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Gifts for Babies: Time and Stuff!

  May 14

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Gifts for Babies - Time and StuffPlease enjoy the following post from the amazing blogger, Anne:

“There must be something in the water” is an oft-repeated phrase in my town.

When it’s said, it is referring to the volume of babies around these parts.

To put it in perspective, there were something like 500 babies born last year at our hospital that serves approximately 10,000.

Here’s the catch, for most of the year, the delivery room was only open every other week!  People were going to another hospital an hour away.  All of this is to say that there are quite a few of my friends who now possess munchkins, or will shortly possess munchkins!  That leads to me attending baby showers and picking out gifts for babies, which, let’s be honest, are really gifts for new parents!

As a disclaimer up front, I am not in possession of a munchkin, so my recommendations are speculation and from talking to people who are, in fact, parents.  Thus far, I have advocated strongly for gifts of food, stuff that will make the baby smarter, and stuff that will make the baby safer (read about them here).  While baby clothes are super-duper cute, and babies do go through an insane amount of clothing due to their superhuman ability to eject fluids from themselves, there is a lot of baby stuff that is expensive and necessary, more so than another cute outfit.  So, if there is a baby gift registry, I highly recommend using it as a starting point.

Gifts for Babies: Stuff

Some stuff you can’t have enough of, and some stuff you can reuse for several kiddos.  Pro tip: If you pick gender neutral colors, your gifts will likely be passed on to other kids and get a lot of use.

Washcloths  – As mentioned up there, babies are always leaking, so a healthy supply of washcloths is good.  The same goes for blankets to protect your shoulder from the same!

Diapers – Diapers are expensive!  If the parents are going to be using cloth diapers, more is always better.  If they are going to be using disposables, the cost really adds up, so their pocket books will thank you.

Books – Babies aren’t born knowing how to read, they get to that after a few years of development.  In the meantime, parents like to read to the kids and guess what?  Books for small kids are often simple, repetitive and rather light on plot.  Plus, it will be years before they can read for themselves, at any level.  This means that a book a six year old might be able to read by themselves is fair game as a gift for a newborn, and it will still be around at age six!  Once their motor skills have developed, kids like to look at the pictures, so the amount of words on the page still remains largely irrelevant.  In the meantime, the more books the parents have to read, the better, especially given their appreciation for plots and variety!

Gifts for Babies: Time

By far one of the most common refrains amongst parents is references to a lack of time.  So let’s say that your budget is maxed out, but you can spare an hour once or twice.  Your time is one of the best gifts that you can give new parents.  In order to make sure that your offer is accepted, set up a time in advance of the birth.  Sometimes people will have their own parents assisting them for a few weeks and once they leave they may be overwhelmed.

Cleaning – Doing baby-puke laundry, cleaning the dishes, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, mowing the lawn and more are all small tasks that you can easily make disappear for grateful parents.

Cooking – Pop in with some fresh cut veggies to snack on, a homemade hot meal, take out or offer to come over and cook.  Sometimes parents end up feeling left out of their social group, because people are giving them space, or they are too exhausted to go out and socialize, so take the socializing to them and lend a hand at the same time!

While it’s fun to dress babies in brand name skater shoes, they tend to be pricey and short-lived.  Use the tips above to come up with some gifts for babies that don’t break the bank, see high usage and make the new parents’ lives easier!

Author Bio:  Anne spends a lot of time writing about gifts for adults, for all occasions, over at her blog Unique Gifter.  She comes up with creative ways to add personality to registry gifts and to give gifts when your budget is tight.  She also spends way too much time on twitter.

Editor’s Note: Anne is right! Some of the most memorable gifts we received have been the gifts of time and food. I wouldn’t have made it the past 7 weeks without the generosity of others!

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons

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25 responses to “Gifts for Babies: Time and Stuff!

  1. As a new grandma, I can vouch for all of these as great gift ideas! Books have been a big part of my grandson’s bedtime routine since he was 3 months old. I never would have expected such tiny babies to love to look at (and try to eat) books!!

  2. My grandma buys diapers for my cousins’ baby every chance she gets! She keeps getting coupons and it’s an easy thing to pick up. I’m sure they’re grateful for it. At the baby shower, they also requested books instead of the typical well, and had a bookshelf set up to place the books on. I really liked that idea. My aunt was visiting every other weekend in the beginning to babysit so that they could get some rest.

  3. I absolutely LOVED it when people bought me diapers. I had most of the other necessary baby stuff already, and diapers were the one thing I couldn’t really buy second-hand.

    1. Great point… second hand diapers (disposables anyway) would be… trash! Sometimes I see them on the local online craiglist equivalent, when people’s kids grow out of them and they have half a box, or two boxes, but they would be hard to come by consistently.

  4. I like the gift of time idea! Frugal and insanely practical. I’ve still got a bit of time before my friends start popping out babies, but I’m going to hold onto that idea.

    And the delivery room only being open every other week?! What did people do?!

    1. Drive to the next town(small city) over, it’s about an hour. Some people would go stay in a hotel a day or two before their due date.
      Very frugal and very practical indeed!

  5. These are great gifts Anne! I actually just took food to Cat because it was one of the greatest gifts that was given to me after I had my son. I also love giving diapers and washcloths too. They are not fun and sexy, but SO practical!

  6. I love practical gifts! We got diapers at the baby shower…yea we definitely used them. Can’t say that for some of the other stuff…partly our fault as we are first time parents and didn’t know what we really needed.

    1. That’s a great point…. you know that diapers will get used! There are a lot of different things out there for kids these days, I suspect different kids only like certain things, too.

  7. We had so many people purchase diapers for us when our first born came, we didn’t have to buy any for several months. That was a great money saver for a young family.

    1. Once friends start, I find there’s a whole rash of baby showers for quite awhile! My friends aren’t out of the phase yet, and I dont’ think they will be for quite awhile.

  8. Great point to factor in time. I know so many families that would love to just have a day off from the normal cleaning routine. For some, that’s a gift that they will treasure even more than practical items.

    1. Heck, I’ll take one! I hope I don’t have to have a baby to justify it though 😉 Many people will definitely treasure it more, it has that personal touch and the memory associated with it as well.

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