An X-mas gift for parents-to-be, to improve quality of life?
December 3, 2018 5:07 PM   Subscribe

My husband and I are expecting a kiddo next year, in late February or early March. We are very lucky to be in a good financial position so we don't really want for much. My father-in-law has been asking us for gift ideas for this Christmas, and we're at a loss. Do you have any recommendations for items that really improved your own quality of life post-kid but wasn't specifically for the kid?

He has an ample budget. For example, he offered new iPad Pros or an espresso machine, neither of which we need. Ideas don't have to be that pricey, though.

Things to strike off the list right away:

We have a "smart home", so we're pretty good there, unless you have some really niche or weird suggestions. Please no baby-specific stuff, as we have a lot of that stuff on our registry.

We have a bidet. We love it. Check.

We have 8 million different ways of making coffee, including a coffee robot that's due to arrive in a few weeks. We're SO good there that it's not even funny.

We'd like to avoid asking for a gift card or cards, though I recognize how helpful that will be later. We hope to get enough at the shower.

About us: we're mid-thirties nerdy people who enjoy video games, board games, tv/movies, cooking/food science, art, podcasts, etc.

Thanks for your help!
posted by ancient star to Shopping (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The Go To response for people who apparently have everything for post-kid convenience seems to be housekeeping services or food delivery options from your fave restaurants.
posted by HeyAllie at 5:11 PM on December 3, 2018 [10 favorites]

Do you have comfortable seating (couch, chairs) in both your living area and the nursery? You will be sitting a lot, especially at first (even if you don't nurse). As time goes on and your kid is mobile, s/he will eventually get sick and you'll want a comfortable place where you can (preferably) recline and be comfortable under a slumbering toddler for a while. (NOTE: Do not fall asleep while holding an infant under 1 while in such a seat, because of the SIDS risk.)

Also, the thing I had and wished I still had, even with a near 2-year-old, is a bed in his room (if you have the space). It was helpful when I first moved him to his own room and wanted to sleep in there with him. It was (for me) much more comfortable for nursing than a chair (if you want to nurse, consider Googling "Natural Breastfeeding Nancy Mohrbacher, which pretty much saved my nursing relationship because I could do it without hurting my back). Occasionally I wanted to sleep in there if my husband was sick and I wanted to give him the bed (or vice versa). Now that my toddler is getting daycare germs, it would be great to have a place to sleep when I want to be with him for overnight illnesses.

posted by CiaoMela at 5:19 PM on December 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: We really don't want to ask for a gift card, if that wasn't clear. We already get regular cleaning services. Thank you!

Update: Yes, we're good on furniture, too! I have a glider/recliner and we have a nice couch with a pullout twin mattress in the room that will likely be the nursery.

And again, we really don't want to ask him for baby-specific items, as we're having a shower and most of that is handled there. And a lot of this falls into the gift-card territory, which we're hoping to avoid!
posted by ancient star at 5:19 PM on December 3, 2018

Diaper service.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 5:20 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

A Dutillier rocking chair.
posted by k8t at 5:25 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Laundry service
Membership to a gym with onsite childcare
Audiobooks and good earbuds, for those long periods of sitting/lying/pacing waiting for baby to be done eating/falling asleep/crying
posted by Bardolph at 5:28 PM on December 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

After you get the hang of it breastfeeding is boring. Are there any movies or tv shows you’d like to have on DVD? It’s also a good time to ask for a new e- reader or books.

I liked having books of poetry to read to the baby.
posted by MadMadam at 5:28 PM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do you have a sous vide set up? Easy and forgiving once you have the baby, no overcooking. A subscription to Cook’s Illustrated or NYT food or something similar?
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 5:31 PM on December 3, 2018

A Nintendo Switch. My husband and I both played a lot of Breath of the Wild while stuck under a sleeping baby. It's nice because it's portable. Advise digital downloads is games so you don't realize too late you don't have the right card.

A remote starter for your car so you don't have to take the baby out into a freezing car.

An Instant Pot. I got mine two weeks after my baby was born and a year later we're still using it. Especially useful because it doesn't need attention when it's done cooking.

