A friend of mine recently asked me to write a post on suitable gifts for newborns. She suggested that many people who visit new parents take gifts that are not at all helpful or things that parents will like.” I must say, I have to agree with her. Before I had a child I was completely clueless about what to buy for a newborn. I so wanted to take something that would be used and appreciated, but always felt really stuck. If you’re ever in the same boat, this post is for you. Many of the gift suggestions are available through my online store which helps with the running costs of the site.
Know Your Friend: Firstly, if you’re looking for a gift, I really helps to know what kind of friend you’re buying for. If your friend’s not really into practical gifts, this post is not for you. However, if she is, and if she also appreciates things which have been made with consideration for the environment then this post is definitely for you.
Your Gift Doesn’t Have To Be Just One Thing: You don’t need to get one thing. Like a Santa stocking, you could fill a bag with smaller things for the baby and the parents. How fun would that be!
Gifts For Newborns
1. Toilet Related Gifts For Newborns
Every mum’s going to use and need some kind of toilet related stuff, but exactly what she uses is going to depend to some extent on what approach she’ll be taking. A friend of mine was given a box of Huggies (disposable nappies). She was into environmentally friendly products and was keen on practicing Elimination Communication with her baby, so she never used them and ended up giving them away. Wet wipes aren’t necessarily a good thing to throw in. I’ve still got the first and only packet we bought. I never used them. I can’t stand the things. I much prefer using water to clean babies bit than wipes. Much cleaner and no messy wipes to add to landfill.
Once you know what your friend’s approach is going to be there are endless opportunities in the toilet department for useful gifts.
For Mums And Dads Practicing Elimination Communication (EC’ing):
Oh, where to begin? There are so many useful things to get these folks:
- Baby leg warmers: these are really cute and come in all sorts of fun colours and designs. They’re awesome for EC’ing parents because they keep the kid’s legs warm during all the nappy-free time at home – especially useful in winter.
- EC pants: like leg warmers, EC pants (also known as split crotch trousers) make getting your baby onto the potty faster and easier.
- Potties: Speaking of potties, if you’re EC’ing it’s useful to have a potty in every room of the house. If your friend’s not going to be EC’ing their kid will eventually need one anyway. You could get them a BecoPotty, made from plant materials and biodegradable or a top hat potty. I’ve not used one myself, but apparently the top hat potty is really good and easy to use when you’re on the move. Also, a potty for the car’s also really useful – preferably one with a lid which can be kept in the boot of the car at all times.
- The Diaper Free Baby: a great book for parents who are EC’ing for the first time. This book teaches parents how to identify and respond to their baby or toddler’s natural toilet cues.
- Environmentally friendly disposable nappies: There may be times when even for the most hard-core EC’ing parent, disposables are useful and helpful, especially with a newborn. That’s when a bag of these Seventh Generation Baby Diapers will go down well.
- Biodegradable and compostable baby wipes: if they’re into baby wipes then the WOTNOT baby wipes are 100% chlorine free and are free from sulphates, petrochemicals, parabens, caustics, glycols and artificial fragrances. Chuck in a pack.
For Mums And Dads Using Cloth Nappies:
By cloth nappies I’m not referring to terry towels which are bulky and which you have to fold and pin yourself. What a mission! I’m talking about modern cloth nappies which are made to fit and which fasten with either velcro or snaps. If your friend’s going to be using cloth nappies instead of disposables, here are few ideas for her:
- Cloth nappies: there are so many cloth nappies out there to choose from that it can be a bit of a nightmare getting your head around which to buy. A newborn needs about 30 cloth nappies to start with, so you won’t be wasting your money here. You could get her a couple to try out, perhaps one in a size small and one in medium. I personally found Baby BeeHinds really good: Also great to throw in a pack of nappy inserts to go with the nappy covers or a Baby BeeHinds Wet Bag for all those wet nappies.
- Environmentally Friendly Nappy buckets: Instead of the plastic buckets you could get her a metal soak bucket for soaking cloth nappies.
