Three thoughtful Mother's Day gifts for first-time Moms

Consumer Reports News: May 09, 2013 01:38 PM

Freshly minted Moms covet the basics—sleep, a hot shower and a decent meal. For Mother's Day, a box of chocolates, bottle of wine, or bouquet of flowers would certainly be appreciated. But as any seasoned parent will tell you, presents that make Mom and baby safe and comfortable can improve the whole family's quality of life. If you have a brand-new Mom in your life, consider these sanity-saving gifts.

A glider or rocker. The rhythmic motion of a rocking chair helps some babies nod off and gets Mom off her feet. Basic wooden rocking chairs have been around for ages and may need some extra padding or cushions to make a new parent comfortable. Gliders, which slide rather than rock, are another choice. And since they're made specifically for the nursery, most are outfitted with comfy cushions and some even have an ottoman that glides along with the chair.

Look for durable, solid wood construction; high, supportive back cushions and padded arm cushions that hide stains; and springs underneath the seat for support. A smooth gliding mechanism that locks when needed is ideal. Some gliders swivel or recline, which comes in handy for child-free catnaps. Always test a glider in the store first and when choosing a fabric think about how it coordinates with furniture in the nursery or family room

Soft baby carrier. Baby carriers help parents keep their hands free while keeping body-to-body contact with their little cherub. You'll see several choices on the market but we recommend against sling carriers because babies can end up in positions that interfere with their breathing. Backpack carriers are not appropriate for newborns.

Mom may want to choose her own carrier in a fabric she prefers but here are the two types to consider: front strap-on models and hip carriers. Both have minimum and maximum weight limits but typically parents stop using them before their child reaches the upper limit.

Strap-on carriers are designed for babies weighing from 7 or 8 pounds and up to 25 to 32 pounds. Most strap-on carriers can be used from infancy in the inward-facing position and then later in the outward-facing position for children with full head control. Hip carriers are generally designed for babies who can hold their heads up unassisted, weigh at least 15 pounds and are at least four to five months old. The upper weight limit, 35 to 40 pounds, tends to be higher than front strap-on carriers.

Some babies may dislike any carrier that feels too confining so shop where you know it can be returned by the new Mom. When you're selecting a carrier, check the fasteners to make sure they are easy to adjust. And recommend that the new Mom to send in the registration card to be notified in the event of a recall.

Play yard. During those first few sleepless months it's difficult for Mom to catch a break. Play yards, an updated version of the old play pen, serve as a safe place to put a child down for a few moments. Rectangular instead of square, they're intended for babies up to a height of 35 inches and a weight of 30 pounds.

A basic play yard is lightweight and typically doesn't have any extras, while deluxe models may come with a bassinet and a changing station, plus toy bars, canopies, and more. Because they fold compactly, a play yard can be taken along on a family getaway and used as a travel bed. One caution: For overnights the play yard should be used with a tight-fitting sheet recommended by the manufacturer and not a regular crib sheet.

Read "10 Mother's Day gift ideas today's moms will love" for other gift suggestons.

Artemis DiBenedetto

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