Thursday, September 24, 2015

Presents for a New Mum: What to Buy and What to Avoid!

Not Sponsored/No Samples


This is something I've been meaning to do for ages after a conversation with my cousin. "What do I buy for a new baby?" is asked a lot online too, so here are my top five presents and my top five don't-you-dares.

This is all just my opinion, it's what I loved and didn't love when I had the twins. I didn't mention Dads because I can't speak for Dads, I just know what I found brilliant and less brilliant.

Five Gifts To Buy For New Mums

5. Green Angel Seaweed & Aloe Eye Gel

This might seem ridiculous, but stay with me. What all new Mums really need is sleep, but you can't get that in the shop, so instead - they need ways to help them stay awake. This eye gel was something I picked up when I needed a new eye cream and my GOD it is magical. MAGICAL. You know when you're so tired that your eyes won't stay open? A bit of this and you're wide awake. I keep it in the fridge and it's soothing, cold, fresh - just gorgeous and I wouldn't be without it. Plus, it's all natural AND it's Irish. Available from, it costs €20.

4. A Fancy Travel Mug

Hear me out again. Whether you have one baby, or two babies, or ten babies, it's really hard to finish a cup of tea or coffee. I dumped so many half cups down the sink in the first two years few months - it's just an impossible task to get the time to drink it before it goes cold sometimes. Enter the travel mug - have I ever brought mine out of the house? Approximately three times ever. Do I use it every single day? You betcha. Twice. It vastly increases the amount of time your beverage stays hot. My current favourite is one I got for a measly €1 on a Dunnes sale stand, but for a gift I'd spend a bit more - The three in the photo are all under €20 (minus shipping) and they're from Littlewoods, Hippenings, and The Trendy Sparrow (shipping is a killer on that one but I WANT IT) respectively.

3. Penneys, Tesco or Next Gift Cards. 

Babies grow FAST. Vests and Babygros are boring essentials - but they are essentials, ones that people don't tend to think of when buying clothes for new babies. Some babies have really sensitive skin and aren't able to wear cheaper brands, in which case the Penneys or Tesco vouchers will come in handy for the Mum to get other stuff. Like that Penneys lip liner and the individual lashes and wooden signs telling you how gorgeous you are while you're trying to get your leg into a size 18 pair of jeans while convincing yourself that it's a 12 with the wrong label. NO, honestly, Penneys and Tesco vouchers always come in handy (provided the Mum has access to a Penneys or Tesco, obviously). Next have amazing baby clothes - their babygros were by far the best ones I had for the boys. I had just 12 Next babygros for each clothes size the boys went through and they washed so well, plus they were passed along to another baby afterwards. I can't recommend them enough, and a voucher would go a long way in Next where everything's a little pricier.

2. A Baby Snot Survival Kit

Newborns can be quite mucusy - especially c-section babies. Mine were, anyway. They got their first real snuffly cold when they were about a month old - queue a two-day hunt with two snotted-up newborns in the car doing a chemist tour to see if we could get a vaporizer or a snot-sucker (you will go to great, great lengths to clear a snuffly baby's nose, believe me). A package like this would have been a Godsend - I'm using the Vicks Vaporizer again at the minute. It's available from McCabes, the other bits and pieces are available from most chemists, I've linked Boots for handiness: Nasal Decongester, Saline Spray, Baby Olbas Oil (fine in the vaporizer or on a muslin behind the radiator, not to be used directly on or near babies under 3 months).

1. Food

I'm not even messing. Do you know when I put on most of my baby weight with the twins? After they were born. I put on almost 4 stone when I was pregnant with them and 2 came off the minute they were born. I put it all back on again in the following year, mainly because we were all so bloody tired that nobody could be bothered to cook. During the night feeds my husband developed an addiction to Coke (the drink) and Chocolate Digestives. We ate chipper food or pizza all the time - it was ridiculous. My Mam brought us up a cooked chicken one day and I almost cried, ditto the time my husband's Mam brought us a giant pot of stew. If someone had landed at my door with a week's worth of spag bol, lasagne, or stew to freeze, I think I would have divorced my husband and married them. (Do consider whether they're veggies or not though!)

