Ah, the second pregnancy. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? By the time my second baby boy arrived, I knew what I really needed. And believe me, it wasn't a play yard and swing in matching blue plaid.
Trouble is -- and my veteran mom pals agree -- it feels weird to ask for the stuff we really want, as most of it seems...un-gifty and utilitarian. In other words, not fun for the gifter to give.
So I kept mum and got another car seat I didn't need, picture frames, and a crib from my in-laws. Yes, that was generous, but, the first crib is not even three years old. So, if you have a friend who's expecting her second baby, don't wait for her to tell you what she'd like. She almost certainly won't. Go on and pick from this list of can't-fail ideas. You're sure to hear "How did you know?!"
A baby book: If you don't buy it, the poor wee one may have no record of his milestones. We all know how it goes: Every hiccup the first makes is recorded, while the second one, well, his baby book consists of his hospital picture and bracelet in an envelope. Better still: Tell the mom that if she doesn't have time to fill out the book, she can jot things down on a pad or a wall calendar. Then you can come over once a month and transfer the information in your prettiest script. That would honestly make for a pretty stellar new mom gift.
Diapers and wipes: Trust me -- you can never have enough. No, it's not the prettiest new mom gift, but I promise you, it will be the most welcome one. Also in this category are items that run out or wear out quickly, such as nursing supplies, burp cloths, batteries for gear, and baby wash.
Babysitting services: Not for a night out, necessarily, but if you offer to come over and watch the second baby, so the mom can have some alone time with number one, she’ll be forever grateful.
Clothes: But only in two scenarios: If the second baby is a different gender from the big sib, or same-gender babies born in different seasons. When my second son was born, I got virtually nil in the way of clothes, as everyone figured I had plenty of hand-me-downs. Trouble was, my first guy was born in July. The second came in January, so his brother's first wardrobe was of little use the second time around.
Gift cards for takeout: Being able to order in without worrying about your budget is a new mom gift like no other. Especially when it's 6:30 p.m., hubby is working late, and it's baby's "witching hour."
Sprinkling of wisdom book: Want to give a new mom gift with a personal touch? Buy a beautiful journal, and have friends and relatives write their best hard-won advice for the second baby to use throughout his or her life. This will be treasured, and it is an especially cute idea if the second-time mom is having a "sprinkle" instead of a full-blown shower.
A new purse: Make it a roomy, chic purse with plenty of pockets. A mom will almost certainly be over carrying a purse and a diaper bag after her second pregnancy. Do her a favor and invest in a gorgeous bag she can stash supplies in now, and still love when diaper days are finally done.
A gift card for a sibling day out: Instead of just a new mom gift, give the entire new family an afternoon at a local children's museum, bounce-house emporium or baby exercise class. Mom will appreciate being able to sit and (relatively) relax with the second baby while her older child is happily occupied. It'll be a great treat for all of them.