Tag Archives: pregnant women

30 great gifts for pregnant women and new parents

I get more referrals to my blog at present on the topic of gifts for pregnant women than anything else, so in the spirit of giving readers what they want I thought I’d do a follow up post on presents for new parents.

(Sidenote: This whole giving readers what they want will not extend to addressing certain other search terms that have recently led people to my blog, including “humans breastfeeding monkeys”, “sexy massage near bumrungrad hospital”, and “koalas drinking beer”. I will also not be answering the question, “If I’m 21 weeks pregnant is it safe to swim with dolphins?”, although if I had to venture a guess I’d say yes. I haven’t heard many stories lately of dolphins ramming divers.)

So, without further ado, here are 30 great gifts for pregnant women or new parents. I’ll start with baby-focused gifts and move onto gifts for Mum, because the sometimes depressing and sometimes wonderful fact of the matter is that once that baby is born they tend to come first:

  1. Lullaby/baby music: My favorite so far is Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs. Great melodies, and because the songs are not in English the lyrics don’t get stuck in my head.
  2. An iTunes gift card so that parents can buy lullaby music or music to listen to while feeding.
  3.  A small set of I-pod speakers for the baby’s room so that parents can slip in an iPod rather than messing around with CD’s.
  4. A play gym: The one I got at Target only cost $30 and it’s some of the best money we spent since Baby Fabulous (he’s sleeping right now, so he’s earned that nickname for the time being) arrived. The play gym is also light enough to carry internationally in a suitcase. I can’t believe we almost came back to Laos without one.
  5. Toys to hang off the play gym.
  6. Soft cuddly toys for the crib.
  7. Baby books: I don’t think you can ever have too many of these. The word on the street is that the best baby books are the ones that adults really like to read aloud – ones that rhyme and/or have clever storylines. Check out this post for some great options: What do writers read to their own kids? Five authors share their favorite children’s books.
  8. Colourful mobiles to hang over crib or change table. Be wary of picking ones that are too heavy in case they happen to fall or get tugged down onto the baby.
  9. A My Baby’s First Year book or calendar. Someone gave us this cool blank calendar that you decorate with the accompanying stickers that celebrate things like “baby’s first smile” and “baby rolls over”. I think this calendar would be even cooler if there was a sheet of stickers for events like “baby’s first projectile poo” and “baby first vomits in freshly washed hair” and “parents first dinner date post-birth” (not to mention some other less PG-rated stickers). Alas, I couldn’t find those sorts of stickers anywhere. If you wanted to jazz this gift up, you could make some.
  10. A diaper bag for traveling that includes a roll-out change mat and cold storage for at least one bottle. You could also stock it with travel wipes, diaper disposal bags, and diapers.
  11. Baby clothes in sizes of 6-9 months or bigger: New parents tend to receive lots of newborn clothing that the baby outgrows very fast.
  12. A nightlight to plug into the bathroom or the baby’s room. This is invaluable for those middle of the night feedings when you want to keep the ambience dim but don’t want to trip over the dog.
  13. A U-shaped pillow: These are good for breastfeeding but also versatile enough to be excellent for when you’re travel on a plane, etc. It was a lifesaver on our recent flights from Australia to Asia.
  14. A baby carrier: These can be expensive, so you might want to liase with the parents about which brand they’d like. We settled on the Ergo.
  15. A baby monitor: A baby monitor with audio and video is enormously useful, especially if you live in a split-level house. These are not as expensive as you might think – we got ours on sale for $100.
  16. A bed sleeper: These little cots can be placed in the bed between the parent’s pillows, allowing you to sleep your baby close to you without worrying you’ll squish or smother them on those nights when you have to put the dummy in 132 times or pat them to sleep .
  17. A travel cot: These are little cots that pack up small and light. The Samsonite one that friends gave us packs up into something the size of a large book that weighs only 600g. When unfolded it can sleep a baby up to a year old and is mosquito netted.
  18. Then there are always purely practical presents such as… a pack of cloth diaper squares to be used as “spew rags”.
  19. Diapers. If parents are planning on using cloth diapers like BumGenius etc, those things are expensive and you need about 20 of them. If they’re not using cloth diapers they’ll need literally thousands of disposables. This is one gift sure to be used.
  20. Baby wipes. Another gift guaranteed to be used.
  21. A good quality fluffy towel for the baby.
  22. Lanolin cream for Mum. Breastfeeding can be very painful, particularly at first. Get high quality lanolin cream like Marcalan that she doesn’t have to wipe off before feeding – this can be a sanity saver during the first couple of weeks.
  23. Nappy rash cream like Desitan or Amolin.
  24. Books for Mum: Don’t go for pregnancy books – most women facing labour and delivery for the first time have researched it thoroughly already. Think about getting her a novel or a book relevant to the period after the baby is born instead. A personal favorite of the moment is Vicki Iovine’s very funny Surving the First Year of Motherhood.
  25. A Kindle: If Mum doesn’t already have a kindle and she likes to read, this will allow her to read while breastfeeding. You can easily hold it and turn the pages with just one hand.
  26. Gift certificate to Amazon to help Mum buy books she wants to read while feeding.
  27. A voucher for a massage, manicure, or facial: The first massage I had post birth was one of the most pleasurable physical experiences of my life. This gift is even better if it comes with an offer to mind the baby while you use it.
  28. Babysitting: Offer to mind the baby while Mum and Dad go out to dinner or lunch together.
  29. Housekeeping: Whether it’s just one or two visits, or several months worth, this gift will be greatly appreciated by a new parent who doesn’t have to spend precious “baby is asleep” time scrubbing a bathtub.
  30. Meals: Make them and drop them off or provide gift vouchers for take out. This takes one thing off Mum (or Dad’s) to-do list for the day.

