First-time parents ooh and aah over everything for their baby: stuffed animals, cute onesies, diaper pails, baby socks, receiving blankets, and, yes, even a wipes warmer. It takes a certain amount of creativity to find the perfect gift for second- (or third- or fourth-) time parents who already have all of the baby’s essentials. If you think your friend with kids already has everything they need for baby, try giving them one of these thoughtful gifts they are sure to appreciate:
1. Diapers and wipes. While these necessities might seem boring, a parent who has more than one child appreciates not having to go to the store in those early postpartum weeks to buy diapers and wipes (and their wallet will appreciate the break, too). When friends threw a diaper shower for Dodi Hance, a mother of six, she didn’t have to buy diapers and wipes for nine months after her last baby was born. “It was so nice to go to my diaper closet and be able to pull out whatever [diaper] size I needed,” she says.
2. Meals. Any parent with a newborn deserves a break from planning and preparing a well-balanced meal. Give the whole family a gift by bringing a warm meal to them. Before deciding on chicken casserole or fixings for the tacos, for example, check to see that no one in the family has any food allergies, etc. And package the meal in a low-cost recyclable container so the family doesn’t haven’t to worry about returning any valuable containers to you.
3. Tools for two. Now that your friend has more than one child, they may need some new gadgets to keep up with their family crew. Sarah Keeth, a mother of two, says, I never used a sling with my first child but with my second, it was suddenly necessary since I needed my hands free to help out my older kid.” Similarly, a double stroller can come in handy when mom and/or dad take multiple kids on outings.
4. Anything personalized or homemade. Your friend will cherish gifts that were made specifically for their little one. For example, if able to, knit or crochet a blanket or get the baby’s name embroidered on a burp cloth or blanket. A personalized gift can become a keepsake for the family.
5. Playdates for the older kids. When you have multiple kids, it’s hard to find that one-on-one bonding time with a newborn that parents crave. Melissa Bates, a mom of three, didn’t realize how much she would appreciate concentrated time with her second baby until another friend offered to take her older daughter for the day. “Being able to spend uninterrupted time with just my baby for us to get to know each other was a blessing. Not only that, but I could actually sleep when my baby slept like everyone says you should do.” Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, offer to pick up your friend’s older child to take them to a park, playground, or back to your house to play. Your sleep-deprived friend will be able to enjoy the break guilt-free knowing that their older child is having fun with trusted friends.
6. Gifts for the older sibling. Becoming a big brother or a big sister can be a hard transition, especially when baby is getting all the presents. Win your friend’s heart by buying something small for their older child, whether it’s a book, a small toy, or a new stuffed animal. Bring a ‘busy box’ full of things like coloring books, crayons, and stickers to give the older child something to do while mom or dad is feeding baby or changing a diaper.
7. Housecleaning. Pool your money with a large group of your other friends to buy a month or two of professional housecleaning for the family. That way, the parents can focus on their children in the first few postpartum weeks instead of looking around the house feeling guilty about all that needs to be done. If it’s a close friend, you might consider grabbing some cleaning supplies and doing some of the family’s light housework yourself.
8. Self-care gifts. Give your friend a little something just for them. Think about a Starbucks gift card, a book to keep them occupied during nighttime feedings, or a coupon for free babysitting so your friend and their spouse can go out on a date. Becca Ross, a mom of three, received a gift certificate for a much-needed massage when she had her second baby. “Besides helping my aching back from nursing and carrying a baby and a toddler all day, the short alone time for me to relax and re-energize was helpful to everyone in my family,” she says.
The next time you’re scratching your head trying to decide what to get for your second-time mom or dad friend, give them one of these eight creative and practical gifts. Whether they’re breathing in the smell of a freshly-cleaned house, wrapping babe in their own crocheted or personally embroidered blanket, or watching their older child play with a new toy, they will know how much you care.
Sandi is a freelance writer, and a mom to four kids. She’s never turned down a hot meal after having a baby.
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