Getting the perfect gift for a special baby can often be a rather difficult task. You worry if the present will interest the child, benefit his or her development, or be useful to the parents. It is important to consider the following factors when selecting the ideal gift: baby gender, parental needs, age of the child, practicality, and educational influence. Whether you are buying the child clothing, a toy, or creating your own home made gift you want your gift to be exciting, appropriate,
and well received.
One of the first factors to consider is baby gender. Many times when people attend baby showers the sex of the baby is not yet known. Neutral colored toys and clothing are always a safe choice. Do not worry about your neutral color tones being boring; yellows and greens can be used for either gender and are fun and lively colors.
The next step gift-givers should consider is the wishes of the parents. When buying toys for babies you want to make sure the parents approve of the toy before you give it to the child to play with. Also, consider what parents might need for their baby – especially when you are purchasing newborn gifts for a baby shower. For example, if an expectant mother has already had children previously she probably does not need all new baby care items. She may already have a crib mobile or a collection of baby bibs. When you ask the parents also do not leave the conversation fully open to them. Many people feel uncomfortable asking another person for a certain gift. A good approach is to offer some gift suggestions and see which ones the parents say they could use.
One of the most important pieces of information to take note of while you are shopping is the age level on the toy you want to purchase. Babies develop at rapid rates both mentally and physically. They quickly grow out of toys and clothing. A good idea is to always buy a toy that’s slightly more advanced so that the baby can grow into it. Also, if you are attending an event where all of the baby gifts will be targeted to a certain age the parents might appreciate a toy that they can use later on for their baby. If you buy a 9 month old a toy that says 3 months+ they can still enjoy it, but will not get as much use out of it. Below are a few suggestions for different baby age groups. Although 6 months may seen like a short amount of time, a baby’s interests and mental abilities will change greatly in that amount of time.
- Baby mats or arches (for the child to play on despite limited mobility)
- Baby gyms (another way to keep a child occupied while stationed in one safe place)
- Mobiles or visual simulators (for over the crib or bassinet The best kind of mobiles are ones that have high contrast colors like black and white. Because babies’ vision is not fully developed their reflexes find high contrast images appealing because they are easier to distinguish.)
- Toys that “go” with your baby (Infants are often restricted to car seats, baby seats, and other carriers due to limited physical mobility. Toys that can be attached to car seats or strollers are great for stimulating the baby’s vision and mental thought as they remain safely seated and secure. These can include: baby-safe mirrors, musical & chime toys, and cloth toys. The award winning Earl E. Bird is a great toy to take along with your baby)
- Baby Music (a great way to sooth babies to sleep)
- Car seats, baby carriages, and baby seats (especially if this baby is the parents’ first child, these basic items will be useful throughout the infant’s childhood)
- Higher activity toys (this can include electronic toys and musical toys)
- Teething rings (Babies will begin to teeth around this age and need toys that are safe to chew on. Newer teething rings are designed to be placed in the refrigerator to create a cooling pain reliever for babies)
- Bathing Toys (Babies begin splashing around the bath tub at this age. Bath time can be a time of bonding and play with the right toys)
- Books (Now that babies are mentally more developed books can be introduced. Many books are designed with noisemakers and soft cloth pieces to spark physical interaction. Books are a great gift because they can be used by the baby throughout their childhood).
- Safety items (Now that babies will begin crawling parents will need help “baby- proofing” their homes. Items such as cabinet locks, outlet covers, corner guards, and safety gates are useful and can even save a baby’s life!)
- Electronics (Basic electronic toys are great for stimulating the learning of cause and effect. Babies love music, lights, and buttons.)
- Movement toys (Any toy that will help babies practice walking are great to have. Walkers are very popular and anything else that involves larger muscle movement.)
- Blocks (Building blocks are great for developing fine motor skills. IQ Baby Knock-Knock Blocks are perfect for this age group)
No matter what age the baby is, your gift should be practical. You want it to be something that the baby will actually play with. Also, if the baby already has many of one type of toy, try to be creative. If the baby has a lot of stuffed animal toys, buy him or her an electronic toy – there are many developmental areas that different kinds of toys can help refine. Also consider the amount of space the baby has to play in. If the family has a large backyard, for example, outdoor toys make a more unique and useful gift.
Because babies are so impressionable, a gift with educational value is a great idea. Children can start learning about shapes, colors, and language at the youngest ages with new toy developments. Some examples of educational toys for babies can be found here. Books are always a wonderful way to encourage education as well.
If you want to buy a child clothing as a gift there are a few tips to keep in mind. First of all, when in doubt always buy a size larger. Even if the gift doesn’t fit the baby now, he or she can always grow into an outfit. Also think about the time of year you are buying for. If an infant is born in December and you want to buy her a sundress make sure the dress is for ages 6 mo+ (by the time the weather is nice enough for the sundress, the baby will no longer be a tiny newborn). Finally, make sure the clothing is practical. Clothing should be easy to take on and off when changing the baby’s diapers. Clothing should also be comfortable enough to nap in and easy enough to wash stains out of.
When buying baby gifts, everyone wants to have a unique and impressive present. One way to do this is to create your own homemade baby gift basket. Gift baskets can be given specific themes such as “bath time” or “sleeping time.” These are a great idea because you can make them as creative as you want. Some people choose to put a collection of toys and baby items in a ribbon covered basket. Other people creatively position different items (such as socks) to look like full bouquets! You can use a combination of baby bottles, diapers, combs, pacifiers, photo albums, and more. The size of the baby basket can be altered depending on your budget. These gifts can be very personalized as well, to maximize usefulness and meaning to the parents.
Personalized items are also very popular as gifts. Many stores offer embroidery on blankets or clothing for babies. You can also make your own handmade baby jewelry or sew your own baby blanket using whatever materials you like. Another simple personalized gift could be a collection of picture frames or photo albums that can become treasured keepsakes. If you are buying a gift for a baby shower lifelong gifts make a great impression. Many parents love personalized keepsakes such as ornaments, figurines, or collages.
A final great idea is buying a unique gift the new mom and dad could use for their baby. Diaper bags no longer have to be bulky and unattractive. Stylish bags with fun patterns are great for baby items and make mom and dad look good! Fun and creative crib bedding can also help parents to brighten up a newborn’s room.
Whatever you decide on, make sure your gift is something the baby will be comfortable with. Use your creativity and knowledge of child development to choose exciting gifts your special baby will love!