Brand-new parenthood can be a time of intense wonder, love and bonding. It is also a time of upended sleep schedules, piles of laundry, the steep learning curve that is learning the theory of how to look after a baby, while doing all the practical stuff around looking after a baby, after the relatively big business of just having had a baby. A walk in the park it isn’t. So, if you know a baby, or some new parents (or, hey, both), here are some gifts that could rock their worlds while lightening the load, a bit, this Christmas.
New motherhood isn’t traditionally the most fashion of times. Day naps and night-feeds blur together, and your wardrobe choices tend to reflect this. So, why not treat a mum-friend to these luxury pyjamas from British brand Desmond & Dempsey? They’re stylish enough to open the front door to postmen, no matter the time of day, and the jolly pattern will hide a multitude of stains. There is also a glorious men’s range, which is handy for dads.
My first baby was a colicky nightmare to get to sleep, and I honestly shudder as I remember the 3am sessions rocking him while frantically searching for white-noise playlists on Spotify. Science, however, has found that pink noise – essentially, a quieter, more natural-sounding version of white noise – is better at helping babies to doze off. MyHummy is a stylish range of cuddly toys that emit white and pink noise; they’re machine-washable, you can control them from your phone and past-me would have LOVED one.
If you haven’t let multiple hot drinks go cold while you dealt with a baby, can you even call yourself a parent? These Kate Spade coffee mugs are good looking, and will keep a brew warm for hours. Plus, they’ll last long past the new-parent stage, and can just be a conscientious choice for the environmentally friendly take-out latte-drinker.
Babies are lovely, but they’re also leaky – and, as any new parent will tell you, you can never have too many muslins dotted around the place to deal with emergency fluid. These beautiful cloths are made from organic bamboo instead of cotton, which means they’re softer and better at temperature regulation. You can also use them as blankets or buggy linings for babies, and this corgi print is a lovely change from the pink/blue standard.
The very last thing a new parent wants to do is traipse to the supermarket and figure out the logistics of meal planning. Save the day with a recipe-box gift card – choose from three, four or five days’ worth of meals. They can pick the recipes they want, and Hello Fresh will deliver all the ingredients they need. Believe me, it will be a welcome change from the disdainful glare of a returning pizza delivery person.
When you have a baby, you have to deal with a lot of fiddly little items. Feeding bottles, bottle lids, pumps, prep machines, and the tiny little tubes and flanges involved -- all of which need cleaning. This “grass” drying rack sits prettily on a counter-top, and is the perfect fit to help all this stuff dry out. Moreover, it’s stylish, useful and won’t break the bank.
There is nothing more useless than a pair of baby socks. They come off as soon as they go on, leaving tiny feet ice-cold in the winter. Enter Slugs & Snails’ brilliant unisex tights -- they’re made from organic cotton, have anti-slip soles for walkers and crawling babies, and a really cute logo right on the bum. No more cold toes, just funky designs (lollies, lightning, hot air balloons) from Ireland.
Every new mum needs a tote. So much of parenting a baby involves being trapped under that baby while it feeds or sleeps, sometimes for hours at a time. And if that happens while you’re across the room from your remote control, phone or phone charger, it can be a strange sort of agony. Say What You C’s customisable tote looks really great, doesn’t scream “mum”, and can house a Kindle, snacks, lip balm, tissues, snacks, headphones, tissues, more snacks, and everything else essential to pass the time comfortably.
The long, sofa-bound days of new motherhood are a wonderful opportunity to bond with your new baby. They are also a brilliant excuse to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy, Geordie Shore, and all the prestige new dramas coming out of the USA (Big Little Lies season 2, anyone?). Get your new-parent friends a NowTV Smart Stick, which streams TV and movies from various channels, and they will love you forever.
There is a special smell that comes with being a new parent. It is a combination of the top of the baby’s head, whatever baby soap one is using, laundry detergent, milk and yesterday’s clothes. Remind new parents that they used to smell like people, too, and get them a lovely candle. These festive ones from M&J London are like a glass of mulled wine in a snowy forest; they’re hand-poured, and a portion of every sale goes to a UK-based women’s charity.