Eeeek!! It’s September now, can you believe it? Only 3 more months to Christmas and we are not ready with any of our Christmas presents (not even made a list yet). Are you?
If you’re like us then you’ll appreciate this particular post, which will give you a rundown of the best gifts for the new baby that no one ever thinks of.
So, you won’t find the boring (but obviously essential) babygrows here – or something equally common like that.
This isn’t even restricted to Christmas so you can actually use this list whenever it feels appropriate to you but because Christmas (the time of joy, cheer and agonising over presents) is almost upon us, what better time to publish a post like this?
We hope you like it and can find a unique gift for the new baby in the family.
Things to keep baby safe
We’ll start with safety because…safety first, right?
Which means that you can’t go wrong with wanting to give something to keep baby safe.
Just remember that some of these presents require parental input. For example, if you’re thinking of giving a car seat, you’ll need to check in with the parents if they have a preference and if the car seat you have in mind will actually fit their car (not all do and some have special attachments that won’t match older cars).
Now that we know how important car seats are, every single family expecting a child will require one.
Car seats also happen to be unique in that they can be insanely expensive but unless you know where they come from, you’re discouraged from getting them secondhand (we’re big on charity shops for nearly all baby stuff – with the exception of the car seat).
So, if you’re wanting to splurge on the first grandchild and you have the parents’ permission (very important), the next question will be which car seat?
As I mentioned before, there are many car seats to choose from but our personal favourites are the Diono Radian car seats.
They’re slim so you can even fit 3 car seats side-by-side in a regular car.
Obviously, if you have those dinky wee city cars, then you probably won’t have enough space for 3 car seats.
Other than the size, these car seats accommodate the baby from birth to 25kgs (approximately 6 years old) rear-facing.
We’re emphasising that because it’s currently rare to find a car seat that rear faces that long even though car crash tests and scientific research show that rear-facing is 5x safer than forward-facing.
In this case, we don’t just go with the minimum as set out by the law (which is far more lenient), we go with scientific research and car crash tests.
We won’t go into details here (research results are available online, after all) but suffice it to say that for safety reasons, it’s best for a child to rear-face for as long as possible.
Obviously, if your car seat has a max rear-facing weight of 9kgs, then you stay within your car seat’s limits.
But this is why we always recommend a car seat that allows you to rear-face for as long as possible (like the Diono Radian).
Third and very important for us personally is the fact that these car seats are flight-approved. The Diono Radian 3RX (available in the US) is FAA-approved whilst the Diono Radian 5 (available in the UK) is TUV Rheinland-approved (the German equivalent of the FAA).
I’ve travelled to 3 different continents using these car seats inflight and will now never travel without one of them again. It really made the difference in terms of comfort even when we were basically stuck on the plane for 12 hours at a time.
Also, contrary to what people believe, a child in a plane is still safer in a flight-approved car seat than out of it.
So, if you want to give a car seat then you won’t go wrong with a Diono Radian.
Side Note: These car seats are heavy! If you need to transport them about, then we highly recommend using a heavy-duty trolley and bungee cords so you can wheel them around like a buggy.
Did you know that newborns are super susceptible to temperature fluctuations and that, according to many experts, it would be best they slept in a room with a temperature between 68–72°F (20–22.2°C)?
Because overheating increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
When our now 3-year-old was an infant, we got a Gro-egg so we knew exactly what the temperature was at all times.
Some people say that you don’t need a thermometer because, if the room is too cold for you then it’s also too cold for baby.
We found that this doesn’t work because my husband and I often didn’t agree with the temperature.
It became a source of tension because I would often feel too hot at night whilst he thought it was too cold (and vice versa during naptime).
So, if you have any doubt at all, get a room thermometer.
One more thing that increases the risk of SIDS is extra bedding in a cot so pillows, duvets and blankets are discouraged until the baby is about 1 and a half years old.
So, what can you give to a newborn who lives somewhere cold and who does actually need to be covered?
There are so many available in different colours, brands, materials and Tog ratings (for different seasons).
