The arrival of a new baby calls for much joy and celebration, but it can also create something of a headache when it comes to what to buy. If you're anything like me, you'll be keen to impress but eager to choose a gift that has genuine utility and purpose. There's so much satisfaction to be had from knowing your present is going to come in super-handy in the small hours or be the object of everyone's affections.
Having recently given birth to my third child, I've consumed baby gift guides with an appetite for two. I've been exposed to a myriad of baby merch and scoured Instagram and the internet for unique and interesting finds. All of this combined means I'm a seasoned pro when it comes to newborn essentials, so I like to think my creds are up there with Amazon's Baby Wishlist (with a little more panache).
I do have one piece of wisdom to share early doors. From someone who has been on both sides of the newborn gift experience, don't forget mum. Even if she had the textbook birth (does it exist?), she's just endured a pregnancy, handled labour and has an industrial dose of hormones coursing through her post-partum weary body. To boot, she is now responsible for this tiny human life, and sleep deprivation is the dish of the day. Trust me when I say she deserves something more than flowers, and they aren't going to do much for her during the night feeds.
With this in mind, I've created a newborn gift list that's sure to impress and be the delight of both mummy and baby.
Nursery art is a great gift, but without an intimate knowledge of the new arrival's nursery décor, it can be a risky choice. That's why personalised prints are a great call as they can slot effortlessly into existing room themes or help shape a new creative direction. Personalised also feels so much more unique and special.
The Little Jones personalised prints start at just £7, but you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding on the design. Our Dalmatian and floral initials are best sellers, or if you're buying after baby has made its entrance, you might want to opt for the rainbow birth details print where you can add the baby's arrival date.
Why not complete your gift with a stylish wooden hanging picture frame for your print, from £15.
Personalised name plaques and wall hangings represent a cost-effective, but stylish gift and these Scandi-inspired, birch plywood creations from Rosie Meringue will slot seamlessly into any nursery décor. Each piece is handmade, which always elevates a present in the thoughtfulness stakes. You can opt for baby-centric name plaques or the uber-cute 'I'm here'. And if humour's your thing, you’ll love 'Damn, Sh*t Got Real'.
Part of the job spec for new mums is carrying a treasure trove of potions, lotions and items loosely categorised under ‘just in case’. Mums adapt in different ways to the organisation of such ‘stuff’ but I’ve always been a big fan of the compartmentalisation movement. This involves filling lots of smaller pouches and bags within a bag to try to tame the chaos and keep things in check. These personalised pouches are just perfect for such changing bag ‘filing’. You can even choose your own text and font, so it makes for a really unique gift.
Personalised presents don’t come much cooler than the fabulous clothing you can find at Marni and Mowgli. The bath robes and varsity jackets are beyond trendy and make wonderful, thoughtful gifts. They also do kids’ leggings in a range of very cool monochrome designs.
For the Nursery & Home
As a small business myself, I'm always keen to support other independent retailers. There are so many unique finds online and I've always been a fan of toys with a little more individuality. There's a super-sweet range including comforters and pram and activity toys. Fox Boy squeaker toy is a personal favourite, and the llama range is fun and fabulous too.
If your budget is on the higher side, Totter and Tumble have a great selection of interior design led playmats. All the practicality but without the loud baby prints, these waterproof, reversible memory foam mats have stylist prints designed to fit into any home.
I've yet to meet a mama who doesn't appreciate the merits of a good quality sleeping bag. Practical, cosy and a safer alternative to loose sheets, the trick is to find a brand that bridges the seasons. Luckily that's precisely what Mama Design's Babasac does. The inner layers easily zip out, creating the option of a 1.0 tog or 2.5 tog sleeping bag; perfect for all year round.
All muslins are not created equal! You would think that their ability to mop up spills and be aesthetically pleasing would be enough, but these monochrome marvels are backed by scientific research. Super soft sensory muslin squares in high contrast black and white patterns help to support babies' cognitive and visual development. There's a benefit for parents too. It takes a lot of effort to concentrate on the millimetre-precise patterns, so you'll have a calm, happy and relaxed baby.
A splash mat may not sound the most glamorous present but believe me; this is one of those utilitarian gifts that will earn you the utmost respect of home-loving parents. Proving that practical and pretty can coexist, Mabel and Fox's luxury mats are portable, so they're great for feeding on-the-go as well as protecting floors and surfaces at home. They're wipeable, waterproof and extra bonus points are awarded for being made in the UK from non-toxic textiles.
Something else I learned pretty quickly as a mum. Babies and children equal stuff. Stuff that grows at an exponential rate, so it's essential that you get your storage game sorted.
An unusual gift idea, but one full of purpose and utility, is the storage crate and they don't come more beautiful than these. There's a range of 23 colours, and there's even a virtual crate colour stacker so you can mix and match to your heart's content.
Establishing the bath, book and bed routine from the outset is a tried and trusted piece of parenting advice. Give the gift of natural skincare and make bath time a pure delight. This range was developed by a mum who wanted the very best for her newborn, so she tirelessly researched the benefits of raw virgin coconut oil and hit on the wonder that is Kokoso Baby, a collection of premium coconutty skincare for little ones. A newborn essentials box set at £19.99 has all the essentials for those precious, early bathing sessions.
When my eldest was born 5 years ago, a stylish changing mat was pretty hard to come by. Nowadays you can find many a beautiful mat, and none more so than the extensive selection at Mini Maison. They stock a huge range of designs to suit most nursery decor (the neutral leopard print is a favourite of mine) and the travel mat makes a particularly useful gift.
Fabulous customer service combined with a completely customisable gift box service makes Don't Buy Her Flowers a convenient option that you can organise from the comfort of your living room. This lovely box set proposition centres around that scarce commodity of 'me-time'. Though those precious five minutes might be in short supply in the early days, the new mama will thank you for giving her something to indulge in when she does find them.
Something else that tends to grow with a mama's bump and brood is her jewellery collection. A beautifully engraved necklace with little one's names or initials makes a wonderfully personal gift and can be a comfort for periods away from family. I love the-hand stamped jewellery at Mermaids and Dinosaurs and with gifts starting from a little as £12 your budget won't be busted.
While you can't give the gift of a baby that sleeps through the night, you can get pretty close to treating a new mum to that much-coveted state of blissful relaxation. These self-heating eye masks, infused with jasmine, get to work on contact. They help lull you to sleep, ease tired eyes and relieve tension headaches. According to Junior Magazine they 'make you look like you've had 8 hours sleep' so you might want to double up and treat yourself too.
It's not until you have a baby that you genuinely understand that overused, and sometimes annoying phrase, 'make the most of it, they grow up so fast'. It's true.
A journal is a wonderfully thoughtful gift for recording precious memories and writing letters to your little one. Return to it and reminisce once you're through the hazy days of endless feeding and then pass it down as a cherished keepsake to your children when they are grown.
I hope you've enjoyed my newborn gift guide and that you've found something here to wow your new arrival. I've tried to incorporate a mixture of budgets to cover all bases and also selected options that you can order online. It seems to be that our shopping mode of choice is increasingly online, but I was also mindful that recent events have driven e-commerce even harder.
Welcoming a newborn baby is such a wonderful cause for celebration. It's a given that receiving lovely, thoughtful new arrival presents is an absolute pleasure, but if all else fails, the gift of your company, a good old chat and a killer packet of biscuits, is always welcome.
Authors Claire Green (@i_docontent)
and Kate Jones