Saturday 21 November 2020

Gifts for your new Mum pal that she'll actually want


It turns out that having a baby has left me with a whole lot of opinions. I mean, god knows I didn’t have those before. But I thought I’d at least make use of some of them and put together some helpful tips, not just for new parents but for friends of new parents – starting with this! A list of some nice things you can buy that new mum friend of yours and their baby. 

Some are useful, some are thoughtful, some are just pretty and some are just for fun. All bases covered, I think.


Photo from Cook Food

All the snacks
I remember reading another blogger say that she had her baby just before Christmas and she spent the first few weeks living off Christmas hampers and thinking that sounded amazing. So honestly. Buy all the snacks. New mums are knackered and what they want more than anything else is something they can eat quickly and preferably with one hand. Chocolate, obvs, but also crisps, biscuits, flapjacks and cereal bars (did you know oats are great for breastmilk production?). REALLY GOOD CHEESE. I’m still thinking about the brie I had just after Briony was born. OMG. It doesn’t have to be a hamper, it could just be a Sainsbury’s bag full of delicious things. It’ll be appreciated. Although, we got a Cadbury’s chocolate bouquet from Matt’s colleague, and that was good too.

Oh, and proper food, too
If you have time, a couple of homecooked meals will always be appreciated. Again, if you can eat them one handed, even better. Things like curry are great, as they can just be mixed in with rice and wolfed down with a spoon whilst holding baby / feeding baby / holding and feeding baby. Matt actually had to handfeed me many of my meals for a good couple of weeks thanks to Clingy McClingerson. 

If you don’t have time, COOK vouchers are great – they’re basically fancy ready meals. You can even get Just Eat vouchers now too (takeaway will always go down well!). Great for when you just want to pop something thoughtful in the post. I’d also recommend Pasta Evangelists or similar.

You might be considering Hello Fresh or Gousto, but I’d say no – not for new parents. They actually involve quite a lot of effort (and washing up!), and for those first few weeks they just want to eat something quick and easy. Trust me.


The Roasting Tin books

As is well established on this blog, I like to cook. However, in the last year or so, the kitchen has become my husband’s domain. It just made more sense as I was doing the hands on baby stuff like feeding then bedtime (it is very exciting when they finally HAVE a bedtime, guys). Now, I have a bit more time, and will batch cook when I have time, but it’s still usually Mat that preps dinner. One HUGE help for us has been the Roasting Tin books by Rukmini Iyer. I was already a massive fan of them and had the first three, but was gifted the fourth one by the publishers this year (with no obligation to mention it here, btw) and Matt has been working his way through it. They’re so easy, and the recipes are always great and super low effort.

I get really annoyed when women say that their partner can’t/won’t cook. Suck it up, dude. It’s not that hard. Just follow the instructions. Did you carry a human inside you for nine months? Did you go through labour? NO. The least you can do is weigh out some rice and chop some vegetables and plonk a tin in the oven. You bloody well owe your other half a decent meal. Several. Pour her a glass of wine, too.

So yeah, the Roasting Tin books are good new parent gifts (just check they don’t have them, as many people do!) and also anything slow cooker related or one pot. From The Oven to the Table by Diana Henry is also another great option. (I'm not going to link to Amazon - support a local bookshop instead!)

Get these PJs here!

Really nice pyjamas
One of the first things I did after having Briony (I just checked – literally the day after I got home from hospital) was order myself a few sets of nice pyjamas. Proper, matching, button up sets. Such a good call. They’re great for breastfeeding, great for skin to skin and feel slightly more polished to knock around in all day than that Garfield tshirt you got in Primark. I’m still loving matching PJs – I think they might be my thing now? I recommend cotton, because postpartum night sweats are a thing. I also recommend at least a size bigger than you think, if not two – but if you’re unsure, maybe go with vouchers. I really like M&S, Tu and ASOS.

Coffee cups
You actually have a few options here. A good thermal takeaway mug is always going to be useful. I have this one, and in those first few weeks, Matt would make me a coffee before he left for work and I’d stumble downstairs with Briony to find the coffee table laid out with hot coffee, a pint of squash and an array of cereal bars. Then if I was going anywhere with her I could just take it with me, and if not, I could drink it slowly throughout the morning. You can also get the Iglu cups which are designed to keep drinks hot OR cold – they do have lids, but I think of them as more of a mug/glass substitute (they can also be used for wine!). The third kind is a coffee cup that you can throw in a bag (or the bottom of a buggy) and it won’t leak. I really love my Frank Green one!