Any other ideas for useful or fun presents? Add them below to help give others inspiration.

If you enjoyed this post, stick around! Check out this post for more gift ideas: What do writers read to their own kids? Five authors share their favorite children’s books

Subscribe to my blog by RSS or by email (enter your email address top right) to receive updates about our adventures in parenthood and in Laos, and check out some of the following pregnancy and parenthood-related posts:

  1. Koi Maan Luuk: Or, I Am Pregnant
  2. Finding Out You Are Pregnant, In Slow Motion
  3. Life Lessons on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding from Cows
  4. Ten Good Things About Boys: Attaining Synthetic Happiness One Gender Stereotype at a Time
  5. Lessons in breastfeeding from cows, take two
  6. Tough Love Take One
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10 great gifts for pregnant women

(Looking for gift ideas for pregnant women or new parents? You might want to jump over to my updated post on this topic instead – 30 great gifts for pregnant women and new parents)

I had a dream about the baby last night! (This deserves an exclamation mark because by this stage of pregnancy apparently normal women spend many nights dreaming of their baby. This is my 2nd dream. Ever. And last time I dreamed I forgot the baby when I went out to dinner with Mike.) So, feeling all proud of myself for being so maternal-like, I was pretty excited to relay this dream over breakfast.

“I dreamed the baby fell down a flight of stone steps when I was trying to teach it how to walk,” I told Mum.

“Stone steps,” Mum repeated. “How old was this baby?”

“Oh, like, two or three months,” I said. “But that’s not the point. The point is, when it got hurt and cried I picked it up and comforted it. And then I took it somewhere in the car and I put it in a car seat!”

It…?” Mum repeated.

OK, so maybe I haven’t perfected this whole maternal dreaming thing yet. There’s still time. A couple of weeks, anyway.

So speaking of dreaming, I’ve been waking up from my dreams every morning now feeling as if the flu and my ninetieth birthday have arrived overnight. All my joints hurt, particularly my hands and fingers. Sometimes first thing in the morning I can barely make a fist. Dr Google assures me this will go away when my ligaments tighten up again after delivery. It better, or the poor little “it” will just have to lie at the bottom of that flight of stone steps and cry, because I won’t be able to pick “it” up.

I am not the only one with sore hands, however. A parcel arrived at the post office on Friday and it seems that two of my friends, Robin and Jenn, have been very busy indeed working their own fingers to the bone on my behalf.

