I don’t know about you, but it seems to me like everyone I know is having a baby lately. Shower invitations keep appearing in my inbox and my mailbox. Many people gift clothes and newborn size diapers, which, while wonderful thoughts, tend to be in abundance while things that are actually needed are left for the parents to buy themselves. So what gifts are actually helpful for new parents? We polled new parents for their input, and the results are below. And don’t forget a gift receipt—you never know what new parents will need to return or exchange.

Infant Medication

Gas drops, acetaminophen, ibuprofen and others can add up, though they are seemingly small things. Adding those to your gift will give new parents peace of mind when dealing with those middle-of-the-night fusses when they’re trying to locate medicine through a sleep-deprived haze.

Butt Care

Newborn bottoms are particularly sensitive to, well, everything. Picking up a variety of pastes and creams in small sizes for mom and dad to try on the new baby is a great gift idea, giving the option to see what works best for each child.

Muslin Swaddle Cloths

Maybe we should we call them all-purpose cloths? Several moms mentioned how versatile these pieces of cloth can be—for wiping up spills, keeping baby warm, covering while nursing and more.

Nursing Care

A pack of nursing pads and a tube of lanolin match well with a few muslin cloths or a nursing cover to give mom a go-to for being ready to nurse wherever.

Diapers and Wipes

Diapers and wipes deserve their own category because parents can never have enough. However, be mindful of the size of diapers and the fact that certain brands may not work for an infant’s skin. My daughter was out of newborn size diapers within a week, and certain brands of wipes caused irritation.

Gift Cards

Forget the idea that giving a gift card is tacky. It’s not. Many parents like gift cards to help them fill in the gaps for the things they need and don’t receive. For a fun spin, gift new parents with certificates for baby and me activities or a photography session.

Lotions and Baby Wash

Make sure to go with a brand that is designate for infants. It is especially helpful to choose sensitive skin formulas to be on the safe side. Cute hooded towels and washcloths are always welcome as well!

Laundry Detergent

New parents find themselves with an insane amount of dirty laundry. Those adorable outfits get covered in poop, pee, spit-up and food. Choose a detergent specifically for infants or even one designed for sensitive skin with no dyes or fragrances.

Bottles and Accessories

The bottles requested, along with liners, nipples, brushes, drying racks or mats, dishwasher container and microwave sanitizer, give new parents everything they need to start off feeding baby right.

Larger Items

Cribs, bouncers, swings, car seats and strollers are things that get expensive fast. New parents will use these daily, and it may be hard for them to fit into the budget. Consider purchasing solo or finding a few other guests to go in and split the cost.

Feeding Objects

Although not needed right away, things like little bowls, spoons and a processor for those parents who make baby food at home will be used in a very short amount of time. For the parents, those months will fly by and having everything already on hand will make life easier for them.

Something for Mom (and Dad)

Gifts for new parents are almost always about the baby. Parents, however, love receiving something for themselves. A bottle of wine, a certificate for free babysitting for a date night, or a gift card for mom to get new clothes for her post-baby body are great options.

– Shelly Gable

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