“Cupcakes,” I said quite exhaustedly, “all I want is sleep, baby cuddles, and cupcakes!” My mom should have known that I wouldn’t be able to come up with a better response to her question in my post-delivery, overtired silliness.
It was still six weeks before my youngest son’s expected due date—the baby shower had come and gone, the nursery was nearly together, and I thought I still had at least a month to get my hospital bag packed. Boy, was I wrong.
Due to complications, my ever-vigilant doctor recommended he deliver my son at the 34-week mark—and I was suddenly very under-prepared, completely stunned by his premature arrival. What I learned through my experience was the immense value of a thoughtful and practical gifts for still-in-shock new parents, whether their babies arrive early, late, or right on time. Because, as I lay there in my hospital bed, all I could think was, “I am so hungry.”
While we loved and appreciated every congratulatory gift that family and friends brought by in celebration of our new baby, there were a few that will forever stand out in my mind. They were the gifts that went beyond kind gestures of excitement meant to decorate our hospital room, and had immediate usefulness.
Thoughtful Necessities to Brighten Spirits
As soon as she heard my son was delivered early, my best friend Kate knew I would be stressed out that I didn’t have time to get some much-needed breastfeeding supplies, and she made it her mission to help. When she arrived, I felt a wave of calm opening the box of nursing necessities she had dressed up in coordinating blue ribbons and bows, to brighten up the sterile hues of the hospital room.
She also brought me a shoulder-saving Boppy pillow for support under my babe, and a fresh batch of yummy oatmeal chocolate chip lactation cookies she picked up from a local bakery. Such wonderfully supportive gifts really assisted in my start to breastfeeding, and helped to curb my “hungry new mom” sweet tooth.
A couple of close friends, Monica and Alexa, had helped out with my baby shower registries, so knew I hadn’t received all of my baby must-haves. They quickly shared a link on Facebook to a last minute wish list for anyone wanting to bless us with baby supplies we hadn’t already received. This was a gift in and of itself—not having to try to communicate to every well-wishing family member and friend wanting to know how they could help us through the whirlwind of an early delivery was an immense blessing.
Monica also brought a cute canvas bin, that could later be used for toys or clothes, filled with binkies and chocolates to encourage quiet moments for both baby and mom. It included a handmade “Do Not Disturb” front door sign to ensure uninterrupted baby napping once we brought our son home from the hospital, giving us a great chance to score some uninterrupted downtime.
How to Bake Up the Onesie Cupcake
Alexa, being a little extra craftier than the rest of us, came to our birth suite bearing a box of preemie onesie “cupcakes” and a teeny crocheted hat she made. Not quite the edible confectionaries I had requested from my mom, but such an adorable decoration to have in the room—and to be able to put to use right away since we had no preemie-sized clothing on hand for our son.
Pulling these sweet little “cupcakes” apart to dress my son for the first time, I could see how I might make them for my own gifting in the future:
- Have onesies, coordinating socks, and cupcake liners ready for assembly.
- Fold the sleeves in on each side, creating a long strip of material.
- Place a pair of socks at one end of the strip, hanging over each edge of the onesie just a bit. One of the socks should have the opening facing out, and the other the toe.
- Starting at the end with the socks, roll the onesie strip up.
- Fold the open end of the sock over the onesie roll to make the cupcake “paper.” A sock toe should be sticking out the other end, to resemble frosting.
- Place the onesie cupcake into a cute cupcake liner (silicone liners work best) and place in a bakery box for added flair!
Celebrating Bringing Baby Home
My parents-in-law knew we would be coming home tired, hungry, and ready for some alone time. While we were still at the hospital, they collected menus from several takeout and delivery restaurants in our area and had them fanned out on the kitchen table—along with matching gift cards—ensuring we didn’t even have to heat up dinner if we were simply too wrapped up in cuddling our new bundle of joy.
My brother-in-law, Jake, who has two little ones of his own at home, showed up with a Daddy-only toolkit: diaper cream with an “application spatula,” safety goggles, and a dozen of my partner’s favorite energy drink for overcoming the grogginess sure to follow regular 2am changings. Always a prankster, he also brought me a selection of mustache binkies, knowing they would help soothe baby and make mama smile.
Paying It Forward with Practical New Parent Gifting
The incredible way our nearest and dearest were able to set our sleep-deprived minds at ease by addressing our most pressing needs for the first couple weeks of our baby boy’s life really set the bar for any future new parent gifting I do myself. So, when my good friend Leslie gave birth to her little girl, I knew just what to bring baby Ava and my frazzled new mommy friend.
Taking a cue from the fabulously functional gifts I had received, I assembled a gift basket specifically designed to take stress off the new mom and dad. Using a bright pink laundry basket, because baby will need her own laundry bin, of course, I rounded up the following to bless the newly expanded family:
- A full-sized cozy blanket: Cuddling under the teeny, baby-sized ones, precious as they are, leaves parents in the cold.
- Dry shampoo and hair ties: No reason mom can’t feel pulled together when company stops by, even if the shower got skipped!
- A package of paper plates and plastic flatware: No dirty dishes for at least a week!
- Hand sanitizer: Everyone’s now prepared for speedy germ removal.
- A box of tissues: Being a new parent brings on lots of crying, from tears of joy to sleepless sobs.
- A Starbucks gift card: Loaded and ready, this card offers a much needed caffeine fix or two.
- A bottle of wine: To toast getting through 9 months without, and to celebrate the newest family member.
- Some healthy snacks: Chocolate is a must, but so are granola bars, fruit, and nuts.
As much fun as little outfits, stuffed bears, and colorful balloons can be to crowd into a hospital room, my family and friends have shown me that thinking a little beyond the expected can offer a gift that both comforts and lends a hand. There’s no doubt any gift brought to welcome a new baby into the world will be met with warm gratitude, but there are those special gifts that leave lasting impressions by becoming a part of memories made, as life with a precious new babe begins… and that is really something to treasure!
Need a little inspiration to help you create a praise-worthy present for new parents? Let the elves assist you in perfecting the art of useful baby gifting! Check out our new parent must-haves, make wish lists of your own, and discover memorable gift ideas on Facebook, Twitter @Elfster, and Instagram @elfstergram.
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