“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