Gifts to Give New and Expecting Parents (That They'll Really Use)
Whether for the holidays, birthdays, a baby shower, or just to show our love, buying gifts for new and expecting parents is something we all love to do... the problem? Life becomes such a blur in pregnancy and the early postpartum days that some of the best-intentioned gifts, ones that everyone said would be so important, go unused. Here are 9 ideas, with shopping links, to treat, spoil, support, and care for your pregnant or expecting friend or loved one - ideas for gifts they'll actually use! And if you are the one who's expecting, here are some great ideas for your wish list or baby registry...
A is for Advice (The Reassuring Kind), Ilana Stanger-Ross
I love this book so much! Written in the approachable and friendly tone of a best-friend blogger but informed by the insight of a registered midwife, A is for Advice seeks to comfort and inspire, providing realistic and soothing advice at a time when most women desperately seek out information. Unfortunately, the information they find is not always reassuring, soothing, or even accurate. Every letter of the alphabet is a short chapter, creating an easy-to-read, practical resource.
Click here to buy the book on Amazon.
This care package is so full of beautiful products that it feels reassuring just to open the box! Included in the kit are nipple balm, perineal balm, postpartum massage oil, sitz bath, and organic mother's milk tea. CODDLE’s products are formulated with organic healing herbs that are backed by tradition and science to address the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of postpartum healing. They are multi-purpose, multi-use and packaged in recyclable, reusable glass jars.address the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of postpartum. In addition to the kit, they have several items available individually, as well as an informative website/blog with tons of great information. Visit their site here to learn more.
Instant Ice Maxi Pads, by Frida
Those who have used these pads swear by them for soothing the perineal area after birth. Help your loved one prepare for postpartum recovery by giving them a ready supply of these icy cold pads.
Frida sells a wide variety of products for mom and baby - enjoy a browse through their products here. Frida products are also available at Target stores.
Parenthood is wonderful and beautiful and warm and fuzzy... but it's also one of the hardest jobs in the world and requires strength and laughter. This mug supplies both of those! One of my doula clients says this was her very favorite gifts when she gave birth and she still uses it every day to give herself a boost parenting her sweet toddler boy. Shop for the mug here.
The Haakaa Silicone Breastpump is used to express milk using the power of natural suction. It is lightweight, portable and the perfect tool for every baby bag - perfect for long distance trips, or anywhere a breastfeeding mom would like to express silently, discreetly and quickly.
My clients love attaching it to the lateral breast while nursing to catch any let-down that would otherwise be lost in disposable nursing pads.
Shop here for this inexpensive but priceless gift.
Skin-to-Skin Shirts, by Seraphine
These soft, stretchy, cotton shirts give the benefits of kangaroo care for both parent and baby (available for both men and women). The structured fabric provides the perfect level of support while the wrap ties secure baby in the optimal position, allowing the wearer to enjoy hands-free cuddle time while sitting or reclining. Wear this for discreet skin to skin contact with baby or as a regular wrap nursing top, providing easy access for breastfeeding.
Shop the collection here.
On-the-Go Baby Dome, by Fisher Price
How fun is this product?! One of my doula clients shared this with me as her very favorite gift and it's just brilliant. It's a play space and a comfy napping spot, perfect for when the family is on the go. It can be used indoors or outside for babies 0-5 months old. The canopy protects baby from the sun and bugs and it folds FLAT (!), with handles for easy take-along.
Shop for this produce here.
Yes, you can give the gift of doula support! The evidence on birth doula support is resoundingly clear - lower levels of intervention (including cesarean section), shorter labor, decreases in perceived discomfort, positive postpartum mental health... according to John Kennell, MD, "If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it."
Click here to read more about the research surrounding doula support. Click here for more information about purchasing a gift certificate for Meant to Be Birth Services, or here to learn about establishing a doula fund as part of a baby registry.
Meals, Errands, Housework, Laundry...
As much as I love all of the products and services I've shared here, sometimes the most useful and appreciated gifts are those that give the new family time and space to adjust during the postpartum period. There are many ways to provide reprieve to new parents, such as purchasing a grocery delivery gift card, cooking and delivering meals (or arranging a meal train), running necessary errands, washing and folding a few loads of laundry, taking older siblings to the park, funding a postpartum doula... anything that allows the new parents to spend quality time with their newborn and give them time for some self-care. The key is to keep the door open for whatever help they might need - especially if you can do it without them having to ask for the help.
Showering our pregnant and expecting loved ones and friends with gifts is such an important and enjoyable way to show love and support... and please don't forget to shower adoptive parents, too! Although some of the items in this list specifically relate to pregnancy, several of the ideas would be wonderful for adoptive parents as they settle in with their new family.
Happy gifting... please feel free to comment with other useful gifts and services you have discovered and share this post with others!