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Being a new or expecting parent is hard. Being a new or expecting parent during a global pandemic is even harder. You're discouraged from leaving your home (even to go to the grocery store), essential supplies like toilet paper and diapers are selling out everywhere, and your friends and family can't come help out (or even meet the new baby). It feels overwhelming at best and impossible at worst.
In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has continued to stress that hospitals and birth centers are safe for delivery—however, many hospitals have imposed stricter rules and regulations like limiting visitors or, per the CDC's recommendations, even separating newborns from their moms (if the mother is suspected to have the virus).
"Giving birth during the pandemic was extremely stressful and scary," Gretchen Caso, who gave birth to baby Avery in late March, recalls. "Leading up to it we were really concerned about getting sick and due to the constantly changing visitor policies at the hospital, I honestly thought I might have to give birth alone without my husband. Normally you’d feel safest at the hospital, with doctors and nurses to help you navigate taking care of a newborn, but our entire stay I just kept thinking about how exposed we were and was focused on getting us home as quickly as possible. Even once home, every cough or sneeze feels heavy with the weight of potentially having the virus."
Fortunately, Caso and other new mamas say there are ways you can support the new or expecting parents in your own life—while still social distancing. Below are some of the best gifts you can get for new moms and dads in quarantine, from gift cards for food and grocery delivery to subscription boxes full of parenting and pregnancy must-haves.
1. Our favorite meal kit: Home Chef
Just because she's home all day (whether pregnant or with her newborn) doesn't mean she has time—or energy—to whip up an intricate homemade meal. But with restaurants closed and grocery stores low on stock, what's a new mama to do? One way to help her out is by gifting her a subscription to a meal kit delivery service which includes everything she needs for a healthy, delicious dinner. Of all the ones we've tested, we like Home Chef the best because the ingredients are super high-quality and fresh and the recipes are easy to follow.
Give a Home Chef gift card starting at $60
2. A subscription to Kindle Unlimited
What is a mama supposed to do while her little one is nursing or napping? Or a mama-to-be while she’s dealing with pregnancy fatigue? Samantha Amato, who gave birth to her first child in late March, says she loves reading books on her Kindle (since she can't get out to the library). "There are so many books to choose from on Kindle Unlimited that I'm never bored and it's a lot more entertaining than just mindlessly scrolling through my phone," she explains. And moms don't even need a Kindle to use the Kindle Unlimited app—it can be used on almost any device, including tablets, phones, and laptops.
Gift a Kindle Unlimited subscription for $9.99 per month
3. Grocery delivery so she can #stayhome
Right now, everyone is being encouraged to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus—and while going to the grocery store is the exception, it can be hard for new or expecting moms to get out (juggling baby, grocery bags, face masks, and sanitizer is a recipe for disaster). Keep her fridge stocked by ordering her groceries from an online service like Instacart, Amazon Fresh, or Shipt. You can ask her for her grocery list so you can order for her or simply get her a gift card.
3. Food delivery gift cards so she doesn't have to cook
The last thing any new mom wants to do at the end of yet another tiresome day of feeding, cleaning, bathing, and playing is slave away in the kitchen. And even though mamas-to-be don't have a little one yet, they're equally tired just from being pregnant. Since Mom and Dad can't go out to a restaurant to eat right now, treat them to takeout with a gift card to a food delivery service like GrubHub or DoorDash.
4. The boozy subscription service everyone loves: Firstleaf
After nine long months of turning down every single glass of wine, Mom can finally drink again—and she needs it now more than ever, given the fact that we're living amidst a global pandemic. I.e. she will love you for a gift card to Firstleaf, a subscription service that will deliver a curated box of wine right to her doorstep each month. Our kitchen and cooking editor tried it out for herself and loved the variety of wines available along with how easy and convenient Firstleaf is to use.
Give a Firstleaf gift card starting at $25
6. An easy-to-open water bottle
Bottles aren't just for baby—moms and mamas-to-be need to stay hydrated, too. And with bottled water selling out at stores, a reusable water bottle is a great gift. But not just any water bottle will do. According to Amato, the ideal water bottle for new moms is one that you can open with one hand. 'You only have one hand while you’re nursing and it makes you so thirsty!" she says. Here at Reviewed, we recommend the Brita Premium Filtering Water Bottle (which yes, can be opened one-handed) because it keeps water cold for hours and even filters your water as you drink.
