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What is more fun that shopping for baby things? Not much. I don’t like to go shopping, but even I could spend hours shopping for baby things. I’m at the point in my life where none of my friends are having babies and none of our children have started having babies. But no worries, I’ve found the perfect solution. I go shopping for a new baby gift idea new mom gift bag to donate to my local homeless or domestic abuse shelter. It’s fun for me and is a wonderful brand-new gift for a new mom and her baby.
As a mother of three, I know that every new mom wants the very best for her new baby. A gift of brand-new baby items is cherished. As a parent educator and volunteer, I’ve worked with homeless families for years and have seen first-hand many of the challenges they face. Knowing what is most helpful allows me to create a new baby gift bag that meets unique needs and situations. I want the donated gift bag to be a blessing to a new mother and provide her with items that will be helpful, with a few fun items included, too.
You should call your local shelter to find out what would be most helpful for the new mothers that they help. Ask questions about their situation:
- How long do the mothers stay at the shelter? Do they have to move their items in and out of the shelter each day or do they have a safe place to leave their belongings? If they have a safe place to leave their belongings, then you can purchase larger items and larger amounts of supplies. It’s not helpful to buy a huge bag of diapers if the mom has to move everything herself each day.
- What supplies are the new mothers they serve most in need of? For example, some shelters have generous supplies of diapers, but not of baby shampoo.
- Would gender-specific or gender-neutral gift bags be most appreciated? I usually donate gender-neutral gift bags so that the shelter has more flexibility in distributing the gift bags.
- Are there any specific needs? Are there items that the shelter recommends against donating? For example, donating a baby bathtub may not be helpful if the new mother has to move each day.
- Are there any specific baby sizes that they recommend? Generally, when I purchase items that are sized, like diapers or clothing, I purchase the 3 month or larger size. You can adapt larger items for a smaller baby, but smaller items don’t really fit a larger baby.
New Baby Gift Ideas
Unless specified by the shelter, I choose gender-neutral colors of items. I look for sturdy, well-made items that are easy to clean. I also look for darker colored items that will hide dirt better.
The Gift Bag – Using a diaper bag as the gift bag is a great idea. Diaper bags are expensive and not often donated to shelters. A cloth shopping bag is also a great choice, because it will last through frequent moves and hold a variety of baby and non-baby items. A pretty paper gift bag can also be used. Look for the sturdiest gift bag you can find and choose one with bright colors and faces that can be used for baby’s visual stimulation. Include a note letting the new mom know that the gift bag will help her baby’s development if she safely places the bag where the baby can see it.
Basic Needs – Consider all the many basic needs of a baby. Choose items that can serve more than one function. A blanket can keep baby warm and can later be a play mat. A receiving blanket can be a swaddling blanket and a bath towel.
Choose smaller sizes of diapering and bath needs to make it easier for mom to move the items with her.
When choosing bottles, I look for ones, like Playtex Baby™ Nurser® with Drop-Ins® Liners, that are both best for baby and easiest for a mom in transitional housing to clean. They’re a good choice for baby because they support baby’s natural feeding pattern and also support breastfeeding with the unique Nurser System. This Playtex system allows baby to use the same natural suck, swallow and breathing patterns as used in breastfeeding. This makes it easier for mom and baby to switch between breast and bottle feeding as needed. It’s a great choice for donating since you don’t know whether mom will be breastfeeding or using formula. As a mom that nursed my three babies, I can tell you that I trusted Playtex bottles for those times my babies needed to be bottle fed.
For new moms that may move frequently, I would choose the 4 ounce bottle and liners because it’s smaller and easier to move. But if mom and baby will be staying at the same shelter for a longer time, then I’d choose the larger bottle and liners so that baby can use it longer and he or she grows up.
The disposable Drop-Ins® Liners are a great choice for mom because they’re pre-sterilized. Mom simply puts the liner into the Nurser bottle and fills it with milk or formula. The liner collapses as baby drinks, preventing air from mixing with the milk and getting into baby’s tummy, which helps reduces colic. If mom is relocating frequently, she doesn’t have to worry about washing and sterilizing the liners.
Toys – Look for items that are easy to clean. Plastic toys and books are better choices than stuffed animals and fabric books. Choose toys that serve more than one purpose. A plastic ball that can be a rattle, a teether and a toy is a great option A plastic book that has a squeaker can be a toy, a teether and later a book.
Handmade – A well-made homemade blanket, quilt or knit hat is a personal treasure for any new mom.
For Mom – Including gifts and a note for the new mom makes her feel special, too. Personal care items are expensive and often not donated to shelters. Any small gift that pampers or treats mom is a good choice:
- Feminine pads
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Fun Socks
- Shower Poof
- Hair Brush and Comb
You can print out this gift label to attach to your gift bag. Download the free printable for your gift bag.
I knew I could find everything at Walmart, the one-stop shopping spot for baby needs (and almost anything else, too). While I enjoy shopping for baby items, I still don’t like shopping, so being able to get everything at one store is perfect for me.
I found the Playtex Baby Nurser with Drop-Ins Liners on the baby needs aisle of the baby section of the store. Right now you can find on-pack coupons at Walmart for $3 off of the eligible 3-packs of Playtex Baby™ Bottles, including the Playtex Nurser 8oz., VentAire 9oz., and VentAire Colors. That’s $3 you can put towards filling your donated new baby gift bag.
Making your own new baby gift idea gift bag to donate would be a great family project. It would also be fun to create one as a baby shower activity. Be sure to include Playtex Baby Nurser with Drop-Ins Liners since they’re perfect for any new mom.
Check out more charitable giving tips and ideas.