When you’re a new mom, everything can feel overwhelming, from late-night feedings to the seemingly never-ending dirty diapers to your own physical recovery. And I should know: I just got back from maternity leave after having my second, and while it definitely gets easier, those first few weeks with a newborn are still pretty rough. That’s why we’ve included gifts for both the baby and the new parent. As Sadie Stein, a writer, Strategist contributor, and new(ish) mom, puts it, people are quick to give new mothers baby items, but “going forward, I’d be more inclined to get things for the mothers, because you’ll get so much baby stuff.” Plus, she adds, since the “baby industrial complex” is so vast that there’s a “specialized product for anything you’ve thought of and have not thought of,” and it can be easy for new parents to become further overwhelmed by well-intentioned but unnecessary baby gifts (which is why Stein says that, despite her philosophical aversion to it, she “broke down” and made a baby registry on Amazon). So to find things that new moms actually want, we surveyed new and seasoned mothers — with inclusions from yours truly — about the stuff they say really helps make the transition into motherhood a little smoother, including lots of things for her and a few things for kids that, in turn, will make her life easier.
With my first, I refused to get a diaper bag because I didn’t really like anything I saw and instead used the non-laptop version of my beloved Kanken backpack. Then Caara released its baby line, and I was immediately sold on its gorgeous, “not obviously a diaper bag” diaper bags. The brand was kind enough to send me a sample of this one in blush, and it’s become a favorite. It is so thoughtfully designed with a gazillion pockets and compartments for just about everything you can think of. There are insulated pockets for bottles, clear waterproof pockets for wipes and other things that will inevitably get wet, a removable caddy for when you need to take diapers out, an easy way to attach it to a rolling suitcase, and so much more. Despite all these features, the backpack itself is as light as a cloud and feels like one too. It’s also quite stylish, though I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s unisex (it may not be a dad’s first choice). I use it as a backpack, but it can convert into a tote via a shoulder strap and even comes with straps to hang it on a stroller. This size also fits an 11-inch laptop. It’s available in a few colors, but the black is the only one that’s washable.
Everything you’ve heard about these being the best maternity leggings is true. I still wear mine from my first kid, and it’s been nearly four years. While they definitely pill a lot, they’re still as stretchy, supportive, and durable as they were on day one. That’s why we previously named them the best maternity workout pants because of how beloved they are by expecting mothers for being supportive yet not tight. I’m not the only one who swears by them: Style blogger and new mom Jennifer Jean-Pierre calls them “the softest, comfiest pants I have ever had” and can attest to their supportive — but not constrictive — nature after wearing them post C-section. She says “these are great for not rubbing on the incision.” If you wear these throughout your pregnancy and worry about how they’ll fit afterward, don’t. And Strategist contributing editor Jessica Silvester says they snap right back. “My proportions have more or less returned to normal, and the fabric has snapped back, too; it continues to conform to my shape,” she promises.
Another athleisure brand that makes comfortable maternity wear, according to new and expecting mothers, is Girlfriend Collective — a Strategist-favorite for sustainably made, comfortable, size-inclusive, and actually nice-looking activewear. The brand’s new maternity line includes leggings, bike shorts, and bras, including this crossover nursing bra. All of the clothing is available in sizes XXS to 6XL, and as developer Caláh Jones — who is currently eight months pregnant with her first child — puts it, it’s “easy to throw on” when little else fits correctly.
I don’t love using body and facial oils, but I gave this a try when the brand sent me one to sample, and now I buy it for all my pregnant friends. It’s superlight, has only a hint of a natural scent, and feels so nice on the skin. It’s also nongreasy and quick-drying, unlike other oils I’ve tried. It’s great for your expanding belly, yes, but also for the rest of your body. My baby is 5 months old, and I still use it when I don’t feel like slathering on lotion.