Get the Brita BB11 Premium Filtering Water Bottle at Target for $19.99
7. This top-rated baby carrier to keep her hands free
Because of social distancing, new moms like Amato can't have visitors—which makes daily tasks difficult. Enter a baby carrier. "Since we haven’t been having anyone come over to help us or watch Jack, my Ergobaby baby carrier has been amazing for getting things done while he’s awake. I just put it on, pop him in, and I can have both hands free to do laundry, dishes, etc.," she says. While Amato has the Ergobaby 360 (Reviewed's third-best pick), our parenting experts prefer the Lillebaby Complete because it's extremely comfortable, supportive, and stylish.
Get the Lillebaby Complete at Target for $139.99
8. A supply of diapers (since the baby shower was cancelled)
Diapers are one of the many items selling out online and at stores across the country. And since Mom barely has time to breathe, let alone go to the store or scour the Internet, help her out by ordering a few boxes of diapers to be delivered directly to her home. Need help finding them? Our team has been tracking diaper availability for weeks—here's where you can still buy diapers online.
9. A sleep training course so new parents can catch some shuteye
The less baby sleeps, the less Mom and Dad sleep. And right now, with so much stress and anxiety related to coronavirus, getting adequate sleep is incredibly important for both their mental and physical health. Amato says that her and her husband (and baby Jack!) have benefited greatly from taking an online sleep training course. "Honestly, one of the most awesome gifts we've gotten was a baby sleep course from Taking Cara Babies that really helped us understand how to help Jack sleep," she says. "Our life has already gotten so much easier now that he's starting to sleep more consistently!" Another online option that one of Reviewed's writers loves is Owlet Dream Lab.
Gift a Taking Cara Babies sleep course for $74
9. This subscription box just for expecting and new moms
Subscription boxes are more popular than ever thanks to the fact that we're all stuck at home. And yes, there are subscription boxes that are made just for new mamas and expecting mamas alike. One of the most popular is Oh Baby (which we've also tested here at Reviewed)Each month, mamas-to-be get a stash of goodies to help make their pregnancy easier. Then, once the baby comes, they automatically start receiving postpartum boxes with things like moisturizing cream and children's books.
Gift an Oh Baby Box from CrateJoy for $39.99 per month
11. A cozy multipurpose swaddle blanket
Caso says that daily walks with baby Avery in the fresh air are necessary to stay sane as a new mom in quarantine. And for said walks, she's obsessed with muslin swaddle blankets. "Not only can I wrap her up in the swaddle blankets but they're also nice to put over the car seat or stroller when out as a makeshift mask for baby," Caso explains. Our parenting experts love the Happiest Baby Sleepea Swaddle because it's made of 100 percent organic cotton and is very easy to use.
Get the Happiest Baby Sleepea Swaddle at Pottery Barn Kids for $27.95
12. A baby book to document their first year
While being born during the coronavirus pandemic isn't ideal, it certainly makes for a great story. Get Mom a baby book that she can fill out during her time at home to document just how crazy and unprecedented the whole experience is. When her little one is older, they'll love being able to look back on what life was like those first few months of their life.
Get the Milestone Baby's First Year Album at Target for $24.99
13. All the health essentials so Mom doesn't have to go out
The less Mom and baby have to go out in public (even to the doctor), the better. "Our first pediatrician appointment I had to go to alone—trying to juggle a diaper bag, newborn and car seat for the first time while attempting to talk to a doctor over a screaming baby all while wearing face masks was mentally draining," Caso says. That's why she was so appreciative that her friends and family stocked her up with medical basics like a baby thermometer, saline drops, baby Tylenol, etc. before she gave birth. Psst: Thermometers are in limited supply these days, so to help, our Reviewed team has compiled a list of where you can still buy thermometers online.
14. Bath accessories to help Mom relax
As if trying to care for a newborn or simply survive being pregnant wasn’t stressful enough, now she has to do it while stuck in quarantine (and worrying about coronavirus). So new mamas and mamas-to-be are in desperate need of some R&R. To help her kick back and relax, gift her what she needs for a luxurious bubble bath, like these colorful bath bombs or this wildly popular bath soak.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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