15 Unique Gift Ideas First-time Parents Will Love

Teddy bear with gifts arranged on coffee table for baby shower party

Shopping for gifts can be really fun or super stressful, especially for first-time parents who are likely being showered with all kinds of gifts already. What can you give that stands out from the rest?

Unique gift ideas first-time parents will love include experiences, photo shoots, a record keeper, and activities, among other things. Giving clothes and supplies is helpful, but everyone else is already giving such things. So, find unique items, activities, or experiences that prioritize family.

We'll give you a head start on some special gift ideas in this article based on the time you have to get the gift!

Quick and Thoughtful Gift Card Ideas

If you're in a time crunch, buying a gift online, waiting for shipping, and wrapping it may not be doable. Likewise, running through a store is fine for getting a gift, but it doesn't necessarily help you find a unique gift. That's why gift cards exist.

Here are a few quick and thoughtful gift card ideas for first-time parents:

  • Airbnb gift card

  • Gift card to a local store your friends love

  • Coffee shop gift card

  • Local spa gift card

  • Doordash gift card

  • Masterclass gift membership

  • U.S. National Parks Pass

  • Local museum annual pass

  • Local zoo annual pass

Of course, if you know your first-time parent friends well enough to understand their interests, you can purchase gift cards for classes that hone their skills, like music lessons, cooking classes, woodworking seminars--you get the idea.

15 Unique Gift Ideas for First-time Parents

Let's say you have some time because gifts are good any day, right? The gift you plan to give doesn't have to be cash in a pretty card or a gift card, nor does it have to be something practical. We are going for thoughtful and unique gifts!

Whether you know your first-time parent friends well or not, these fifteen unique gift ideas for first-time parents are sure to please (and hopefully not be duplicated by someone else)!

1. Newborn Photo Shoot

Capturing pictures of little ones is one of those things parents often think of but forget to actually do. In the blink of an eye, a newborn isn't new anymore! Help take the pressure off by purchasing a photo shoot with a photographer or at a studio that specializes in newborn photography.

Newborn baby sleep at first days of life

The majority of photographers and studios will allow you to purchase the session without setting a time, knowing it's a gift for someone else. If the first-time parents are into science fiction or fantasy movies and books, find a fantasy photographer!

2. Record Journal Designed to Pass Down to Adult Child

Time flies way too fast! Many first-time parents start out intending to write down milestones, funny happenings, or thoughts as they parent their little one, but life moves fast. Make keeping a record easier by giving them a baby record journal!

A mother is writing in a journal

These journals range from the first five years to eighteen years. Typically, they include statistical pages for tracking weight, height, and age, questions about favorite foods and activities, and a "kids-say-the-darndest-things" section. Once filled out fully, such journals make a sweet gift for the adult child later in life!

3. Glass Print Gift Card

If these first-time parents enjoy hanging pictures, consider purchasing a gift card for glass prints. Companies like Fracture will print pictures directly on glass, making a smooth, modern picture style.

Glass prints come in various sizes and finishes, giving your friends tons of style choices for their space. You could even spend a little more to purchase a display shelf or multiple prints to make a neat arrangement. How unique!

4. An Audible Subscription

Once you've got a newborn in your hands, reading physical or electronic books becomes a bit cumbersome. If the parents you have in mind are avid readers, buy them a subscription to Audible!

A man drinking coffee in living room with headphones for podcast, streaming or audio

With a massive selection of books that range all ages, your first-time parent friends are likely to find some entertaining books for themselves and their brand-new little one. Additionally, listening to books is a fantastic way to avoid relying heavily on the TV when overly stressed, nursing, or struggling to soothe a fussy baby.

5. A Coffee or Tea Subscription

Speaking of stress and sleeplessness, a coffee or tea subscription would be a welcome gift for a coffee or tea lover. Depending on how well you know your first-time parent friends, you could find a unique coffee roasting company or tea specialist who will ship a box of goodies to explore monthly.

Tea set in wooden box

If your friends are not the adventurous type, then figure out the brand they like and purchase what they'll need to function during the day. You can even add a set of mugs with a funny or snarky quote about parenthood or baby-induced caffeine addiction.

6. An Espresso Machine

Are your first-time parent friends coffee connoisseurs? A decent espresso machine with grounds would be a unique and thoughtful gift if they don't already have one. There's nothing like an espresso on a cold, cloudy day when you're running on fumes.

Reliable espresso machines are not cheap, so going in on one with a few other friends should pool enough money to purchase one that will last for years. The money your first-time friends will save over time by making their coffee at home instead of buying it in a coffee shop will be the gift that keeps giving!

7. Noise-canceling Headphones

Babies cry often, even if they don't have something like cholic keeping them awake and upset. For first-time parents, this much crying can be a shock. If your first-time parent friends are more high-strung, work a stressful job, or struggle with anxiety, giving them a set of noise-canceling headphones may help!

Headphones like these don't block sounds out entirely; they simply reduce them. A tool like this is helpful when a person is not getting much sleep because headaches can quickly become migraines. A set of noise-canceling headphones can be a lifesaver!

