5 gifts new Chicago parents will actually love

You’ve seen it. You’ve lived it. And–almost unbelievably–you came out the other side of it: being a brand new parent. Now you have a friend/relative/acquaintance/coworker in those momentous shoes and you want to do something extra special for them beyond their baby shower or registry. Alas, your options seem to be limited. Cook them a meal that holds well in their freezer? Fold their laundry for them? Sit a while in their house while they pretend they aren’t as tired as they actually are and continuously offer to do things for them? (Was that just me?)

These are all good options. Stand-bys, even. But what if I told you there might be some even better ones?

Sometimes new parents don’t even know what they want until about 4-6 weeks after the baby is born. The fatigue comes in right as the newborn “wakes up” and realizes their new situation out of the womb is a permanent one. Luckily you can be those new parents’ favorite person with these gift ideas.

Chicago-themed clothing

A onesie this adorable is almost enough to make those long nights feel shorter. Almost.

At this point your new parent friends are more than likely pretty stocked full of what they need or are fervently mastering the “Amazon-on-my-phone-at-3am-during-a-feeding” thing. Sometimes something super cute, frivolous and Chicago-themed will make those tired days a little brighter.

Stop by Sacred Art in Lincoln Square (4619 N. Lincoln Ave.) and pick up some of the most squee-worthy onesies and bibs you’ll ever see. Extra points if you go up the street to Timeless Toys (4749 N. Lincoln Ave.) to pick up a newborn toy/rattle en route to Cafe Selmarie (4729 N. Lincoln Ave.) to pick up as many pastries as you can carry back to those bleary-eyed new parents. Or, you know, parents of toddlers, or elementary school children, or teenagers.

Bonus: You’ve just had an excellent Lincoln Square extravaganza and your new parent friends will love you for all the goodies you are bringing them. It’s really a win-win. With pastries. Which is the best kind of win.

Restaurant gift cards

Putting work and time into meals they can heat up is a gesture that does not go unnoticed by new parents. Unfortunately, humans can only consume so many baked pasta dishes. Personally, all I wanted as a new parent was an endless supply of delivery chicken tikka masala. Others might yearn for pad Thai. If you know the new parents have go-to delivery foods, grab some gift certificates to those restaurants for them. They’ll love it, and here’s why:

Can order their favorite comfort foods.

Delivered hot and straight to the door.

No Gladware/Tupperware/dishes to keep track of and return to their original owners.

Supporting the local economy (in case you feel guilty about not cooking–which you shouldn’t, for all the reasons above–but just in case you do).

Author’s note: Unfortunately GrubHub doesn’t offer gift certificates at this time. I checked.


Sometimes getting out of the house is a feat onto itself when you’re a new parent (or an experienced one!). Give Instacart gift certificates so new parents can enjoy the luxury of a personal grocery shopper at their favorite stores such as Jewel-Osco, Mariano’s and Whole Foods.

Important: Be sure to check the recipient’s zip code first to make sure they are in an Instacart delivery area.

House cleaning services

I used to think giving a gift certificate to a house cleaning service would be a backhanded gift. What if the recipient thought I was telling them their house was dirty? Then I became a parent and realized there is literally nothing more satisfying and glorious than having someone else clean your house, and it’s not that the person giving this gift necessarily thinks I’m dirty (Though, to be fair, they might … I have a toddler now.), it’s that they want me to spend time with my little one instead of endlessly cleaning.

If you’re on the North Shore, check out this list of cleaning services already compiled for you!

NPN membership

Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) is a Chicago (and surrounding suburbs) network of parents that “connects a diverse community of families with the resources they need to navigate parenting in the city.” There are new parent groups, forums, events and popular school fairs. The online forums are a great place for new parents to ask questions to other parents and find others with children around the same age to meet. When perusing their smartphones during the late-night feedings your new parent friends will thank you immensely for this gift.

Memberships last a year and cost $55. To give memberships to NPN, click here.

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