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 Post subject: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:06 pm 
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I know absolutely nothing about pregnancy, children, or anything of the sort, none of my friends have babies (yet), and I don't exactly have a family of origin, so I figured I would come to the Playground to solicit advice about this!

I have exactly one friend whom I've known for over half of my life, and he's probably my favorite person in the world. He and his fantastic wife are expecting their first child in, I think, early October? I want to shower them with presents pretty much non-stop because I love them and I am very excited for them, but also because they're not the kind of people who like to buy themselves stuff, so I want to help make sure they have as close to everything that they need as possible. I'm already planning out meals that I'm going to make and freeze for them so they don't have to cook, checking out all the cute hipster onesies I'm going to get for their son from Etsy, etc.

So, PP[K]arents, is there anything you were blissfully unaware that you needed when you became a parent for the first time? One of those sling-like baby-wearing things? A particular type of blanket or bottle? Pre- or post-natal massages? An item that is particularly helpful when you're having a boy? I know they have a crib and a stroller already, and hand-me-down baby clothes, but I think that's about it.
I'm looking for gift ideas for moms and dads, but more on the mom side for the time being because the baby shower is coming up. NB both parents are cool indie rockers, neither is vegan but both are incredibly vegan-friendly, mom is a nurse at a children's hospital, dad works in a factory, they are both exceedingly practical. Money is somewhat of an object, but I'm totally willing to scrape out my savings account and/or solicit donations from other friends to buy one huge thing if it's TOTALLY awesome and exceedingly useful.

My first idea for a mom-to-be gift is some kind of full-length body pillow, because she often complains about how she can only sleep on her back these days, but I have no idea where to start looking because... uh, I've never had a human being growing inside of my torso, so I don't know what would or wouldn't be comfortable!

Any thoughts, PPK?

(Also, is there anything I need to do in advance of/preparation for the baby shower? I've never been to one.)

Thanks for any advice you might have!

<3

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:12 pm 
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Are they registered anywhere? Are they going to use cloth diapers or disposable ones? Diapers make up a huge part of the budget, so I'm sure they would appreciate a stockpile of diapers.

If you are crafty, you could make them some useful stuff. I made a friend some cute burp cloths out of pre-fold cloth diapers; they were pretty handy, since they could be thrown up on AND be used as a diaper in an emergency. If you sew, I could find the instructions for you. They were super simple to make.

Bibs seem to be popular, since babies seem to drool non-stop and changing out bibs saves the parents from having to change soaked onesies/shirts every thirty minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:14 pm 
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when i had my kids one my best friends from college and his partner sent me a card saying they were probably never going to follow through on their desire to adopt a little girl, so they would live vicariously through my kids. i was subsequently surprised by boxes of things, randomly, that would arrive without any warning- a box of stuff with a note saying "we saw the baby stuff on clearance at old navy, and suddenly had to have EVERYTHING!"- and they really did send almost everything. We got a box of dozens of socks one time, which was so funny because it was exactly what we needed. A box of ramen noodles. Uncle B and Uncle K were real life savers, and the arrival of their boxes often moved me to tears. Not your normal gift for parents, but it was so remarkably amazing.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:52 pm 
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You are a very sweet friend, and I like the idea of the body pillow...I can't remember where we got mine but I loved that thing during pregnancy and even now - 2 years later - find it very soothing to my back when I sleep with it between my knees.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:56 pm 
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I had a Snoogle body pillow - delightful.

Can't say enough nice things about the Ergo carrier, I know now there are others built like it for less $ too. It's lasted through 5 years without a tear.

It's really nice that you want to do this for your friends!

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:00 pm 
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watching this thread with interest - my little sister is pregnant, and they have the finances to buy all the things they *need*, so I want to get them something that will be really useful that they haven't even realised that they will need!

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:17 am 
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Oh, my friend's brother-in-law bought her a at-home pedicure for after she had the baby. She loved it, since she hadn't been able to see, let alone manicure, her feet for a while. Something like that would be thoughtful, unexpected, and probably very appreciated.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:45 pm 
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Burp blankets and/or receiving blankets. You go through those things in tremendous quantities. You use them for everything. I'm just thinking of the pretty thin things.

