Baby gifts can be rather challenging to shop for, especially if you’re not a parent or haven’t even met the child. Even being a mom, sometimes I catch myself hemming and hawing over what to get a wee one who I can’t just ask. The baby section in the toy aisle often also seems inaccurate in its recommended ages to me. I’m left wondering if my children are just really intelligent or the packages assume most babies are developmentally behind. All things considered, though, there are some no-fail baby gifts to give. Here are some examples of such items to consider this year…
Best baby gifts: Diapers or clothing
The fact is in the infancy stage, most babies are just as happy with a set of keys as they are some fancy, expensive toy. If you want to get baby gifts that parents will really appreciate, buy diapers. Be sure to ask what size and type. Other baby care items can also be a great idea, because really you’re gifting the parents more than the baby at this age. I didn’t buy either of my children a single piece of clothing until my oldest was nearly 3 years old. I loved it when people got my kids clothes, whether they were way too big or not. I’d just store them away for later, because kids go through so much clothing as babies. Bibs, booties, wipes, blankets, or even bigger care items, like baby monitors, are other great choices and never go out of style.
Best baby gifts: Car Entrainment
You know the only time any of my babies really “played” with much of anything until they got older was in the car? I think it was just the boredom of being in a seat without visible people around to get attention from (yes, I had little attention fiend children). At the same time, my second kid was almost 6 months old before I thought to buy some car toys, and coincidentally, it came in a pile of baby gifts at Christmas. For younger babies, you can find a range of toys that hang from seat backs or car seats–you’ll get bonus points from baby if it has lights, mirrors, makes noise or you can whack it–if you can manage all of the above, bravo. Older babies that have become a little more refined and get what a car is, really dig the baby steering wheels I’ve found.
If you must give toys, I’d recommend the vibrating fusion ball. I stumbled on this one at Walmart recently, but you can get them online as well. It’s about the size of soft ball and with an outer semi-hard plastic weave which makes it easier for infants to hold, but has no small parts and pieces can’t be bitten off. When turned on it vibrates, bounces itself, flashes and plays music. They run $5.99 here in Alaska and are found in the cheap dollar section at Walmart. I have yet to find a baby that did not adore this toy at any age. Younger babies like the light show and toddlers enjoy chasing it around as it vibrates enough to be self propelled. I’ll admit it can be an annoying toy, but most toys kids love are. Balls, in general, are usually a good choice for babies especially because they can be used in later growth stages.
Best baby gifts depend on the baby…
Finally, ask the parents. Every baby is different. You’d be surprised the things that kids end up loving. I got my niece a blanket with a stuffed dog attached, she kept it until it fell apart. Her brother stole my dad’s key chain tape measure and never sets it down. My youngest loved this musical activity mat he had, while his older brother couldn’t stand mats. It really depends on the kid.