How many times have you agonized over what to buy your friend's brand new baby? Obsessed over what "creative" gift you could come up with for your new niece? I get asked this question all of the time, and for good reason! Aside from choosing a gift off a registry, it's hard to find something just right for a newborn who you've never met. Sometimes we're looking for something sentimental for first time parents, sometimes we're looking for "just a little something" for the second child, and other times we are searching for a truly unique present for that little bundle of joy. Whether you're going for traditional, out-of-the-box, funny, or heartwarming, we've got you covered!
All The Feels....
I guess I'm feeling extra sentimental today because I decided to start with some touching, one-of-a-kind gifts for new babies and parents.
I've written about photographers before, but this special service is something very different. If you've had children, do you remember the first couple of days, or the first few weeks? Do you have any great videos to look back on? If you're like me, it's a 'no' to all. Little Dumpling Films produces a breathtakingly beautiful film to showcase life in the beginning. They comfortably document baby's first coos, smiles, and a whole lot more with a newborn session, a first 48 session (first 2 days of life), or even an epic ONE film (for those "older" babes). Catch Grandpa rocking the new baby at home, snuggling up with mommy, or smiling in their sleep (The BEST, amiright?) Capturing your most precious memories is priceless, and Little Dumpling Films' work is beautiful. Take a look at the cinematic film stories featured on their website. I can't promise you won't tear up, but it's worth it.
Ok, so this is one you may want to buy yourself if you've already had kids. I know I do! One of my friends put this beautiful ultrasound artwork in her twins' nursery and I had to include it in this gift guide! It would make such a sentimental gift for someone - or yourself ;)
While we're on sentimental gift items, here is one to tug at your heartstrings a little. Nestling Kids makes beautiful heirloom keepsakes & stuffed animals from loved ones clothing. If you want to help the new baby feel loved and surrounded by someone who is no longer with us, you just send the article of clothing you wish to have used, along with your preference of item, and they send it back as a treasured memento. Note: You can also send your old baby blanket, or any special item and have it made into a teddy bear for the youngest generation :)
People Toy Company. Designed as the precursor to Magna-Tiles, (yes, the infamous and beloved Magna-Tiles) these award-winning, easy to use blocks are perfect for babies since they stick together with magnets. People Blocks grow in complexity as your little one does, allowing them to construct their own designs or the ones on the back of the box. The Zoo Animals set allows your child to create their favorite animals, and the Working Cars set (which is next on our list) is perfect for building fire engines and other earth-movers. These clear blocks are also perfect for light tables! Both of my kids LOVE these magnetic blocks.
This is one of my go-to's for a new baby! Granted, they won't be able to use it for almost a year, but that's okay! So many baby gifts like rattles and teethers only last the first 6-9 months, and then baby is on to bigger and better things. A wooden name puzzle is a classic traditional gift in my opinion. This one is from Fat Brain Toys and is available on Amazon Prime which is a HUGE plus. I've also ordered some from Etsy.
Unique & Personalized Books
Where do I even begin with this beautiful, heartwarming book? Well... the beginning. The Little Book of You is the modern-day baby book that will ACTUALLY get filled out. Why? Because you do it all on their site in 15 minutes or less! I first saw Little Book of You at a baby expo and I thought it was the cutest baby book I had ever seen. It was a daunting task to complete a baby book in my opinion, and therefore I never did it with my kids. I saw this and purchased it right away. Instead of having a half-filled out baby book collecting dust on a shelf, you'll have a fully completed personalized book with gorgeous illustrations shipped to your door. My friend already bought this for an expectant mother (you buy the gift card online) and I also plan on using this gift in my arsenal for a long time to come.
We have one of these for my daughter, Charlotte, and it is one of our favorites. It grows with your child and I found the book to be pretty high quality and beautifully done. You can write a dedication and even add a photo of your baby. We have "My Very Own Name" but there are many different titles, so once you have the baby's name, pick your favorite!
This is one of my FAVORITE books to gift because it is funny, non-traditional, and sure to be a hit with parents who grew up listening to 90's rap music. The company, Little Homie, has other amusing titles like "1-2-3 With the Notorious B.I.G." Babies get tons of ABC books, but this one will definitely be a hit.
The future is female! This board book set is perfect for the strong mama who just gave birth to the newest little feminist. I've already given this item at two baby showers. There are other related titles from the company as well.
