Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gift Guide: What to Get the "Experienced" Mom

Many of my closest friends around here are expecting.  And this time, instead of the thrill of a first baby, it's their third, fourth or fifth.  And whether a traditional shower is held for her or not, I think each arrival is cause for celebration, and to me part of that means gifts.

So I've done some thinking.  What do you get such a Mom, someone who is well-versed and well-stocked, who has developmental toys for every age, the parenting books she knows and likes, clothes in every size for both genders, and receiving blankets coming out her ears?  There is still plenty, and you would be a very thoughtful friend to get her something she will actually need and use (read: not blankets.  Or stuffed animals.)  I nudged a few friends for ideas, and added them to my own.  And here I give you a pretty darn good resource list.

I don't care how many kids she has; she will need diapers (unless she's gone cloth - doesn't hurt to find out.)  You could get her any size from 1 to 4 and they will be much-appreciated and definitely used.  One friend told me she had a baby shower for her second that was just diapers - she said they didn't have to buy diapers for almost a year!  Amazing.  What a gift.

Other disposable-type things a new Mom always needs:

Along a similar vein to disposable, are things that she may already have, but it's nice (and sometimes necessary) to have new ones for the new kid.  This includes things like:
  • Baby washcloths
  • Board books (don't be afraid she'll already have the one you picked - if she does, it is probably all chewed up and falling apart and a new one is great; if she doesn't, bonus!)
  • Bibs
  • Pacifier clips
  • Baby spoons
  • Sippy cups
  • White onesies
  • Burp cloths

Two categories in one here, and these comprise more traditional baby gifts.  But since this Mom has so many of the necessities, it can be nice to get her a not-so-necessity, maybe something she's always wished for but could never justify buying.  But, it still has to be useful!  Just for example:
The baby item industry is always booming, and there is constant and endless innovation happening there.  Which means there are always new cool things coming out, and she may not have something that's come out in the last few years.  One time when I was pregnant with Poppy, in 2010, I spent a whole afternoon alone at Babies R Us, walking up and down every single aisle just to see what was new since Ginger had been born in 2007.  I found some of my favorite new stuff that way.  A few new-ish things she might not have, but that I think are clever and useful, are:

Is now a good time to address clothing?  Because here's what happened.  I recently attended a shower for a woman having her third girl in three years.  It was well-attended but I was so surprised that every gift but two that I remember was clothes.  It's true a third might like a thing or two of her own, but I am positive that family did not need that many new girl clothes.  The two gifts that weren't clothing were mine - a baby timer (with batteries) - and a gift containing home pedicure things for the mom.  Which I'll talk about in a minute. 

My feelings are: if she's having her first of a gender, clothes are a great way to go - of course she will need them!

If she's having a gender she already has clothes for, but you just must get clothes because they are so cute and fun (and I don't judge or blame you for that), elevateSkip Carter's and Target.  She will probably be shopping there herself. Get less for more and buy quality, somewhere she wouldn't normally shop, and get this kid something really nice.  Almost every mom I asked responded how nice it is to have at least some new, clean things for the baby.

FYI American Apparel is one of my favorite brands for soft, unadorned baby separates, especially for boys.  I love their karate pants and onesies.

And. One friend suggested getting a baby bathing suit, swim diapers, and sunscreen (hand me down swimsuits are always a little loose and pilly.)

Dude, you know what this mom needs most?  Some help.
  • Dinner - get her a gift card to a place that delivers (i.e., pizza, Thai), has easy pick-up (i.e. Panera, Chipotle, etc.), or a meal delivery service.  Some examples are Grandma's Chicken Soup, Let's Dish, and Send-a-Meal.  And of course you could always make them something yourself.  One of the best gifts ever was a woman I didn't know well emailed me a month after Poppy was born, when all the meal-bringing had stopped and I was drowning.  She told me she was bringing me dinner and gave me three dates to choose from.  It was no-fuss, no-frills, and I will remember her thoughtfulness forever.  Another best-ever gift was when a friend brought us dinner...and a huge shopping bag full of paper plates and plastic cups.  We ate off those for months, and it was the only way I could stay on top of the dishes.
  • Massage - I can't think of anything better than a prenatal massage.  Unless it's a post-partum massage.  You know some hospitals offer that service?  What a gift that would be, if you found out where she's delivering and arranged to gift her a massage while she's in the hospital.  That is a true friend.
  • Mommy Relief - If I ever have another baby, please oh please, someone get me a g/c for these guys!  I know they're local but I bet most areas have something similar.
  • Mani/ Pedi - Just a simple treat almost any woman would love.  But, get her a gift card to a salon.  In reference to the home-pedi gift mentioned above, um, what 7-9 month pregnant mom can paint her toenails and also breathe?  And what new mom has time or thoughts of painting her own nails?  But a salon outing, that is a treat.
  • Gift Cards - besides food, help, and nails, the experienced mom needs clothesFor herself.  Post-partum is a dark time for a woman's wardrobe, as she mysteriously morphs into whatever surprise shape and size she's going to be this time around, but she still has to wear something!  And you know her nursing bras are in a sad, sad state by the third or more child.  My best suggestion here is a mall gift card, so she can buy whatever, wherever. 

Consider pitching in with friends to get her one big nice thing.  Something like:
  • a rockin' rad double stroller (she probably has her eye on one)
  • a gift card (see above) to a:
    •  restaurant
    • store 
    • mall
    • website (my fav -
    • local photographer (for an infant photo shoot - so thoughtful!)
    • bookstore (especially Amazon, really)

OK, see?  All is not lost.  So what if she has a girl, two boys, and lots of baby gear?  There are still A TON of really thoughtful gifts you can give her, in any price range!  Hope this was helpful.  And in case you still need more, here are my own Top 5 favorite things to give new and repeat Moms (but step off if you are going to the same shower as me because I get dibs on giving these!)

 1 - Itzbeen Baby Timer (you've heard me sing its praises before; I always include batteries)
2 - Patemm pad (one of the coolest baby things I own)
3 - Chew beads (my favorite "new" baby invention)
4 - Books (kid-approved favorite board and picture books are always the right gift, with the bonus aspect that siblings can enjoy them now, and baby, later)
5 - Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (this is usually a first-time Mom gift, but I lend mine to many "experienced" moms.  Most helpful information I've ever gotten regarding babies' first three months.)

AND.  If you STILL need ideas, I love perusing Cool Mom Picks baby shower gift guide, if nothing else, the ads are always so cute!


Lindsay said...

Amen and AMEN! Especially your thoughts on diapers, clothes, and post-partum help/gifts for mom. Our third boy just joined us and while I do appreciate the thoughtfulness attached to every gift we've received this time around, there are some things we got that I'll never have a need for since we already have so much of the very same stuff. But the case of diapers we were given? Awesome awesome awesome. I don't think I'll have to buy any size 1 diapers myself. Great post!

elyse said...

What a fabulous post!! Thanks for putting this together. So many awesome ideas. I'm going to have to keep this as one of my bookmarks!

K Cummings said...

woah, Jane Smiley contributes to Brain, Child. !! Kari you always know the coolest stuff

Celeste Elaine said...

This one is definitely going in the reference list. Well done!

Andrea said...

Ordered Chewbeads for my sister-in-law just tonight! Amazing reference. Great ideas. I love it, love it, love it!

OnCallMom said...

awesome post! My favorite part was where you said 'elevate' in regards to the clothes. AMEN!! :)

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