A robot vacuum. I don't actually have one and my baby is terrified of his grandfather's so not totally sure about that suggestion.
posted by carolr at 5:36 PM on December 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

A babymoon. A weekend getaway soon, while you are still able to travel, with a nice hotel and some adult-y activities that you can’t bring a babe to. I cherish that last fling with my partner before our lives got turned upside down.
posted by Liesl at 5:40 PM on December 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

A really good sound machine!
posted by nkknkk at 5:44 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's boring, but: Really nice sheets, pillows, and PJs/robes. And a white noise machine for your room, not the baby's. My kid was an exceptionally bad sleeper so my perspective is skewed, but I simply cannot describe how good it felt to put on silk pajamas and slide into a comfortable bed. Post-baby, sleep feels like a holy act.
posted by xylothek at 6:00 PM on December 3, 2018 [7 favorites]

This is kind of gift card-y, but having a doula come at night so we can get a full night's sleep (or as close to it as possible with an infant) has really improved our lives.
posted by vakker at 6:00 PM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

One thing you might not know about baby supplies is that if you want one of it, you might actually want three of it, because effluvia. Again that’s not precisely for you (but during infancy I personally didn’t have enough time to myself for there to be a “me” that things could be for, so such a division was moot, but ymmv).
posted by eirias at 6:05 PM on December 3, 2018

Food of month club. If does it for a whole year, it is probably in the right price range.
Here are some ideas, looking for things that would have appealed to me (minimal prep, no too much sugar, your choices could be very different):

Fruit of the Month - gorgeous fruit just shows up, all you have to do is wash and eat plus healthy
Beer of the Month - beer is supposed to be good for nursing mothers, YMMV
Cheese of the Month
Smoked Salmon of the Month.
posted by metahawk at 6:09 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

A good camera is nice to have with a baby around.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:40 PM on December 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Is there anything you look at and think, eventually/soon I’ll need to get a new $foo? Some examples

Shower curtain and/or bath mats (if your shower curtain rings annoy you now, replace those as well)
Towels (Keep the old ones. So much kid barf.)
Can opener, vegetable peeler, knives
Cooking spoons, trivets, spoon rests
Pots and pans
Crock pot, sous vide, instant pot
Dish towels or kitchen rug
Couch blanket
Magazine subscriptions
Grooming supplies (nail clippers, tweezers, hair dryer, electric toothbrush)
A soft rug for the room that might be the nursery
Throw blankets for couch
Upgraded cases for your phones and gadgets. They’re not getting dropped by a toddler until suddenly they are. Might as well have one you like the look of before you have to emergency run and grab whatever is available.

Things you might enjoy but not need to replace
Art, with framing for any space in your home
Wine! A case or two of your favorite
Novels you enjoyed and might want to read aloud to infant because you know you liked them. Infants don’t need you to read baby books, but they do seem to benefit from being read to.
posted by bilabial at 7:01 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

A VitaMix - smoothies for sleep deprived &/or nursing parent, Baby purées ahead.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Robot vacuum!

We have two small kids + dog and an every-other-week scheduled housecleaning, and still the robot vacuum was life-changing in terms of really increasing the cleanliness of our floors (which makes everything else feel way cleaner). We run it in the middle of the night and every morning our floor is just really, really clean.

For both kids, I ended up spending a LOT of time on the floor for the first two years, doing tummy time or putting the baby in a floor gym or reading to them. Having a grimy floor just feels gross when you're rolling around on it all the time--but pulling out a vacuum myself felt impossible when baby was awake (would cause tears), and I was nowhere near motivated enough to vacuum during precious naptime or after the baby fell asleep.

Literally, the only beef I have with my robot vacuum is that I didn't get it a year earlier, when my kid was 2 months old. It honestly would have made such a difference, worth every penny of the $300 or so you spend on it.
posted by iminurmefi at 7:20 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Membership to a local children's museum or a toy library (if there is one in your area).

If you are looking for more tangible things: meal subscription services.
posted by Saminal at 7:23 PM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ha, I was going to say Rumba too!

Family photos with newborn?

If you leave home to exercise now, that might not happen much, so gym equipment?

In about 18 months, if you have a yard, you're going to be wanting a gym for your kid and good patio furniture for yourselves to socialize at while watching the kid.