I am VERY picky about what I use on my girls' skin, and I have used Babo Botanicals products with both of them and still do. While I love their sunscreen, calendula lotion, and hydrating stick, I love their values just as much. This certified "B corp" company uses pure plants and botanical ingredients that are gentle, sulfate/paraben/phthalate free, breastfeeding-safe, and all that important stuff :) Their Newborn Fragrance-Free Gift Set is a perfect gift for new moms and ideal for moms on the go. The 3-piece set includes a Newborn Foam Wash, Sensitive Daily Hydra Lotion, and Diaper Cream - all safe for babies with extra sensitive or eczema-prone skin. There's also room to store a couple of extra diapers and wipes, making this even more useful. Look out for Babo Botanicals products at nearby Whole Foods, Fairway Markets, Buy Buy Baby, and, of course, Amazon.
We got our first pair of Babiators when my now 4-year old was just born. A friend bought her a pink pair and I thought, "Oh wow, I didn't even think to register for these. Do babies need sunglasses?" Well, young eyes are more susceptible to sun damage and kids receive more annual UV exposure than adults. I like Babiators because they make a useful but different gift, come in a cute case, and are high-quality. If you register them and they are lost or break, you can even get a new pair! They stay on my kid's faces way better than other ones I've tried. For more styles and colors, visit their website. Purchase local with your Little Hoboken Hook-Up card and save at Big Fun Toys.
California girl living in Jersey? Get the new addition an adorable onesie to remind her of her roots. I adore these detailed state-inspired designs from Fish Kiss. They carry baby hats, bibs, onesies, and blankets all in the state map theme. Find your state and send an adorable little reminder of 'home' to the new family. If you happen to be looking for non-baby items, they also sell state map pillows, platters, bowls (which could also make a good baby gift), and more.
Other Fun Stuff
Want to get something adorable and unique for the new baby and their soon-to-be best friend? I love this matching shoe & leash combo from PediPeds. You can order any stage of shoe (crib, toddler, etc.) and they feature designs for both girls and boys.
Need something higher-end? Something that is classic, and can impress your boss or colleague? When I don't know the recipient well and I need something luxe, I like buying a piggy bank (or bunny bank) from Tiffany & Co. It's timeless and will look great in most kid's nurseries. We have one in my daughter's room that has actually been broken and glued back together and it still looks good! If you prefer something even more traditional, go with a silver spoon or engraved cup.
Dads, spouses, best friends... listen up. If you're looking for a 'baby gift' that is more for mom, here are some of my favorite personalized necklaces and jewelry ideas.
This Jersey City-based jeweler takes personalizing to a whole new level by using baby or child's fingerprints.
I'm also a fan of the Lisa Leonard Designs cross bar birthstone necklaces (pictured right) and name rings. For circular initial necklaces and other items, I like Tiny Tags as well. Prices range depending on what type of metal is used, so this can really be an affordable or luxe option for the new mama.
When you need "Just a little something"
Sometimes, "just a little something" is trickier than a big-ticket item. Many times, you've already given a gift for the baby shower, and now want to bring something small once the baby is here.
If you're local, head to Big Fun Toys in Hoboken for a Jellycat bunny (or other animal). Jellycat stuffies and loveys are sooo incredibly soft and babies LOVE them. Will the baby already have one? There's a good chance, but unfortunately these get lost all around town (raise your hand if you've ever seen a "missing lovey" post on a Facebook mommy group). So like pacifiers, more is more. Big Fun also has plenty of smaller developmental baby toys and books, and luckily for us, they offer a discount on the Hook-Up card.
This simple and easy-to-clean picture book is great for family members to give, especially if you can get around to pre-filling it with photographs. Oh, and it's on Amazon Prime.
Grab a cute card from Hudson Paperie and pair it with a bottle of wine and a bottle (or cup) for baby.
Some "I-need-it-RIGHT-NOW" gifts
Going to the hospital and need a gift right this minute? Some of my favorite go-to's are:
Go online and buy a subscription box for babies - some examples are Lovevery, Milestones ABC, Bluum, and Skip and Play (which was founded by a local mommy!). Print out the certificate, throw it in a card or gift bag, and you're good to go.
If you're near Hazel Baby in Jersey City, pick up "Count to Sleep New Jersey" or some Jersey City-inspired art prints for baby's room. They also have a wonderful layette section and plenty of cute accessories and extras.
Pick up a gift card from the new mommy's favorite nail salon or spa. It's a great excuse for her to get out of the house when she's ready and get some pampering.
Stop at the nearest CVS for a gift card to Amazon or Target. I used to feel like I was taking "the easy way out" by buying gift cards but trust me, parents need (and want) these!
Order food from a local restaurant that the family loves and have it delivered. To take it a step further, you can also have a recurring service send food for the first few weeks. Even though it's not technically for baby, it's benefiting everyone to have a good meal without the stress of cooking with a newborn.
Happy Gifting Everyone!