<p>We looked for affordable, useful and unique ideas </p> (The Independent)

We looked for affordable, useful and unique ideas

(The Independent)

Balloons and flowers are okay, but delivering a thoughtful gift that’ll really help new parents through those first few weeks and beyond will lift their sleep-deprived spirits.

But what does a new parent want? Certainly not something that might be used once or twice then discarded, as more of us become conscious about reducing our household waste.

“Parents are definitely thinking more ethically and will appreciate gifts that offer longevity,” says Julia Boullemier, founder of online gift registry Little Wishlist.

“Think less plastic and more wooden toys that can be passed down, and baby clothing and products made from sustainable materials. There’s also been a real push of late to support small businesses.”

And though mum will no doubt appreciate the gesture of toys and teddies, it’s worth thinking outside the box and really considering who you’re buying for.

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“Some families living in small homes just don’t have the space for endless toys and gadgets, which is where something like a foodie gift, vouchers or a subscription might come in handy,” agrees Boullemier.

For this round-up, we wanted to include baby shower presents that passed the test of being perfectly packaged yet practical, affordable, appropriate for any gender, and – most importantly – will be used by parents to make those incredibly daunting and foggy days a little easier.

From curated gift sets to nursery essentials, and of course, little luxuries, gift-giving for the new parents in your life has never been easier.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

The Tartan Blanket Co. baby blanket

A baby blanket might seem like an underrated gift to give, but this lambswool design from The Tartan Blanket Co is next level and likely to be used every single day. Soft, lightweight and breathable, it’s available in an array of colours and arrived on our doorstep beautifully packaged. When it comes to keeping baby safe and snug, wool is something of a miracle product, and the hypoallergenic, temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, odour-resistant properties of this design makes it an incredibly versatile gift that can be used for everything from nap time to tummy time.

Buy now £42.00, Tartanblanketco.com

Oh Mumma new mumma survival box

While toys and clothes are always appreciated, thoughtful gifts like the new mumma survival box will really perk up the hero of the hour. Each one of these boxes is filled with useful, luxurious treats handpicked by beauty experts (who are also mothers themselves), including a mix of cult favourites and some indie brands we hadn’t tried before. She’ll feel truly spoilt with this little lot. Dry shampoo? A must-have. Brightening face mask? Very needed. Probiotic eye serum? Do you even need to ask… Purchase this box as a one-off, or pamper her through her exhaustion with a bi-monthly subscription from £28.

Buy now £45.00, Ohmumma.com

Baby Boosa bib

When the time for weaning comes around (and it’s always sooner than you think), parents will be grateful for this bib from sustainable baby brand Baby Boosa. We tested the black leopard-print style, but there’s a whole range of stylish designs to choose from. And forget the inflexible, plastic, somewhat uncomfortable designs of old – these are made from durable yet soft food-grade silicone, which means they’re easy to clean and can even fold down to a pretty compact size. Weaning – but make it fashion. More stock is expected 19 April.

Buy now £13.50, Babyboosa.com

Tiba + Marl changing backpack

Never underestimate the power of a good changing bag – especially one that they’ll actually want to carry. Tiba + Marl has a ton of sleek and stylish options, but we love the androgynous T+M X Selfridges Elwood number. Don’t be fooled by its non-changing-bag-like exterior – this gold-trimmed bag is spacious, wipe-clean, and features everything from a padded changing mat to an insulated bottle holder and separate, multifunctional pockets for wipes, nappies and your phone. The days of wondering where to put that puree pouch are long gone. There’s even a removable clutch bag. We love that it keeps a parent’s hands’ free while on the go, too.

Buy now £150.00, Tibaandmarl.com

Izmi essential wrap

If mum is keen to wear their little one around the house or out and about, a good-quality wrap is a practical gift they can never have too many of. Not only does it enable parents to wander around hands free, but it’s also proven to support those all-important bonding moments. The first thing we noticed was the soft and stretchy fabric – it feels incredibly strong and supportive, and keeps baby close enough to kiss. Baby’s weight is distributed evenly, which means it’s easy on your back and shoulders, and allows you to potter around as you like without feeling clumsy. For mothers who are breastfeeding, this also offers great support. In our book, it’s incredible value for the price.

Buy now £26.99, Cheekyrascals.co.uk

Detox Kitchen fridge fills

In between the feeds and nappy changes and the blurry exhaustion, it can be easy to forget the basics – like dinner. And as any new parent will confirm, the promise of healthy and tasty food gifts are always a welcome treat, especially when it means you won’t have to think about cooking. Detox Kitchen’s fridge fills are chef-prepared meals that include ready-to-eat salads and dishes that just have to be thrown in the oven. From hearty helpings of pasta and chilli to soups and poke bowls, they’re packed with nourishing ingredients to keep energy levels up, delivered fresh, and (most importantly) we can confirm they taste delicious. Hot meals and soups will keep for five days from delivery and can also be frozen.