Okay, so these aren’t for newborns since they can’t get to cupboards yet, much less try opening them.
However, once they become mobile (so around 6 months and well under 1 year old), you really want to make sure that everything is locked up.
We had a near miss once when bub was about 9 months old and had opened all of the drawers in a cupboard. The entire thing tipped over. Luckily, I was sitting beside him, folding newly laundered clothes and took the brunt of it on my back.
I was sore for days but he was fine, thankfully.
But this just goes to show that our little ones can be lightning fast. I never even noticed that he’d managed to open all drawers.
The same day, I ordered these locks and they stayed in place until he was nearly 2 years old.
We were not taking the same risks again!
Gifts for the teething baby
If the new baby in the family is a drooling, teething baby and you want to give a present that will help the baby (and the entire family) get through this phase a little bit easier, then the following presents might be what you’re looking for.
I got this necklace for my son when he was 4 months old and his teeth were starting to come through.
We were also travelling at the time (just the two of us) and I didn’t use a buggy so he was strapped to me in a Manduca most of the time. He had plenty of opportunities to try and eat my hair.
Before travelling, I ordered these online and made sure I had it on (yes, it’s the adult who wears it, not the baby) so he could fiddle away happily.
It was so effective.
I could rush around the airport like a headless chicken whilst he sat there quietly trying to eat the necklace off my neck.
Oh, we loved these teething bibs!
We found these by accident whilst we were browsing at John Lewis, saw that they were significantly cheaper in our favourite online store (Amazon obvs) and decided to give them a try.
They can soothe their gums by chewing on the (food-grade) silicone end whilst the cloth bib catches all the drool.
It saved so much washing in the long run that the price, to us, was totally worth it.
Now, I give these as presents to babies (and their parents) all the time.
It’s actually recommended now to start brushing a baby’s teeth even when they aren’t all fully out yet.
So this set, which is food-grade and BPA-free, is quite handy.
It comes with two sets of finger brushes and an actual toothbrush.
The material is soft and can easily be handled by the not very nimble hands of a baby.
My son loved it and I can really recommend this as a fun way to get the baby used to the feel of bristles in their mouth.
Some babies prefer munching on their hands and end up with raw, chapped skin.
We obviously don’t want that so you can give a teething mitten that they can wear.
This helps soothe their aching gums (did you know that that’s why babies chew on every available object when they’re teething?) whilst making sure that they don’t hurt themselves.
We highly recommend the Nuby Teething Mitten, which is also currently the top teething mitten product on Amazon!
Gifts for the weaning baby
Time flies when you’re having fun and all that jazz.
Is it now time for your precious bundle of joy to start joining the grown-ups (and bigger kids) at the dining table? If so, then you probably would want to give any (or all?) of the following items.
Trust us, they will be highly appreciated.
The best cup ever!
They can just drink from whichever side and they’d be able to drink water.
But tip it over and no water comes out.
In fact, unless your child uses this cup as a hammer and the floor as nails, you’d never have to worry about leaks or spillage.
I truly marvel at the simple genius that brought us this cup.
We’re truly grateful.
Ever since I became a mum, wipes became a permanent feature in my life.
They are literally everywhere.
In my purse, my bag, the car, every room in the house, my husband’s pocket, the nappy bag.
You name it, I’ve stuck a packet of wipes in it.
What’s the downside?
Other than the cost? Most wipes don’t break down so they just clutter landfills.
With the current state of the environment as it is, I was really looking for an alternative.
I tried cloth. It really wasn’t for us – especially since I travel a lot and need to be able to throw things away to lighten the load.
After searching for what seemed like forever, I came across the Mum&You; brand of wipes and discovered that they are compostable, biodegradable and gentle on the skin.
As far as I’m concerned, it ticks all the boxes.
It’s available on Subscribe and Save so you can potentially get it at a whopping 15% discount.
The one gadget that drew us a lot of admiring glances whilst out and about.
We also attracted harried mothers like a flame did a moth – “Where did you get that?”, “That looks amazing”, “I need one of those.” etc.
It does look amazing and we got it from Amazon (where else?).
