New Baby Gift Idea – Donate a Gift Bag

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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.

purple gift bag with large green gift tag and baby items scattered around

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.

Make the gift even more fun by adding the free printable game Baby Items A -Z. Print several copies and add them to the gift bag so the new mom can play with friends and family.

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. 

3 gift bags on a white table

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. 

2 packs of baby blankets on white table

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. 

2 bottles of baby wash and package of baby wipes on white table

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. 

4 boxes of baby bottles and bottle nipples

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.

hand dropping formula bag into baby bottle with lid and product box nearby

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. 

overhead view of colorful baby toys on white table

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. 

colorful quilt on white table

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:

overhead view of pink candy, pink bath sponge and rainbow colored box of tissues on white table
  • Feminine pads
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Soap 
  • Razor
  • Fun Socks
  • Candy
  • Shower Poof
  • Hair Brush and Comb
  • Scarf
image of green gift bag tag for baby gift

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. 

overhead view  of baby gift bag items on white table

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.

2 large light lavender flowers with text overlay

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  1. What a wonderful donation idea. I just . It’s not something I would have thought about but it would make a great family project particularly around the holidays (or really any time of year.) Your added tips are really helpful too, things I wouldn’t have thought of. {client}

  2. Donating a bag of baby items is a great idea. We have a charity nearby that collects baby items and then packs them together into a baby chair or baby bath as gifts for new moms. Something fun for those of us who still like buying those adorable outfits but don’t have anyone in the family to gift them to!

  3. This article is full of so much great information. I am so glad you shared this. I often think that we all forget to find out what is most important when donating. We give what we have leftover or what we like. You have shared such great and informative ideas.

  4. This is a wonderful idea. I know that the ladies who receive these bags will be thrilled to receive them. What a wonderful way to help someone in need.


  5. This is such an amazing way to give back to your community! Any new mom would love to receive this, but a mother in need will really appreciate the thoughtfulness. I love your generous spirit.

  6. It wasn’t long ago that I had my son, so I can attest to how useful this gift bag would be to a new mom. What an awesome gift for someone you know, or to donate to moms in need. Love it!

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