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Becoming a parent is tough. It will change every aspect of your life, and even the most prepared parent-to-be can feel totally ill-prepared once the baby is born. Reading about what a baby needs and how to take care of a new baby is great. But actually doing it with your own child can be a totally different story.
Friends and family want to help, especially those who have been there themselves, but they are not always sure what gifts are going to be really useful to new parents.
Well-meaning friends and family need to talk to the new mom and dad and ask them their preferences, first and foremost.
Moms who plan to exclusively breastfeed do not usually need a 10-pack of bottles. Those who want to use cloth diapers will not appreciate the dump truck of Pampers a friend sends them, as well-intentioned as they are.
And remember, sometimes the plan a parent has when they are just expecting does not work for them once the baby arrives. The plan might have been to serve only homemade baby food but when the time for food rolls around, the baby might only like jars of green beans.
So be sure to check in with the new parents before buying anything after the baby comes to see if their needs have changed.
All new parents are unique, but there are certain things that everyone needs almost universally. Here's a list of the top five baby gifts to give new parents:
Everyone only gets 24 hours in each day and for new parents -- moms especially -- it can seem like every minute of that time is occupied with the baby. Offer to babysit, even for 30 minutes while the new mom showers. Just giving someone else baby duty for a small bit of time can make all the difference to a new parent.
It is thought uncouth in some circles to give money as a gift, but new parents are especially grateful to have discretionary funds to pay for the unexpected doctor's visit, the tons of diapers, or perhaps just a pizza for dinner. A gift card to a mass market store like Target or Walmart or their local grocery store is good too, and can be sent from afar.