How are your phones? I became acutely aware of the limits of my phone's camera once I wanted to capture many more moments.
posted by slidell at 7:26 PM on December 3, 2018

A great camera + huge hard drive for all the photos you'll take


Shatterproof cases for your phone - even before the baby can grab, you'll be doing weird stuff with your hands because baby and your phone will likely get dropped more than usual

HEPA air filter or humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on what your air quality is like

A special tree to plant in your yard when the baby is X months old (ie when the weather is favourable and you feel up to having a wee tree planting party)
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:19 PM on December 3, 2018

nthing food. FOOD. We were SO. EXHAUSTED. for the first several months that prepping meals for ourselves was always a struggle, and we ate like shit as a consequence.

So whatever form it comes in--a restaurant delivery service, a subscription of ready-made-meals that only need to be heated, whatever--quality, nutritious, pre-made dishes (especially for dinner) will probably be a godsend.
posted by duffell at 3:08 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Don’t overestimate the physical stuff that you’ll need with a baby. What you’ll really crave is time and space and convenience. Even with the most chill babies, you’ll be exhausted and drained and strung out. Cooking proper meals will be your biggest hassle. The best thing that friends did for us when ours came was to give us food. For your father-in-law, this could mean (as already mentioned) subscription to some sort of meal delivery service. You won’t need gadgets, you’ll need good proper meals.
posted by fso at 4:18 AM on December 4, 2018

We have four of these Lorena Canals machine washable/dryable rugs. They look great and we can just toss them in the wash when they get grimy after too much playtime or we spill our kiddo’s bottle on it or whatever. Congrats!
posted by bananacabana at 4:19 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

A weekend getaway and an offer to babysit the grandchild
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:02 AM on December 4, 2018

We found that our favourite baby related purchase was the Stokke Home dresser with the diaper changing attachment.

Beautifully made, dampened drawers and heavy enough that a toddler can’t tip it over.
posted by ianK at 5:46 AM on December 4, 2018

We got electronic keypad entry locks on our front and back door and I love them. No more digging for keys while juggling baby and diaper bag.
posted by MadMadam at 6:01 AM on December 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

You say you're in a good financial position but does that also imply that you've set up a college fund? For people who have enough (or too much) stuff, this is often a great way for family members to give to the future of the child. It even has short-term benefits because it establishes peace of mind around something that people tend to feel a lot of anxiety about. I also really like the idea of the outdoor play set but that's something you'd probably want about 5-years down the line.
posted by belau at 6:09 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Do you have white noise machines? We now own three; we didn't have any before the baby.

Gift certificates to local breweries or restaurants where you can bring a newborn and sit quietly for an afternoon.

Really good bathrobes to wear in the middle of the night. (I am three weeks postpartum and my LLBean thick sweatshirt bathrobe is getting a lot of use right now at 3am.)

nthing the babymoon. We regret not going away more in the weeks before the baby came and not having to wake up at 4am due to time changes...
posted by melodykramer at 7:27 AM on December 4, 2018

Photo session when the baby is born. I regret not doing that, especially at the super cute tiny stage around 2-3 months. Maybe with grandparents too.
Doula, either during labor, or postpartum.
Food, omg, food, can’t emphasize that enough!
posted by john_snow at 8:22 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're in the US, how about a 529 contribution or similar type of long-term savings for the little one?
posted by msbrauer at 8:41 AM on December 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would suggest memberships to multiple local art and/or children's museums, arboretums or any other local places of interest that offer memberships. My mother-in-law gives us memberships to two local art museums every year and it is nice to get the early admission/tickets to exhibitions and events before the public.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 7:17 PM on December 4, 2018

You are going to be doing SO MUCH LAUNDRY. Even if you have a laundry service, you are still going to want to have a good washer and dryer. There are things that just can't sit, things that must be washed immediately. You have no idea the bodily fluids you're in for, it will be epic. So, if you don't already have a nice washer and dryer that is definitely something to ask for.

I also second everyone above who recommends things that will help you sleep. Nice pajamas, a mattress topper, white noise machine, luxurious sheets, blackout curtains. Especially the blackout curtains. For a while there you're going to be catching naps whenever you can and being able to nap in a dark room is heavenly.
posted by TooFewShoes at 2:56 PM on December 5, 2018

« Older Giftfilter: books about food   |   Why did prednisone clear up my acne? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.