In addition to comfy clothes, the new mom in your life might like a little bling to pair with her Lulus. “Before my son Miles was born, I began my hunt for what I kept calling ‘minimalist mom jewelry,’” says Jessie Mooney DiGiovanna, new mom and copywriter for Levi’s. “This brand — founded in 2013 by a fellow new mom — is everything I was looking for: chic, subtle, and affordable.” Pricing for this gold-filled necklace starts at just under $50 for the shortest chain and no additional cost for customization, making it a solid option for a reasonable push present and one new moms can enjoy immediately. DiGiovanna says, “Putting on my new ‘M’ necklace the morning we left the hospital was the first time I felt semi-cute after pushing a human outta me.”
For post-pregnancy beach days, Cosmopolitan beauty director and new mother of two Julee Wilson recommends this bathing suit from Magicsuit, which she says makes her feel confident in her postpartum body. “Their suits are stylish and sexy but also suck me in and hold me. Being a mom of two, my body isn’t what it used to be, so I really appreciate a suit that makes me look as young and sexy as I feel,” she says. “Almost all of my bathing suits are from here.”
For the days when new-mom duties take priority and your hair is (yet again) put on the back burner, Miriam Cohen, the mom of two behind the Very Best Baby Stuff, recommends a shower cap to preserve your ’do. “This shower cap comes in fun prints, seals out moisture, and feels infinitely more luxurious than a disposable shower cap,” she says. “I got mine while pregnant and even packed it in my hospital bag. I’ve used and machine-washed mine countless times over the past 2.5 years, and it still looks and works like new.”
Give mom an easy fix to her hair woes with a stylish headband. “Most new moms don’t have time to style their hair and tend to wear the same comfy items on repeat,” says Cohen. “These headbands are beautifully embellished and instantly elevate any outfit. They also come in handy during the awkward postpartum hair-regrowth phase.” She says you’ll catch her wearing one of these most days to dress up her T-shirts and leggings.
If you ever do get time to wash your hair, Gena Kaufman, who gave birth to her first child in June, says to do it with Olaplex. “Postpartum hair loss is a bummer,” she says. “Just when you’re getting over the pain and many bodily indignities you suffered during childbirth, your hair starts falling out all over the place.” And even though Olaplex hasn’t exactly solved her hair-loss issue, she says, “My hair feels softer and air-dries nicely after using these treatments.”
Model Ashley Graham also recommends this serum from Kérastase for postpartum hair loss. “I tried a lot of different remedies — I even made stuff at home — but this scalp serum from Kérastase has been a true saving grace. I spray a little bit of castor oil and canola oil on my hair first, then apply the Kérastase,” she says. It doesn’t prevent the hair from falling out — nothing does — but it will help the new growth stay healthy and even grow a bit faster.
Cohen says she’s been recommending these pouches for years. They help organize your bag — whether it’s a real diaper bag or otherwise. This set comes with three pouches, including a diaper pouch that can hold diapers, wipes, creams, powder, and more; a wet bag for dirty clothes; and one for clean clothes. “The bags are nearly weightless, flexible, machine washable, travel friendly, and easy to pack,” Cohen adds. “You can use them to organize your diaper bag or handbag. I also toss mine into my stroller basket or hang them from my stroller hooks. The wristlet on the diaper pouch is especially convenient — I can easily wear the pouch on my wrist while holding my baby and avoid bringing my entire diaper bag into a public restroom.”
A trip to the spa is also a great way to pamper a new mom. DiGiovanna can’t recommend a pre- and postnatal massage enough. “I can’t overhype how good a massage feels when you’re uncomfortably pregnant and then later when you’re tense all over from breastfeeding, baby schlepping, and parenting in general,” she says. With a Spafinder gift card, they’ll be able to go to a place of their choosing whenever they’re ready for it. One booking tip: “For prenatal sessions, call ahead and request a bed with a hole cut out for your stomach, because I also can’t overhype how good lying on your belly feels after months of not being able to,” says DiGiovanna.
Another welcomed gift card is one for a food-delivery service, so new parents don’t have to worry about making dinner for themselves (on top of making bottles). “This was one of my favorite gifts we received as new parents,” says DiGiovanna. “A healthy meal-delivery service is nice, as is friends and family bringing over home-cooked dinners, but sometimes you just want a very specific kind of greasy comfort food that requires zero prep, zero cleanup, and zero small talk.”
