Preparing for a newborn baby is overwhelming – especially when it’s your first! You get bombarded with soft toys and other cute bits and pieces but how much of it all do you really need?

When buying for new parents, most tend to go for something that is practical or sentimental; but going beyond the flowers, designer bibs and baby rattles can be hard.

There’s also a big difference between buying for your sister or best friend as opposed to your work colleague or neighbour so sticking to useful is always ideal. Most new parents will take care of the main essentials themselves– like a cot, a quality pram and a car seat.

Don’t buy another bunch of flowers or stuffed toys they don’t need!

Here are a few practical gift ideas your new parent-to-be will definitely appreciate instead.

1. Stuffed toys vs educational toys

Whilst stuffed toys can be a good idea – they are the most common go-to option. Babies will end up with oodles of soft toys and new parents will be bombarded with them. Instead, think outside the box a little and opt for something that is educational; something the newborn won’t just grow out of in a few months’ time.

Toys where a baby can learn and develop from will always come in handy. And having a few different ones won’t matter because they will gain various skills from them. Whether it’s a toy stacker to encourage little ones to build and use their hands, simple puzzle books they can develop into, 3D animals to learn from and interact with or building blocks and play mats that will can be used for years, new parents will appreciate educational toys they’re child can truly benefit from. If all else fails, specially designed teething toys are great option. Opt for animal teething toys over teething rings as they will be more exciting for babies.

2. Flowers vs bouquets that last

Every women loves receiving a bunch of flowers but as a new parent, it’s simply that – enjoyable. To make this gift idea more practical and appreciated for both mum and bub, consider getting a bouquet of ‘flowers’ that last. And I’m not just talking about a fake tacky bunch of blooms either!

Bouquets of ‘flowers’ crafted from baby clothing, swaddle blankets, bibs and other useful baby items are the new bunches. Similar to baby hampers, but with a slight twist, they look great and are loaded with everything a new parent needs. You can opt for ones that just have 100% cotton blankets in them or get a mixed bouquet with all the essentials.

3. Nappy bag vs ‘handbag’

Every parent needs a nappy bag but unfortunately it tends to become your handbag too! ‘Nappy bags’ have evolved over the years to trendy purses and business bags (for the dads or professional mums-to-be) so you can get the best of both worlds. We all know women can never have enough bags either – so if you and a friend do double up on the same gift, at least you know she’ll get use out of both of them over time.

Look for a stylish nappy bag that is roomy with enough pockets to stash wipes, nappies and other essentials. Don’t forget a few compartments for mum’s goodies too. Stylish all-purpose nappy bags will come in a variety of colours so new parents can still flaunt their own style. Opt for one that has a washable matte finish and can attach to the stroller for added convenience.

4. Luxury items

You don’t need to spend a fortune to buy a luxury gift for a new parent. Remember that the simplest things can be considered a luxury for many first time mums and dads. Think items that they wouldn’t be able to splurge out on now with the new bub. Go for luxury versions of everyday goods – things new parents may not be able to justify spending on but are practical and lovely to use.

5. Thoughtful gestures

Little things go a long way in the first few months of being a new parent. You can’t go wrong with food – especially if the new parents are family, a good friend or neighbour. Offer to cook them dinner for the first week so they have access to tasty treats and meals in their fridge without the hassle.

Creating ready to eat meals that can be easily frozen and heated up will go a long way.

Time is also precious as a new parent so offer to come round for a few hours in the first few weeks and take over with some babysitting whilst they get out of the house for some couple time or can get a couple of hours sleep in. Simple gestures of food (think baked goodies too!), time and feel-good packages like a parent’s night in pack with DVDs, takeaway vouchers, chocolate and wine can really make a big difference.

Do you have any to add to the list you wish you were given? Please share in the comments below.

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  • Soft toys became a nightmare as everyone thought it was something cute to give. Sadly I delivered large rubbish bags of soft toys to the second hand shop.


  • I ended up with about 900 blue baby blankets. I ended up giving most of them to a local charity. My go gift for new parents is a baby sleeping bag. I always catch them being used in facebook pics so I think I’m on to a winner!


  • Really great ideas. One of my best friends had her first baby recently and I made sure to give her helpful things


  • Awesome list. Nappies, wipes and creams are always handy too… just ask the parents if they have brand preferences or requirements.


  • I tend to buy things for six months in – eg clothes in bigger sizes.


  • My son and daughter in law have just become first time parents. I think what the need most is someone to do ‘night shift’ once or twice a week for them. Just so they can both get a decent nights sleep


  • I think cooked meals for new parents are great ideas.


  • These are all fantastic ideas. I bought my friend’s baby her first blanket to be used when she was about 3 months and a cute cupcake outfit for when she had outgrown all her newborn onesies. It meant my friend already had some options once she was 3 months.


  • I love bouquets made from baby cloths etc soo cute and sooo particle.


  • Lots of great ideas, I really felt spoilt when a friend gave me a beautiful hand cream, body cream and body wash, it was very unexpected but so appreciated. :-)


  • There are some great , practical ideas here.


  • The BEST gift for a new “mum” is the bath helper. You put baby on it in bath and have 2″ free” hands .
    They are made of towelling and so easy to use and above all cost about $14 !! I bought them for all my pregnant friends


  • These are really good ideas!


  • An interesting list of ideas and items. I always ask what is needed as everyone has so much and often get double ups.


  • Besides books and educational toys are also have been giving a basket with baby soap, baby shampoo, first tooth brush with toothpaste, teething gel, Bepanthen etc. I also gave nappies and made once a nappy cake. And yes, we organized with a group of friends home cooked meals for 2 weeks, which was really appreciated.


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