13 Practical Gifts for Mom and Baby


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Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much appreciative of the darling baby clothes we received as we welcomed our second child, But closets, drawers and Space Bags are already filled to the brim. After all, I’m a second-time mom to our second daughter, and who can resist buying those sweet little sleepers and smocked dresses? I, too, have fallen prey to their siren song.

While it’s nice for our newborn to have her own stuff, she certainly doesn’t know she’s wearing big sister’s well cared for hand-me-downs. You know who constantly does need new clothes? Our first daughter. So at the risk of sounding ungrateful, here are 13 non-clothing gifts — from the intangible to the practical and traditional — for baby and the unconventional mom.

Eye Cream

The new mom may not be getting a ton of sleep in those first few weeks, but she can fake it with an eye cream that helps diminish dark circles and bags. Applying a favorite product twice daily can feel downright luxurious. 

Birth Announcement Fund

Whether it’s Minted, Shutterfly or a local stationary shop, cut mom a check and help her splurge on upgrades like premium paper, foil press and embossment. Score bonus points by giving her a couple of books of stamps for all those announcements and any thank you notes she’s sending.

Professional Photo Session

Preferred photography styles are personal, but giving money toward a professional photo session is a great way for mom to capture her pregnancy and the quickly fleeting newborn time. Some photographers offer savings if you book a maternity and newborn session. 

A Baby Book

A baby book is a traditional gift and one that I’m not sure is given any more in our “paperless” modern time. I’m a traditionalist at heart, but I love modern touches so I went with the “Sweet Sparkle” Carter’s Memory Book for our second baby. I also purchased Carter’s coordinating First Year Calendar, which is great for jotting down quick notes and dates. These products work really well together and are offered in boy and girl versions. $24 for the baby book, $13 for the calendar.

Hand Lotion

Two kids in diapers do a number on the caretaker’s hands. Add in the extra-vigilant, handwashing hygiene around a newborn and you’ve got a recipe for dry, cracked hands. My favorite brand — Beautycounter Hand Cream — comes in a pack of five, which is great for every sink in the house, plus a nightstand and diaper bag. $72 for five-pack. beautycounter.com/holiday-hand-cream-collection.html.

Laundry Supplies

I forgot how much laundry a newborn and new mom can go through — and having an extra member in the family brings up the law of averages. The practical mom can appreciate a gift set of detergent, stain remover spray or Shout Color Catcher sheets (in case there’s no time to separate loads), as well as a delicates mesh bag to corral little baby socks. Skip the specialty baby detergent and go for a hypoallergenic brand that has no dyes or perfumes so it’s safe for baby’s sensitive skin. Shout Color Catcher, $5.

Diapers and Wipes

Diapers are an obvious, but sometimes neglected gift because they aren’t so glamorous. You get bonus points if you go on a fact-finding mission to get Mom’s favorite brand.

Meal Train

We started our firstborn in preschool last fall, and the other preschool families organized a meal train for us when our second child was born. We worked with the organizer to go over preferences or allergies, and the best means of pickup to make it work for our new family of four. For two glorious weeks, we didn’t have to worry about preparing or shopping for dinner. mealtrain.com.

Trash, Recycling and Mail

What used to be a quick walk to the curb and back can seem like a 5-mile journey — especially for the mom juggling a newborn and toddler. Work out the details with the family before baby arrives, and offer to bring around her trash and recycling cans on pickup day. Score bonus points by offering to get her mail (just stick it under the doormat).

Etsy Gift Card

From adorable nursery art and decorations to stickers marking your newborn’s “monthiversaries,” Etsy is the go-to online retailer for unique products. An older sibling may be transitioning to a “big boy” or “big girl” room, and this gift could also help outfit that space, too. Since these items can be personal — and personalized — opt for the gift card.

Amazon Prime Membership

For $99 a year, an Amazon Prime membership provides free two-day shipping for eligible purchases, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows (for late-night feedings), the ability to borrow books for all of those parenting titles, photo storage for all of those newborn and family snaps, streaming music and more. Prime members can also join Amazon Family at no additional cost and get discounts on diaper subscriptions and more.

Babysitting

Mom might not be quite ready to dive into the teenage babysitting scene, so give her a chance to get out of the house with peace of mind by offering your babysitting services. Sweeten the deal with a gift card for a blowout (the hair kind), a pedicure or a favorite date night spot so she’s accountable for using your services.

A Big Sis or Big Bro Gift

It’s always a great idea to tuck in a book or other small gift for big brother or big sister so the new sibling doesn’t feel left out. A play baby doll sling is a cute idea (check etsy.com for some cute slings) and there are lots of ”welcoming new baby” books on the market. “You Were the First” by Patricia MacLachlan is my favorite and makes me cry every time I read it. If you’re not sure if big bro or sis already has a certain book or baby doll how about offering an experience? My in-laws treated our firstborn to an afternoon at the circus when it was in town. Sling, $14; book, $10.

