Useful gifts for new parents

by Melissa on March 13, 2013 · 0 comments

When a baby is born, parents usually receive a truck load of gifts: clothes, toys, cute blankets, picture frames, etc. But is any of it actually useful? Getting a 6 month size Winter coat when the child will be 6 months old in the summer is probably going to mean that the mom will have to try to find time to go to the store and exchange it. For people looking to get thoughtful gifts for new families (or families adding siblings), think about the following gift ideas:

  • Food: You can make food and bring it over so that it can either be eaten that day or frozen. Also, if you are not a chef type, there are places you can buy pre-assembled food and have it delivered to the family. Services like What’s For Dinner? will deliver to new parents in the greater Victoria area.
  • Cleaning: Offer to clean, fold laundry, take out garbage, or do the dishes when you are over. Or better yet, give a gift certificate of a reputable cleaner. They can choose when to use the service, and then you aren’t stuck doing the chore you won’t even do at your own house! Find house cleaners in the KIV resource section or ask friends for referrals.
  • Sleep: Offer to take the child for a walk, or hold the baby while mom gets some sleep. If mom doesn’t need sleep because her baby sleeps 12 hours straight (doubtful…), offer to hold the baby while she has a shower, or goes for a walk around the block. Simply cleaning herself up or getting some fresh air is gold to new moms. If you can’t help, nanny services and postpartum doulas will offer these types of services.
  • Photography: Give a gift certificate for a local photographer who can come and take some family shots, or newborn pictures. These pictures are usually so cute and memorable, and they will last forever. Check the KIV resource section or ask friends who they have used and liked. There are so many photographers and they each have their own touch.
  • Time: Offer to go for coffee or for a walk with mom and babe. Often new moms don’t want to leave the baby to go out with friends, so bring the baby. Remember to be patient and that the date may change a few times, or that mom may be late getting there. Sometimes babies have their own agenda… ok, they usually run the show.
  • Sibling love: If there is an older sibling, do something with them. Take the older child to a local park, for a tea party at a coffee shop, to the beach, for a walk, or to an art studio to make something for the mom, dad, or baby. Siblings will sometimes feel left out of the new baby happenings, so spending some quality time with the sibling will take pressure off of mom and dad a bit. You can also offer to drive older children to or from school so that mom doesn’t have to rush in the morning with a new baby.
  • Man time: Get dad’s friends together to take him out for a beer. Even dads need time away or to themselves when there is a new baby around. Make sure he gets something for him too.
  • Diapers: Babies always need diapers. Unless the family is doing cloth diapering, consider buying a pack of diapers in a size or two up so that when the baby is in that size, the family is already stocked. Remember, babies are rarely in “newborn” size diapers longer than 2-4 weeks.
  • Clothes: If you want to buy clothes for the baby, please remember the seasons. That cuper cute dress would look so great when she is 6 months, except that it could be completely the wrong season. Also, ask the family what they need for clothes. They may have gotten some newborn clothing from a family member, or they might really need sleepers rather than outfits.

Families will usually remember who gave them a really thoughtful gift like meals, services, or spending time with older children instead of who gave them the bath toy. Keep in mind that the things every new family really needs is just like a new baby: eat, sleep, poop. Well, maybe not poop, but a shower might be nice instead!

Melissa Harris is a birth doula who supports families in the Greater Victoria area. For more information on doulas or what services she has, visit her website at

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