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It’s been a while since my babies were babies. (They’re 13 and 11 now.) But no parent ever forgets about those sleep deprived days of babyhood and the angst over when or whether to sleep train. So, whenever I have the pleasure of buying a baby shower gift for a new parent, I always go with the theme of sleep. Sure, you could go with more fun themes like feeding or bath time (cue: cute bath toys and hooded animal towels), but the best gift truly is…let’s pause for emphasis…SLEEP!
You might not get the oohs and aahs elicited from an adorable baby outfit and precious infant shoes. But, that new mommy will thank you later when she gets some zzz’s! These are my go-to favorite gifts to give to a new parent. Pick several and create a “Sweet Dreams” basket.
Books For Parents
I love to read. I’m one of those people who enjoys researching and knowing and sharing information. I do this on just about everything. So, you can imagine the stack of books I had when I was pregnant with my first. Out of all them, these two books resonated and helped me the most when it came to sleep.
By Marc Weissbluth M.D. It’s because of this book that I’ve diligently guarded my children’s sleep through the years. My biggest takeaway was the importance of establishing healthy sleeping for your child from the start as it lays the foundation of healthy sleep for a lifetime. Unhealthy sleeping habits lead to a host of physical and mental health problems. The author emphasizes consistency, quality of sleep and quantity of sleep required according to age for health and well-being. There’s a handy chart in the book that I still refer to today. It graphs sleep needed per age starting from newborn to 18 years old. He also charts daily sleep cycles for babies and young children detailing wake, nap and bed times. Super helpful!
By Harvey Karp M.D. This book was a life saver. It’s a must for every new parent. Dr. Karp explains your baby’s physical and emotional needs and gives you the steps and tools to calm your baby and trigger your baby’s self-soothing instincts. Parents will learn about the 5 S’s (Swaddle, Side or Stomach, Shush, Swing and Suck). Plus, there is a special section addressing colicky babies.
BOOKS/DVDs/CDS for Children
By Margaret Wise. As a precursor to bedtime reading of Good Night Moon, we often (okay – like almost every night) played the DVD Good Night Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales. Now, every time I read the book, I hear Susan Sarandon’s voice in my head narrating the book. I think I loved this DVD as much as my children.
The Napping House
By Audrey Wood. Since my kids were little, the author has added another book to her collection, The Full Moon at the Napping House. The detailed illustrations in The Napping House books are mesmerizing.
My daughter would not go to bed without this lullaby CD playing on repeat. She listened/slept to it through elementary school until her clock CD player died and we never replaced it. Otherwise, I think she’d still be listening to it!
Must-Haves To Help Baby Sleep
Aptly, many items I recommend gifting correlate with Dr. Karp’s 5 S’s (swaddle, side or stomach, shush, swing and suck). These items pair well with the books in a “sweet dreams” baby shower gift basket.
For swaddling, of course, and the large are great for both wrapping and covering the stroller front for baby’s sleep privacy. They’re light weight and breathable.
This is great because it holds baby’s arms firmly against his/her body, which helps prevent the baby from waking up due to their moro (startle) reflex.
Cloud B Sleep sheep
White noise and soothing sounds really help babies sleep and my family loved. It has four sounds to choose from. Plus, you can take it on the go.
Lastly, I was lucky enough to have one baby who took to a pacifier. It is one way babies soothe themselves. I’d place several in my baby girl’s crib at night because some inevitably fell out the side of the crib. She’d fall asleep sucking. Later, she’d wake searching for one, pop it in and fall back to sleep. I think these pacifiers are so adorable to tie on top of a baby shower wrapped gift or basket.
There are so many great baby products available today – from baby carriers / wraps and swings to co-sleeper bassinets – that help the new parent and baby get a good night’s rest. What I’ve listed here are what I personally used and love giving the most. What would you give the new parent? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks. Sweet dreams mamas!