A Guide to Baby Gifts that Mums Actually Want

A top list of baby gifts mums actually wantWhen a new baby hits town, it’s so tempting to pile on the presents along with the good wishes. But what do new mums actually want to receive? Of course baby gifts are always appreciated, but there are some things that I know I loved receiving far more than others. Gifts that were useful, clever or an achievable indulgence. Here’s my guide to perfect baby gift giving.

Yes please gifts

1. Quality over quantity. You will never get a three pack anything from me. There are boxes of lightly used baby clothes in half the garages of Australia. Their owners are happy to pass them on. A beautiful Aussie designed item wins every time.

2. Nappies and wipes. Yup, I know it’s not cute but talk about a practical gift. Also, personally I would skip the generic nappy brands. People with newborns do not have time for blow-outs. 

3. Dry shampoo. Washing, drying and styling hair was one of the rare ‘treats’ that made me feel more human. But I really didn’t get around to it that often. Dry shampoo became my best friend during a period where I felt at my worst.

4. A charity gift. Knowing that most of my shower guests bought pre-natal classes for mothers in third world countries was such an awesome feeling. One of them even bought a water tank for a school. Happy days.

5. A cleaner. Too much? Fair enough but I would have really appreciated it. Maybe an offer to unload a dishwasher or hang out a load of washing while you’re visiting would be a nice idea. 

6. Food and drinks. Biscuits, lollies quiche, muffins, wine, coffee. I don’t think I eed to give you an explanation! Babying is hungry work. If this isn’t her first child, something that the other kids will eat that resembles healthy food would be a godsend.

7. A packet of old-school cloth nappies. Just make sure that your friend knows you are in no way suggesting she uses them as nappies. My 12 pack of giant facecloths came in handy every day. There is just so much gross that needs to be dealt with.

8. Beautiful wraps. Most newborn outfits get worn about five times total, and usually are covered with wraps for most of that time. They are the items that get shown off–around bub, over the stroller and laid out on the floor for tummy-time. That’s some serious style for your buck. They also end up being used as photo backdrops all the time. Or is that just me?

 Not-so-much gifts

1. Toys will bells and rattles and a million different stringy bits hanging off them. The baby has been in the dark for about 38 weeks and looking at, you know, basically anything is going to be too stimulating.

2. A sealed bucket to put disposable nappies in. Those things are just gross. There is nothing wrong with the pop-it-in-a-plastic-bag-and-chuck-it-in-the-red-bin-approach. I was given one and I use it to store chicken food. So it was handy, but not for bub.

3. A bath temperature thermometer. Look, I know I was sleep deprived enough to put my phone in the fridge more than a few times, but my brain didn’t completely fall out my ear. 

4. Any other baby lotions and potions. So many mums don’t use anything on their baby’s skin. I didn’t. So unless you have found the world’s best nappy cream and you know that the baby is suffering from nappy rash I would just avoid that all together. 

5. Baby jeans and collared shirts. Super cute but they never get worn. Soft fabrics all the way people.

6. Fancy foot cream. I totally appreciate the looking-after-mum sentiment but foot moisturisation was not high on my to-do-list. Aim lower, like shampoo or soap.

7. Soft toys. You just end up with So. Many. Of. Them.

8. Baby oil, baby powder and burp cloths. Not sure what to do with the first two and the concept of preempting a puke and catching it on a stylish hand-sewn rectangle of material from Etsy is sweet, but not at all likely. 

8. Decorative things for the nursery. Neither of my kids actually had a nursery so I had nowhere to put that stuff, but for those who do… pregnant ladies can be a little fussy so just be sure you really know her style or steer clear all together.

9. Things you know that the mother won’t like but you think the baby should have. For me it was pinker than pink clothing, colourful battery-operated toys and onsies with TV characters on them. I was given all these things with the premise of I-know-you-hate-this-stuff-but-I- think-every-baby-should-have…insert item that I mentioned wasn’t my jam. Really? It’s just rude.

What kind of things did you like receiving when you had your babies?

More new baby ideas:

Image: Getty / belchonock