10 Baby Gifts New Parents Actually Need (and Will Totally Appreciate)

Stop buying Sophie the Giraffe teethers and go for these baby gifts instead.

As a mom of three toddlers, I know a thing or two about giving and receiving gifts. You might call me an expert of sorts, as I am acutely aware of exactly what a new parent needs…and what they don’t. What’s make a great present? Items you can't have enough of—think washcloths, towels, blankets, onesies, etc. What’s not so great? Items that parents would prefer to pick out themselves, like patterned crib sheets (Note: Hormonal new moms won’t find your Star Wars-themed sheets for her baby girl hilarious), mobiles or lamps. Also unhelpful? Receiving too-large clothes for a season that will have passed by the time the baby is that size. (Example: A 6-months-sized snowsuit for a baby born in December.) 

If you really want to hook a brother (or sister) up, add the below items to your shopping cart the next time you're trolling the Internet for the perfect baby gift.

1.  Burp Cloths

Moonbeam Baby Personalized Burp Cloths, $9.95 each

You never know if your baby is going to be a spitter-upper, but if they are, you literally can’t have enough burp cloths in the house. And if they’re not—congratulations, you’ve hit the baby lottery—you’ll still need a whole stack of them for drool, milk messes and more. These are great in that you can monogram them and they survive hundreds of washing cycles.

2.  First Year Frame

Pottery Barn Silver Leaf First Year Frame, $62

The first year of a baby’s life is a total blur. Late nights, endless diapers and many, many lullabies later, the 12 months have flown by. I love giving (and receiving!) this frame because it forces parents to stop and photograph each month—and years later it’s amazing to look back and see how your tiny one grew his or her way through their first year of life.

3.  Baby Basics

Honest Baby Arrival Gift Set, $49.99

There’s no such thing as too much baby shampoo or lotion, and Honest is a safe bet brand given that it’s organic and made up of super-gentle ingredients. And the packaging is cute, too.

4.  Swaddle Blankets

Aden & Anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket, $49.95

I’ve never actually swaddled a baby with these (for that, Summer Infant is the best), but Aden & Anais blankets are nonetheless vital to a new parent’s arsenal of tricks because they are so multipurpose. Need to shade a sleeping baby in a stroller? Boom! Want to let the baby kick and roll on a dirty airport floor? Boom!

5.  Lovies

Angel Dear Pair & A Spare, $30-$41 (Depending on your animal choice)

Every baby needs a lovie and the hardest part of buying an Angel Dear will be choosing which adorable animal is right for the baby. Each of my kids received one when they were born—a giraffe, a monkey and an elephant—and each of them still falls asleep clutching them today. The pair and a spare is key, as they get dirty fast, and when two are in the wash and your baby is crying her eyes out, having a third one on-hand will make you want to cry tears of joy. Best. Gift. Ever.

6.  Bibs

Aden & Anais Classic Burpy Bib 2-Pack, $22

Bibs aren’t just for babies eating food—they’re imperative for infants and teething babes alike as they catch drool, milk and more. Protect the babe's outfit with one of these, because it’s much easier to swap in a new bib than it is to unsnap a onesie, AMIRIGHT?

7.  A Sound Machine

Marpac Dohm-DS All-Natural White Noise Sound Machine, $48.54

There are prettier and cuddlier sound machines out there, but I promise you, they will break. Or the baby with throw them on the ground and the batteries will go flying and chaos will ensue. The Dohm is a beast in that it can run for years and it’s portable.

8.  Hooded Bath Towel

Pottery Barn Kids Nursery Critter Wraps, $39.50

Is there anything sweeter than a clean baby wrapped in an adorable hooded towel? Nope. Definitely, not. And don’t sweat buying a repeat gift, a parent can’t have too many towels. These cuties can be monogrammed as well.

9.  Wash Cloths

Giggle Organic Cotton Stripe Wash Cloth 3-Pack

Finding a super soft washcloth that can go through the washing machine literally every day and come out  unpilled and unwrinkled is no easy feat. These ones accomplish that and their pretty pattern makes wiping baby butts a little less painful.

10.  An Insanely Soft Blanket

Land of Nod Cuddle Me Soft Baby Blanket, $38

There are lots of hard and gross parts to parenting—so much vomit, so much poop—but there’s nothing quite as rewarding as snuggling up to a clean baby and cocooning yourselves in a fluffy blanket. Every parent will appreciate one (or ten), so this gift is always a winner. Monogramming earns you extra brownie points.

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