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Getting pregnant and then having a baby can really shake up a couple's life. That's why friends and family traditionally throw a shower, to gift the new parents with the things they need to move forward into this next phase.
But the diapers, blankets, and baby outfits are for the baby – not for Mom and Dad. If there's a new or soon-to-be parent amongst your loved ones, use the excuse of the holidays to give them something that'll make them laugh, shore up their strength, or come in handy – and most importantly, help them feel warmed by your love.
Gifts for expecting moms
1. An easygoing wrap: A pregnant woman's body temperature can fluctuate quickly. One minute she's freezing, the next she's burning up. Transforming easily from scarf to shawl, this wrap will keep her comfy (and thinking of you).
2. Upgraded headphones: Pregnant moms are often contemplative and in the mood for privacy and meditation. Give her a little space of the aural kind with a stepped-up set of headphones that will make her feel like she's in her own little world.
3. Instant pot/slow cooker: In the early months of pregnancy, many women are too exhausted to cook; in the later months they may feel too swollen and cranky to linger by a hot stove. This combination slow cooker/instant pot can make meals lightning-fast – or slow down the cooking process so that she can throw a meal together any time of the day or night she has the energy. It keeps nausea-sparking smells largely contained, too.
Gifts for new moms
1. Leather clutch: New moms are famously distracted, and may find they lose things easily. Help her keep it together with this simple vegan leather clutch, which is big enough for the precious leaving-the-house triumvirate (keys, wallet, phone) and small enough to slip into a bigger bag when needed.
2. Personalized jewelry: "Mom jewelry" is a classic gift for a reason, but it doesn't have to be clunky and mumsy. This pendant, available in either gold or silver, is subtle and sleek – engrave it with the name this mom and dad spent months choosing, and she'll keep it forever.
3. Cashmere hoodie: An easygoing basic gets an upscale makeover in super-soft cashmere. Like all wool it almost magically adapts to the ambient temperature so she can wear it anytime she wants to stay cozy – and look well put-together.
Gifts for new dads
1. A stylish accessory: Late nights and more worries can play havoc with a new dad's look. Help him hide some of the damage with a sporty chapeau, just the thing to pop on to hide tousled hair and shield tired eyes from the sun.
2. Sound machine: Gadgets that make soothing sounds can really help dads (and moms! And babies!) sleep more peacefully. This sound machine isn't really a looker, but trust us: it makes the most relaxing wave noises you've ever heard, and will keep you dozing off for decades.
3. One bag to hold it all: Dads schlep a lot of gear. Give him a diaper bag that looks sleek and chic and will last him long after the diaper-toting years are over.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.