7 Great Gifts for New Moms

For weeks after I gave birth to my little bundle, the generous gifts kept rolling in for her. Without question, for parents whose expenses are about to go through the roof, baby items are a thoughtful and almost necessary gesture. But what about the mother, who is devoting every minute of her day to her new baby?

From my own experience and those of other new moms, here are seven sure-to-please gifts for new moms.

1. Chic diaper bag. Clutches and wristlets will be swapped for oversized totes when a mom welcomes her new baby. But just because she’ll be lugging around everything from wipes and diapers to a change of clothes doesn’t mean she needs to lose her sense of style. The key to a good diaper bag is space and pockets: the more the better, for easy access. Ask what her favorite color or pattern is, and make a custom diaper bag or tote bag for the new mom at online stores. This gift is two-fold: It’ll help her tote all her baby stuff while helping her feel stylish.

2. Spa day. A relaxed, happy and healthy mom equals a relaxed, happy and healthy baby. Offer your babysitting services, and treat a new mom to a few hours at the spa that are just about her. If you think she would have trouble getting out, put together an at-home spa package with stress-relieving lavender lotions, a back massager, and microwaveable cozy booties. Helping her indulge while the baby naps is a fantastic idea.

3. Reading material. This is a particularly useful new mom gift for the breastfeeding mom, as a recent study shows that nursing moms spend an average of six additional hours per week feeding their children than bottle-fed baby. Provide her with your favorite guilty pleasure, or gift her with a useful and fun baby-related book to help her bond further with her little one.

4. Digital photo frames. There’s no question that first-time moms quickly turn into a baby paparazzo. Digital photo frames are the perfect new mom gift for the camera-lover in your life, as it will let them easily display those memorable moments and firsts for all to see, without the need of a printer.

5. Notecards. When you’re deciding on gifts for new moms, consider what’s going on in her life right now. For example, since new moms will be receiving numerous gifts from you and others, why not help them out and buy pretty notecards or thank you cards? There are many online stores that allow personalization, or keep it simple and universal, so they can be used for a variety of occasions.

6. Mommy jewelry. First-time moms are proud of their new title, and proud of their new little one. As such, a great new mom gift idea might be a personalized necklace or charm bracelet with the baby’s initials for special nights out, so her baby is always close to her heart. When the next baby arrives, simply add a charm!

7. Cleaning service for a day. Time is never on a new mom’s side. When it comes to new mom gifts, give her a break by hiring a cleaning service to take care of the dirty work, while she spends time focusing on bigger -- or tinier -- things. This will free her from worrying about the mess while keeping baby healthy. Look for a green or eco-friendly company that uses chemical-free products.

The Best Gifts I Received as a New Dad

Being a new dad to twin girls, I have been fortunate enough to receive some great gifts.  I celebrated my first Father’s Day in June, as well as taking part in four baby showers before and after the girls were born. 

The following are the best gifts I have received in my time as a new dad:

A Diaper Bag Backpack
Wearing a backpack takes me back to my school days.  It’s fun, and it’s much easier to carry my twin daughters when I have a backpack that doubles as a diaper bag.  The backpack also has multiple compartments to store all the items that any new dad would need while away from home.  You can also get one in a solid color, like black, which is a little more “manly” than some of the other diaper bag designs out there.

A Stroller Cooler
From time to time, it’s nice to enjoy a cold beverage while I’m out walking with the girls. There are some coolers that strap onto the stroller and can hold up to six cans or four bottles. The lining in the cooler prevents the need for ice, and the beverages stay cold for well over an hour. This is definitely a must-have new dad gift.

Sports Team Onesies
As a new dad, there is nothing better than watching my favorite college and professional sports teams play, while my daughters are dressed in outfits ready to support my favorite teams.  One quick suggestion: When registering for gifts, take into account what size clothing your baby should be in during the different sports seasons.

Baby Life Jackets
If your family enjoys spending time out on the water in the summer, as mine does, lifejackets for the kids make a great new dad gift. After we had them, whenever we went boating for the day or the weekend, we didn’t have to worry about renting them -- which can be expensive -- and we always knew the girls were safe.

