The following are lists of our favorite baby gifts for new (not necessarily first-time) moms, based on what we use and what we know other moms and their babies could really enjoy using.
Gen's list of baby gifts:
These are my favorite gifts for new mamas and babies. Everything on this list is something we have and use regularly. My only caveat is that if you’re buying for a first time mom with a registry, I would definitely use that before going off-registry. You might not feel that she needs that $30 wipe warmer, but unless she asks for your opinion, that’s something she needs to learn the hard way. This list also works for moms without registries or for subsequent babies.
We’ve used these since Patrick first came home from the hospital. They’re soft, beautiful, and great for swaddling. In the early days we used them for minor spits when we didn’t have burp rags (cloth diapers are the best burp rags!) handy. You can also tie two corners together put your head through the hole that makes, and use them as lightweight nursing covers. If there’s a particular print you love, splurge on the quilt- that was one of Patrick’s birthday gifts this year.
I spent a whole afternoon while I was pregnant poring over the baby books at Barnes & Noble, comparing the features of each one (pockets! stickers! removable height chart!) The one I ultimately selected is great, but it’s hard to find time to update it. Enter the One Line a Day Journal: this little book has been so useful for recording daily memories. You can only fit in a sentence or two, so even if you forget about it and have to record two weeks’ worth of memories at sitting- not that I have ever done that- it doesn’t take very long.
Patrick loves his BabyLit books- he likes to pull them all off of the shelf and then methodically sift his way through the pile, “reading” as he goes. His current favorite is Emma: A BabyLit Emotions Primer. We also love Penguin Clothbound Classics, The Puffin in Bloom Collection, and the B&N Leatherbound Classics. It’s wonderful to have beautiful editions of books, and it’s even better to use your kids as an excuse to buy all of them. Our current favorite is Peter Pan- one of the first bedtime novels we read together as a family.
The most glamorous of my suggestions, this is essentially a tube which connects your baby’s snot to your mouth. You suck out the snot so that your baby has a clearer airway. Don’t worry, there’s a filter! I always said that I would never use this disgusting thing, but the first time Patrick had a cold, you’d better believe I ran right out to buy myself a snotsucker. And you know what? It’s ultimately way more satisfying than it is disgusting. This is not necessarily a fun gift (unless you like shocking a bunch of ladies sipping tea at a baby shower) but it is so useful, especially when paired with some saline drops.
If your giftee is planning to nurse, this is a wonderful gift. It’s essentially a stretchy poncho which you can wear in public to breastfeed. The poncho aspect is nice because you don’t have to worry about any exposure of your back- it’s total coverage. This is great because babies like to throw off nursing covers at every opportunity. (Because it makes them overheated and suffocated, but whatever- at least no one is offended! I digress.) I still use mine all of the time. It can also double as a makeshift shirt if you get puked on. Just don’t lift your arms.
Kat's list of baby gifts:
1. Solly Baby Wrap — This wrap has saved my sanity postpartum. Having this wrap has been a lifesaver in so many instances. When Miriam was a newborn, I’d put her in the wrap when she couldn’t sleep. When we travel, she goes in the wrap as we explore new places. It’s great for kangaroo care and keeping your baby close, but the best part about it, and the thing that distinguishes it from other wraps or carriers is that it is SO lightweight and easy to carry in a diaper bag.
2. Little Hometown Blankets — These muslin blankets are perfect for any Louisiana baby. They have a boy version and a girl version, and we received the girl set from a good friend when Miriam was born. We absolutely love them. Muslin blankets in general are so wonderful for little babies, but having them so personalized for a mom who loves Louisiana so much is such a nice touch. If you’re not from Louisiana, Little Unicorn has some other lovely muslin blankets here.
3. Burt’s Bees Pajamas — One of my friends got Miriam some of these when she was born, and we LOVE them. I can’t believe how soft they are. What’s nice about Burt’s Bees Pajamas is that they run bigger than Carter’s brands, which I find can get outgrown so quickly. So if the size says 0-3 months, you can almost always (unless your baby is very big) use the pajamas from 0-3 months. It’s not like Carter’s where if it says 0-3 months, you can use it for the first week of your child’s life and then have to retire it. (Not that I don’t love Carter’s and their deals, it’s just that around the 8-10 months stage I need something other than Carter’s because Miriam’s legs are just too long for 9 months and too fat for 12 months Carter’s pajamas).
4. Natursutten Pacifiers — If you’re okay with using pacifiers, I’d recommend getting these. They’re made from natural materials, and they have orthodontic ones that are better for the development of the baby’s mouth. Once I started Miriam on the hard plastic kind of pacifier, she never wanted to go back to her rubber hospital one, and that’s frustrating because the hard plastic ones weren’t flexible and cut into her face because her cheeks were so big. So if you’re moving from hospital “Soothie” pacifiers to another brand, I’d recommend Natursutten because they won’t cut into cute baby cheeks or trap saliva underneath and cause rashes (another problem Miriam has with the hard plastic pacifiers).
5. Pacifier Clip — When I first made a baby registry, I didn’t think I’d need a pacifier clip. And honestly, I still think we can do without them most of the time. However, I will say that pacifier clips are very convenient when you’re traveling (especially in airplanes where the germs are outrageous) or out somewhere and don’t want your baby to keep losing his/her pacifier. I have some from Madeline’s Box, and they’re pretty and understated, which is more my style when it comes to shopping for my baby. But other options for pacifier clips that I think are really pretty and can also serve as teethers can be found here.