The Ten Best Gifts for New Parents

Published: October 22, 2014

Here, you'll find the most helpful, most cost-effective items that every new parent needs in order to make the first few months bearable.  Items have been judged based on durability, longevity, practicality, and necessity.  (Necessity:  as in, "Forget the changing table."  No one really uses those things.)

  1. Video Monitor

    You might think, as I once did, that an audio monitor would be sufficient for new parents.  I mean, it's not like a newborn baby does anything, right?

    The thing to remember here is that the monitor you choose is going to last a long, long time.  These things are quite durable, which is a plus.  And trust me when I tell you that there is going to be a time in the child's life when silence is a bad thing.  

    Splurge now on the video monitor, so it lasts into their (mischevious) toddler years.  You're welcome.

  2. Bath Toy Organizer, Frog

    Be a forward-thinker.  

    It won't be long before baby is off that silly bath mat and bathing like a big kid, and with bath time comes an unparalleled number of toys.  This bath organizer lets kids participate in clean-up, and it's fun to put the toys in and then watch them fall out.

    Yes, it's a bit on the pricey side for what it is, but it beats the heck out of balancing toys all over the sides of the tub.  Also, cuteness overload, good for boys or girls.

  3. Diapers in Assorted Sizes

    Babies grow like crazy when no one's watching, particularly in the middle of the night.  It's amazing how many times a parent can remove one diaper, attempt to re-diaper using the same size that was just removed, and it doesn't fit.

    Also, it's 2am.

    Be a gem and pick up a few sleeves of diapers in bigger sizes.  Yes, they may not be used for a while, but thinking ahead is never a bad thing.

  4. Clothes in larger sizes than "newborn."

    Following suit with the diapers idea, it's also a great idea to purchase a few necessities in larger sizes, particularly onesies and pajamas (i.e. - the "bread and butter" of tiny people clothes).

    Baby showers are filled with the "oohs" and "aahs" that come with holding clothing up the size of a normal adult hand, but you probably know as well as I do that the majority of those teeny tiny newborn clothes never even get worn.  Larger outfits are cute, too, and virtually guarantee that mom won't be delivering a sixteen-pound baby ... because isn't that just what would happen if all that were available were newborn clothes?

  5. Grocery gift cards

    A "best of" list for parents wouldn't be complete without this one.  It's rather self-explanatory, right?  Parents are going to be bombarded with things to buy, and giving cash might not be the best idea, lest they decide to run at 3am.

    Grocery gift cards:  new parents can purchase whatever they need.

  6. Dinners to go

    Whether these are given in frozen, precooked meals or restaurant gift cards, food is a necessity that no one wants to consider when dealing with diapers, crying, bottles, laundry, etc.  


  7. Lighted/sound mobile to hang over crib

    Some how, some way, those folks over at Fisher Price know what they're doing.  A lighted mobile with soothing sounds is a great way to help baby transition to his new crib or room.  Again, since these things aren't played with like toys, they're going to last.  Look for one where the mobile can be removed for toddler/preschooler use.

    Some come with a remote:  even better for getting Dad involved.

  8. Nightlights for hallway

    Ever banged your shin on the coffee table in the pitch dark while running toward the sound of a crying baby?  Me either.  At least, not my shin.  Knee, maybe, but you catch my drift.

    Having a lighted pathway helps baby's cries to seem less desperate in the middle of the night.  A package of these makes a great gift, and the ones that automatically turn on as the room gets dark are fantastic:  No thought required. 

  9. Plug-in swing

    Ahhh, the baby swing.  A staple on the registry of most new parents.

    Look for one that plugs in.  In addition to being battery-powered, companies are finally taking the hint nowadays and adding an electrical, corded option to their swings.  Might it be a trip hazard?  Sure, so don't run around the swing.

    Fisher Price makes at least one corded swing.  For what you'll save in batteries, it's totally worth looking into.

  10. Baby book/Scrap book

    If you're super handy and have the time, this would make a great gift for new parents on their child's first birthday.  Did you know, for example, you can go to Walmart and print photos from your friends' Facebook pages?  Sounds creepy, but it's really an awesome way to surprise someone with photos without having to save their photos to your desktop, which is even creepier.

    Do-it-yourself baby books where mom, dad, etc can fill in the blanks are great, but a super cool gift would be to fill it out for the new parents, at least for the first few months.

It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'd go with the video monitor.  Not only is it helpful, it's kind of adorable to see what kids do when they're supposed to be sleeping.  We've had ours for four years and it's still going strong.  Prices range from $70 to upwards of $300 for the various bells and whistles, so take your time and compare.  We opted to NOT get one where baby can hear our voices, but ours will play music on his end at the touch of a button, and the image quality is great even at night.  

Happy parenting!