There are few occasions I love to buy gifts for than the arrival, or anticipated arrival of a tiny human. However, when that tiny human becomes two, three or even more babies at once, it becomes so much more complicated! There are certain practicalities that need to be considered, the temptation of buying matching sets of clothing and some specific products that are seemingly invisible to most new parents, but can make a life altering difference when used by parents of multiples! I’d like to draw your attention to some of these considerations, to help you give the most appreciated gifts possible. Based on my own lived experience, I’ve put together some tips on buying the best baby gifts for triplets.
There are a few distinct categories of gift givers when it comes to baby presents. I find we sometimes drift from one category to another depending on our life stage and personal circumstances. Read on and see if you recognize any of them in yourself or in people you know!
The 6 Types of Baby Present Gift Givers
1. The Practical Gifter
This is often someone who has already has babies of their own and clearly remembers (or is still living in) the chaos. They opt for big boxes of nappies, wet wipes and plain, yet quality singlets or grow suits. They realize your babies will spend such a small window of time in the tiny sizes of clothing that its’ not worth spending loads on fancy outfits and their clothes will probably be covered in nappy leakage, milk spit up or swaddled in a muslin wrap most pf the time anyway! These folk are the ones most likely to drop a cooked meal at your house in the first weeks after coming home from hospital, too.
2. The Well Meaning, but Impractical Gifter
I hope this doesn’t come across as ungrateful because it isn’t intended to be. This gift giver has the best of intentions with the presents they give, but it’s usually the most beautiful outfits that the babies will never wear. The outfits with lots of buttons, hats and even tiny shoes (although they are for humans who cannot walk); The outfits that would take patience and persistence to dress even one newborn baby in because of the fiddly nature of it’s design. Trying to to change the poop-leaking nappy of a wriggling, uncooperative baby in a button up shirt with dungarees over the top is an experience you only attempt once; The outfits that require ironing. You get my point. These gorgeous outfits might make for a beautiful photo shoot, but the reality of having triplets is that you just don’t have enough time!
On this note, decorations for the nursery can be problematic. Once triplets are born, there is little time for hanging pictures, taking plaster casts of hand and feet or crafty scrap booking to record the first time the babies roll over or their first teeth. If you want to gift something like this, consider also offering to help with it. For a keepsake scrap booking project, you could offer to beautifully record everything for the first 12 months so all the parents have to do is send you a text and a quick photo from their phone! A photo shoot could also include your time to assist with changing, settling and feeding babies during the session. We had a plan for how we wanted our nursery to look, and knowing this would be our only pregnancy and with limited space (due to 3 cots in the room), we had carefully selected some pictures that we wanted on our nursery walls. We then received several gifts (some from friends of my parents – people I’d actually never met) of lovingly embroidered artworks to be hung on the wall. I felt pressured to hang them up so as not to offend anyone and I genuinely appreciated the gesture. The problem was that we sacrificed having the baby nursery as I’d always imagined it because we had to hang what other people thought we should put on the walls.
3. The Self Care Gifter
This is the gift giver who focuses on the parents. It’s a dinner voucher, a massage voucher or a nice bottle of wine. If this style of gift resonates with you, please do me a favor and always couple that gift with the offer of babysitting. Parents of multiples find it harder to ask for someone to babysit that parents of a single baby, because it feels like so much more of an imposition when there are lots of babies. This really sucks because it’s the parents of triplets or more who probably need a few hours off more than anyone! I’ve found a good way to make everyone more comfortable with this arrangement is to buddy up with someone. For example, “This dinner voucher is from both of us. We will both come over to your place when you decide to book and babysit the triplets together so we can help each other out.” It’s important to give new parents a nudge too. Whether it’s feeling overprotective or just being too exhausted on the hamster wheel of life to actually book a night out, you might need to encourage your recipient to lock something in.
4. The Multiple Birth Frother
There are some people (my own mother included) whose eyes light up at the opportunity to buy gifts for multiples! The temptation to buying matching sets of clothes, toys or color coordinated bibs definitely gets people excited. Just a couple of words of advice, if this is you…
When it comes to matching outfits, suss out the parents to find out how they feel about it. Some parents of multiples absolutely love dressing their children the same, whereas others make a decision to deliberately dress them differently. If the parents feel strongly about it one way or another, you can buy presents that you know will be appreciated and used just as you hope they will be! If you know the sexes of the babies, this also makes gift buying easier. Consider staying away from the stereotypical pink and blue gender assigned items – this tends to be intensified with multiple births of different sexes. Try colors like orange, aqua, green and red for something different!