- Voucher for nappy servicing: If you know your friend’s going to be using cloth nappies you could also give them a voucher for nappy servicing. The time and energy you’ll save them in the first few weeks will make this a massively appreciated gift.
2. Sleep Related Gifts For Newborns
It’s good to find out if you’re friend’s planning on having their baby sleep in the same bed as them or not. If they are, don’t waste your money buying cute baby bedding and don’t buy anything to hang off a cot. If they’re going to have their baby in their bed their baby will still need their own blanket in winter. An organic baby blanket would make a lovely gift.
3. Skin Product Gifts For Newborns
Joshi’s 21 months old and I’ve never used soap on him in the bath. I’ve used shampoo on him once. Although most mums do, don’t assume your friend will be into using soaps and shampoo on her baby. If in doubt, ask. If they do, then it’s nice to give them something which will be gentle on their baby.
- Moogoo is a company which like to keep nasty chemicals out of their products. Either you could get something for mum, like the Mudder Udder Balm or nappy balm for baby.
- Papaya Ointment is great for lots of skin related issues on babies including nappy rash. You could throw in a tube. Eco-friendly tip: Make sure it’s not petroleum based.
- Weleda Calendula Baby Starter Kit contains a variety of skin products for baby. A great and economical way for mum to try them all out and see what she likes.
- Baby-Friendly Sunscreen: there are so many incredibly toxic sunscreen creams out there that I’d never even consider putting on my baby. Two of the best sunblocks are the Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream (pediatrician tested & approved safe for babies and kids) and wotnot Sunscreen.
- Almond Oil: great for massaging baby and mum!
4. Baby Wearing Gifts For Newborns
Check with your friend whether they’re open to baby wearing first because baby wearing items are mostly expensive. If there’s something they really want you could split the expense between a few friends or relatives. There’s so much to choose from in the baby carrying world: wraps, carriers or slings. Best to get them to send you a link to one they love so that you don’t have to break your head over what kind of designs and colours they’re into. Some people like to have several carriers, which can become a bit of an expensive hobby, so if you know they’re going to be into it then this is a really great contribution. To begin with they’ll need something like a Boba Baby Carrier, a long soft piece of fabric to wrap their newborn in. As their baby gets a bit older they will need either a carrier or a wrap. If you’re buying them a carrier, make sure it’s in line with the International Hip Dysplasia Institute’s guidelines for healthy hips, ie. avoid any outward facing carrier or a carrier that doesn’t support their legs all the way to the back of their knees. I personally loved the Ergo Organic Baby Carrier and the Toddler Tula carrier, but there are heaps you can choose from. At the bottom of the post I wrote on baby wearing is a comprehensive list of carriers and wraps that are safe for baby’s hips.
5. Teething Gifts For Newborns
Many babies experience discomfort with teething at some stage. If your friend likes to use natural alternatives then you could get them any of the following:
6. Breastfeeding Gifts For Newborns
Cooeee Portable Nursing Pillow: If your friend’s planning on breastfeeding you can’t go wrong with buying her a comfy breastfeeding pillow. Breastfeeding for hours on end can be so uncomfortable and a good pillow can make all the difference. It also can really help a new mum and baby perfect their latching.
7. Clothing Gifts For Newborns
If you want to get some baby clothes, remember you don’t have to get something that’s going to fit the baby straight away. You could buy something for when they’re one. Also, remember that if you buy just one expensive item of clothing it won’t be long before the baby’s grown out of it. If you’re fine with that then there’s no problem, otherwise you may want to get a whole bunch of clothing that’s not as pricey. If you’re friend’s into natural products then you could get them a few of these lovely and very cute natural organic bodysuits.
For something less expensive you could nip down to somewhere like Kmart or BigW (if you’re in Australia) and buy a selection of cute clothing. Our friends and family bought us so much clothing that we’ve literally never needed to buy Joshi clothes and he’s almost 2 years old now. It’s been great.
