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Give InKind recently took an unscientific poll from veteran moms. We asked what baby gift stands out as their favorite one – even years out. In the fog of new baby, we were surprised at the clarity of these recollections. Many of those we polled still remember specific meals served to them – up to thirty-three years later.

If you are looking for just the right thing to give to an expectant parent you know, read on.

Here are the top picks for new moms, from those that have been there.

  • Care packages of necessary items such as nipple cream, sunscreen, and lotion.
  • Gift cards for meal kit services such as Blue Apron or Home Chef. These are especially great when you have a stand-in trying to get dinner on the table, without resorting to take-out every night. Trust us, dad will not be offended if he’s presented with a ready-to-cook meal, no matter how great of a chef he is. Your mother-in-law, on the other hand – we can’t promise.
  • Useful baby gear. Things that are actually functional and comfortable for baby wearing, such as Ergo. Or, let’s be serious, safe contraptions in which to park babies when you want to, say, take a shower.
  • Cotton Swaddling blankets are soft and in near constant use. (They often become sweet keepsake items for parents and kick around in drawers for years).
  • Snack baskets of yummy things easily eaten with one hand, stuffed into a diaper bag or kept on the bedside table. Those middle of night cravings don’t end when the baby is out.
  • Care package of items you don’t know you need until you realize how badly you need them. Things like stain remover, bleach stick, temperature-gauging duckie, burp cloths, and diaper cream.
  • Excellent and easy to use infant thermometer. Feeling prepared in an emergency emboldens a new parent. Sifting the necessary from the unnecessary in the infant gear department is helpful. An easy to use thermometer is a great thing.
  • Fancy Frozen food delivered and packaged safely means that this can be safely consumed (with a glass of wine) whenever parents like. Sometimes even with the best of intentions (or a fridge full of groceries), dinner just doesn’t make it onto the table. You can be the hero in this situation.
  • Diaper bag from Skip Hop – Extra points if you load it up with necessary items. (This makes a terrific baby shower present).
  • Music mix to sleep by with a voice activated listening device like the Amazon Echo to take cordless advantage of baby asleep on you and other obstacles to accomplishing anything with a newborn. [Editor’s note: I recently took advantage of a friend’s Echo while cuddling her baby so she could shower. Being able to say “Alexa, play lullabies” and then shortly after “Alexa, start NPR” was a game-changer.]
  • Box of excellent meat for grilling and feeding hungry mamas feeding hungry babies. All the nursing and/or the night bottle feedings take a serious toll. Protein please! This is also a great gift for dads and those summer babies – the cooking happens out of the kitchen, older kids can play in the yard, and mom gets a quiet house for just a little bit longer.
  • Wet bag is equally useful for diapers and then bathing suits down the road. A wet bag is a total mom go-to. One of our moms still uses hers – although her oldest is now seven years old.
  • Babysitting gift certificates are always a great gift. Even new moms might want to pop out unencumbered – once in a while.
  • Home made dinners with all the home touches factored also into our list. Moms recount visceral food memories of apple crisps, dinner dropped off in a picnic basket with all the trimmings (including table cloths, wine, candles).

We know that baby registries are the first go-to, and we totally respect that. But there are a few cases where the been-there-done-that moms know what’s up, and this is one of them. These are also great suggestions for the repeat mom that you just want to send a little congrats to, and you know she doesn’t need any more baby gear. Though in that case, maybe just popping over with a bottle of bubbly and then taking her kids to the park is your best bet.

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