If you or your wife is giving birth for the first time, you’ve probably heard of the “push present.”
A push present is exactly what it sounds it like: a gift for pushing out the baby – to the woman who did all the pushing – typically given by the baby’s father. Makes sense.
Giving birth to a child isn’t easy. It’s an accomplishment of sorts; after all, it’s commonly referred to as a “miracle” (despite the fact that having children is incredibly common, and has been since the beginning of the human race).
Okay, I’m only kidding (a little bit); I don’t mean to downplay the monumental event that is childbirth. It is literally life-changing. So naturally, it’s an occasion that may be worthy of a gift.
When is this gift generally given? What are the best push present ideas?
Where did the idea of the “push present” even come from? And why is it semi-controversial?
Relax, I’ll explain all of this – so keep on reading…
Best Push Presents: The Basics
Now that you know what a push present is, it’s time to get into some of the more common questions.
When is a push present given?
The timing of this gift seems to be pretty flexible, based on the research I’ve done. They can be given at any point right before or after the baby is born.
Some fathers even choose to give the push present right in the delivery room. Because, you know, the baby might not be enough excitement.
Where did this idea come from?
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t appear to be something that was cooked up like Valentine’s Day or Sweetest Day (both often viewed as “Hallmark holidays“). It appears the “push present” has been around for many generations, although it didn’t always go by that name.
No one knows for sure when this trend started, although many believe this dates all the way back to the time of the cavemen, when they would bring trinkets to their wives after childbirth.
With that said, its popularity has soared over the past decade. One survey (and this was in 2007 – so the numbers are now likely even higher) found that 55% of mothers or mothers-to-be wanted a push present, with 38% receiving some kind of gift in connection with the child’s birth.
What’s the Controversy?
I think I’ve done a good job at hinting at the controversy above, but I’ll just come out and say what many of you are thinking:
Isn’t the baby enough? Do we really need to underscore this event with a material object?
Now, I’m not one to judge to how one spouse shows his or her love for the other. Some people (most people, in fact) like to give and receive gifts. And this is a big occasion, so you can’t fault someone for wanting to give a gift.
I think the concept is controversial when it becomes something that is expected.
When you’re having a baby, the focus should be on…
wait for it…
A father shouldn’t have to stress about buying a gift, and the mother shouldn’t be thinking about her expectations of receiving one. If it happens, great; it’s a nice gesture. But we shouldn’t be thinking about this like a wedding or baby shower gift, in my opinion.
Part of the controversy stems from the types of gifts that are being thrown around as examples of push presents – cars, diamond earrings – items that carry a hefty price tag.
And for couples that can’t really afford it, this is money that can probably be better spent on the baby (saving for college, anyone?), the home, and many other expenses.
But there are some less-controversial gifts that fit well with the whole scenario of giving birth to a child – more on this below.
Ultimately, this is one of those things that will be personal and different for each couple. If everyone’s happy about giving/receiving the push present, then by all means, go for it.
The Best Push Presents (a variety of push present ideas)
You might have come here already knowing that you want to buy (or receive) a push present, so it’s only fair that I run through some of the best push present ideas.
I think we can group these presents into four basic categories:
- Luxury gifts
- Sentimental gifts
- Practical gifts
- Personal services
What you decide on will totally depend on your budget and your belief of what a push present should be all about. I’ll go through everything though, and give my two cents on each.
Luxury Push Present Ideas: Gifts that may be worth more than the baby’s weight in gold.
Image Source: ritani.com
This is probably the category that generates the most controversy – over-the-top, expensive gifts during a time when your finances may be getting tighter as a result of the new baby.
But who am I to judge?
If your budget allows for it, and this is something that’s mutually acceptable by both parents, go for it.
Examples of Luxury Push Presents:
- A new car
- An expensive ring, often one that complements the engagement ring
- A diamond-studded watch
- A designer bag
- Other types of expensive jewelry…you get it.
Just for fun – or perhaps to make you roll your eyes – here are some of the outrageous push presents received by celebrities:
- Jay-Z gave Beyonce an 8-10 carat blue tanzanite ring (and we won’t even get into the baby’s name – Blue Ivy).
- Marc Anthony gave Jennifer Lopez a yellow diamond ring (with the children’s initials engraved) reportedly worth $2.8 million, for the birth of their twins.
- Jessica Alba’s husband gave her a gold and diamond watch worth $54,000 for the birth of their daughter.
I can see how an affordable (read: not cheap, but also not something that will break the bank) piece of jewelry could be a classy push present. But at the same time, I don’t know if I like it overshadowing, or at the very least, distracting from the birth of a child.
Sentimental Push Presents: Because you’re on a budget, and it isn’t about how much you spent.
I’m a fan of this category, and I think these make the best push presents. In my opinion, anything you can do, to make the event of child birth a more special occasion for the baby’s mother, is a good thing.
Unlike luxury gifts, a sentimental gift is much less likely to be distracting. Once you see some examples, I think you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Examples of Sentimental Push Presents:
- A framed picture of the baby and the mother
- A custom mug with the baby’s name (or something cheesy like “world’s best mommy”)
- Custom t-shirt with the baby’s handprint
- Something “historic” from the mother’s family: for example, if the mother’s parents still have a blanket or stuffed animal that she used as a baby
- Get creative! (and bonus points if it’s something you make yourself)
I thought it might be even more helpful if I show you exactly where to get some of these things, along with some of my favorites.
1) The Picture and Handprint Combo Frame
This is actually something I’ve purchased. It’s pretty neat: on one part, you can put a picture of the baby (or mom with baby) and on the other side, you can imprint the baby’s hand or foot.