5. The Personalized Gifter.
These gifts are actually my favorite ones and are the gifts that have me thinking about the person that gave them to us every time I use them. It’s simple items like nice fluffy bath towels, cushion covers or individual cutlery sets that have the babies’ names on them, whether it’s embroidered, printed or engraved. The extra effort that goes into getting those items customized means so much. There is something really special about seeing your child’s name on things when you’re a new parent. Just make sure you get the spelling correct! A really lovely idea, if you want to get something for the parents, that will get enjoyed for years is a personalized /engraved cheese board. My partners’ work colleagues bought us a beautiful stainless steel carving tray and had a personal message engrave around the rim to the effect of “Commemorating the births of J, B and E. From your friends at ***********.” It’s a lovely gesture that we see whenever we eat a roast dinner and our children (now 10) ask us about it.
6. The Gift Registry Lover
If there’s going to be a proper baby shower event, it’s a really good idea to create a gift registry. I felt really uncomfortable having a gift registry at first as it felt greedy (I never had a wedding, but I imagine it’s a similar feeling for wedding gift registers too). As my sister explained to me though, people are going to buy gifts anyway and they WANT to buy things that are needed and appreciated. People don’t have to buy off the gift register, but it does help people who aren’t sure what to buy and it reduced the chance of people buying something you already have or something unsuitable that needs to be changed.
The key to a good gift register is to cater to all budgets. Have plenty of small items such as bottles, nappies, pacifiers and wipes for people who have a smaller budget (after all, it can be a costly baby shower when there are three or more babies to buy for) as well as plenty of mid range items (under $100). It’s also okay to include a few big ticket items as you may have friends or family who opt to join forces and chip in to buy a larger gift together.
If you’re the one looking through a gift register to buy a gift and there’s nothing there you want to buy, ask yourself why not? If it’s because everything is out of your budget, consider asking someone to go in a joint present with you. If it’s because nothing on the list seems fun and it’s all just so practical and impersonal, consider how you can personalize an item off the list (as mentioned before). The simple embroidery of an initial on a cot blanket can make a huge difference. What about a few heartfelt messages of support and encouragement tucked between nappies for when they’re fished out of the box in the wee hours of the morning?
7. The “Tell Me What You Want” Gifter
This is the Practical Gifter, but even more direct. The best kind of Tell-Me-What-You-Want-er is the one that says, “I’m just going to wait until after the babies are born and you get a feel for what you think you need.” Whether it’s a breastfeeding pillow, a motorized swing to help with settling, or a nappy bin with a pedal for when your hands are full, sometimes you don’t know what you need until you need it! They don’t want to waste time, money or energy on something that won’t get used. It might mean their gift is less cute, less pretty or less sentimental, but you can be sure it’s going to be meaningful!
The Best Baby Gifts for Triplets
When you have newborn triplets, the main thing to consider is efficiency. Efficiency of time, of space, of money. Because let’s face it – it’s a lot.
Most expectant mothers have a plan for whether they intend to breastfeed or not. I think we all understand that breastfeeding doesn’t always go to plan, especially when you’re talking about multiple (and likely premature) babies. Products such as twin breastfeeding pillows, breast pumps, bottle sterilizers or even a voucher for a great store that specializes in bras could be a really practical gift for a triplet mom. These are probably gifts that are best coming from someone who is pretty close to the recipient, and maybe warrant a conversation first to make sure you’re on the right page. Some new mothers of multiples find the idea of breastfeeding three or more babies too overwhelming and have already made the decision to express breast milk and/or use formula right from the start. Each mom’s experience with breastfeeding is unique and while some specialized gear can make whatever option they decide to go for a lot easier, it can be a pretty personal topic.
When it comes to baby clothes, go for simplicity, rather than the cutest looking item on the shelf. A parent of triplets needs clothes than are as easy to put on and off as possible! Press studs, snap-crotches and machine washable is key. Steer clear of fiddly buttons and things that need to go over the baby’s head or require hand washing!
There are certain baby products that are on most expectant mother’s wish list as essential, but just don’t work for parents of triplets. My favorite example is the nappy bag. You know, the compartmentalized “baby bag” that holds a few essentials and is either slung over mom’s shoulder or tucked underneath the pram? It’s not unusual to see these in the baby stores in designer brands for several hundred dollars. When it comes to going anywhere with three or more babies, this style of bag just doesn’t cut it. A good backpack is what works best. Hands free, lots of compartments and plenty of room inside!