Top 5 Gift Ideas for a New Mom


As a pediatric speech-language pathologist, parent educator, and mother of two young children, I often get asked for recommendations about great resources for families welcoming a new baby into their lives. I’m well aware that there are more lists of “gifts for a new mom” than I care to count, but I hope this contribution will provide you with some slightly more original ideas, along with a few of my favorites.

Parenting Books:

We don’t always have time to read… but there are a few books that I recommend to any parent, even if you only read a few chapters or pages that apply to you right now. As a parent educator, so much of what I do is teach parents and caregivers about the ways young children learn, and provide ideas to help them support their child’s early development.

My Favorites:

The Wonder Weeks, by Hetty van de Rijt & Frans Plooij, Ph.D

The Scientist In The Crib by Alison Gopnik, Andrew N. Meltzoff & Patricia K. Kuhl

You Are Your Child’s First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy


Activity Ideas:

Once we understand a bit about how our tiniest people learn (hint: infant and toddler learning is holistic, meaning that even if we think we’re teaching our child about movement, they’re also learning about problem-solving, communication, and social interaction), we need some ideas about how to play with our tiny people! As adults, we tend to think of skill-building as a very linear process: a + b = c, right? Infants and toddlers use simple items (think: household objects, natural materials, actual “toys”) to explore and learn about them through the senses, by problem-solving how they work, and by putting them into some kind of social context (e.g., handing you an object, finding a partially hidden object) far before they use those items in the “traditional sense.” Although most parents go straight to the toy store to find play materials, there are a few resources that give some less traditional (and totally money-saving) ideas about how to maximize learning using very basic materials.

My Favorites:

Begin With A Blanket & Simple Play for Infants (Rachel Coley from CanDo Kiddo)

It Takes Two To Talk  by The Hanen Centre

Simple DIY Activity Ideas for Infants a free e-book from Strength In Words


Memberships, Subscriptions, & Gift Certificates:

Having a baby is expensive. It’s time-consuming. It’s most definitely exhausting. Giving a new mom the gift of “not having to think/worry about something” is also a great gift idea. Now, some of us thrive on getting out of the house during maternity leave, and some of us can’t imagine more than a short jaunt outside (or, let’s face it, are dealing with the physical and emotional changes that sometimes come during the post-partum period). For that reason, I’m splitting this one into two sections:

My Out-Of-Home Favorites:

Music Together baby class: Music Together in Menlo Park

Gymboree Baby Lab: Gymboree Los Altos

Wund3rkid: Palo Alto indoor play space

Blossom Birth: Parent Baby Groups of all kinds

Harmony: Birth and Family – Baby Sign Language Classes

My In-Home Favorites:

Family Enrichment Library: an exclusive content library for families of infants and toddlers 

Post-Partum Doula: Cherish from Sacred Mother Jennifer Jeffcoat with Mindful Ways

Massage Service: Colleen Haddock with Super Duper Massage ; Jennifer Jeffcoat with Mindful Ways

Hair Stylist: Kristen Marie



Books are wonderful gifts for any new parent, as it’s never too early to start building a home library. Parents often love getting books that come recommended by other parents, because, let’s face it, we’re all looking for tried and true options! I won’t begin to presume to know your family’s favorite book recommendations, but I will suggest that you look for books that are hardy, mouthable and colorful. Additional bonuses are books that have different textures, books with repeated lines or phrases, or lift-the-flap books!

My Favorites:

Board books

Indestructible books

Fabric books

Lift-the-flap books (e.g., Spot series)

Textured books (e.g., That’s not my __ series, Pat the Bunny)


Musical Albums or Song Books:

In my opinion, engaging in musical experiences with your child (singing and listening to songs, rhythms, and rhymes) is the single most useful way to support your young child’s development, as it can very easily be a multi-sensory experience, used to both stimulate and calm your young child, encourage the recognition of patterns, and play with language. Providing a wide variety of music (both recorded and live versions – as in, YOU) – different rhythms, tonalities, instruments, genres; any number of children’s music – is a great way to get started.

My Favorites:

Rise Up Singing by Peter Blood

The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories & Finger Plays by Pam Schiller and Rafael Lara-Alecio

My top 10 music suggestions for children’s music can be found here

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Ayelet Marinovich, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a pediatric speech-language pathologist, parent educator, bestselling author, recording artist, and imperfect mother based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the founder and host of Learn With Less, where she helps new parents feel confident they can support and connect with their babies and toddlers - without having to buy a single toy. She is the creator of the Learn With Less® Curriculum, the basis for which is outlined in her bestselling books, Understanding Your Baby and Understanding Your Toddler. She has served thousands of families through online and in-person programs using the Learn With Less® Curriculum, and has trained a number of licensed facilitators to serve countless more families all over the world. Her current passions include spending time with her family, dismantling the baby industry, and creating communities of support for families with infants and toddlers of all developmental levels.


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