old stuff. Then you hit 6/9/12 months and your enormous stockpile of thank-god-i-don't-have-to-do-laundry-so-often baby clothes evaporates. :P
posted by romakimmy at 3:10 AM on February 27, 2015 [7 favorites]

Reposting my answer from a similar thread:
We received a pack of bandana-style "dribble bibs" (this brand which are available on Amazon UK), which we'd never thought of getting but turned out to be super-useful for a couple of years. They stop the dribble (and puke) from soaking the baby's clothes to save you from having to change baby-grows so often.

Seconding getting clothes for ages 6mo upwards. You get tons of newborn sized stuff so when the baby starts growing it's good to have something ready.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:38 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just favorited romakimmy's answer because those Aden and Anais blankets are THE BOMB. I remember being shocked by the price initially when I went to buy some for a friend, but they are totally worth it. They are soft, light, useful, and durable. In addition to all the baby uses she listed, my preschooler still uses one as a nap time blanket every day at school. We always pack one on a trip since they fold up small but spread out big. She wraps up her dolls in them. They are fantastic! (do not work for A&A, just enthusiastic!)
posted by chocotaco at 3:58 AM on February 27, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like to give a Flensted Mobile because they fold up flat and can be added to any room corner. They come in enough colors and styles that you can often choose a design that feels personal.
posted by xo at 5:31 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

I really like our Phil and Ted's "Table Time" chair. Clips onto our small kitchen table and doesn't take up tons of floorspace like a high chair. We've used it successfully with three kids.

It's not compatible with every table or child, and isn't needed until the kid can sit up on its own. But it's what I get for new parents with small living spaces.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 5:51 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Socks! Babies need socks and babies lose socks. You can never have too many. Get a large pack of all the same size and color so that mom doesn't have to bother trying to match them up. That and a small stuffed animal and a bottle of wine for the new parents would be perfect.
posted by myselfasme at 6:08 AM on February 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here's what I always get new parents: terry cloth bibs - ones that go over the head if possible, not the kind that fasten in the back - and a copy of Little Gorilla (board book format.) Before my kid was born I had NO IDEA how many bibs babies go through - they can always use some more.

Both of those are small enough to not be in the way, and the book is a nice personal touch, I think. I suggested Little Gorilla because that's what we read but any classic board book will do. Goodnight Moon is another favorite of mine.
posted by lyssabee at 6:09 AM on February 27, 2015

Gift card, to Amazon UK or a local store with baby stuff.
posted by mchorn at 6:32 AM on February 27, 2015

I'm going to counter some above answers and say I never really used those Aden and Anais blankets. *shrug*

But the 9month+ sized clothes were very refreshing to have when the baby grew a size in a night! And a nice pack of bibs were most welcome, too.

A cute baby book - for the first almost year, soft fabric books to chew on are awesome, or a board book or two - along with a soft teething toy are cute and small and will definitely get used.
posted by jillithd at 7:22 AM on February 27, 2015

I think you can never go wrong with books.

But, in a situation where you are casual friends and perhaps don't know the couples' tastes very well, I think the best gift is always a consumable - diapers (size 2, not newborn or size 1, they probably already have plenty), wipes, a modest gift card, a meal (even if her mom is there, her mom might like a break from cooking once in a while too).

Otherwise, you don't know what they already have. When you have a baby people who've already had their babies just give you whatever they have lying around that's taking up space. She might already have two nursing pillows. Her cousin may be giving her ALL of her kids' hand-me-downs, so another outfit might end up being one that doesn't even get used (new with tags but re-gifted outfits are extremely common).

To even think of giving a gift is a very nice gesture on your part.
posted by vignettist at 7:29 AM on February 27, 2015

I have a two-month-old - these are the compact things we used most in the first months:

Phil & Ted's Nest - Portable bassinet that folds up flat and can be tucked under a bed. I use it all the time when the baby's going to need to nap somewhere when we're out. The design is elegantly simple and it really is amazingly useful.

Nice Blankets - These are really useful for a newborn. Consider the climate where they are and the time of year the baby is born - I personally I preferred flannel to those A&A ones because my baby was born in winter.

Burp cloths - You actually use these all the time, so it's really nice to have ones that are cute.

Bouncer - These are so helpful for young babies - if you can find one that folds flat it will be well worth it.