“Sending fresh flowers to the hospital when the baby arrives is a waste of money — everyone’s in a daze, and it’s a pain to get them home from the hospital,” says Kaufman, so she recommends sending an arrangement to the house instead. “Once you’re settled in your own home, it’s such a treat to have something pretty to brighten up your space since you’re spending a lot of time cooped up inside.” She specifically likes the idea of sending a dried floral arrangement, as fresh flowers would just give mom another living thing to take care of.
This manual silicone breast pump is at the top of the list for Bethany Barnes, a mom of two living in Brooklyn. “I probably recommend this item the most to new and expecting mamas. It was so helpful, especially in the beginning,” she said. “It suctions onto your breast and collects milk while you are feeding on the other side. It’s hands-free, easy to clean, and I’ve collected a freezer full of milk without really trying.” It’s a great alternative to an electric pump when you don’t feel like getting the whole setup going but still want to express a little milk.
Graham recommends this hands-free breast pump for any multitasking mom. It’s pretty inexpensive, so you could add this to the gift of a good pump. She had “no idea” these were a thing, but now she couldn’t imagine pumping without it. As she explains, “I’m a multitasking mom, so this bra was exactly what I needed to get emails and phone calls done while I’m pumping. It doesn’t matter what kind of bra I’m wearing — a nursing bra or not — I just pull my boobs out, wrap this thing around me, put the suction-cup things on, then pump.” I also swear by this thing: It’s the only pumping bra I’ve tried that holds those flanges tight to your body, so you never have to worry about them falling out or getting loose.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one bra, then Larken’s X bra is my absolute favorite. The Simple Wishes bra above is just for pumping, so you have to put it on and take it off each time you do so, which is frankly more of a pain than I want to deal with. You can wear this one all day and night and use it to pump too. I was sent a sample to try and I loved it so much that I bought three more and don’t plan on wearing anything else for as long as I am pumping. Not only is it supercomfortable and feels like nothing, it’s also a cinch to use. Simply pull it down (or up, my preference) to nurse. It’s got a double layer in the front, so to pump, you pull one layer up and the other one down to insert your flange, and for the other boob, you do the opposite (one layer down and the other up), creating a kind of X-shape that holds the flanges in place. You’d be surprised at how secure the pump feels on your boobs, giving you a truly hands-free experiment. I even sleep in the bra — it’s that comfortable. I will add, however, that I am small-chested and don’t require too much support, so bustier moms might have a different experience.
An even less expensive nursing bra is this one from Target recommended by Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, who gave birth to her second child in July. “Being new to breastfeeding with my son, the Auden Nursing Bra has been so useful,” she says. It’s designed for comfort with its wireless construction, adjustable straps, and a hook and eye with six different size options, which means “it’s great for helping alleviate the discomfort that can arise between nursing sessions” due to fluctuating breast size, says Johnson.
New moms can get a breast pump through insurance, but I found it helpful to have more than one. The Elvie wireless breast pump is a wearable one that’s viral on TikTok and a favorite of Doree Shafrir, author of Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (and Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer, who said she’d put this on her registry if she had to do it all over again. There was some initial sticker shock, but she says it changed her life. “It’s basically two pods that you put in your bra — they suction and collect the milk into these vessels that attach to the pumps, and you’re not chained to anything,” she says. “I actually pumped from the audience of a Disney fan convention, where I was reporting a story. I was just sitting there at the conference, pumping, because you can just do that with the Elvie; it’s amazing.” If you happen to be gifting this to yourself, know that you can purchase the Elvie with FSA or HSA benefits.
For those who want to try (or gift) a wearable without having to pay a small fortune, the Stride is Elvie’s newest and most affordable option. I was sent one to try and found it to be discrete and infinitely portable even though the motor is in a small clip and is connected via tubing.
