Gifts for the Natural Parent
Have you noticed that there are two types of parents when it comes to baby gear?
Thereís the mainstream parent who uses Johnson & Johnson products and has a
changing table full of disposables and a room full of plastic toys, and thereís the all natural
parent who never totes their baby around in his car seat and may not even own a crib.
Then there are people like me who are somewhere in the middle. We have wooden toys
and plastic ones; we own cribs but sometimes practice safe cosleeping; we have no
needs for bottles but occasionally present our children with pacifiers; we baby wear a
good portion of the time, but also donít mind putting the baby in the Bumbo seat or the
crib and letting them cry for a few minutes. Presents are presents and I always
appreciate them even if they arenít what I would have bought myself, but I especially
appreciate things bought for my kids that are more geared towards an organic,
minimalistic lifestyle. The thing is, parents can decide to go all natural and organic with
their kids, but ultimately their house is going to be filled with things that others gift to the
precious grandkids/nieces/nephews/cousins. Unless parents are super vocal about it
(which Iím not because I donít like to be pushy about the presents others buy for us),
theyíre going to have non≠organic baby washes, bleached cotton onesies, and plastic toys
that light up and make noise. But even if they donít say it, they donít prefer those things.
So, then, what do parents like me prefer you gift our babies?
We like baby carriers: ones that are designed to promote healthy baby hips such as
slings; a Boba, Beco, or Ergo carrier; or a Moby Wrap, Kítan, or Mei Tai. Donít the
popular brands usually found in the local Walmart or Babies R Us such as the Snugli
brand. Theyíre not actually good for babiesóespecially for those babies who will spend a
good portion of their day being worn. A good baby carrier has a nice, wide seat for the
babyís bum to rest and doesnít forward carry (though Iíve heard that Ergo has come out
with a forward carry carrier that actually doesnít cause hip dysplasia). We have car seats,
of course, but we prefer not to use them outside of the car. We wear our babies in places
such as church or the grocery store, and while washing dishes and folding laundry. Itís
definitely preferable to have that little, fuzzy head up close to our lips where we can
constantly kiss it as we shop or worship, and to feel the even ebb and flow of baby
breaths as they move against our hearts. And even if we have a baby carrier, we love
them so much, we wouldnít mind another of a different brand or even just another color.
Most of us prefer cloth, usually full time. Some of us do use disposables, such as when
we go out of the house, for day care, or if we need a break from laundry, but frankly cloth
diapers are a safer bet because we might never get to finishing that bag of disposables
that was given to us at the baby shower. No matter the ratio of disposables to cloth in our
house, cloth diapers will always get used. Theyíre economical, of course, but also super
gentle on the babyís bum, and we donít have to worry about harmful chemicals against
baby skin doing who knows what kind of long term damage. If weíre going the cloth
diaper route, you can go ahead and look at gifting some cloth wipes, cloth diaper safe
rash creams, and wet bags as well. You almost canít go wrong when getting most of us
cloth diapers, but it wouldnít hurt to ask first just to be sure because not all of us are into
this. Using cloth diapers is more of a lifestyle change than, say, organic soaps or wooden
toys. If we are going for disposables, though, check to make sure we donít want a more
environmentally friendly option such as Seventh Generation.
We prefer to stay away from steroid creams and petroleum products. Also, many of us
are wary of the ever popular Johnson & Johnson brand because of the possible side
effects of some of the questionable ingredients. We could always use any organic baby
washes or lotions and we prefer things like lanolin and calendula cream to moisturize the
babyís skin. Coconut oil is pretty much the basic essential when it comes to all natural
skin care and we can never have enough of it so go ahead and get us lots and lots.
Two words: Baltic Amber. It comes in necklaces or bracelets and we swear by it to
soothe the common malaise associated with new teeth (and no, the babies donít actually
put them in their mouths, so donít worry). You may think itís hocus pocus, but we donít so
buy the jewelry anyway, if you feel so inclined because weíll be thrilled with it. Just make
sure you get it from a reputable source because there is lots of fake stuff floating around
There are also teething jewelry for moms to wear with large beads and rings for babies to
grab and chew. These come in handy when our little ones need or want to be on our laps
for a longer period of time and will want to be entertained. It will also keep them from
grabbing earrings and hair or trying to lift our shirts, well, for a little while anyway.
As far as baby teethers and rattles go, we really prefer the organic stuff. Wood, wool,
organic cotton, and even silicone are all great options for the kids. Frankly, Sophie the
Giraffe is our favorite as well as any of her rubber counterparts. Weíre also really cool
with hand made and/or upcycled stuff. Anything to keep things minimal and help maintain
our planetís resources.
