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What to Buy for a New or Expecting Parent

What to Buy for a New or Expecting Parent

Gift-givers tend to lose their sense of reason when choosing a baby gift.  All too often, impractically cute wins out over thoughtfully useful.  Perhaps it’s the sight of teeny dresses and diminutive motorcycle booties that makes it so easy to forget that the value of a gift is measured by the amount of joy it brings and by how often it is used.  So what should gift-givers buy for a new or expectant parent?  

First, a few warnings about what you shouldn’t give:

Don’t Mistakenly Assume that Clothes are Always a Safe Bet

Personal tastes vary widely among parents.  Perhaps you dig that vibrant jumper but mom is more of a pastel kind of gal when it comes to dressing her baby.  Also, remember that most babies spend their first 6 months in the simplest clothes – onesies.  So, while that frilly little dress is fun to buy, it will likely go unworn.  Lastly, don’t forget that babies come in a variety of sizes and grow quickly in their first year.  It’s always frustrating for a parent to pack away a gift their baby never even got the chance to wear.

Don’t Fall Into the Baby Blanket Trap

New parents are often inundated with an endless supply of baby blankets.  They will find, however, that they only need two – one lightweight blanket and one heavier one.  All those other extra blankets get stored in a closet, never to be seen again.  The one exception to the Blanket Trap is the blanket you make yourself – a gift made or selected with love is always a good choice.

Don’t Forget Safety

Thousands of children’s toys and products are recalled every year because they are unsafe.  When you are selecting a gift, choose quality over quantity and be aware of the age recommendations listed on the packaging.

So What Should you buy for a New or Expectant Parent?

Do Think Beyond the First Three Months

A baby’s needs change dramatically over the first year.  Different toys encourage a baby to reach new developmental milestones and new equipment and products become necessary to meet a baby’s constantly changing needs.  However, mom and dad often emerge from those hazy first three months realizing that the gifts they received only address their baby’s newborn period.  

Do Give Gifts that Encourage a Baby’s Development – Toys and Books

A well-made toy is a gift that will bring joy and learning each time a baby plays with it.  The best toys are open-ended ones which the baby can use well beyond the first year, unlike those tiny booties which are quickly discarded once they are outgrown.  Likewise, books are an essential resource of any nursery.  A child can never have too many books.  Select quality toys made from natural materials whenever possible – wood, rubber and cotton rather than plastic.  Choose sturdy board books and cloth books which will hold up to lots of abuse from a curious infant.

Do Find Creative Ways to Ease Mom and Dad’s Financial Burden

The first year with a baby is an expensive one.  Diapers are an enormous and unavoidable expense.  Be a hero and foot the bill for a 3, 6 or 9 month supply of diapers.  Or, you can truly save the day by supplying them with a whole year’s worth!  By giving a Diaper Subscription which will deliver the diapers straight to their door, you’ll also save them the time and hassle of running to the drugstore every time they run out of diapers.  

Do Remember the New Dad

Dad is easily forgotten in the whirlwind that leads up to the birth of a baby, yet today’s fathers are more involved in child-rearing than ever before.  Recognize and celebrate the new role Dad is about to assume.  Give him a diaper bag that is practical and masculine so that he doesn’t have to resort to using mom’s.  Fill it with a parenting guide that speaks to him and addresses his concerns and fears and gear him up with toys and books that encourage him to interact with his baby through play.  

Do Get Technological

There are a lot of firsts to capture in a baby’s first year.  Help mom and dad preserve all of those special memories with a still or video camera.  Pick one that is compact and easy to use so that they can capture all of the everyday magic that makes life with a baby so special.

Finally, Do Give The New Parents Your Support and Respect

Regardless of the thousands of babies born every day, the arrival of a child is an unparalleled event for any new parent.  All too often, though, experienced parents or well-meaning friends unintentionally minimize the new mom or dad’s feelings or dismiss their concerns.  Be considerate of the new parents in your life and respect their rules and opinions.  Make sure to wash your hands before touching the baby and keep sick children at home when you visit.  Listen to the new parent’s tales of sleep-deprived woe and resist the urge to tell them that they haven’t seen anything yet! Try not to offer too much advice, especially advice that goes against what most pediatricians recommend.  Share in their joy, listen to their fears and offer them the one piece of advice which no parent or doctor will dispute – enjoy your new baby, it goes by very fast!