No matter which breast-pumping contraptions you give, pairing it with these soothing pillows will really complete the gift. Shafrir, who “got clogged my entire seven-month breastfeeding journey and was alway sore,” says these gave her sweet relief. They can be warmed up or frozen and act like a hot or cold compress for your breasts.
“The one thing you constantly hear while you’re pregnant or nursing is ‘Don’t forget to drink water.’ I wanted something that would keep me accountable; before the baby, I used to set alarms to remind me to drink water, but I’m not trying to do that anymore; I don’t have time,” says leadership speaker Jovian Zayne when she told us how she’d redo her baby registry. She says this one reminds her to drink water, but in a very fun yet effective way.
I wore this button-up from Storq after the company kindly sent me two of them for both pregnancies, and it ended up being one of my favorite maternity pieces. As the name suggests, it’s just a breeze to wear. It’s roomy without feeling schlub-y, covers your bump and your rump, and looks great as a stand-alone or layering piece.
Florist and mom of two Grace McDonald, told us that she’s “a V-neck mom, so I need stuff to help cover the top of my boob when I’m breastfeeding.” But instead of a nursing bib, she likes using this linen scarf to cover up. McDonald likes linen because “it’s a lighter material that’s good for indoor and outdoor wear.” And, of course, when you’re not nursing, you can just wear it as a scarf.
Kelli Shepard, the design director for Ralph Lauren’s women’s collection, who was expecting her second daughter when we spoke, told us that she wanted to make the postpartum phase a priority. “I vow to really luxuriate in the sweet lying-in time with so many newborn snuggles the second time around,” she said. To that end, she recommends this collection of luxury hospital essentials from Hatch, which includes a pair of underwear, a robe, and nightgown — all made of organic bamboo — as well as a pair of cozy socks.
Three of the new moms who we spoke to — including Shepard — say that a robe is one of the best gifts they received postpartum. Sonya Li Casino, a senior account director in public relations, says, “Pre-baby, I never used to spend that much time in my pajamas, but now I live in those suckers.” Among her different loungewear options, Casino actually looks forward to putting on this softly textured cotton robe from Parachute. It makes her feel like she’s “heading to the spa every time I wear it.” If you want something a little more plush, Parachute’s classic bathrobe is a Strategist favorite.
Eberjey’s supersoft pajamas come highly recommended by Joanna Muenz, a photo editor and mother of two, who says she got “tired of wearing milk-stained, stretched-out tanks” and feels “more put together and classy in some swanky loungewear.” Munez especially likes that this pajama shirt is button-down, a design that’s her “best friend for breastfeeding.”
The consensus among the moms we talked to is that shower time is sacred, and anything to make it a little more enjoyable is greatly appreciated. “In my first few weeks with a brand-new baby, showers felt like the only time truly for me, where I could actually shut out sounds and distractions and just feel a tiny bit human again for ten minutes,” says Kaufman. “So I am an advocate of anything to make that sacred time feel a little more luxurious — like these lightweight waffle towels that make your bathroom look instantly better decorated and elevate your shower experience.”
For something comfy for the feet, Grace Lim Premvaree, a sales consultant who recently had her second daughter, loves Birkenstock’s rubbery Arizona sandals — and a bunch of other professionals who stand all day long vouch for their comfort, too. Premvaree says they’re supportive enough to wear while running around with toddlers and great for “spills — because they are waterproof.” Writer Alison Freer agrees that Birkenstock’s EVA sandals are super-easy to keep clean: “Dirt literally refuses to stick, no matter how long you wear them,” she told us.
Premvaree says that — based on personal experience — photo albums make fantastic gifts for doting grandparents and new parents alike. Premvaree’s favorite service is Artifact Uprising, which she and her husband used to create their wedding album and to send their parents baby-photo albums for the holidays. She loves the company for its “great quality and minimalist and sleek aesthetic” and the fact that it’s “very user friendly.” She adds that “their customer service is impeccable, so they keep me coming back.” Dana Rudolph, a mom and the founder of LGBTQ parenting site Mombian, told us that Artifact Uprising’s Baby Book is a great gift for new mothers in two-mom households, since the fill-in-the-blank book uses gender-neutral language to fit different family structures.