This is especially helpful if the baby is doing baby-led weaning (BLW) and is, therefore, allowed to eat on his own.
There will be mess everywhere – unless you contain it.
We used this so much that we ended up with 3 sets (we did need to wash and dry after each use so we had to have something in reserve) that we alternated.
Bub was in it until he was about 2 years old and could be trusted not to pour tomato sauce over his head.
Did we mention that we travel a lot?
You can tell from some of the gadgets, couldn’t you?
This folding booster is a must-have and would be a wildly appreciated gift if you’re giving it to a pretty mobile family with a young baby being introduced to food.
I can’t even tell you how many times we go to a restaurant and they don’t have a high chair available or they don’t have any that actually has a wee baby-sized table.
When you have your own booster (folding, of course, for better portability), then you’re guaranteed to have a seat for the baby every time you go out to eat.
Better peace of mind, in my opinion.
Gifts for the sleepless baby
All babies (unless you end up with that unicorn baby everyone talks about) go through a sleepless spell so gifts to help parents understand and cope why this is happening will always be welcome.
The four items below are our top 4.
Sometimes, the best way to cope with a young baby who won’t sleep is to know that you haven’t broken your baby. It’s just a normal phase and that they will eventually get past that.
Sweet Sleep is the one book I wish I’d read before I’d given birth.
Yes, the title says it’s for breastfeeding families but I really think that every family can benefit from the information it contains.
If only for the fact that it will show you the best and safest way to cope with lack of sleep or the demanding routine of a newborn (also normal in the 4th trimester, by the way).
Get this book.
If there’s one thing to get in this list, it’s this one.
This is a classic album by artist Nicolette Larson and is available for free with your Amazon Music Unlimited trial.
My son fell asleep every time this music was played when he was an infant and even as an active toddler who had difficulty with downtime, this song had an almost hypnotically relaxing effect.
The music is soothing and the lyrics are heartfelt and filled with stories about the love between parent and child.
I enjoyed listening to it and singing it to my son.
I guess I’m a bit of a conservative when it comes to baby items.
In the Philippines, babies go in a baby hammock made of rattan and are swung gently from side to side until they fall asleep.
I’ve never had the fortune to find something like that in Scotland but I did find this baby cradle swing that pretty much operates from the same principle.
Personally, we prefer this to most baby rockers (even the more expensive but also more popular Mamaroo because the baby can lie flat on his back.
However, remember that this is only to be used as a place for baby to nap – never to sleep in for prolonged periods and definitely never unsupervised (like other types of baby cradles or hammocks).
So please, don’t fall asleep whilst the baby is in it.
If you’re so exhausted that you just know you’ll fall asleep, refer to the Sweet Sleep book above for tips on the best way to cope with sleepless nights.
Sometimes, babies can’t sleep because it’s too bright.
I can’t blame them. I can’t sleep when it’s too bright either.
Now, there are blackout blinds or curtains that are marketed specifically for babies but we find that they’re usually more expensive, available in limited size and not nearly as durable.
This one here comes in a pack of six and you can customise the size (by trimming it) so it’s a perfect it. You also don’t need any tools to install it (perfect for non-DIYers).
Is it effective though?
It blocks 99% of light and also has no cords, making it perfect for slightly older but far more mobile children.
Hugely effective and at such a great price too!
Gifts for the ninja baby
What’s a ninja baby?
The one who knows that you’re about to leave the room by the silent tread of your feet.
It’s the baby who can hear you take a quiet breath even when you’re in another room.
The sleeping baby who’ll wake up if you dare move a slightest millimetre.
Yeah, that baby.
What’s a perfect present for her? This is our top 4.
Don’t you just hate it when you drive around and your baby falls asleep in the car seat? You’re now faced with the problem of staying in the car with a sleeping child or taking the child inside but risk waking him up?
Well, with the Snugglebundl, that risk is absolutely minimised.
Based on our experience, this car seat crash-tested blanket is a must-have rather than an accessory.
You’re able to transfer the baby from the car seat to an appropriate sleeping surface in the house without waking the baby up.