Also, we loved our Teddy Toes blanket/wrappy thing. It works with the car seat! You can just wrap the little one up and still buckle him or her in.
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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:57 pm 
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I love kiddapotomus velcro swaddlers. I love gift certificates to massages. I like alarm clocks with built in white noise machines. I love cloth diapers. I am addicted. and I adore my ergo. I use it everyday. Going on 4 years.

You can also ask if they have a doula or plan for a postpartum doula that you could get them a gift certificate for. Our doula clients add our services to their registries all the time. I think that is awesome and I am sad I didn't do that. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:45 pm 
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I like the idea of a gift certificate for a massage or a hair cut (which was my deepest desire for over a year after the Emperor's birth), especially if you combine it with offering to babysit or arrange a babysitter for the baby while mom goes and has her break.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:59 pm 
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I second the massage idea! A gift certificate for a cleaning service would also be amazing. As far as baby stuff, we got 4 or 5 of these big muslin swaddling blankets (the brand is Aden and Anais I think) which our gal still uses daily 2 years later, and which I occasionally use myself as a little blanket while watching TV or whatever.

Actually, the thing that we absolutely, positively could not have done without was a Fisher Price papasan swing, but this may be baby-specific. Our kid wouldn't sleep more than 30 minutes at a time it seemed like when just lying flat, and once she started sleeping in the swing we went straight to 4 and 6-hour stretches. I would have married that thing if it were legal in NY.

Finally, the body pillow is CLUTCH. I have one that looks like a giant tapeworm and takes up half the bed but it makes it so much easier to get comfortable.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:38 pm 
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Offers to babysit?!


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:30 am 
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the doula would be awesome! especially for first time parents! also an ergo carrier rocks, i had something similar, a beco for my second-i have a rod in my back and once the kid hits a certain weight most carriers hurt me but this one distributed everything evenly. For smaller babies and for sleeping toddlers in the car-I like a pouch sling but you have to get a certain size and it's hard to judge what a new moms size will be after birth! A pouch sling can fold up in a purse and it's easy to transfer a sleeping toddler in the carseat to a hip carry in the sling. I still have one for my 2 1/2 year old.
For my sister, I made a breastfeeding basket, full of things to help like creams, a cover, some books on breastfeeding, latch assist. hard to remember everything i put in it but she said she would have never succeeded without it.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:49 pm 
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oooh! i like the idea of a breastfeeding basket! when i was postpartum doula-ing for a friend i made little baskets to put around the room. one in their bedroom with diaper cream, wipes, diapers, an emergency sleeper. one for the living room with diapers and wipes. and one for next to the rocker with a water bottle, nipple butter, nursing pads, and snacks.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:56 pm 
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stephanie wrote:
I'm already planning out meals that I'm going to make and freeze for them so they don't have to


This is so helpful for new parents.

Also, helping clean the house, do laundry and grocery shop!


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:41 pm 
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ooh now I remember a few more things in the breastfeeding basket-nursing pads-reusable/washable ones and disposable, a weighted bookmark so she could read one handed with paperbacks, soothies-not sure if they are vegan but they moisturize and you can put them in the fridge, well to soothe nipples when you think they are gonna fall off, and breast shells? I think that's what they are called-it protects the nipples from touching the bra when they are sore-like a little dome. Most of this stuff was found at motherhood maternity and target. The latch assist is by lanisoh, the lactation consultant saw one I had at an appointment that I bought myself and recommends them to everyone now.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:34 am 
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I just thought of what I would have really wanted: someone to pay a cleaning lady to come by in weeks 1-4 or so.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:09 pm 
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coldandsleepy wrote:
I just thought of what I would have really wanted: someone to pay a cleaning lady to come by in weeks 1-4 or so.


OR! A few homemade frozen meals.

A lot of people are going to be getting them "things" but very few do anything to help new parents sort of ease into it or make them more comfortable. I think it would be much nicer to stuff their freezer full of delicious foods than it would be to buy an expensive gift that may or may not get used.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:46 pm 
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Una wrote:
coldandsleepy wrote:
I just thought of what I would have really wanted: someone to pay a cleaning lady to come by in weeks 1-4 or so.


OR! A few homemade frozen meals.

A lot of people are going to be getting them "things" but very few do anything to help new parents sort of ease into it or make them more comfortable. I think it would be much nicer to stuff their freezer full of delicious foods than it would be to buy an expensive gift that may or may not get used.



