Google 'best newborn present' and you'll be hit with a whole load of photos of 'baby gift sets' (vest, teddy, silver rattle if you've gone upmarket, plastic one otherwise).
Or maybe you'll stroll into BabyGap and snap up a super-cute babygrow; and the new parents might love it - or might have three the same. Or maybe you'll think ahead and buy an age 18m snow suit .. but they live in a tiny flat with no storage space. Or it won't actually be winter when their babe hits the age range... etc.
It sounds ungrateful for any new parent to complain about presents - but if you want your gift to wow, here's advice from a host of new parents.
Their top tips? Gift receipts are useful - parents might want to change the items for a bigger or smaller size, or receive duplicates. Going for luxury versions of everyday goods - which parents couldn't justify but are lovely to use - is a great idea. And personalised gifts are brilliant - they add a dose of nostalgia to everyday items and older kids love them on something like a toy box that lasts longer. I've found the best site around for these to be My1stYears.
For other present ideas, don't forget the gift of time: one brilliant friend organised a 'meal train' - a schedule for the first two weeks' of tiny man's life where family and friends signed up to bring us dinner each night. Amazing - and tech makes it easy to sort out.
If you're struggling for inspiration and want to buy a stand-out memorable present or something really useful for new parents, here are some other great ideas. The best thing about them? They're all provided by current parents-of-babies, who share their best gifts (or the ones they wish they'd received). So... happy shopping!
Practical parental ideas
"A week by week guide book for new parents (such as "Your Baby Week by Week" or "The Wonder Weeks") is great - they can read it ahead of each week. It's been invaluable to us as it's contextualised our little one's behaviour."
"A little present I really appreciated was the Milestone cards - you can capture your baby, the milestone and the date in one image."
"I loved receiving luxury items I wouldn't necessarily have shelled out on - like Aden & Anais' comfort muslin."
"I loved Sock Ons for a non-summer baby - keeps you from losing all their tiny socks."
"My most useful were a Morrck blanket, toys for when slightly older (stacking cups etc), and bowls, spoons, plates for weaning. Remind people to consider season changes when buying slightly bigger clothes- I received lots of summer outfits age 3-6 months when it will be oct-dec!"
"Gro bags and pyjamas for 9-12 and 12-18 month (i.e. anything you use over and over again)."
"A gorgeous fluffy, hooded bath towel from The White Company was my fave."
"The personalised blankets, shawl and teddy we received from My1stYears are so cute.... but be aware that they then can't be reused for future kids."
"A hand painted personalised wall plaque, and a hand-knitted baby blanket."
"My favourite was vouchers to get my newborn's hand & footprints made."
"The best thing that anyone did for me after both children was bring over home cooked, healthy meals for the freezer. I found it considerably more useful than another Jellycat rabbit... (Not to sound ungrateful, the rabbits are great!)"
"We were in hospital for a long time following our baby's birth, so it was really touching when people sent fruit and cakes etc to the ward (for us and the neonatal staff)."
"Cook" frozen ready meals - they were amazing!!
"The friends who turned up wearing ropey clothes, carrying Cif and just cleaned our house for us to the backdrop of our dropped jaws!"
"Parents' night in pack - DVD, takeaway vouchers, chocolate, wine..."
"My friends clubbed together to buy us a family and newborn photoshoot - such beautiful shots, they're framed all over our house."
"A baby tree to grow alongside the tiny baby."
The presents mums remember best...
"My sister-in-law got us a weekly chunk of cake delivered in the post for the first three months. It was amazing and just what we needed."
"We received a silver piggy bank, such a lovely prezzie!"
"A box of newborn and baby medicines."
"The best present ever was a Tuppence & Crumble star wrap. Used it pretty much everyday for 9 months."
"Books. The nice thing about having others getting us books was that their choices were very different from what we (would have) bought. And many of those given books turned out to be a favourite of our son! Also I find it such a nice touch to give a book in this day and age where everything is a screen and electronic."
"I was given some expensive essential bath oils. When I finally managed to have a long soak in the bath (rather than a 2 second shower in between feeds) this was totally relaxing and luxurious."
"Cuddle dry apron towel... still using it five years on, mainly to keep me dry when they're splashing!!"
"A fold away play mat for when you're out and about - super useful."
"The presents I loved/appreciated the most were given before I had the baby - Tena pants,breast pads,nipple balm,snuffle babe,Kirkland wipes,Milton wipes,Infacol,moisturising antibac hand wash,hand cream - all the essentials."
"My sister gave me babysitting vouchers."
"Clothes from anywhere with a very relaxed exchange/refund policy - changed about 15 presents from Next for different sizes so that I had a good range of clothes to last her whole first year with very few receipts and no trouble! Good old Next.."
"I most appreciated it when friends or family clubbed together to buy things that are essential and more expensive - like the car seat. Teddies were a big no no for me! Just haven't got a purpose for 20+ teddies!"
But one mother responded: "I used to think that about all the teddies my little one received, but now she is one she loves them all and likes to pick a different one each night to take to bed. It's really cute how she cuddles and kisses them. They will serve a purpose one day!"
"Something nice for the mum who may well be in need a pick-me-up - chocolate, toasty bed socks, new hoodie, bottle of gin..."
"The baby had everything we needed for her anyway - so I loved the engraved ring I got from my parents and the wine my friend bought for me (even if it took me a year to actually drink it!"
"A piece of rain forest."
"My best present is coming tomorrow: my night nurse."
"Someone bought a Starbucks gift card as she said I'd be spending lots of time there."
"The things that still stand out 11 months later are: a really nice framed pic from notonthehighstreet with baby's date of birth, place of birth, number 1 song, price of a stamp, PM etc that we love, also a Sophie the giraffe toy that I had never heard of and is the best thing we've used for teething (even if it does sound like a dog toy), and clothes/sleeping bags in bigger sizes so we ended up not having to buy much as he grew."
"A friend dropped in with a home cooked lasagne and a cake, stayed 20 mins to coo at the baby and declined a cup of tea. Excellent present. Better than any number of pink babygros!"
"I would have preferred it if everyone who kindly bought us gifts had just donated money to a children's charity."
"We had a nursery list at John Lewis which made it so much easier."
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