Burp Cloths
You’ll need plenty of burp cloths, and you can improvise using any cloth at home.  They are much more cost effective, absorbent, and more practical than the frilly designer (and sometimes expensive) burp cloths.  Any new dad could use these -- in bulk!

The Top Four New Mom Gifts

Let’s be realistic: Pregnancy pillows and nursing bras aren’t the most thrilling items on a baby shower registry. Most guests want to get the cute clothes or the fun toys as new mom gifts. Just because a gift is technically a baby item doesn’t mean it won’t help out a new mom. Some of the most useful gifts I’ve received have actually been for my daughter, Paloma.

Favorite Gift #1: Hooded Towels

Unless she wants to do a load of laundry after every bath, you can’t really go wrong with a new mom gift of hooded towels to keep the baby warm and dry from head to toe. It’s nice to always have one that’s clean and ready-to-go. While the smaller towels may look cute, a larger size is more useful, since the baby will be able to use it both right away and as she grows.

Favorite Gift #2: Activity Gym

Babies are supposed to have “tummy time” every day, which can be very boring for both the baby and for new moms. The activity gym was a great new mom gift, because for a while, it was the only toy Paloma needed during tummy time and beyond. Most gyms come with five toys that hang down, which is plenty. There are also plastic rings that make the toys higher or lower, making them easier or more challenging to grab at.

Favorite Gift #3: “Fun” Books

Books are a great baby item in a new mom’s arsenal, whether they’re used to calm the baby down for bed or engage them in playtime. These “fun” books have absolutely stood the test of time. Someone gave us a book that features a finger puppet in different settings on each page. When she was really little, Paloma loved watching us play the part of the puppet. Now, she takes over puppeteering duties and entertains herself.

Favorite Gift #4: Homemade Toys

We know a lot of creative people and have been given handmade baby items from stuffed animals to handmade blocks. Not only do they entertain a new baby, but it’s really nice to be able to say, “someone made this especially for you.” Homemade toys also tend to be simple, meaning they’re something you’ll be able to use for a while -- just be sure that the homemade item is safe for your baby to play with, check for unfinished edges or sharp accents, and confirm it isn’t a potential choking hazard. After all, I still have my favorite stuffed animal from when I was little.

Top Gifts for New Moms

Bottles, bibs, booties, baby monitor -- yes, it takes some work and lots of supplies to prepare for motherhood! That’s why most new moms could do with a little assistance. When I was expecting, everything from hand-me-down clothing to help setting up a crib was much appreciated. Of course, it can be hard to know what a particular new mom needs. When in doubt, any of these thoughtful gifts for new moms are a safe bet!

Something tasty: Whether lasagna or lamb chops, a home-cooked meal will be welcome. Late in pregnancy, an expectant mom is just plain tired. I could barely move during my last month pregnant with my firstborn, Isabel, and definitely had no energy to cook! Take pity on your pregnant pal and make her a pasta dish or chicken potpie.

A gift card: A gift card to a spa, nail salon, or the hairdresser is the perfect get-ready-for-baby present. Again, fatigue is a factor (I was too tired to brush my hair, let alone wash and blow dry it), but so is sheer size. At 9 months along, I couldn’t see my toes to paint them, so an hour being pampered in someone else’s hands was absolute bliss. New moms won’t have much time to escape once their baby arrives, so now’s the perfect time to spoil them.

Simple baby gifts: It may seem boring to give a gift like burp cloths or swaddling blankets, but these are exactly the new mom gifts I needed most. New babies are messy little creatures who tend to spit up and dribble milk, so consider picking out some simple but useful cloths and blankets. Bonus: They are usually very affordable, too!

Baby clothes in a bigger size: Those teeny newborn jeans, tops, and dresses are adorable, but your baby will grow out of them pretty quickly. I received so many 0- to 3-month outfits for my baby that I changed Isabel’s clothes several times a day to get use out of all of them! Buy the next size up for your new mom friend -- she will thank you.

Remember that many new moms prefer to pick out their own gear, especially when it comes to big-ticket items like stroller or car seats, so leave those items on the store shelf. Your gift doesn’t need to be costly -- or even cost a penny -- to make a big difference in a pregnant woman’s life. And if you're stumped on what to get, ask her what she needs the most!