Babies can be fun to buy for, but wandering the baby aisles of any store can be intimidating. From bottles and food to clothing and toys to diaper rash ointment and baby shampoo, the selection is daunting. Not to mention the inevitable question: what will the parents actually use?
Registries can be extremely helpful when purchasing items for a new baby. They give shoppers an idea of what the new parents need and want as well as particular decor styles and other preferences.
If you have children yourself, you may have other ideas on what to give, and registries are certainly not the end-all when it comes to purchasing gifts. Keep in mind, however, that people can be very particular about their babies. Even if you don't plan on sticking faithfully to the gift registry, you may want to look at it to get an idea of what the parents plan on using for their child.
Check the registry for all-natural versus mainstream products, formula versus breast-feeding supplies, scented versus unscented wipes and baby care items and, of course, the all-important signs that the child is either a boy or a girl – or if the parents don't know yet. Be sure to purchase gifts that coincide with the preferences of the parents, so as not to step on any toes.
There are many popular gift items that may not make it on the registry. Cute outfits, toys and books are certainly welcome gifts. Just make sure not to overdo it. There are only so many stuffed animals and ruffled dresses a child can use.
Putting together a gift set is another option. Try focusing on one particular theme:
Another possibility is to simply group together items that coordinate, such as a set of bedding, bath and body supplies, or basic clothes such as bodysuits, mittens and booties. Or buy a diaper bag and fill it with diapers, wipes, anti-rash cream and powder.
- Bath time: baby wash, baby shampoo, washcloths, towels, robe, rubber ducky and bath toys
- Feeding time: bottles, nipples, bottle warmer, breast pump, bibs, spoons, plates
- Nap time: blankets and sheets, pajamas, stuffed animals, lullaby music
- Play time: play mat, board books, toys that attach to a crib or playpen or stand over the baby
Other Gift Ideas for a Newborn
It's safe to assume that most new parents will be inundated with the "typical" baby gifts – clothes, toys, bottles, bath and body supplies, diapers. While these gifts are welcome, you may want to try something a little different. Consider the following ideas:
If you're looking to give gifts once the baby is born, also consider premade or ready-to-heat meals and the valuable gift of your time to help out around the house.
- Savings bonds or stock certificates
- Books on baby sign language
- Items to pamper the parents: products to soothe tired feet, candles and CDs to unwind
- Coupons for babysitting – perhaps even accompanied by a gift certificate for the parents to go out
- Personalized gifts commemorating the date of birth
- Digital photo keychain, digital photo frame or photo albums for cute baby pics
- Scrapbooks and baby scrapbook supplies
Gift Giving Tips
When purchasing clothing items, don't stick to newborn sizes, even if those are the items on the registry. Babies grow quickly, and some babies are born large enough that they skip right to the next size. Instead, purchase items in a variety of sizes, or in a larger size that the child will grow into. Parents appreciate being able to use items longer than a couple of weeks.
Consider what items will get the most use. Instead of a toy that may look adorable or interesting, consider a toy that will engage the child and teach the baby motor skills and stimulate the senses. Instead of fancy clothes that may be used once, look for simple outfits that will get worn several times.