Author’s Note :: ALL parents expanding their families, either by natural birth, adoption, surrogacy, etc., deserve to be celebrated. My hope is that this post provides ideas for baby gifts that will be helpful to ALL moms and dads about to embark on the wonderful adventure we all know as parenthood!
I’d wager that we’ve all been to a baby shower for an excited expectant mother whose appreciative smiles never fade — even when she’s opened her third Sophie the Giraffe or tenth “coming home” outfit. We perch around the room and give our dutiful “oohs” or “ahhs” as the newborn supplies stack up, and we hope and pray that our gift will be the only one of its kind.
I’ve certainly been there, and it’s made me think twice about my baby shower gift purchases.
While buying a gift from the parents’ registry or giving a gift card is never a bad idea, another option is to think down the road. What can you purchase for the family when … well, when the baby isn’t a baby … or, at the very least, a newborn?
An Assortment of Bottles and/or Sippy Cups
Let’s face it. Babies are picky. They are downright opinionated (even though they have no grasp of what an opinion actually is), and they know what they like. When transitioning to a bottle or even from a bottle to a sippy cup, it sometimes takes several tries to find the perfect one. Save the expectant parent(s) some Amazon Prime deliveries and Target runs by putting together a gift basket of bottles and cups of different brands and styles. If you have a bigger budget for the gift, pair them with a gift card so that the family can purchase extras of the baby’s favorite!
A Label Maker with Tape
Daycare and preschool require an insane amount of labeling. Each item sent in with the child needs their name attached in some manner, and purchasing custom labels can get expensive very quickly. A smart solution is buying a label maker with a few different versions of tape. Great choices include iron-on tape for clothing and blankets and outdoor/all-weather tape for any items needing to go in the dishwasher (bottles, for example). With their own label maker, parents can customize the labels and make new ones as needed.
Over-the-Counter Pharmacy Items
Brand new babies shouldn’t take over the counter (OTC) medications without pediatrician approval, of course, but when they become old enough, parents don’t usually think to themselves, “Oh! I need to visit the pharmacy immediately and buy Motrin and Tylenol!” Being mindful of expiration dates when you make your selections (aim for dates as far away as possible), try creating a gift basket with different OTC pharmacy items new parents might need. Trust me, when the baby spikes a fever in the middle of the night and the parents can reach for your basket, they will definitely be thanking you.
Clothing in Larger Sizes
Skip the onesies and newborn hats and think ahead to an older age range. Even if it’s only a few months ahead, you’ll have helped the parents to prepare for what will probably feel like a sudden growth spurt. A great idea is thinking about the next big seasonal change. Is winter six months out? Purchase cold-weather clothing for the baby, whose closet or dresser drawers will likely be filled with tiny and adorable swimsuits and short-sleeved onesies. Yes, people may laugh a little when the expectant parent opens a puffer coat in April at the shower, but that coat will certainly be appreciated when the weather changes quickly and the baby is warm and snug!
A Gift Certificate for a Photography Session
If you know of the expectant parents’ newborn photographer, buy a gift certificate from that individual for future services. The parents may elect to use the gift card to buy extra prints or digital copies of the newborn photos, or they may be able to put the funds towards one-year and/or family photos down the road. Regardless, you will have contributed toward special keepsakes for the new family!
Sleep Transitions / Tools
Put simply, parents need more sleep than they get. While there’s no magical gift to fully solve that problem (darn!), there are ways to eke out an extra few minutes here and there as the baby reaches key transitions related to sleep. Consider a sleep suit that allows the baby to move from a swaddle to safe sleeping with his/her arms free or one that prevents him/her from rolling over at too young of an age. When the baby becomes a toddler, a light-up alarm clock is another great choice that allows parents to set a time for a colored light to shine in the morning (or afternoon for nap time), indicating that it’s appropriate to get up or call for mom or dad.
One final tip: always provide a gift receipt for your gifts (unless you purchase an item like a photography gift card). Happy shopping!