And if you have money to burn, you could always get them a coffee machine. Trust me. Coffee is very important to new parents. If you’re like me, and didn’t like coffee a few years ago, start working on that (the key is bloody loads of syrup).

Tote bag
Honestly guys, a tote bag is always useful – I used this a lot in the summer as an overspill bag for when we went to the park – it was usually stuffed with a few toys and a handful of muslins. This is the best one you’ll find, to be honest. It’s hilarious and it comes in multiple sizes. Buy it.

Baby Crap bag from Not On The Highstreet


Memory Boxes
I am obsessed with the Meminio memory cases – aren’t they BEAUTIFUL? They’re also extremely pricey at £145, but if you have plenty to spend, this will be utterly treasured. You can personalise the luggage tag, although I wish you could emboss the case itself. If you like this idea but don’t have quite that much, there are plenty of cheaper memory boxes out there – check out Etsy and Not On The High Street for some nice ones.

Memory books
The memory journals by Month of Sundays are gorgeous – they’re something that can be used from pregnancy onwards and are beautifully made. I feel like I left it a little late to get one but I regret it! What a gorgeous gift, and not too expensive, either.

Meminio Memory Cases


Baby clothes?
Oh, I have a lot of opinions on baby clothes. They’re kinda tricky, and in my admittedly quite locked down experience, for the first three months or so, she really just wore pyjamas. So did I, tbh. So I urge you not to go crazy with anything under about 6 months old. If you’re buying for a little girl, I actually don’t hugely recommend dresses – I KNOW. That’s me saying that! But they just look a bit strange on a very small baby who can only lie down as they’re always too big, and then when they get to the stage where they are sitting up, they sit with their legs spread wide and so unless a skirt is super full, they’ll just bunch up around their waist. And generally skirts are not super full because apparently clothes designers haven’t met any babies. Pinafore dresses are terrible for this.

That’s not to say that you can’t buy any clothes! Really nice babygros will always be useful. Bonds Wondersuits are the best in my opinion, but anything with a zip is great. It’s really hard to go back to poppers after using zipped babygros. And leggings are always really practical and you can get some really cute designs. I like John Lewis for sets and Matalan ones are surprisingly cute and bargainous.

I would also HIGHLY recommend buying novelty outfits. When Easter was coming up, Briony was only a couple of months old and we weren’t able to see anyone, but I would have loved to have put her in a silly ensemble. There was a really cute chick set from John Lewis, but it was quite pricey for what it was – and for the fact she’d only wear it once. Then our friend sent it to us and I was thrilled! My point is that, very quickly, most parents will balk at spending much on novelty or seasonal outfits because the baby really won’t wear them for long, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want them. So buy the Christmas pudding outfit. Just get it. See also: fun hats.

You can get this excellent hat here.

Weaning stuff 
When you’ve just had a baby, weaning feels like a really long way off but those 6 months go surprisingly fast. There’s a fair bit you need, but unlike a lot of useful baby things, I think most parents would hold out on buying them until they were needed (that’s why I’m not telling you to get things like sterilisers and cot sheets). 

So you have things like cute bowls – the bamboo ones are really popular on Instagram, although I think the Easytots suction plates are more practical (I just don’t know why you’d choose something that’s not dishwasher safe at a point in your life when you have no time). Cutlery might be a bit toooo practical, but bibs are fun – the Bibado and Tidy Tots ones are truly great as they’re a bib and a mat in one. You could even get a cute cushion for a highchair – there’s loads on Etsy.

 The Bibado bib 

Now, this is going to be controversial and maybe even sound a bit ungrateful, but – don’t buy the baby a blanket. Unless your friend has said ‘I really want a nice blanket!’ then they probably have one. We got several – including beautiful, handmade ones – and they’re lovely, but I just found that we didn’t use them all. We’ve kept them for the future, of course, but we just kept going back to the same one, and then once we switched to sleeping bags for bedtime, we didn’t use it at all.

You might be thinking... but what about a lovely experience voucher? Like a massage? Reader, that is ever so kind. What a nice thought. But it is not a good idea RIGHT NOW, this year. It's really hard to leave the baby at first anyway, and then when you can, there's a global pandemic on so you can't go anywhere. So that lovely voucher for Champneys Tring sits there, taunting you. It feels kinda mean. (But one day, self, you'll get to use it. Promise.)

Phew! This turned into an epic. What have I missed? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter!



  1. Cook actually do hampers for new parents, we were gifted one from work and it was epic!


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