Robin lives in Texas and Jenn in Kansas, but they decided that, “the best way to recognize the arrival of baby McWolfe, a ‘lil one born of a long distance love story, was with a collaborative project that was created via hours of phone calls, text messages, skype dates, and extensive emails that included the frequent exchange of spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations.” Then they got together in Texas to bring the whole project to beautiful completion.

(I could say something here about how this process is indeed similar to the one that led the creation of baby McWolfe in the first place, but I’ll refrain to avoid scandalizing my Nanna).

So why the sore hands and fingers in Texas, you might ask? Well these two dear friends knitted and crocheted us the most beautiful baby blanket. A blanket they insist is not meant to be an heirloom but meant to be used, get dirty, thrown in the wash, and eventually wear out. “It’s meant to be the hug that we’re not there to give,” they wrote.

The blanket is gorgeous, and Mike and I are humbled and overwhelmed by the thought, time, and love that went into making it.

In fact, I’ve felt humbled by love a fair bit since we announced our pregnancy. Other friends in the States boxed up maternity and baby clothes and mailed them to me in Australia at considerable expense – I’ve been wearing those maternity clothes almost daily. In fact, a number of friends in three different countries have gifted us second-hand baby clothes. I have not yet bought a single new piece of clothing for the bub, but don’t worry that he’ll be wanting for warmth. When he fell down that flight of stairs in my dream the little tyke wasn’t naked – he was wearing a perfectly lovely second-hand jumpsuit.

I could go on and on, but let’s just say that Mike and I have been virtually showered by gifts big and small from around the globe and we are touched and grateful.

So, in celebration of the blessings we’ve received I thought I’d share a list of ten of the more unusual gifts we’ve received. Wondering about what to give an expectant mother? Here are some ideas:

  1. A homemade breast-feeding support pillow in the shape of an elephant.
  2. An iTunes gift card to buy music to listen to while breastfeeding.
  3. Lullaby music for the baby (so far I particularly like Dreamland: World Lullabies & Soothing Songs and the Baby Einstein: Lullaby Classics.
  4. Baby items that will bring back memories (this weekend I received a bib covered with tiny whales from visiting friends – it’ll be a memory trigger as we spent much of the weekend together watching for whales spouting out at sea).
  5. Books on parenting (as opposed to pregnancy and delivery, which she has probably already procured).
  6. A My Baby’s First Year book to record important milestones.
  7. A colorful mobile to hang over the baby’s crib.
  8. A diaper bag for traveling that includes a roll-out change mat and cold storage for at least one bottle.
  9. Story books to read to the baby. Check out this post for great options: What do writers read to their kids?: Five authors share their favorite children’s books.
  10. Donate your time and energy to host a celebratory gathering or a baby shower.
  11. A wooden hand-crafted crib that the baby’s great grandfather made for the baby’s grandmother. (Yeah, OK, that one might be a bit hard to pull off, but that’s what our little one will be sleeping in for the first eight weeks of his life while we’re still here in Australia – Pa set it up for me the other day).

These are just a few of the things we’ve received that have made me smile – but the creative possibilities to bless a new family seem endless, really. If you live locally you could assemble an envelope full of take-out menus from local restaurants and include enough cash to order dinner one night during those first few weeks post-birth. You could organize for a house cleaner to come in once or twice. If she’s into yoga, perhaps look for a yoga DVD she could do at home when she can’t get out to attend a class. And, of course, practical gifts such as diapers, small toys, nappy rash cream and the like never go astray.

What favourite baby gifts have you given or received? Other ideas? Help out people who will visit this post looking for gift inspiration by leaving a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, stick around! Subscribe to my blog by RSS or by email (enter your email address top right) to receive updates about our adventures in parenthood and in Laos, and check out some of the following pregnancy and parenthood-related posts:

  1. Koi Maan Luuk: Or, I Am Pregnant
  2. Finding Out You Are Pregnant, In Slow Motion
  3. Life Lessons on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding from Cows
  4. It’s a…
  5. Ten Good Things About Boys: Attaining Synthetic Happiness One Gender Stereotype at a Time
  6. Lessons in breastfeeding from cows, take two
  7. Tough Love Take One