This prompted journal makes it easy to track all of your child’s milestones. “This journal is great because it follows you from pregnancy to when your baby is 18 years (hard to imagine that she’ll ever be that big!),” says Barnes. “It has questions for each month as well as space for just thoughts and moments.
I love journaling, and so this was a great way to keep it all in one place, and I can’t wait to share it with her one day.”
This very splurgy face cream has a bit of a cult following, according to the Cut. It has been on Premvaree’s wish list for a while. She hopes to feel “fresh and hydrated” after using this and admits that it would be “a nice way to treat myself” — or any new mom, for that matter.
For less-expensive skin care, Premvaree recommends this serum, which she says “helps rejuvenate your face with just a few drops.” She adds that it’s great for when you want a little pick-me-up if you’re running short on time (and sleep). “It lasts a long time and feels like getting a mini-facial in your very own bathroom.”
If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, Shepard recommends Earth Mama’s organic lip balms. “I love the whole Earth Mama range and feel great knowing that these are 100 percent kiss-approved — safe for baby and mama both,” she says. This giftable set includes the lip balm, belly oil, deodorant, and a body wash.
At the Strategist, we’re fans of jade rollers for de-puffing your face, and here’s a next-level one involving ice. Casino first eyed it on the Instagram of Because I’m Addicted blogger Geri Hirsch: “I bought one for myself and like three other people I know. It’s very, very addicting and makes me feel so refreshed.”
For the no-fuss mom, try this Olio E Osso balm that Casino has had bookmarked for a while. “I’m very low maintenance with makeup, but I think at times this would come in handy and help me look more alive.”
Here’s another beauty-gift idea for the short-on-time mom that comes recommended by writer, editor, and digital consultant Lindsey Unterberger, who has a toddler. When “a full face of makeup is out of the question,” Unterberger says that she “can almost always manage the 30 seconds it takes to brush on foundation.” She loves the way that this liquid foundation from La Mer “covers all manner of dark circles and blemishes but still manages to feel soft, not caky, and makes skin look luminous.” Unterberger admits it is expensive and not something she would necessarily buy herself — two things that make it an ideal gift, she thinks.
Less expensive (but no less indulgent) is this Aesop face oil that’s on the wish list of therapist Elizabeth Antoon-Walsh, who is also the mom to a toddler. “I’ve been obsessed with this light but hydrating face oil since getting a sample; it feels divine to rub my face with two of my favorite smells, ylang-ylang and jasmine,” she says. “It’s a luxury that is hard to justify buying for myself, as the price tag equals about 250 diapers, but it would be a perfect gift to find under the tree.” Experts like Dr. Anna Karp, a dermatologist at the Skin Institute of New York, agree that face oils are great for moisturizing, “because they absorb fully into the skin with no greasy feeling afterward.”
Even if you’re not going far, schlepping diapers, bottles, and whatever else you need to prepare for the worst (a.k.a. a poop explosion) can get tedious. But a couple of moms told us that having the right diaper bag — that doesn’t actually look like a diaper bag — can make all the difference. While Premvaree is partial to the travel bags from Baggu (a brand that we love for everyday wear and organizing tote bags), Stein likes the long handles, zip-top, and exterior pocket of L.L.Bean’s classic Boat Tote (she’s known to customize the bags and says that the one monogrammed with her son’s name was a great gift).
Another stylish diaper-bag option is this fanny-pack-style bag, which is ideal for holding all the essentials (phone, diapers, wipes, and pacifiers). It’s a favorite of journalist and fanny-pack skeptic Yelena Shuster, who found it by way of a stylish mom’s Instagram. It has a waterproof slot for wipes and a back pocket that folds out into a changing pad. “It’s perfect for a quick park stroll or doctor appointment if, like me, you’re a wannabe minimalist but hoarder in reality.”
