November 9, 2021

Gift Ideas for New Parents: Items That Have Stood the Test of Time

Gift ideas for new parents

My son just turned ten! It’s hard to believe that he’s “double digits” and it all went as fast as everyone said it would. Looking back, I realize I’ve gathered experience about what works and what doesn’t. This applies to baby gifts and life simplifying gadgets as well. I wanted to celebrate this milestone by pulling together a list of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve found over the years that new parents could really use. This list doesn’t include the usual baby products such as burp cloths, baby wipes, baby bottles, a diaper bag or breast pump parts. Instead, I tried to suggest insider gifts from a parent who’s been there, things I discovered along the way that I would still give another new mama or father today to make their life easier. These gifts seek to help sooth a fussy baby, help parents understand their infants, or help get everyone a few hours of additional sleep. So, if you are heading to a baby shower, I hope this list helps you find a thoughtful and useful gift!

Please note I do not receive any compensation if you choose to purchase any of these gifts. I’m a family photographer in Seattle, and I like to share bits of knowledge I’ve picked up along the way.

The Pregnancy Journal: A Day to Day Guide to A Healthy and Happy Pregnancy by A. Christine Harris, PhD

There are many versions of pregnancy journals out there. I liked this one because it offers interesting and fun facts about how your baby is developing DAILY, along with places for a new mother to write her own experiences and memories. A thoughtful gift for expecting moms. Find the Pregnancy Journal on Amazon.

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn Book by Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley RN, Ann Keppler RN, Janelle Durham and April Bolding

I have long recommended this book as a gift for expecting parents. Authored by 5 experts with training in physical therapy, nursing, childbirth education, doula services, lactation and social work, this resource is crammed with great, evidence-based information. Instead of scaring new parents by all of the things that can go wrong during this time, this book focuses on normal processes, natural variations and how to monitor them. It then touches on complications, but does so in a way that keeps the reader as empowered as possible. It hasn’t been updated since 2018 but is evidence based and still a great resource. Find Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn on Amazon.

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet by Denise Fields

This book (updated in 2021!) is a great gift to give expecting parents who are deciding what baby gear items they REALLY need, and where to find items at the most affordable price. Find Baby Bargains on Amazon.

Happiest Baby on the Block Book by Harvey Karp, MD

This book by Harvey Karp highlights the five “S’s” that help quiet infants when they are inconsolably crying. We’ve all been there and it’s just the worst. These five strategies work almost every time. Trust me, this practical gift will keep on giving. Find Happiest Baby on the Block on Amazon.

The Wonder Weeks

An app that tracks the ten major brain developments, or “leaps”, that a baby goes through during their first 20 months of life. I found this incredibly helpful in understanding why my baby was all of a sudden more fussy – these behavior changes often correlated with times when he was learning new things and his brain was “leaping”. From their website: “With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby’s mental development, which affects not only his mood, but also his health, intelligence, sleeping patterns and the “three C’s” (crying, clinging and crankiness)”. One of my best recommendations. Available as a book or an app. Find the Wonder Weeks on the Wonder Weeks website.

Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science (and what I’ve learned so far) Book by Tracy Cutchlow

I discovered this book after my son was five years of age. I was struck by how well it captured many of the tips and tricks I’d learned in my early years of parenting in one easy to read, succinct resource. A great gift for new parents. Find Zero to Five on Amazon.

Lutron Electronics Plug-in Lamp Dimmer

I don’t know how I discovered this but it was a life saver during late night feedings and diaper changes. This little device allows you to raise the lights just the slightest amount – enough to see your baby, the diapers and wipes – but not enough to fully wake you or your infant. Also took this with us on trips, anywhere we needed to change diapers late at night. A great, practical gift. Find the Lutron Electronics Plug-In Lamp Dimmer on Amazon.

Sleep Sheep (travel version)

This is a well known new parent gift. This little snuggly companion can attach to an infant’s car seat. It acts as a sound machine, playing a variety of different calming noises such as rain, a heart beat, waves – all which help a little one fall asleep. And a good night’s sleep for baby is a good night’s sleep for parents. Find the travel Sleep Sheep on Amazon.

Mommy Hook

Something so painfully simple ended up being so incredibly useful. While this particular item is marketed as a “mommy hook”, stroller hooks can be any large carabiner. Simply attach it to a baby stroller to carry a variety of items such as grocery store bags, a diaper bag, etc. Just makes sense. Find the Mommy hook on Amazon.

Tranquility TopLiner Booster Pad Medium Diaper Inserts

I was lucky to find these inserts – they fit inside your babies’ diaper and helps keep him/her dry throughout the night. Definitely helps minimize the need to change bed sheets over night. Find Tranquility Inserts on Amazon.

Nose Frida Snot Sucker

I was lucky to find these inserts – they fit inside your babies’ diaper and helps keep him/her dry throughout the night. Definitely helps minimize the need to change bed sheets over night. Find Tranquility TopLiner Booster Pad Medium Diaper Inserts on Amazon.

People always look at me sideways when I suggest this gem. However, the blue bulb syringes you get from the hospital to clear your infant’s nose don’t work half as well as this does. Yes, you provide the suction, but the filters prevent any of it coming back up the tube (I promise). Infants get congested ALOT and sleep deprived parents will thank you when this item helps their baby breathe and go back to sleep. Find the Nose Frida Snot Sucker on Amazon.

I hope this list helps you find just the right gift for the new parents in your life! If you are looking for a newborn photographer in Seattle, maternity photographer in Seattle, or need a different kind of photography photo session, please get in touch.