Five Gifts To Avoid Buying for New Mums

5. New Baby Picture Frames

I love pictures, I love photos, I love frames. But realistically, how many 'New Baby' frames are you going to fill and put up in the house? I'm not talking about personalised prints or ones with names on, I'm talking generic ones with "It's a Boy" on it. Then if you're a sap like me you feel guilty when the baby isn't a new baby any more and you want to replace the frame with something else. I know picture frames are a go-to gift when people don't know what to buy - but if we got one we got ten, so please don't!

4. Lots of Big Person Outfits in Size 0-3 Months. 

Look! Miniature versions of adult clothes! Tiny suits! And tiny tutus! They're adorable, yes. They're gorgeous. They're gorgeous for photographs, they're gorgeous for going out, they're gorgeous. But they're not practical and they won't be worn half as often as you'd think. It's so tempting to buy all the miniature frilly dresses and jeans but very small babies need comfort, and taffeta and jeans are not comfortable. We got fancy outfits for the boys in 0-3 months and here's a secret - 0-3 month old babies don't really do much. They sleep and poo and drink and cry (pretty much what I did in college). So by the time they're alert and awake for a little longer, the cute outfits don't fit anymore. If you're buying clothes, get 3-6 or even better, 6-12 month stuff. But use your head - think ahead to what season it will be when the baby is old enough to fit into them. Someone once gave me adorable Reindeer costumes for the boys in December in sizes that wouldn't fit them until the following June. Nobody wants to see Reindeer in June.

3. Vouchers for Expensive Childrens Boutiques. 

Oh God I really don't want to sound ungrateful here, but I got a voucher for the boys for an expensive children's clothes shop for €40. Which was an incredibly generous, thoughtful, wonderful gift. But when I went into the shop, the little everyday baby tops were €20. And the little baby jeans were €25. And the little baby outfit sets were €35+. So I ended up spending €20 along with the voucher just to get two little jumpers for the boys and some overpriced socks - the thought behind it was so good and so lovely, but it was such a waste for the person who gave it to us, a €20 voucher for Penneys would have gone a lot further. Or Next! Mammies love Next!

2. Johnson & Johnson Baby Products

Absolutely not an attack on the brand, but some people seem to think that it's the best brand you can buy for babies and tend to buy an awful lot of it. I know that other people have a similar opinion to me on the brand and I'm not going to speak for them - I'll just say that I found the products too heavily perfumed for my boys, and they broke out in a rash repeatedly from using the baby bath and lotion. The baby shampoo irritated their eyes and gave them facial rashes. If you want to go down the baby product route, Bepanthen is always a great option - get the nappy cream or the moisturiser. Infacare baby bath will never be snubbed. Moo Goo have fantastic products. Also - I have never once oiled a baby (I'd be terrified they'd slither out of my hands like a bar of soap), yet I had, at one point, about 9 bottles of baby oil in the house. Don't buy baby oil.

1. Visits Without Advance Warning

A lot of new Mums feel fantastic straight away. They feel like warrior women, like they could conquer the world, and they love company and visitors. I was not one of those. We had an unnanounced visitor the day I brought the twins home from the hospital and I ended up locking myself in the bathroom crying because I was all over the place and did not want visitors. I wanted bed. Said visitor also spent a good five minutes shoving a camera in the boys' faces and deciding - out loud - who was cuter. Play the "who does the baby look like" game in your head, to us they are beautiful and precious and gorgeous but babies look like babies. Wrinkled old man babies. They don't look like anyone straight out of the womb. I had people call after 9pm to see them, I had people call before 9am to see them. Exhausted. A text or phone call an hour in advance goes a long, long way - there's nothing as bad as a glam visitor (by glam I mean dressed) when you're sitting in a dressing gown with last week's hun bun still in place. One hour in advance to attempt to look human would make the conversation a lot more fun, I promise. Or an hour to pull all the curtains and lock all the doors and pretend we're not at home. I'M JOKING. Kinda....

This is all based on my own experience, it's not meant to insult or offend or sound ungrateful. I never expected or assumed people would bring gifts, but it happens. I'd love to know what the best/worst baby gifts you've received are, or if you don't have kids, just the best/worst gifts in general that you've received.