For babies and kids
Strategist contributor Wendy Mullin recently told us about this baby cardigan that she loves gifting new parents. She knows it’s beauty from her own experience — her daughter wore it from 6 months old until she grew out of it at 2. Like the celeb-loved blankets (Brie Larson owns five), this Barefoot Dreams sweater is soft and cozy but also highly absorbent, which Mullin notes is the main selling point. “It means the sweater sort of doubles as a handkerchief — you can use it to wipe all the drool and snot that flows endlessly from a baby’s face,” she writes. “And it’s very, very easy to care for — you can just throw it in the wash.” It comes in sizes 3 months to 24 months and would be perfect for any new winter babies.
When it comes to baby gifts, Stein’s philosophy is the same as with adult gifts: Opt for “luxurious things you wouldn’t buy yourself, just really nice versions of basics.” In her case, Stein especially appreciated an assortment of long and short-sleeved pima-cotton onesies from Babycottons that one of her friends picked out. “She gave them to us from newborn through year and a half sizes, which was so luxurious,” says Stein. “People tend to give you newborn clothes, and they outgrow those quickly, especially if like ours, the baby turns out to extremely plump and just as extremely cute.”
Another elevated piece of baby clothing is this onesie from Magnetic Me. Instead of snaps that are confusing or zippers that get stuck, all of its clothes fasten with magnets, which means “it’s so easy to change the baby,” says Laura Izumikawa, blogger, author, and mom of two. She adds, “Their designs are supercute, and the materials are so soft and comfortable for babies.”
My husband and I shelled out for the Uppababy Vista stroller with our first, and now that we have another kid, we’ve developed a newfound appreciation for it. It also tops the Strategist’s list of the best strollers — and for good reason. There’s no sugarcoating it: It’s expensive. But it’s also adaptable and grows with your family, which is the main selling point. Shawn Johnson is another fan. “It’s also perfect for traveling,” she says. Other features include the large sun canopy and supersize underbasket, which is among the biggest on the market. I’ve begun calling it my truck because, in addition to a toddler and a 5-month-old, it can hold so much: a scooter or a balance bike, groceries, picnic blankets, you name it. Even with a full load, it’s easy to maneuver and feels as if it’ll last forever. It’s particularly great for anyone who has kids already or plans on having more. With additional attachments, it can accommodate three kids without adding width to the stroller.
For a mom who wants a little more from a baby monitor, the Owlet sock and monitor might be a good option. It not only streams audio and video to your phone of your baby sleeping; it also tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level. “This has provided so much peace to my husband and I while we sleep,” says Barnes. “It was a gift from our friends and one of the most thoughtful gifts we received. We love that the sock and monitor are both connected to an app, making it super-easy to use.”
If you don’t like the idea of a wearable baby monitor, this is another smart monitor that delivers similar stats straight from the camera. “It monitors sleep, when she is awake, and tells me the temperature of the room,” says Jean-Pierre. According to the description, it can also track your baby’s breathing, sound, motion, and humidity in the room, and it pairs with your smartphone to alert you of any changes in real time. Best of all, it “has given me the most peace of mind,” says Jean-Pierre.
A sling can be a convenient alternative to a structured carrier, according to Shepard, who says slings work especially well when the baby is past the newborn stage. When she was pregnant with her second child and had a toddler at home, she told us she “wanted to up my baby-carrying game” and that a sling like this would “be an essential.” Shepard told us that WildBird has “a cult following,” adding that its carriers are made with “luxurious fabrics and are really easy to get the baby in and out quickly once you’ve got it mastered.”
And if you are into a more traditional carrier, Jean-Pierre says this one is a life changer. “With [my daughter] Teagan being so active, sometimes it’s best to stick her in this and take her along with me as I get things done during the day,” she says.
Leigh Plessner, founder of Catbird, told us that if she could redo her registry, this would top the list. “I loved this carrier because she had a little seat to sit on that helped relieve back pressure — I’d had a C-section, and it just felt like it took the pressure off,” she says. “I could also stash keys and a diaper and a lip balm in there, and there’s a dorky phone holder on the side; I didn’t need to carry a bag.”
