Updated: Oct 24, 2021
So you're pregnant. You've planned a baby shower or blessing, and now you have a mountain of gifts from friends and family. This is a lovely feeling, and for the most part, really helpful, especially for first time parents who need to buy a lot of things for their bundle of joy.
Here is the but. A lot of what is bought for new babies and their parents is either unnecessary, wasteful, expensive, or a mix of all three. So here is my list of ideal presents
for those looking for present ideas that are zero waste, useful, and to an extent, invaluable for new parents and babies.
Probably one of THE best things you could buy or at least contribute towards is antenatal education. Whether it's an online course or in person course, helping your loved one become confident and excited about their birthing experience will be the best gift they receive. If they have asked for books, try getting the specific ones they have requested, or surprise them with one of my recommendations (Food of Love by Kate Evans, How to Have a Baby by Natalie Meddings, anything on my Instagram). You could even offer to go with them to a hypnobirthing taster session, or to a full antenatal course, even if you aren't going to be their birth partner, the encouragement and solidarity is an added gift you cannot replicate.
HANDS ON HELP.
This can look like a gift voucher for a postpartum doula, a cleaner, a dog walker, for example. But it can also look like a handwritten note with an offer of support.
"Give me a call and I'll cook you dinner".
"IOU 2 hours of childcare".
"Text me and I'll bring flapjack and hold the baby whilst you shower".
I talk about postpartum support (or lack thereof) so often and this is why I believe offers of hands on support is essential, far more so than the newborn clothes that baby will most probably have more than enough of and will outgrow within a week.
Seriously, they will love you. It is consumable, and paramount to the new parents' wellbeing. Making up freezer meals labelled for ease, gifting food vouchers for take-away or easy prep boxes, IOU's for meal drop offs, or even a fruit and veg basket, all are direct routes to a new parent's heart. One of my favourite memories after having my second baby was my nan arriving at the door with the entire fruit section of Aldi as I told her I was craving fruit! She chopped some up to feed me, whilst freezing some for smoothies, and popping the rest in the fridge. It didn't last long with three hungry people in the house, but it was a marvellous gift. I also had a surprise package from a dear friend and client when I was around 13 weeks pregnant during this pregnancy. It was a huge fruit and veg box delivery from a local greengrocers, with a mix of my favourite things and five (yes FIVE) watermelons. Again, they were gone within a week and I still cannot express my gratitude for it.
Pregnancy can come with some discomfort and pain, and for the most part, there are hands on techniques that can help, even for the most bothersome issues. Sometimes though, NHS physical therapy has long waiting lists and doesn't necessarily provide what is needed. On the flip side, these private appointments are expensive and might require someone choosing between physical adjustment and support (which we know will improve their emotional state as well as help the birth process) or other baby purchases/bills that need to be prioritised. Having an appointment for a massage or physio session gifted can be a financial weight off someone's shoulders, on top of the fact that they then get some much needed treatment during the changes their body is going through.
Of course, I'm not saying don't get the cute outfit or baby gadgets if it's been specifically requested, but if you're looking for something unique and that will be remembered and received with thanks for sure, try something on this list. Let me know in the comments what you were thankful for, or if you tried any of these and how they went down with the parents.