  1. My boys were 9.11 lbs and 10 lbs respectively and none of the gorgeous newborn outfits they received as gifts fit them!!! Although I have to admit they came in handy as re gifts!! Eleanor

    1. That's another thing to consider too Eleanor!

  2. I'm with you on the reindeer suits that fit in June, thankfully they'd tags on so I could return. Also got a snowsuit that would fit in the height of summer, no tags though so 5 years on I'm still trying to offload it on someone else. For girls, anything other than pink would be great thanks, and vouchers. I would have said Mothercare cause their vests are super soft, but seeing as they could go bust any minute, stick with Next, Tesco, Dunnes, Penneys, or if you're feeling fancy Mamas & can order ones online for use on their website & they have really cute, if a bit expensive stuff. Also good and an offer to mind the baby for an hour or two so you can have a nap, or just shower & wash your hair without constantly imagining you hear the baby crying would be great.

    1. We ended up giving the Reindeer suits away and it was a pity because they were so cute! We also got big padded sleepsuits that we passed on. I get you with the girls and pink - there does seem to be an abundance of very pink very fluffy things around and not much gender neutral stuff! I was funny with the babies and naps, no matter who offered I felt like I didn't want to leave them with anyone, I would have rathered they wash the cups after they have tea :D

  3. Some nice ideas for presents for new moms!

  4. Those snot-suckers. I still have mine even though my "babies" are now 10 and 8yrs. That Vicks Vapouriser is 7 years old and is still going strong. Karvol capsules are also good for snuffles, I prick the capsule with a pin and squeeze out a single drop onto each of the corners of the mattress.whatever is left goes into the little well in the vapouriser.
    I second the meals, and the penneys vouchers. And I am with you on the Johnsons... ever notice that the babies in the ads are older than 3 months old? Yeah... theres a reason for that. I used the baby oil on myself out of the shower instead of body lotion as I could lash it on while still in the shower and dry off without needing to apply lotion.

    1. I've used Johnsons talc myself before but not on the kids! I'd never put the shampoo near a newborn again. He had a rash for 2/3 days easy. I have searched high and low for Karvol and can't find it! I heard the factory burned down, but I don't know if that's true or not.

  5. I love this post especially what not to buy new mums. We have hundreds of baby frames here, if anyone has an emergency frame-related crisis.. and the unwanted visits! After a week in hospital, the in-laws turned up a half hour after we got home and stayed for eight, horrific hours. I nearly had a nervous breakdown over it. In-laws, know your place!
    Becca | theBeautyInbox

    1. Oh Becca!! It's horrific, I'll never forget that evening as long as I live, all I wanted to do was sit down and come to terms with the whole I-have-a-new-person-to-keep-alive thing (twice) without having to talk to anyone! xx

  6. You know what the vouchers for expensive places is pet peeve! I've needed up spending a bleeding fortune to get rid of a teeny voucher! But an aul Penneys/Next/M&S/Dunnes all welcome Hahahaha

    1. That's exactly it, you spend money you'd never have spent otherwise - I know it's very generous and very thoughtful but I'd definitely prefer the cheaper shops!

  7. Everyone should read this post, it's so true! And mammies do love Next. I agree about not buying lots of bits in 0-3 months, my little fella was in them for about a week. Vouchers all the way!

  8. Absolutely spot on! Especially the unwanted visitors! I told everyone to stay away after i had my third, i didnt want to see anyone for at least a week. And whats worse is its normally other parents who arrive unannounced and stay forever, like have the totally forgotten what its like?!
    And i hear ya on the weight gain after baby, same happened me after my second, id tell my mam to bring food......she'd bring scones and biscuits! I learned for next time and stocked the freezer in the weeks beforehand......still didnt manage to lose all the weight, but didnt put back on what i did lose thank god.

  9. Eileen McGillycuddyOctober 1, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    Fantastic post Sharon. All so so true!!

  10. Great post. I'm laughing at the picture frames Rebecca. I know I would make an effort with said photo frames IF I had space but I don't in my semiD. I am trying to think of a christening gift for a relation at the moment and it wont be a frame. I have loads unused in a wardrobe :( A COOKED MEAL is most welcome for any new mum or dad. My MIL and SIL brought two cooked chickens and loads of salad and served it up. Yum.


Talk at me!