Newborns bring so much joy! Their tiny little feet, the smell of their heads, innocence while asleep are all so special. Everyone is excited to meet the new baby and want to bring something that is special and useful for the new mommy and the baby. When I was pregnant and close to the due date, my husband hosted a baby shower and invited my closest people. While we had themes and games for the shower based on the people attending, I realized that most of them did not have children of their own until then. I also knew how my other friends either never used or re-gifted some really well-intention-ed gifts because — a. They did not need it or b. They already had another exact one. A new baby needs a lot of things and you need to ensure there is enough space to keep everything they need. There is no space or time for gifts that cannot be used. Here’s the handpicked list of affordable gifts for a new mother that worked for me!
For my baby shower, I created my wish list and shared along with the invitation to make things simple for everyone. But not everyone makes a wish list, so I am sharing a list of practical gifts to gift a new mother. Gifts that are useful in the near term, makes life easy for the parents and the baby, and not very expensive.
#1 Feeding gown
If the mother is intending to breastfeed the baby, feeding gown is one gift that the new mommy will remember you for. A new mommy just can’t have enough feeding gowns. Along with some really comfy things to wear at home, a new mother needs gowns that are beautiful and presentable so that can be worn during the visits to the doctor, family, or just anywhere outside. Feeding emergencies can happen anywhere — in the car, restaurant, hospital waiting room. For the initial few months, feeding gowns are the uniform for new mommies. While clothes for babies is a quite common gift, clothes for the new mommy isn’t.
The sad reality is, people often forget the mother when she needs a lot more love, care, and thoughtfulness. There are several brands available for feeding gowns. You can pick from Shein, etsy, or Amazon. There are many local brands that sell ergonomic clothing options for feeding moms too.
#2 Spa coupons
Although a new baby is a blessing, it brings a lot of hard work. Sleepless nights, endless crying, cleaning 1000 nappies in the day, fevers, colds, feeding routine — it gets crazy. The baby gets all the attention, but the parents remain tired and ignored for a long time. Many parents (both mother and father) experience post-partum depression due to overwhelming physical and mental hard work. Gift them spa coupons that can be redeemed at flexible times at outlets near their house. If you can get at-home spa coupons, nothing like it! A foot or head & neck massage can relieve that extra tension and make the parents feel loved. Keep the hours short (1 hour is ideal) to ensure they don’t get stressed to get back to childcare during the spa time. They’ve earned that spa coupon.
A new baby needs 20 diapers a day. 20! You read that right. Some even need more. Diapers are expensive if you count this number for the first 3–4 months. I always suggest people to gift diapers because they are one thing that babies need the most — trust me on this. Soon after the initial week, most parents start looking for cheaper diaper brands/alternatives only to realize that these alternative brands either leak or don’t suit the newborn’s skin. Ask the parents on the diaper brand and size, and get them for the baby. The little one’s bums and parents’ pockets will thank you. Most diapers are available on Amazon. You can also buy them in grocery stores/pharmacies.
#4 Diaper genie and bags
Continuing from the previous one — if 20 diapers get soiled in the day, where do they go? In the dustbin! The problems with soiled diapers are more complicated than that. Most nurseries don’t have dustbins. So, each time the parent changes a diaper, they need to make a trip to the dustbin in another room. This can be tiring especially when their body is sore with no sleep and rocking the baby. Another solution is keeping the diaper bin within the nursery. The catch in this is the foul smell. If they plan to clean the diaper bin liner once a day, each time they open it to dispose a diaper, the smell fills the room. It is neither pleasant, nor hygienic. I know there are many discussions on whether a diaper genie is needed, I say new parents NEED it.
A diaper genie locks the diaper and the smell inside it and can be kept inside the nursery without any smell. If your budget permits, add a few diaper genie bags with the diaper genie. The bags can sometimes get expensive, especially initially. There are so many affordable diaper genies in the market that you are spoiled for choices. Just go to your favorite eCommerce site and search for a diaper genie.
