Despite having known that my body’s shape had shifted during pregnancy, it wasn’t until after I’d given birth and was reaching for my coziest sweats the next day that I realized that they didn’t fit the way they used to (even during pregnancy). Luckily, my mom had brought me a pair of cotton pajama pants in a size larger than I normally wear. They were just what I needed to pull over all of my tender parts without having to shimmy or shove or generally try to make them fit. GODSEND. These look just right but anything soft and roomy would do. (PS. A nice idea for any parent of a newborn, not just the one giving birth.)
It’s the time of year (and the time of life) when I know a lot of folks who are welcoming teeny-tinies into their lives. Two of my very best friends are expecting little guys this spring and summer and just this weekend I celebrated at a shower for one of them.
Welcoming a new baby into a house is, to put it lightly, a big deal. Doesn’t matter if you’ve done it before. For brand new moms and dads (and for seasoned moms and dads of brand-new babies), it’s really nice to receive a little something to know they’re being cared for while they’re so busy caring for someone else. Here are a few ideas for small gifts for new parents. They’re gifts that tow the line between practical, personal, and a little bit special, but that don’t often find their way onto traditional baby registries (see also).
It’s not all stressful, but there are elements of having a tiny newborn that can fray your nerves and I loved wearing this sweet scent when Faye was just born (and still). The tangerine and lavender are calming scents, to be sure, but there’s also something about feeling like you have a secret weapon against stress that feels comforting: a talisman in the form of a roller-ball, if you will. Best of all the scent’s not too overpowering for a newborn but it’s lovely enough feel refreshed…and….calm.
A good night’s sleep.
There’s not much you can do to make sure your friends with new babies will get enough sleep, but a nod in that direction would still be welcome. New parents spend so much time in bed and while they might not have time to change their sheets as often as you’d like, there’s always time to swap in fresh pillowcases. I love the idea of offering a parent of a newborn a special set of pillowcases. Whether they’re vintage or new: wash ’em, iron ’em, and wrap them up with a sprig of lavender and a note wishing sweet slumbers for parents and babe, both.
Similar to the idea above…it’s nice to feel at least a bit refreshed even in moments when you can’t have fresh clean everything all the time. A spritz of lavender on your bedsheets can go a long way toward maintaining sanity (and maybe even encouraging that precious sleep!). I usually make my own very humble linen spray (with just water + lavender oil), but this one is specially formulated for bed linens, minus artificial fragrances.
If you want to give an extra-special gift, a new cotton robe would be lovely. I love cotton robes because they’re lightweight and easy to wear and they don’t take up all of the space that a terrycloth robe does. This organic cotton robe looks especially lovely. And this unisex robe would be as good for sleep-deprived papas or mamas.
It sounds a little personal maybe, but comfy underwear takes on a whole new meaning postpartum. I love these undies from Storq. They’re so soft and stretchy but don’t make you feel like you’re wearing something that’s only utilitarian. And I still wear them…22 months after the fact.
If you’re close to the mama who you’re giving a gift to, you might choose to give something super practical but strangely missing from a lot of conversations about “new mom must-haves”. One of the kindest gifts I received before Faye was born was a set of washable nursing pads from my sister. I had zero idea that my boobs would be leaking breast milk for weeks (and months) as I first began to nurse and receiving the gift felt not only practical, but like I was being specially cared for. See also: nipple cream, bottom spray, and lots of encouragement to stock up on extra large pads and mesh underwear, and witch hazel pads from the hospital (or to buy ’em for birth at home). Another perfect gift? A shortstack of cloth prefold diapers in the largest size. Good for everything from acting as a burp cloth, to serving as a mattress protector, to giving extra breast-feeding support, to sopping up spills and accidents, to putting over your face and crying into when you just need to have a good sob, to playing endless games of peekaboo. They can do no wrong and they’ll always get used.
Maybe it goes without saying that one of the kindest gifts for parents of a new little guy is a homecooked meal. If you’re close enough to offer one: amazing. I’ll never ever forget the ravioli with fiddleheads that my brother-in-law came over and cooked us the night after Faye was born. I couldn’t sit in my chair to eat it, but damn did it taste good.
Peace of mind.
Finally, as so many folks in this space have expressed, there’s a lot of undue pressure on new parents to buy all the things. I’m firmly in the camp of you not needing very much at all in the way of baby gear, but if you did find something helpful and if it’s not so helpful to you anymore (or at least not the moment), consider offering it as a loaner to a friend. Getting the chance to use a bouncy chair for a few months (or a few weeks if that’s all you need) instead of buying one brand-new, might be just the thing that helps them get over a hump (or a crying fit).
What about you guys? Favorite little gifts to give to friends or family welcoming a new baby?