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If you’ve recently had children yourself, then you’ll probably have a good idea of what will be the perfect newborn gift. However, you’ll also know the type of gifts that were still in their original wrapper on your child’s first birthday.
For those without children, or whose children have grown and you’ve finally managed to blank the early sleepless years from your memory, we’ve put together a practical guide to new born baby gifts.
After the birth of my first son, I always thought that antenatal lessons should include a module on flower arranging. The house looked like a florist shop on Valentine’s Day morning. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers. They’re also a great way to send your congratulations if you don’t live close enough to visit in person but it might be a good idea to buy basket style arrangements or those that come in their own vase, pot or bulb of water, or the new Mum might quickly run out of containers!
Clothes are great practical gifts for the parents, but please stop and think before you buy. Bigger babies will outgrow the newborn size quickly, some might even wear 0-3 month clothes immediately, so it might be worth finding out how big the baby is.
If you do decide to buy clothes for when the baby is older, remember to consider the season. A pretty summer dress may look gorgeous now, but if it’s the middle of winter before the baby is big enough to wear it, chances are it will go to waste. Similarly, a 6-9 month cosy winter coat might not get much wear if it’s July when the baby finally grows into it.
It’s amazing the amount of equipment a new baby needs (or we think it needs). There are baby slings, baby baths, bottle warmers, not to mention the pram, cot and car seat – and that’s just for starters.
While it’s usual for the baby’s parents or extended family to buy the bigger items, even the smaller items, like sterilisers, change mats and change bags, can soon add up.
If you’re buying a gift for a work colleague, it might be nice to club together and buy a more expensive item like a baby monitor for the new parents. However, if you are thinking about buying baby equipment, it’s probably wise to let the parents know. For practical reasons, they may have a preference as to the type or brand of baby equipment. Different sterilisers take different sized bottles, for example.
If you are spending that little bit more money, it’s also wise to check that they don’t already have the item in question.
Teddy bears are a popular baby gift and they are often loved by the child for many years to come. Just make sure that you buy special "baby teddy bears" suitable from birth.
It won’t be long before the baby is doing more than just sleeping, feeding and crying. There are many toys on the market designed to stimulate new born babies. Brightly coloured toys that crunch, crackle, rattle and squeak can make lovely new born baby gifts. Play gyms, which entertain the baby with toys dangling from an overhead frame, can give mum a few precious moments to herself – even if it is so she can put the next load of washing in – can be a priceless gift.
It’s amazing how quickly babies change (and how quickly you forget what they were like). From the moment their baby is born, parents want to cherish every moment.
Baby development books or keepsake boxes are a great gift for parents, giving them a useful way to record their memories as their baby grows.
Many specialist companies and department stores also sell vouchers for baby hand and footprints. These decorative gifts can be a lasting reminder for parents of how small their baby really was.
If your budget is a little higher, you could always treat the parents to a family portrait session with a local photographer.
While babies don’t come with instruction manuals, some new parents find it comforting to develop their parenting skills with help from books written by experts. However other people prefer to find their own way as new parents.
I’d suggest only buying a parenting guide book if you know that your friend or relative would welcome the gift. However there are some books that take a more light-hearted view on parenthood, which new parents (if they ever have a spare minute) might enjoy.
Not only can these books make you laugh out loud at some of the situations all parents find themselves in (usually involving bodily fluids at inappropriate times), but they can also help new parents to realise that it’s not just them – there are baby ups and downs that we all go through.
Why not fill a decorative box, basket or hamper with a range of useful baby products? Baby shampoo, cotton buds, cotton wool, nail clippers, baby lotion, nappy rash cream, nappies, baby hair brush, teething gel, … the list goes on.
Not only will it be great fun to put together, but as a new parent it’s a handy gift to have around for when you run out of those absolute essentials.
Finally I can’t mention baby gifts without mentioning balloon gifts. One of the gifts I received when my first son was born was a helium balloon in a box. I thought it was such a fun and unusual gift idea that that my husband and I established Big Fat Balloons.
One of the great things about sending a new baby balloon, is that it can be used to entertain any older siblings too.
Personally, I find buying gifts for new born babies one of the easiest things to do. Not only are there many great newborn baby gift ideas to choose from, but the gifts themselves are usually incredibly cute and endearing. So congratulations to any new parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, cousins and happy new born baby gift hunting!
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