#5 Baby bath seat
Have you seen a swaddled one-day old tiny infant? They are so delicate without neck support! Changing a diaper is much simpler — the baby is safe on the changing station/bed, their body is stable, and the parent is only dealing with the lower half of the baby. It is also a quick process. Now imagine holding a baby in a watery, soapy, slippery bathroom. Scary? Giving bath to a newborn is a nerve-wrecking idea when you hold the baby for the first time for a bath. A baby bath seat, safely seats the baby in the bath tub/basin and allows washing it without any need to hold with hands. Just rest the baby on the bath seat, wash it, and lift it in a clean dry towel when done. No stress. All babies need regular bath as they spit up milk, poop, and lie in the bed all day long. A baby bath seat is an essential thing. Straight no-brainer.
Most babies get cold as infants. Slight change in weather, dust, microbes around, allergies — anything can give a newborn a cold. Unlike adults, newborns cannot remove nasal discharge/mucus by blowing nose. Nasal congestion can get nasty for babies because they are always lying down. Of course there are medicines that help, but a humidifier does wonders when the newborn has cold in loosening the mucus. A basic humidifier should be sufficient to help the baby during the nights of endless crying and discomfort. Humidifiers also help with dry skin in dry regions. All newborns have paper-thin dry skin. Use of humidifier can help with extreme dryness too. Humidifiers generally come with a year-long warranty. Based on my experience, go for the one with a warranty. Many humidifiers die within a month.
#7 White noise machine
White noise sounds like the sound of radio when on the wrong frequency. Babies in the womb can always mildly hear the surroundings, mother’s heartbeat, and anything that happens around them. They are always warm and protected. When a baby is born, they get scared just with the air, lights, and sudden loud noises around. They feel unprotected and lonely. White noise creates a sense of being in a safe place by cutting down the sudden noises and helps babies sleep better. It can, in fact, help adults sleep better too. A white noise machine plays white noise offline. Although you can play white noise on your phone, your phone gets engaged as long as the baby is sleeping. Using a phone or general purpose speaker is not sustainable for 8 hours of night. White noise machines are cheap and easily available on Amazon.
#8 Baby light projector
A newborn cannot see colors, but just within a few weeks, they can see light and movements. I have observed that babies get well distracted by lights. So, when a baby is crying their lungs out, baby light projector works excellently. Babies also get bored of lying down all day. Light projectors can be considered as a form of entertainment in the baby world. Baby light projectors project stars, moons, etc. on the ceiling and baby can enjoy looking at them while in the bed. They are perfect when the baby is awake in the night and the parents are too tired. Sometimes babies even fall asleep looking at the moving stars on the ceiling. Can you believe it is that simple? Not always!
#9 Infrared thermometer
The only way to tell if a baby has a fever is through a thermometer. Babies are generally warm due to the swaddle and layers of clothing. Checking temperature for a newborn is easier said than done. The biggest challenge for me as a parent was using the digital thermometer and holding it for a minute on the newborn — impossible task with a fussy baby. An infrared thermometer allows you to check the temperature without touching the baby. It is fast and convenient. You can only understand the importance of a touch-free thermometer when your baby feels warm but won’t let you check the temperature, and the thermometer shows random temperature because you have not given it the time to normalize.
My suggestion is getting a basic infrared thermometer. Many thermometers come with a bunch of functionalities but the parents are never going to use them — they are too advanced to understand unless you are a doctor. Get a basic good-rated infrared thermometer online or from the pharmacy.
#10 High contrast books
Babies cannot see colors when they are born. A baby’s vision gradually improves and develops fully by the time they are 6 months old. After my own and trusted friends’ experience, I can confidently say that most babies loveee high contrast books. These are black and white cardboard books with large images. You will be surprised how babies stare at them for a long time and get entertained. You can think of these as baby’s first ever books. High contrast baby books are plenty available on Amazon and not too expensive.
Gifting is NOT an art
I don’t think that gifting should be considered an art unless you are using your creative juices to hand-make something. You need to use basic logic and common sense to understand what your giftee would want/need as a gift. I have often seen people gifting what THEY would want as gifts. It is also common to buy or expect obnoxiously expensive gifts just to express love in the form of money spent. It is unnecessary and rather nasty just due to the principles of such kind of gifting practices.
Your gift, as long as it is bought with love, is perfect. As true for the story of Krishna and Sudama, the simplest gifts when shared with love taste sweeter than the sweetest nectar.