Gift ideas for new parents: all the baby gear I couldn't live without

Take it from this parent of two, this is the stuff they’ll thank you for!

Take it from this parent of two, this is the stuff they’ll thank you for!

(Source: Instagram, @jjcoleusa)

If you're gift shopping for someone who is about to become a new parent, chances are they don't know what they need, so there's no point in asking them!  You're better off asking someone already living life with baby, and who has tested out all the gadgets and gear.

Like me!

Even if you don't have kids yourself, I know you know about receiving blankets, booties and cuddly toys — all welcome presents. But the list below is my roundup of the less-obvious tools that have made my life as a parent easier. And although I once swore I would never cave to the gadget hype, I am thankful each and every day that these things exist. I hope that these suggestions help make life easier for the new parent in your life too.

Diapering and clothing

Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station $39.96

This change pad that can be worn as a wristlet goes with us everywhere. With handy pockets for extra diapers and wipes and a spare outfit, I take only this if I'm travelling light. If you want to gift something extra, throw in an attachable wet/dry bag too.

Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipes Warmer $39.97

A wipes warmer isn't just for disposable wet wipes. I filled it up with these reusable flannel wipes so I didn't have to run to the bathroom each time to dampen them. This is a great option for the environmentally conscious or anyone without a Costco card for buying wet wipes in bulk.

Mark's & Spencer Sleeveless Bodysuits $22

Undershirt onesies may not seem life-changing, but they're indispensable at our house. After inheriting one in a bag of used baby clothes, I set out to source them in Canada but ended up finding them only online at Mark's & Spencer. Luckily they offer free shipping on orders over $50. We use the undershirts every day as a base layer and for sleepwear in the summer. They work up until potty-training age, when something snapless becomes easier.


7 A.M. Enfant Pookie Poncho $154.59

This transformable baby carrier blanket moves from the carseat to the carrier with ease and keeps little ones warm all weather. You can buy fleece-lined ones too but I liked the option of the removable hood.   

JJ Cole Polar Bundleme $119

A stroller bag is expensive but incredibly useful for Canadian winters and make a great group gift. I was originally gifted this one, but discovered that the stroller company made one specifically for our stroller, so we got that for our second kid. They both work great. The most important feature is that they can be unzipped and expanded to grow with the child.

Food and drink

Guzzie + Guss Perch Hanging High Chair $99.75

This lobster chair took the place of a traditional high chair in our narrow kitchen and we never looked back. We've got an inexpensive Ikea one tucked away for guests and use the clip-on chair for all meals. When shopping, just confirm the surface it will be mounted on meets the criteria for proper installation. There are other brands out there too — look for one that's machine washable.

Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Bottle $29.95

The best baby bottle is one that doesn't break, changes to a sippy cup, and is dishwasher safe. While Pura's stainless steel ones haven't always been dishwasher safe, their latest silicone-lined model checks all the boxes. I use them too, with the sport-top attachment!

OXO Tot Mash Maker Baby Food Mill $39.95

A handheld food mill may not be the most efficient baby-food-making tool that comes to mind, but here's why I love it: it's small and portable, easy to use and wash, and - possibly most importantly - quiet. And for all that batch cooking I say I am going to do, I keep my blender at the ready.

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder 2-Pack $11.99

A food net buys me a few extra minutes to prep dinner or clean up. It may look gimmicky, but stuff it with a piece of apple, mango, or avocado and thank me later.

Baby Cubes $9.99

Baby cubes make storing leftover baby food a breeze. And when I'm not packing them into my freezer filled with vomit-coloured mush, I load them up with raisins or a travel-size-amount of face cream.

Health and grooming

HydraSense Nasal Aspirator Starter Kit $19.99

A nasal aspirator with strong suction is the workhorse of babyland. I found the bulb-only ones don't have enough suction strength. There are also electric ones and others with the ability to suck and squeeze at the same time. Are we really having this conversation?

Zoli Buzz B Electric Nail Trimmer $50.31

An electric nail file takes the fear out of cutting small-yet-fast-growing nails. These baby nail clippers work fine too, but an electric file-down option is perfect for nervous new parents.

Safety 1st No Touch Forehead Thermometer $69.99

Try taking a screaming baby's temperature and you'll know why this no-touch thermometer is a must. I like that it also won't wake a kid up if they're sleeping.

Baby proofing

Speck iGuy iPad Case $30.00

This kid-proof iPad case isn't just for kids. From day one, I found myself doing most things one-handed, and this protective case with handles helps make FaceTiming safer.

Dwinguler Playmat $259.00

A playmat the kids can't pull apart is worth every penny. If the design wasn't so kid-centric I would buy one for every room. They're thick and washable and double as yoga mats for the whole family at once.

Kidco Magnet Locks 4-Pack $44.99

Magnetic child locks keep little hands out of the cupboards without messing up new renos. They totally work as long as everyone remembers to put back the magnetic key.

Indestructible Books $9.99

Indestructible books are really what they say they are. They're light and durable and replace restaurant menus as chew toys.

So that's it. All the baby gear I couldn't and still can't live without. I never thought I would be admitting that I need so many gadgets, but you say a lot of things you never thought you would as a parent. So, coochy coochy coo, here's some info on baby names new parents can use too.