Here are a couple good options:
2) Custom Mugs, T-Shirts, etc.
Here are some of my favorite options (all of which I have personally used before):
- Zazzle – Custom make just about anything you can think of: t-shirts, leggings, flip flops, underwear, hoodies, dresses, maternity clothing, mugs, stickers, iPhone cases, etc. Everything from size, to image, to text, to color is customizable.
- CafePress – Similar to Zazzle, but I like Zazzle more.
- Vistaprint – Similar to Zazzle and CafePress, but more stationary focused (think signs, invitations, business cards, etc. – but they do things like clothing and mugs too).
3) Other Stuff That Doesn’t Require You to Be Creative
Even with the help of the aforementioned sites, some just people don’t have a creative bone in their body (I think I do, but it might just be my pinkie toe).
Sometimes, you want to just pick from some readily available, yet creative, gifts that could make a good sentimental push present.
Look no further than Etsy: Here is a whole selection of possibly good push presents (some of which are custom or handmade).
Here are a couple pretty cool examples I found:
The bottom line is, if you’re a part of the group who thinks that push presents are kind of tacky or inappropriate, perhaps a sentimental gift is more your style.
Best Push Presents that are Practical: You’re probably going to be buying this anyway, so might as well make it a push present.
Here’s where the gift-giver can kind of win on a technicality: kill two birds with one stone and make the push present something that probably needed to be purchased anyway.
It’s not quite as romantic as the luxury or sentimental examples above, but it’ll get the job done.
These are gifts that are baby-related, but are things that you as a parent will be using.
Examples of Practical Push Presents:
- A nice and stylish diaper bag
- A keepsake/memory book (and maybe a camera?)
- A home pampering kit (think lotions, soaps, etc.)
- A really nice nursing pillow
I’ll go into detail on a couple of these:
1) The Stylish Diaper Bag
This one is probably my favorite because it really combines luxury with practicality.
Diapers are a necessity, and it’s often too much to carry a normal bag along with the diaper bag. If you’re trying to maintain a level of style (as much as a mother can with a new baby), a stylish diaper bag is the perfect solution.
Here’s one that many mothers seem to like a lot:
2) A Memory Book (and maybe a Polaroid instant camera?)
In today’s age of digital photography, a lot of people forget about real, physical photos and photo books.
You know you’re going to be taking tons of photos of your baby, and you’ll probably have them nicely archived within a Facebook album. But what about that feeling of physically flipping through a real photo book?
For that reason, I really like this gift because it gives you an alternative way to capture the memories – one that feels little bit more intimate.
Here’s one option for the memory book:
To go along with this book, I suggest adding a Polaroid instant camera, like this one:
You probably already have a digital camera, and while you can easily have those photos printed in a store (or from your own computer printer), people seem to rarely do it.
There’s something fun (in a vintage/novelty sort of way) about the Polaroid instant camera, that I think most mothers can appreciate.
This can be a tough category of gifts because you may have received some or all of these if you had a baby shower. Your average mom who tries her best to be prepared will want to have things like a diaper bag or nursing pillow before she goes into labor.
If you’re going to get a practical push present like the ones above, you very likely need to give it to the mom-to-be before the baby is born.
Personal Services as a Push Present: You’re not so into the idea of a physical gift.
I actually like this group of push present ideas quite a bit because they’re easy to come up with and they go a long way.
The beauty of these gifts is, as the spouse of the mother, you can come up with some really good ideas that technically don’t cost any money, yet are better than even some of the most luxurious gifts. These can really make some of the best push presents.
Here are some ideas to help you get the creative juices flowing:
- Gift certificate for a spa day / massage – Soon after the baby is born, mom is going to be in serious need of relaxation and rejuvination. But this gift is more than just money for a spa and a massage – it’s a free pass where mom gets to take a day for herself while her spouse stays home and looks after their child. (Pro tip: While the spa day is a once-in-awhile type gift, giving mom a break should happen a lot more frequently if possible.)
- 6 months of cleaning services – This gift only works if mom tends to do more of the cleaning at home. Because the first 6 months with a new baby will be filled with many sleepless nights, the last thing mom will feel like doing is cleaning the house. There are two ways you can approach a gift like this:
- Hire a cleaning service for 6 months (weekly or however often you typically do an in-depth cleaning at your house) – get the professionals in there, and take a very hands-off approach. Pros: you get a really clean house with minimal effort. Cons: it costs money.
- Volunteer to be exclusively responsible for cleaning during the 6-month period. Yes, it won’t be fun for you, but it’ll save money and you’ll probably get bonus points for doing the hard work yourself (and leaving mom out of it).
- “Get out of jail free” cards – This is another inexpensive idea where you basically craft your own set of coupons that allow mom to, at any moment (when you’re home, of course) to decide she wants to take a break and leave the house (either to go shopping, visit friends, etc.) for a few hours and leave you alone with the baby. You can’t say no or argue. I recommend placing a one-year expiration date on these “coupons.” 🙂
There are many more ideas you can come up with that don’t really cost money but still offer tremendous value to a new mother, so give it some thought if you don’t like the idea of buying a physical gift for a push present.
So, is a push present on your list?
Where do you stand on the idea of push presents?
I’ve explained why they’re sort of controversial, but I think there are also a lot of practical ideas that don’t cross the line. Hell, maybe part of the problem is that people refer to them as “push presents.” If they were called “new mother gifts,” people would probably have less of a problem with them.
Let me know what you think…what do you think are the best push presents? Leave a comment below! 🙂