A bottle drying rack might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a great gift, but Cohen says the moms in her NYC Moms Facebook group rave about this one. It’s upright, so it’s space saving, making it “a must for NYC galley kitchens,” she says. “This rack offers a space-efficient way to dry and store baby bottles, breast-pump parts, and pacifiers.”
Speaking of bottles, I switched to this one (in the glass version) with my second, because he was slow to take to the bottle and I wanted something that mimicked the natural rhythm of breastfeeding. The lifelike nipple has a no-drip design, which means no milk comes out unless the baby is actively sucking, just like a human nipple. Johnson, who’s partnered with the brand, also likes this one the best. “It’s awesome because it doesn’t let the milk come out when my son isn’t feeding,” she says.
Another unlikely gift: a booger scooper. Shuster said she tried this after using the popular Frida Baby Snot Sucker, which made her baby cry. It operates, she explains, like an “adorable mini-shovel to scoop out boogers,” and she likes that it’s less bulky than the Frida and easy to clean.
Jean-Pierre calls this little kitchen gadget “genius.” It’s kind of like an electric coffee maker but for baby formula. “This formula-maker has been everything and more for us,” she says. “No more worrying about mixing the right amount when this does it for you.” Fill the top with formula, and this machine will automatically make one- to ten-ounce bottles of milk for your baby. According to Jean-Pierre, the machine knows how much powder is needed based on the formula brand, and it even connects via an app, which allows you to control it remotely.
Mom and baby get to play together with this gym, so it’s kind of a gift for both. Cohen received this as a gift, and now it’s one of her go-tos to give to friends. “This activity gym is beautifully made and includes a helpful play guide with ideas and inspiration from child-development experts,” she says. Lovevery, which we’ve written about before, focuses on Montessori-style learning, and this play gym is no different. According to the description, it has five Montessori-inspired development zones on the Play Mat that will grow with your kid from newborn to toddler.
“If you’re looking for a multifunctional gift that will be used daily for years, the Hatch Rest+ is a solid choice,” Cohen says. “It’s a sound machine, night-light, two-way audio monitor, and has a ‘time to rise’ indicator light for the toddler stage.” You can control all the settings through an app, which is Cohen’s favorite feature, as she likes “being able to make adjustments remotely without entering my sleeping child’s room.” Izumikawa also loves this machine and praises it for its portability. “Our girls fall asleep to it, and we always bring it along with us for trips,” she says. “For long road trips, it’s easy to just tuck in the back seat to help our kids relax and also fall asleep.” Cohen points out that the original — and less expensive — version of this machine is another solid option, if you can do without the audio monitor and clock display.
While this is only technically a gift for the baby, Mom will thank you much more. We’ve written a lot about the SNOO, a smart bassinet that uses motion and white noise to calm your baby back to sleep so that you don’t have to. New moms say it’s priceless, but the $1,695 price tag says otherwise, which is why Kaufman, whose daughter started sleeping through the night when she was 2 months old using the SNOO, says gifting a one-month rental of the magic bassinet would be a dream. “You can rent one, including a sheet and swaddles, for $159 for one month,” she adds. “I can’t imagine a gift a sleep-deprived new parent would appreciate more than anything that might get them an extra hour of sleep.” We got one as a hand-me-down and used it for both babies. It’s magical. The younger one sleep-trained himself, and we owe it all to the Snoo. Happiest Baby even offers a new six-month rental option for $99 a month, making it even more affordable to try.
Significantly cheaper than the Snoo, but still recommended for a good night’s sleep, is this swaddle. “This swaddle wrap was so easy to use and kept our newborns safely wrapped,” says Izumikawa. “We found that our girls were so much happier and slept longer when swaddled in this particular wrap.” Johnson is a fan as well and says, “The arm flap is key and makes things so much easier.” Inside the swaddle, there are mini-wraps for the baby’s arms, which make the swaddle process more straightforward.