There are many posts online on baby gear that you cannot live without, and then a few suggestions for new parents.
One of my dear friends created for me a new baby care package complete with an extra-large spill proof water bottle and a portable phone charger. Both of these items were incredibly useful to me, and I have tried to pay it forward by sharing these items with my new parent friends.
However, new parenthood showed me that one of the items I couldn't live without didn't appear on any blogs or lists or parenting websites. The darkhorse of the what to expect set...
The best gift for new moms is a Kindle or e-reader.
This was quite a surprise to me. I was a late Kindle adopter due to my preference for paper books. Until 2017, I used my kindle almost exclusively for travel (so I could avoid "what if I finish the book faster than anticipated" anxiety).
All that changed when I had a baby. It is significantly easier to read while holding the baby with a book that you do not have the hold open, that holds your place for you, that allows you to switch books without moving.
In so many of my pictures on maternity leave, the kindle is right next to me. Being a brand new parent can be very isolating, and having the kindle to read at 3am feedings really helped me feel less lonely/more like myself.
Thus my recommendation is a Kindle o e-reader, or if they already have one a giftcard for e-books. Your friend will thank you!