Buy now £45.00, Detoxkitchen.co.uk

By Foke lark gift set

If you’re not able to give your baby shower gift in person, when it comes to presents that are expertly curated, beautifully packaged and delivered straight to the door of your recipient, By Foke wins hands-down. The husband-and-wife team behind the brand supports local independents with their adorable Mini Foke boxes that include everything from soft toy rattles to hand-poured candles. The lark set comes in a beautiful cinnamon shade, which works perfectly for a baby of any gender, and features the softest organic muslin cloths, an organic cotton teether, a Benamor hand cream and a One Line A Day memory book. From the packaging to the products, it all feels super luxe, and at the same time perfectly captures the company’s ethical and sustainable spirit.

Buy now £53.00, Byfoke.com

Mori X ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ hooded towel

It’s hard to resist anything from Mori – a brand synonymous with super-soft organic cotton and sustainability. The fun-loving The Very Hungry Caterpillar collection includes this adorable hooded towel featuring the face and antenna of the character from the classic children’s book. It’s made from highly absorbent micro cotton, which we found to be really gentle on baby’s skin, even after washing numerous times. The sizing is generous and will certainly last until toddler age. Perfect for bringing even more joy to bathtime.

Buy now £33.50, Babymori.com

Organic Zoo bodysuit

Is a baby shower even a baby shower if it’s not filled with teeny tiny babygrows? If you’re going to splurge on an item of clothing, this sweet find from Organic Zoo is the one. Each piece is super soft and made from pure organic cotton, so it’s particularly gentle on newborn skin. The Scandi prints and earthy hues are a refreshing change from the usual gender-neutral palettes. It’s a luxurious and thoughtful gift that’ll no doubt be passed down in years to come.

Buy now £38.00, Organic-zoo.com

Little Aurelia sleep time set

When you’re a new parent, there’s no better gift than that of sleep – and this set from Aurelia is designed to help them get just that. The sleep time top-to-toe wash and cream is designed to make baby’s bath and bedtime a soothing ritual, with nourishing ingredients like creamy coconut oil and hydrating aloe vera. The products smell delicately of lavender and camomile, and come packaged in a beautiful box. And if you feel like splurging even more, there’s some products available for mum, too…

Buy now £44.00, Aureliaskincare.com

Seraphine mama and mini sweatshirts

Not only is this twinning set super cute, but it’s also perfect for those lazy loungewear days when there’s little more than feeding and sleeping on the to-do list. Seraphine is known for its practical and stylish maternity clothes and essentials, and this fleecy nursing sweater is no exception. There are poppers either side to enable easy feeding, and the material is so soft and cosy, it feels gentle on even the most sensitive of skin. The fit is really generous, too, so order mum’s usual size for a good fit. The matching mini version fits babies up to three-months-old.

Buy now £59.00, Seraphine.com

Topl smart reusable cup

OK, it might seem like an offbeat gift to bring to a baby shower – but when you’re juggling a baby and your morning flat white, this incredibly clever cup will be appreciated more than you’ll ever know. It’s spill-safe tech means the valve quite literally snaps shut when it’s knocked over from an upright position. We may have “accidentally” knocked over our coffee a few times to see how effective it really is (six to be exact), and can confirm it worked every time. The cup is pleasant to hold and will keep your coffee hot, yet remains cool to touch (no burning hands while pushing the pram here). It even comes with a little drawstring bag made from recycled ocean plastic for storage once you’ve finished sipping. Not only is this great for on the go, but in the house around babies and small children, too.

Buy now £29.99, Toplcup.com

Boden star organic four-piece set

Scattered with rainbow stars and sailor stripes, this ultra-soft and luxurious collection of pieces from Boden is made for newborns – made from sustainable organic cotton jersey. The set comprises a long-sleeved body and stretchy leggings with anti-slip soles, plus a hat and a jacket for cooler days, both of which are reversible. The fun prints are bright and fresh, and undeniably Boden, and everything comes beautifully presented in a matching drawstring bag.

Buy now £52.00, Boden.co.uk

The verdict: Baby shower gifts

While ultimately it comes down to each individual parent’s wants and needs, if you’re looking for a gift that will stand the test of time and be used over and over again, our winner is The Tartan Blanket Co baby blanket. However, we can’t deny how helpful a delivery of Detox Kitchen meals is when you’re trying to keep a small human – and yourself – alive. Parents will certainly appreciate having one less thing to think about. If you’re looking to gift something extra special, the elwood backpack from Tiba + Marl is a gem.

Invest in a long-term solution for your little one with the best cot beds

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