Necessities for Baby’s First Year: The Baby-Gift-a-Month Club
Two years ago, I packed my life in two bags and left for London. Living here has been wonderful, I have an amazing job, and being alone in a strange country has done wonders to my marriage. However, all this time, I have not been able to go back to visit, and needless to say, I have missed lots of key moments with my friends — you know, weddings, divorces, house moves, birthdays, etc.
I finally have the opportunity to go back at the beginning of March, and I am delighted because my best friend is pregnant and I will finally get to be there at least to touch her belly and let her have a good moan about being all pregnant etc. But I am also sad because, man I will be missing out on the real thing, the real actual having a baby, and being tired and grumpy and amazed and marveled at the same time, and I won’t be able to be there and offer to hold him while she showers or do her laundry or something more useful perhaps. I will miss out on everything she goes through because who has time for emails when you have a newborn?
So anyway, to make the story short, and not waste any more of your precious time, I figure the only thing I can really do is give her a gift that will help her out a lot, and that she uses every day, so that I can at least contribute with this incredible experience in a tiny way, if any. I also want to get her something for HER, because I imagine everything suddenly becomes about the baby, and I want her to have something that makes her feel pampered, or as nice as possible when you are 8 months pregnant.
I remember you once mentioned how when you are pregnant you buy a bunch of stuff, and people give you a bunch of stuff, but its is not really what you end up using. And how if you had the chance you could tell us all what to buy because PEOPLE you don’t really need all those onesies — I think?
So maybe you could let us all non-moms know what is really a good gift to give a pregnant woman, and her newborn, so that we can stop standing at the maternity shops looking at onesies with dumbfounded mouths.
Thank you very much!
The Best Baby Gift? A Year of Baby Gifts
This seems like a question I should really have an answer for, doesn’t it? I mean, having HAD a baby already and all. And yet when I think back to those fuzzy early days, I cannot think of ONE amazing straight-from-heaven item that stands out in the way you describe.
Well, I mean, I can. It would probably be those stacks of cloth diapers we used as burp rags. And maybe the extra Babies R Us gift cards that allowed us to rush to the store two days after coming home to buy more diapers and a swing because we only registered for a bouncy seat because all our friends said swings were a waste of money and the bouncy seats were the way to go and GUESS WHO HATED HIS BOUNCY SEAT?
But…then he did like the bouncy seat later on, and stopped spitting up so much, and like a lot of couples we realized we completely over-registered for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it newborn stage and were now the parents of a six-month-old who wore 12-month clothing and needed an exersaucer. One baby LOVES tummy time and another one NEEDS his white noise machine and another baby hates both of those things with a white-hot passion.
And registries! Oh, people don’t even know what they’re registering for. You pick out a stroller that worked great on the linoleum floors of the store but sucks on sidewalks or is actually a LOT heavier when you’re trying to load it into the back of your car after your emergency c-section. You scan some bottles that end up giving your baby gas, the wrong kind of pacifier and you know what? Life goes on and you figure it all out. You’re going to get too many blankets and too many bibs and four copies of Guess How Much I Love You and we still have five unopened bottles of various baby shampoos and washes in the bathroom.
All of this is not meant to discourage you, but to lead me to my somewhat off-the-wall suggestion: Instead of getting her ONE BIG PERFECT GIFT OF GIFTS, why not pledge to give her a whole year of small but honest-to-God useful gifts? Or six months, even? The stuff she maybe didn’t register for but ends up buying for herself later out of necessity?
I had one friend who regularly bought me much, MUCH bigger clothing than Noah was currently wearing — she’d just pick it up on sale whenever — and I would toss it all in an extra drawer for later. And let me tell you, there is nothing better than realizing that THANK GOD you have the next size up in onesies, because your seven-month-old just grew three inches overnight and I am not exaggerating.
Twelve Months of Baby Gifting
If I had someone lovely to send me a tiny but unflappably useful care package every month (or even every other month), this is what my 12 Months of Baby Gifts dream list would look like:
Immediately post-baby: A Target/BabiesRUs/Wherever gift card wrapped up in a stack of cloth diapers, and (again, if she’s nursing) some Soothies Pads.
Four months old: The next size up in clothes! If it’s winter, outerwear would be particularly appreciated.
Five months old: Teething rings. Gnawing rings. Stuff to gum and chew on.
Six months old: How about replacing all those &$#(@ socks that have been lost in the dryer? Or since crawling may be imminent, some BabyLegs or soft-soled booties.
Seven months old: This wouldn’t be an Amalah-approved column without a suggestion of a Baby Signing Time DVD, now would it?
Eight months old: You know what is effing expensive? Baby food. Send a Gerber gift basket of purees and teething biscuits and fruit puffs.
Nine months old: 12-month clothing. Oh yes.
10 months old: Baby-proofing hell, man. Send a first-aid kit: kiddie BandAids, a cute little ice pack, disinfectant, etc. (Noah still requests his boo-boo bear ice pack whenever he bonks.) (It’s actually a dog, but that’s our bad, we’re dumb.)
11 months old: We’re one month away from no more bottles, so a couple different styles of sippy cups (stage one) will be great to have on hand.
12 months old: Happy birthday! Screw all this useful stuff and send the kid some TOYS! Fun toys! Toys that take batteries and speak in four languages and don’t shut off automatically! HA HA!
This all may sound so dumb, but honestly, once the shower has come and gone and that newborn-sized designer cashmere jumper has been boxed up in storage, this is the best way to really BE THERE for your friend, every step of the way. Just a little something in the mail each month (and most of this stuff can be sent via Amazon, just to make it easier with the shipping), to let her know that you wish you were there to help.
If you give her a pre-baby gift, you could easily include a card or mock-certificate that tells her about your plan — or you could just surprise her.
Visit Amalah’s Weekly Pregnancy Calendar.
Published January 29, 2008. Last updated March 27, 2018.