What parent doesn’t need that?
You’re raring for a cup of coffee and the moment you take a quiet sip, your baby starts fidgeting and you just know that she’ll wake up soon if you don’t do anything.
I used to put the hoover on for my son.
My sister used her washing machine, I think.
This baby shusher is far more effective (not to mention portable) as it mimics the environment in utero where babies were inundated 24 hours a day with loud sounds of blood flow and other utero noises.
So, although it might sound harsh, it actually is very calming to your baby.
Very effective for the ninja baby.
If you’re a parent, I’m betting you experienced putting your sleeping baby to bed and then attempting a ninja roll soon after.
You know what I mean, right?
When you’re trying to sneak off so you place your baby ever so gently on the mattress whilst simultaneously pushing off and rolling away.
We never were very successful with it until we switched to a memory foam mattress.
Because memory foam is known for limiting motion transfer, which is when one sleeper moves and the other sleeper is disturbed because of energy carried through the building materials of the mattress.
So, if you’re beyond frustrated with your inability to leave your baby in a sleeping surface because she keeps waking up whilst you try to sneak off (but stays blessedly quiet for as long as you hold ourself still), then consider changing the mattress.
The only drawback is that memory foam is notorious for toxic fumes, which you obviously don’t want around your baby.
Luckily, this Graco foam mattress is Greenguard Gold Certified, non-toxic and breathable. It even has a removable, washable and yet water resistant outer cover.
It’s practically perfect, right?
Sometimes, the best gift for the ninja baby is to just stop trying to put them down and admit that they require more physical closeness with the primary carrier.
Unfortunately, we can’t be available 100% for our baby because, you know, reasons.
We have things to do and a house to take care of.
How can you help a parent struggling like this?
Enter the baby carrier, which will allow the primary caregiver to provide the closeness required by the baby whilst still accomplishing the tasks needed for the day.
Gifts for when the baby is sick
Obviously, this would depend on why the baby is sick so please do see your medical professional.
But if you know that the new baby in the family is predisposed to congestion and a stuffy nose or you know that flu season is coming, then you might want to help the parents out by giving them a few of the following items.
Before my son learned to blow his nose, I dreaded him getting the cold.
It was just an awful feeling watching this tiny person struggle so hard to breathe.
There’s not much you can do really when it’s just a stuffy nose as the doctors can’t prescribe anything except a saline spray.
And this particular brand was actually a lifesaver for us since it cleared his congestion practically instantly.
We highly recommend.
Okay, full disclosure: this looks pretty scary the first time you use it – especially as you’re attaching it to your hoover.
But I’ve tried it on myself (sorry, if that’s TMI) and the suction is incredibly gentle. It does not at all suck with the full force of your hoover so don’t worry about that.
What it does though, is effectively clear out a blocked nose.
We combine this with the nasal spray above and can’t even begin to tell you how great they are as a combo.
My son’s relief was palpable as he could breathe a lot better each time.
Just don’t go all Rambo on your baby’s nose, okay?
If you clear it too often, the sensitive lining in his nostril can get pretty irritated and sore.
Sometimes, you’re not even sure if the baby is indeed sick. He just feels a bit hot.
Unless you know how to check temperatures by touch, I highly recommend having a thermometer close by.
This particular thermometer has been reviewed quite highly on Amazon as it is accurate, fast and allows you to get your reading by checking the forehead or the ears.
It’s also reliable.
What more could you ask of a baby thermometer?
If your baby is sick, chances are you’ll need to give her medicine.
Have you tried giving a wriggling (older) baby medicine?
It’s not an easy task.
Now, I don’t know about where you live but in Scotland, you can get a medicine dispenser for free to go with your medication but in my experience, they’re a nightmare to clean. Plus, the measuring marks fade after a few quick handwashes so they don’t last at all.
Better to have something like this FridaBaby ready so you can get the proper dose for any medicine or vitamin you need to give your baby.
And there you have it.
A full list of extremely useful gifts for the new baby in the family.
What about you? Do you have anything you would’ve loved to have received as a present for your newborn?
Drop your list in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!