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What Makes a Great Mom-to-Mom New Baby Gift?

Taylor Newman

This here is my friend Cleo (her name has been changed; she’s internet-shy). She’s one of my favorite friends back in Brooklyn. She fawned wonderfully over my Kaspar-bump when I was pregnant, commenting on how beautiful my belly looked and asking if I was “so excited” to breastfeed... Let’s just say I had my suspicions then that she’d get herself a bump of her own on the sooner side of sooner or later. And lo and behold, she’s now just about due (nine weeks, mama, hang on tight)!

I received a charming and chic little paper invitation to Cleo’s baby shower, and after a brief period of denial (followed by bargaining, a la Jet Blue) I finally accepted that a 24-hour NYC visit, ‘on the way’ from Texas to Denver (we had a mini-vacation planned for the same weekend), was just not, well, doable. I was crestfallen.

But I got over it. Wanna know how? By channeling my own fawning instincts into crafting a perfect gift for Cleo’s incoming bundle, of course! She and I had discussed, in practical terms, what kind of things were on her registry, and what would be most useful to her in the coming months; she gladly accepted my offer of our now-dormant Beco carrier (which we used a LOT in Brooklyn. Baby-wearing is a must in NYC, if you ask me; no way in hell I was hauling a stoller up subway platform stairs). I ordered some of our favorite, lesser-known children’s books, as well, since you can never have too many books. Still, I wanted to send something personal. Well, what I really wanted was to take Cleo out for tea and cake and real-time talk on all things city-mama— but the next best option was spending some time down here in Tejas preparing to warmly welcome this baby into our community circle, with its expanded diameter and all.

Here’s what I put inside.

Cleo's gift

I busted out some dye tubs and personally colorized two organic bamboo crib sheets, two infant tees, and one teeny-tiny ribbed tank. I also passed along a few of Kaspar’s new-baby items that he’s long since grown out of but I fancied enough to keep for a suitable pass-along moment: some colorful booties, a green tomato (or something) hat complete with a stem, a bamboo baby spoon. An infant massage DVD and a compilation album of appropriately mellow (and refreshingly non-annoying) lullabies, plus some bubble bath for the mama, topped the collection off nicely.  Finally, several sheets of tissue paper, some twine and one shoebox later, and this gift is ready to go. (I think).

I feel better, too... connected to my friend, who I miss. It’ll do for now, anyway, but I’ll be looping back with Jet Blue soon enough; I really can’t wait to meet this baby. Congratulations, Cleo—you’re going to be a phenomenal mom!

What do you consider essential (whether practical or otherwise) to a new-baby present? Did I leave something out, some great final touch? I’m mailing this thing early next week, so there’s still time! I’m placing private bets on some other bumps-to-come, too, so I’d love your input in a collective baby-gifting brainstorm.