8. Toys For Newborns
In my personal option, babies aren’t really into toys much. Also, a lot of stuffed toys are stuffed with really toxic stuffing which the baby could be sensitive to. However, they just like chewing on and sucking everything, so it’s quite nice to get them something safe and non-toxic to chew and suck away on instead of plastic toys and teethers (most of which contains all sorts of nasties). Here are a few you can choose from:
- Green Sprouts Natural Wooden Ring Rattle: A really safe toy for a baby to chew away on.
- Shakers or Maracas – kids love them. Babies love to chew on them (babies love to chew everything!) and older kids like to shake them.
- Elephant Shaker – cute and safe.
- Manhattan Toy Natural Skwish Rattle: kids love these things.
- Playcloths: One thing a lot of babies do get into early on are playcloths. You can drape it over your head or over theirs and play peekaboo – hours of entertainment. I especially love the rainbow coloured silk Steiner playcloth which is still a hit with Joshi even as a toddler.
If you want to buy a toy that the baby will enjoy when they’re a bit older, here are a few ideas:
- Metal watering can: kids just love watering cans. Spend a day at the beach during the holidays and you’ll see how popular watering cans are. If your friend’s not into plastic get their kid one of these metal ones. Awesome gift.
- Environmentally friendly buckets and spades: If your friend lives by the beach (or anywhere where their kid can play in sand or soil!) a bucket and spade is a great gift. And if you don’t want to be part of the plastic hazard that’s polluting our beautiful oceans, you don’t have to be!
- Biodegradable beach toys
9. Food Related Gifts for Babies
- Wooden high chair: A really great gift if you want to spend a little more!
- Baby Thermos Food Flask: Keeps baby’s food cold and fresh for seven hours; or warm for five hours.
- Stainless steel ECOlunchbox: Awesome for when parents need to take food with them when they’re out and about with baby or toddler.
10. Books For Mum
- Tears And Tantrums: This was the most useful book I read when Joshi was just a newborn – a really great, practical guide to dealing with all those tears.
- Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: A great book by Naomi Aldort, who over the years has assisted hundreds of families in bringing peace and joy into their lives. It’s no surprise that this book’s being sold in 13 languages worldwide.
- Well Adjusted Babies: a very unique and useful guide for holistic parenting.
- Know Your Child: The Art of Raising Children
11. Books For The Baby/Toddler
Another great idea is to get a few books for when they kid is older. Some of Joshi’s favourites have included:
- What Makes A Rainbow?
- Moo Baa La La La
- Where Is The Green Sheep?
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar
- Any of these gorgeous Steiner books
- That’s Not My Car
- The Jungle Book
11. Other Random Gift Ideas
- Windosox window covers for the car
- Cancer council swim suit: great for kids who are going to be spending a lot of time playing in the water outdoors.
- Car Mirror: I can’t tell you what a difference it makes for a parent to be able to see their baby when they’re driving down a freeway, unable to pull over and baby’s crying in the back seat. That’s why these mirrors are so great.
12. Gifts For Mum
A lot of people give gifts for the baby. I personally think it’s a really nice idea to give a gift to the mother. A mother’s completely exhausted after giving birth. It can take a long time for her body to recover and up to 3 years for it to return to its pre-pregnancy state. You could help by gifting her a massage voucher… ideally someone you know who could go to her house.
I personally feel that the greatest gift of all is to be able to offer her your time. If there’s any possibility of you being able to go and help with cooking and cleaning or doing whatever’s needed in those first two weeks, she’ll probably never forget you and always love you for it. Those first two weeks are hard (understatement of the year). Mums and dads often feel like they just don’t have enough hands, time or energy to get the basic things done. At the very least, if you’re a good cook, find out what food they like and take them a home cooked meal.
Please Share Your ‘Gift for Newborn’ Ideas: Do you have any other great ideas for gifts for newborns? If so, please share it with us in the with us in the comments section below.
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