... I would add the caveat that while I normally hate disposable containers, this might be a good time to use some. The last thing I'd want to worry about with a new baby is getting somebody's dishes back to them! I've heard food you can eat with one hand is also really handy for nursing, so maybe pocket sandwich type things (every ethnicity seems to have these - empanadas, pasties, pocket pies, broodjes, sambussas, whatever you call those triangular middle eastern things with the spinach and pine nuts). I've also heard muffins freeze well - we'll see!

As with any gift, knowing the person you're shopping for is important. I'm personally a little worried that we will get food from people that isn't vegan and not be able to use it, and a cleaning service would just make me feel like I needed to declutter before they came (I've looked into hiring one, but upon seeing what they actually do during a clean, I'm not sure it's really what I'd need at all). Certain spa services like massages or pedicures would just leave me feeling stressed about a postpartum body.. Admittedly, I can be a little weird about this kind of stuff!

The nursing and diapering baskets sound awesome but you'd have to know a little bit about the preferences of the new mom, like whether they plan to nurse, pump, or formula feed, or whether they'll be cloth or disposable diapering. Nursing-friendly PJs *appropriate to the weather they'll be facing after birth* would also be well-received, I think. I concur that Snoogle (the tapeworm-like body pillow) is the bomb.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:10 pm 
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Wow! Fantastic ideas, everyone, thank you so much! Surprising them with a cleaning service down the line sounds so great.

Unfortunately, offers to babysit are out because I am.. not.. particularly good with children? (Truth: I am straight-the-fuck-up terrified of children, especially babies, in a way that I can only describe as instinctual. Present me with a young human to hold and/or interact with, and I get this blank deer-in-the-headlights stare as I try to quiet the part of my brain that is trying to make me run away screaming. Not pretty, not good for babysitting.)
I'm bummed not to be able to be there for my friends in this way, but them's the breaks.

I was informed over the weekend that the impending baby shower will indeed have a registry -- I had no idea that gift registries existed for events other than weddings, so this was news to me! -- so I'm hoping to hand-make or Etsy-ify something they have on their Target registry in addition to cooking/cleaning/shopping/everything but babysitting.

Thanks again, PPK!

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:06 pm 
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for the people who like housecleaning, babycare, breastfeeding help, and food postpartum doulas do all that. If i wasn't one I would try and get friends to chip in for one for friends.


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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:32 pm 
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If they are into coffee or tea, maybe a gift certificate to their favorite coffee shop since they probably won't be sleeping very much.

I love the idea of gift certs. they can use to spoil themselves with like a mani/pedi or massage or facial.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:29 pm 
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annak wrote:

As with any gift, knowing the person you're shopping for is important. I'm personally a little worried that we will get food from people that isn't vegan and not be able to use it, and a cleaning service would just make me feel like I needed to declutter before they came (I've looked into hiring one, but upon seeing what they actually do during a clean, I'm not sure it's really what I'd need at all). Certain spa services like massages or pedicures would just leave me feeling stressed about a postpartum body.. Admittedly, I can be a little weird about this kind of stuff!


Yeah, this is totally for sure true. There are a bunch of things in this thread that I personally wouldn't be dying to get. For instance, I cooked and froze food ahead of time myself and had way more than I needed anyway... more food would have been pointless for us.

I have admiration for people who can get their acts together in time to form registries! I tried last time and seriously the only thing I could think of to put on it were flannel wipes.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:10 am 
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If they end up making a registry buy tons of stuff from the registry. I know for me, none of my friends have kids and everyone wants to buy clothes and toys but at the end of the day what I really want is the practical stuff I put on the registry. The body pillow is a FANTASTIC! Gift, I sleep wedged between two body pillows everynight so no matter which way i turn I'm covered.

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 Post subject: Re: what is the perfect gift for first-time parents/moms?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:50 am 
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Anything that involves help with cleaning, babysitting, and food... Handmade gifts are nice. Embroidered bibs and handmade blankets were my favourites! Nice moisturisers and luxury-type bathroom items, if you know what the parents like. There are also really nifty bath carriers/slings and soft beds/seats that are cheap and making bathing a newborn SO much easier, if you can find them in a baby shop...

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