Books - For the first month or two, black and white books or cards really help entertain the kiddo.
posted by leitmotif at 7:35 AM on February 27, 2015

We live in a small apartment and had a baby last May. Don't get them diapers. They may have nowhere to store more than the box they're currently using. To a lesser degree, same with the clothes in a size up... I didn't really appreciate things that I had to find a place to keep, but wouldn't be used for a while. I did use the hell out of my Aiden & Anais swaddle blankets in the first few months, and they're pretty compact, and feel luxurious. The bouncer is also a great suggestion of you know that they don't have one yet. However, I think the Amazon gift card is absolutely the best suggestion for a casual friend. It is SO NICE to have stuff delivered.
posted by Kriesa at 7:37 AM on February 27, 2015

Best answer: Those Aden and Anais blankets are now my go-to shower baby shower gift because they were so insanely useful (swaddle! sunshade! nursing cover! lie-on-the-grass blanket!) , didn't take up much space, and they are kind of expensive so I feel like parents are less likely to buy them for themselves . My older kid loved his so much that we had to get a second 4-pack when our second child was born, because he was still using his for naps at preschool and to wrap up his stuffed animals. Alternatively, gift card--I felt like I was ordering stuff from Amazon every 3 days as a new mom. I'm not sure what the cultural norms in Greece around giving gift cards are, though, so you may be better off with a tangible present.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 7:54 AM on February 27, 2015

THANK YOU for considering apartment size! We have a toddler now in a small apartment and you're absolutely right that even something as innocent as a nursing pillow is large enough to be troublesome - we have zero extra storage space. Swaddle blankets and burp cloths may be "uninspired" suggestions, but you can hardly have too many and they are very easy to store. And honestly, I would have been so grateful for an Amazon gift card. With a small baby needs come up very suddenly, and it's hard to get out, and it's awesome if you can just press a button and order something.
posted by Cygnet at 9:09 AM on February 27, 2015

I've got a two month old and honestly I would appreciate food the most. Is there a local place that does delivery and offers gift cards?
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 11:15 AM on February 27, 2015

Socks - yes, a dozen banby socks, size 6 months, all one color.
flannel blankets - can be used as a changing mat, blanket, towel.
thermometer & infant tylenol
A wonderful children's book
CD(.mp3s?) of lullabies.
posted by theora55 at 12:07 PM on February 27, 2015

Some sort of rug or mat to play on on the floor or outside. I saw these in a store and mentioned it to my daughter, who has twin 1-year,-olds, and she thought they could be useful.
posted by SemiSalt at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2015

Now that the munchkins are both sleeping (for now), more from my personal essentials list:
- flat cloth diapers. Useful as the obvious but also as super absorbent burp cloths, changing mat, puke catcher when your 3 month old gets the stomach flu, or any other use for a super absorbent wad of cloth.
- pure lanolin nipple cream: whether or not she breastfeeds is irrelevant. When Peanut #1's diaper rash got progressively worse with each of the most popular diaper creams, I smeared this on her butt in desperation one night until I could go buy yet another brand. Imagine my surprise when the next morning saw it almost completely healed. Never used anything else since. Also works as baby lip balm or on any other chapped/chaffed skin.
- n-thing the socks and I will pimp Trumpette brand socks as the brand that actually stayed on her feet.
- kimono style onesies: I had a hard time finding these here in Italy, but for those first few months i love them. They can also be good for getting new daddies comfortable changing clothes since there's no over-the-head wrangling.
- nasal aspirator AKA the booger ball. You don't get one in the hospital here like I remember happening in the States with my siblings. And you will inevitably need one in the middle of the night when everything is closed.

I had a lot of infant hats and was gifted many bibs - Peanut #1 abso-effing-loutly would (and will) have nothing to do with either. Peanut #2 is proving slightly more amenable to the hats thus far, so YMMV.

I also received a metric buttload of baby bath towels - it seems to be a go-to gift here in Italy. They get used a lot since I have them, but a regular towel does the same job.
posted by romakimmy at 1:23 PM on February 27, 2015

Sophie the Giraffe is now my go-to gift. Absolutely fantastic for teething babies. Blankets - meh. We've received a ton of them but only used one or two the whole time. A pack of diapers may be good, but this may be an issue if they're using only a certain brand (due to diaper rash or allergies). I also like the suggestions for books or bigger clothes. And the booger sucker is also a great gift if they don't already have one!
posted by gakiko at 2:23 PM on February 27, 2015

someone mentioned a nasal aspiratior, so I will say that this works way better than the bulb:
posted by sabh at 3:48 PM on February 27, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you so much, everyone! I went with a trio of Aden and Anais swaddles in bamboo, with nice patterns, as romakitty mentions they can "even a makeshift scarf to cover up boob leakage (if you don't get the cutiesier ones with animals or obvious baby prints)."

I like that these won't take up any extra room and are light and breathable so will be good for our many warm-to-hot weather months that will start, ohhhh... any minute now. *looks at watch*

Thanks again; all your suggestions were so great, I had to fight the very strong impulse to buy a pile of stuff. :)
posted by taz at 4:06 AM on March 2, 2015

Response by poster: Baby girl made her debut into the big world yesterday, and her parents are SUPER SUPER HAPPY with the gift, so thanks once more for the all the great ideas, kind friends.
posted by taz at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

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