10 January 2011

Picking the perfect baby gift

The arrival of a new life into the world is the most precious present of all. Despite this, a tradition exists to buy gifts for the baby when it arrives. The baby product market has exploded in recent years with the range of baby things you can buy increasing exponentially. We were blessed with so many wonderful and generous gifts on Layla's arrival. Based on our experience, I thought I'd put together a post on great baby presents to help well meaning friends and family as well as expectant parents when they get asked "so, what can we get you for the baby?"
  • Practical - the best gifts by far are the practical ones. Be it everyday jumpsuits, funky new style wraps like the Love Me Baby Wrap Me Up, bibs or baby body products always come in handy. These are the things that actually get used day in and out. Pick a good brand and buy what you can afford. It is better to buy one good thing that many cheaply made products that either won't last or are not soft on the baby's skin. There is a growing trend towards baby registries. While it may seem a little weird at first, it can take a lot of the guess work out of buying baby gifts;
  • Clothes - clothes always come in handy. A few tips - if you are buying a bigger size for when the baby is a little older, don't forget to forecast what the season will be once the baby gets to that size. I have some really nice winter clothes in size 0 that would fit Layla now if it was not summer! If you want to buy a special outfit, these are always welcomed. The problem is that all too often, babies only get to wear these special outfits once or twice as not many occasions arise for dressy baby clothes. In my mind, clothes that can be worn any day are the best gifts. Don't forget handmade gifts can also be a wonderful present. Knitwear from Shnookies is a fantastic practical gift that given the quality, can be passed down to subsequent children;
  • Books - books never go out of fashion. Whether you chose board books, picture books or detailed stories for years to come, they will all come to good use. It is also a good idea to buy books for the parents. Chose a book like The Wonder Weeks which will come in handy as the baby grows or a cook book like Annabel Karmel's first purees;
  • A gift for Mum - the person who is often forgotten when bubs arrives in Mum. After all, she did all the work! I love to buy presents for my Mummy friends especially when they have second and subsequent children. Presents such as hand creams, massage vouchers, Mummy baby totes or jewellery are always well received;
  • Other children - when a new baby arrives, sometimes the older siblings can feel left out. Gifts such as new crayons and paper, a new book or small toy are great ideas as they help the parents by occupying the older siblings during the early days;
  • Meals - there is no better gift than making the new family a meal or two. Trying to organise shopping and cooking when there is a new baby around can be extremely difficult. This gift is always welcome, whether it is in the first week after coming home or when the baby is going through a growth spurt/developmental leap and sleep is at a minimum;
  • Baby gym / toys - these will always come in handy no matter the age the toy is designed for. Look for educational toys Lamaze or Tolo for great products;
  • Layla playing with her toys - 4 months
  • Feeding - when received I thought these were odd, it turns out that gifts like bibs, baby cookbooks, cutlery and food containers all eventually come in handy. Don't be scared to buy gifts for the months ahead rather than just newborn centric products.
I hope these suggestions are helpful when chosing the right baby gifts. I'm sure there are things I've forgotten and would love to receive your comments. Happy shopping!


  1. I have friends who are now having baby number 2 and 3 (and sometiems 4). Often they have all the baby gear, so I give a box of disposal nappies and wipes, if they're not using cloth. Raising children is an expensive exercise, so I like to think I'm helping out a little.

    I also give first time Mums a collection of Annabel Karmel books or the Little Beetle Bath Towel.

    I think it goes without saying that I also give meals, which I divide into portions and store in disposal alfoil tins.

  2. Such a good list Jas! It can be so difficult to know what to buy a new mum and bub. I notice that muslin wraps are not on the list!! So often given, so infrequently needed...

  3. Hi Jas, thanks for your comment - it really made me laugh. I love that you are able to justify purchases 2 1/2 years in advance... just like me! I'll be keeping a good eye on your blog to remind me of all the things I have ahead of me with the arrival of #2 in March. I have to agree with your comment here re books - some of the nicest and most used baby gifts I received were books. A couple of nice ones for babies right into toddler-hood that I received were 'Each Peach Pear Plum' (when Eloise first started talking she used to ask for it by saying 'ish pish')and Noisy Noisy Moo. Kate x