Minimalism is key when it comes to the toys we give our kids. We prefer quality to
quantity. We want classic stuff that will last forever. Wooden toys are the best. Keep in
mind brands like Melissa & Doug, Plan, and Hape. We love that stuff. We also love
Waldorf and Montessori type toys for their quality and simplicity. We prefer you stay
away from popular Disney characters, plastic (unless you go for the recycled Green Toys
brand), and anything that requires batteries, with a few exceptions. We also like to limit
screen time so video games and movies arenít always welcome either. And if itís
educational, weíre usually all in. Anything sensory and tactile that our kids can
manipulate in order to learn about the world such as map puzzles, letter blocks, or sorting
games. We might even make an exception to the no electricity/screens rule if itís gonna
help teach our kids to read, write, or problem solve.
We will all try to breastfeed so if you want to help chip in to buy the hospital grade breast
pump, we wouldnít complain. Breast feeding pillows are also helpful as well as reusable
breast pads, and teas that help increase milk production. Also lanolin. Lots of this. Weíll
use this on our babies, but weíll also use it on ourselves to help ease those tender nipples
during the first few weeks or months of nursing. If weíre going to back to work, then yes,
go ahead and get some bottlesópreferably glass or metal, please and with rubber
nipples if you can find them so we can avoid questionable ingredients found in plastic. If
we plan to stay at home with the kids, the bottles will rarely if ever get any use so donít
even worry about it.
When it comes time for the little one to eat solids, weíre going to want to make the food
ourselves so a food processor, blender, or tray for freezing home made baby food would
be really handy. As for baby dishes, it is again best to stay away from plastic if possible.
Metal and silicone dishes are great alternatives.
Summary: We all natural parents arenít really a weird bunch, though it may seem that way to you,
we may just have a different way of doing whatís best for our kids than you do. We donít
think youíre a bad parent if you use J&J products or have a room full of toys that light up
and sing, so please donít feel judged. Youíre still an awesome parent if you choose the
more mainstream, modern options for raising your kids. We just like the idea of going
back to a simpler time when the earth provided what we needed and chemists and
scientists, bless their hearts, didnít try to improve what God already provided for us by
modifying what was already perfect. And we like the earth so weíre doing our best to
keep her the way she is without leaving a huge path of garbage and empty forest behind
us when we leave. Presents are presents and weíre not trying to micromanage the joy
that comes with giving from the heart. But we are really concerned about what our kids
are exposed to and some of us wonít use those plastic teething rings for our babies no
matter the thought behind it because weíre more concerned about the long≠term damage
that comes with chemically altered materials.
If you know someone whoís like meóeither to one extreme or the other, then donít be
offended by these suggestions. You might really want to take the time to consider some
of them in order to make life easier on the all natural parent who is bending over
backwards to protect her children. Because itís not a mainstream lifestyle, itís already
difficult to maintain as it is. It would be so great if he or she had a little extra help.
Kim H Date 1/15/2014
I think carriers and natural diaper rash/soap/lotions are great gifts for anyone, no matter how 'natural' their parenting style is! They are things that will get used (especially the toiletry ones) and I have met very few parents who didn't at least occasionally use a carrier!
Carissa Joslyn Date 1/16/2014
This is a great list! although I don't really have any friends who are like me and prefer eco friendly stuff. Maybe someday they'll catch on ;)
William Dull Date 1/16/2014
We are also in the middle. We love our carrier although we purchased it ourselves and most of our gifts have been mainstream. A gift certificate to diaper junction would have been amazing!
Mary Date 1/16/2014
Thanks for this. We're in the middle as well. We're not super- organic-everything but we do like certain items that are not exactly mainstream.
Nessa Bixlet Date 1/17/2014
Love this! I wish I could have sent it too all my family before!
Melissa McCarty Date 1/17/2014
I would get someone the teething necklace. I really need one for my daughter and I have heard that they work really well. If I was having a new baby I would love the person who gave me the teething necklace haha
Lyss Tayler Date 1/17/2014
This is great! I know a few natural moms. And this is great for me as well :)
Christina L Date 1/17/2014
These are great suggestions! It's too bad most of the family/friends I have are more 'traditional' with the gifts. I would loved to have received these gifts!
Rachel N Date 1/17/2014
This is a good list. I like to buy the practical things for gifts. Soaps, lotions, rash cream, plain onsies, socks, baby spoons, wash cloths, towels, ect. The things that everybody needs but nobody thinks to buy as gifts. Everyone buys the super cute little outfits that get worn maybe 2 or 3 times before they are outgrown.
Melanie M. Date 1/17/2014
This is actually a super helpfull list because I can never think of what to tell people when they ask what I want as a gift. My mind just goes blank because I always think I already have everything I need.
Maggie M. Date 1/17/2014
Love this! I fall somewhere in the middle, but I would love to have more natural stuff. These are great ideas. Thanks!
jessica hyder Date 1/23/2014
I appreciate the information on carriers. I wasn't aware of the risks of hip dysplasia. Great list!