How to Buy a Baby Gift: Choosing Practical Presents for Newborns and New Parents

Baby gifts are meant to elicit smiles from all the adults, but once the party is over new parents need items they can actually use. It’s difficult to know what to buy, especially if the parents do not have a gift registry. It’s also difficult to know what others have already given. The following tips will help provide some practical ideas for picking just the right gift for a newborn.

Baby Toys

When shopping for a baby toy, consider safety and educational value. Many times, the simplest toys such as soft baby blocks and plastic stacking rings are the ones babies like best. Avoid expensive electronic toys that are overly complicated or activities that have too many parts.

Also consider safety. Don’t buy toys with small parts that could easily break and become choking hazards. Avoid toys with long strings that could become wrapped around a child’s neck or painted parts that a baby could put in his or her mouth.

Baby Clothes

Avoid the frilly, lacy, adorable items that are so tempting to buy. At most, the baby will wear these items once for pictures, and then they will never be worn again. If you want to buy clothing, choose one size larger than the baby is now. Also consider the season it will be in a few months. If it’s summer now, buy fall clothes.
Buy “universal” clothing items that a baby could wear every day such as onesies, pajamas, socks and playwear. Avoid holiday clothing such as Halloween t-shirts or Christmas dresses that will only get one or two uses. Think longevity!

Baby Accessories

A new parent can never have too many burp cloths, so they are always a good choice. Baby blankets are another option, but choose soft cotton blankets that are easily washable.

Taggies – those blankets made with tags all around that babies love – are extremely popular. The Boppy pillow is another great gift idea because parents can get a variety of uses out of it. Be sure to check to see if the new parent already has these items, though, because they only need one or two of each.

Baby Diapers

It’s not glamorous, but new parents can never have enough diapers. Wipes, changing table covers and Diaper Genie accessories are also a good bet.

Gift Certificates

If all else fails and you can’t find a gift you feel comfortable with, a gift card to Babies R Us, Target, Wal-mart or other store that carries baby products will certainly be appreciated.

Baby Gifts to Avoid

Don’t buy any newborn-sized clothes because the baby will outgrow them too quickly. Always buy one size bigger than the baby. Also avoid nursery decorations because they serve no real purpose and will probably be thrown away in a few months when the baby gets older. Fight the temptation to buy anything that looks “gifty” such as colorful gift baskets with no practical items.

When shopping for a baby gift, a good rule of thumb is to think about what new babies do most: eat, sleep and poop. Then make the decision about what items will best help the new parents keep baby happy and healthy.