Lauren Bell Isaacs is a mom to two daughters and the digital media specialist for Carolina Parent.

Going the traditional route for a baby gift? Check out my other recommendations.

This post was not sponsored. All opinions and selections are my own.

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Pop Mom

What's hot in modern motherhood


About This Blog

Lauren Isaacs, mom of two and social media specialist for Carolina Parent and CarolinaParent.com, writes about everything that's popular in modern motherhood. She also writes the Carolina Parent "Style" column. Yes, that's a Snapchat filter in her picture above and — no — she's not ashamed to use it.

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September 2019

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Website »

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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Website »

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Celebrate Latino culture in Durham.

Cost: Free

Where:
Compare Foods Parking Lot
2000 Avondale Dr.
Durham, NC
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Enjoy sweets from over 20 vendors for humans and pets.

Cost: Free

Where:
City Market
214 E. Martin Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Jay's Italian Ice
Telephone: 919-780-4169
Contact Name: Jay Jones
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Discover Historic Yates Mill—a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Practice your ABCs and develop your fine motor skills through games and hands-on activities. Play a letter game and go on a scavenger hunt!  For ages 18 months–3 years (with an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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These programs are open to students 6–12 years old. Parent/guardians are welcome to stay for the program or drop-off. Preregistration is required. Discover the amazing world of mushrooms and...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Bring your own poles or borrow one of ours through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are provided. All...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Robert Gibbs discusses his latest book, "Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation." Ages 8-12. Purchase the book from Quail Ridge to reserve two seats for the event and a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209 Lassister Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Join us to make moveable miniature skating figures that light up!  Space is limited. To register, call 919-245-2532. Grades 3-5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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We are Voted BEST consignment sale in the Triangle and TOP 10 in the NATION!! Our sale features Children's Clothing including a wonderful boutique section, costume section, and coats section,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
Website »

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Enjoy a free sunset movie by the picturesque Lake Raleigh. Take a picnic blanket, lawn chairs and a non-perishable food donations (human and pet) on Fridays in September to NC State's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Raleigh Meadows
Campus Shore Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: VisitCentennial
Telephone: 704-651-3179
Contact Name: Jude DesNoyer
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other scientists...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.707.9800
Website »

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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Telephone: 919.707.9800
Website »

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Take part in a pop-up Stroller Barre class followed by a nature scavenger hunt for kids and socializing for moms. Suitable for pregnant mamas. Take a sturdy stroller (no jogger needed!),...

Cost: $5

Where:
Piney Wood Park
400 E. Woodcroft Pkwy
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM West Raleigh Durham
Telephone: 984-329-5970
Contact Name: Jenine N Pearson
Website »

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Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
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Please join us for our 27th annual Triangle Festival of Hope & Walk to De-feet Dementia at Knightdale Station Park. The 1-mile walk through the park, or 1/4 mile shorter version, will begin...

Cost: Free

Where:
Knightdale Station Park
810 N First Ave
Knightdale, NC  27545
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Website »

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Family fun for all ages includes more than 100 delicious food and craft vendors, free children's activities, live demonstrations and all genres of music from local and regional bands. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Street Creedmoor
301 N. Main St.
Creedmoor, NC  27522
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Sponsor: City of Creedmoor
Telephone: 919-764-1013
Contact Name: Angie Perry
Website »

More information

We are Voted BEST consignment sale in the Triangle and TOP 10 in the NATION!! Our sale features Children's Clothing including a wonderful boutique section, costume section, and coats section,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
Website »

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Visual artists from near and far will showcase their work, and 75 performing arts groups provide continuous music, dance and entertainment throughout the festival including extended Saturday...

Cost: $5 suggested donation; free for children under 12

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
Website »

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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy local bands, arts and crafts vendors, car show, kids' area, fun contests and games, plus a barbecue cook-off contest featuring veteran cooking teams.

Cost: Free

Where:
River Park
114 E. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborouh, NC  27278
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Website »

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This family-oriented event includes corn milling demonstrations and costumed tours of Yates Mill, and other event activities including a fun children’s scavenger hunt activity, live music and...

Cost: Free, though there is a $3-5 fee for mill tours

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take the family for Caribbean food, live music, a Kids Zone, bounce house, face painter and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
West Point on the Eno
5101 N. Roxboro St.
Durham, NC  27704
View map »


Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Celebrate diversity in Wake Forest with live performances, traditional cuisine and family entertainment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $11.25 – $20

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $15 advance tickets, $20 at the door. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

The Teen Advisory Board invites you to meet up with other gamers to mingle, snack, and test your skills for prizes! Guests are welcome to bring their own controllers/fightsticks. Register by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
View map »


Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

More information

The Clayton Center presents country crooner Billy "Crash" Craddock in concert. Sing along with Crash as he belts out his biggest hits, including Knock Three Times, Rub It In, Ruby Baby, Broken...

Cost: $25 plus taxes & fees

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second Street
Clayton, NC  27520
View map »


Sponsor: The Clayton Center
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

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