8. Home Date-Night Activities

We don't have to be dramatic and say that having a baby changes everything , but having a baby certainly introduces boundaries that were not there before. A big one for some people to adjust to is staying in every evening so the baby can sleep. For some first-time parents, this is a huge adjustment.

a young couple sit on the sofa and share a chinese take away meal, chatting and laughing

If you know your friends well, consider giving them some at-home date-night activities because connecting after having a baby is a skill. Here are some ideas to choose from depending on what your first-time parent friends are like:

  • a board game

  • a murder mystery

  • a new video game

  • a study to do together

  • a backyard sport for two people

  • online dance lessons

  • a sports game night snack arrangement

  • a set of deep question cards

  • a food delivery gift card

9. Free Babysitting Tickets

This is a super sweet gift from family or close friends. Make a few "free babysitting" tickets on paper or cardstock and include them with something for the baby. Basically, you're saying, "I want to give you a few evenings off!"

Some couples are shy about asking for babysitting help, so letting them know that you genuinely want to babysit encourages them to actually ask. Besides, who doesn't need a night out every now and then?

Combine these tickets with a gift for the newborn. If you're looking for unique baby toy set gift ideas, then check out our list here: 9 Unique Baby Sensory Toy Gift Set Ideas.

10. An Excellent Blender

Buying an excellent blender is a two-fold gift: it encourages eating healthier, and it helps make homemade baby food. Though a newborn won't try smoothies for six months, a quality blender should have no issues lasting for years, even with daily use!

Another option is investing in a baby food maker. These nifty appliances will steam the food and blend it to an incredibly smooth consistency for babies. I used my baby food maker for years!

11. A Meal Subscription

These days, you can buy the bulk of your groceries online and have them delivered to you. What's more convenient than that? A meal subscription! Meal subscriptions come with unique recipe cards and package a week's worth of healthy food in the quantities needed for those recipes.

Hello Fresh meal kits contactless delivery

Having a meal subscription typically means not grocery shopping or meal planning for a month, which is incredibly convenient when you're running on a newborn's schedule. Even better, gifting a healthy meal subscription will help first-time parents avoid falling back on junk food for a quick meal.

You can find several different types of meal subscription services online. If you're not sure about what your friends would like, reach out and tell them that you would like to buy them a meal subscription. You could buy it or send them money to set it up themselves.

12. A Mini Portable Printer for Smartphones

Mini portable printers for smartphone pictures are just cool! First-time parents will probably take hundreds of photos of their little ones, but finding the time to actually get favorites printed is nearly impossible.

Black woman printing pictures with portable wireless mini printer at home

You can take the stress off by giving them a mini portable picture printer. These typically work over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but some may plug directly into a phone. Some require ink refills, but others have zero ink technology.

Either way, if one of your first-time parent friends is a scrapbooker or enjoys having physical pictures, a portable printer could be a thoughtful gift!

13. A Back and Neck Massager

Long hours of holding a baby for nursing, burping, soothing, and napping do a number on the back and neck. A back and neck massager would be handy for loosening up!

Find one that is heated and can be placed easily with one hand. If your first-time parent friends enjoy spas, you could purchase a spa day or a massage. Time to unwind and relax is a fantastic gift!

Learning to take care of yourself as a parent is not easy because life keeps happening! Read 9 Sustainable Parenting Hacks for Busy Moms and Dads for some tips on how to help you take care of you on your own parenting journey or to better understand your parent friends.

14. A Diffuser with Essential Oils

Essential oils offer a range of benefits in aromatherapy, such as better sleep, relaxation, focus, opening stuffy sinuses, waking up, or calming nausea. Since first-time parents struggle through all these problems simultaneously in the newborn stage, giving a diffuser and a basic essential oil set is thoughtful.

Essential oils diffusing at home in the morning light

One caveat is that the essential oils must be pure and steam-distilled. If it's cheap or at the local grocery store, it's probably mixed with a bunch of stuff. Also, you need to look up each essential oil to ensure that it's not bad for newborns or any pets your friends may have.

The most common essential oils parents use in a diffuser are:

  • French lavender

  • Peppermint supreme

  • German chamomile

  • Mandarin orange

Find a "nebulizing diffuser" because it doesn't use heat or standing water to diffuse the essential oils. That removes a fire hazard, and the bacteria growth that standing water generates.

Also, explain to your friend that this diffuser is for the living room or the parents' room--not the nursery. There's not enough research to say infants can safely breathe diffused essential oils throughout the night. Moreover, these oils should not be applied directly to the skin.

15. An Assortment of Handmade Soap

Giving an assortment of handmade soap is a fun and unique gift idea! Whether you buy it online or support local soapmakers, opt for soaps free of sulfates, dioxane, synthetic fragrances, dyes, and ethanolamines.

A group of bars of homemade soap

With a lack of sleep, irregular schedules, hormone changes, and diet differences, first-time parents' immune systems are depressed, making sickness and skin problems more likely. Handmade soaps designed for sensitive skin may be exactly what baby parents need.

Some sensitive skin soap bars to look for include:

  • Goat's milk soap bars

  • Castile soap bars

  • Pine tar soap bars

  • Aloe shea butter soap bars

Gentle essential oil combinations in soap bars for sensitive skin include:

  • Lavender and chamomile

  • Orange and honey

  • Lemongrass

  • Lavender and tea tree

  • Unscented (especially for babies)

There are many other combinations that you can discuss with your local soapmaker, but these are common combinations for the sensitive skin crowd.

In a Nutshell

Let's be honest: parents at any stage of the parenting journey would love the ideas on this list! Before you pick, think about what your first-time parent friends enjoy and what they already have.

If you have no idea because you don't know them that well, stick with something most people don't have already, like a portable picture printer for smartphones or a glass print gift card. Which of these items would you have appreciated the most as a first-time parent?

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