I sat timidly at baby showers for many years, wondering if my gift was what Mom really wanted. Did I get the right size? Will that go with their nursery? What if their baby is allergic to that soap? Now that I have a child, buying a good baby gift is a piece of cake!
Here are some suggestions for picking the perfect baby gift:
1. Start With the Registry
You cannot go wrong with buying exactly what Mom and Dad picked out. If you cannot find the exact item or are not sure, ask an associate for help.
2. Consider Mom’s Buying Habits
If Mom is a necessities only shopper, splurge on a frilly gift she registered for, like wall art or some fun toys. A thrifty spender is not going to use her gift cards on the fun stuff, but if she registered for it, she does want it. Buy the necessities like diapers and wipes if mom gets a thrill buying adorable clothes for baby.
3. Buy Something That Will Grow With Baby
A friend bought us bath towels when I got married. She said we had to think about her every time we used them—and 8 years later, we do! Books, storage baskets, a diaper bag, fingernail clippers and an extra-large baby blanket are all items that will be used for more than just a few months—and keep your thoughtfulness in mind even longer.
4. Always Include the Batteries
If you absolutely must buy a noisemaker, do not leave Mom and Dad without replacement batteries. Buy the value pack and they may forgive you for the volume on the talking caterpillar.
5. Get the Right Size Clothes
Personally, I think buying clothes for someone else is risky. However, if you found the perfect frilly church dress, stop and do some math. Newborns grow at different rates, so there is still a chance you will get it wrong, so include the gift receipt, just in case.
6. A Personalized Item
If you know a favorite sports team of Mom and Dad, a present with the team logo on it is always a hit. If Mom loves monograms, have the diaper bag embroidered. If the parents are Disney fanatics, find a blanket with their favorite characters. My cousin gave me a display bear that she later embroidered with my son’s name, birthdate, and stats and we love it. Anything you know the couple loves can be a winning present.
7. Consider a Basket
A good theme can help a small budget stretch. I stock up on clearance baskets after Easter because the pastels and whites are perfect for baby gifts. Then I fill my discount basket with items from the registry and add a filler or two. A gift I am giving this weekend has a bottle of baby bath, shampoo and lotion from baby’s registry, then some rubber ducks from the dollar store. The whole gift cost less than $20, but will all make bath time much more fun.
8. Buy the Big Items With a Group
There are some essentials parents cannot compromise in getting. No one is allowed to leave a hospital with a baby without a car seat, so that is the first big item to buy. Next on the list is somewhere for baby to sleep, but you need to check the registry to see what is listed. Some use a bassinet at first. For others a pack and play is a better option. Some want cribs that convert into toddler beds and more—so before you get lost in that aisle, check the registry!
9. Diapers Bigger Than Size 1
The one item all parents will need is diapers. Knowing that, many shower-goers load up new parents with tiny diapers. If you want to be ahead of the game, buy a box of size 2 or size 3 diapers. Eventually baby will get to that size, and it is nice to have the bigger size on hand if baby goes through a major growth spurt.
10. Tape the Receipt to Each Item
If you bought the gifts directly off the registry (the exact size, shape, color and brand on the official list and from the store they registered), you can skip the gift receipt, but if there are any variables left to chance, just make it easy for Mom. Hunting down receipts is more stress than a new mom needs!
11. If All Else Fails, Go With a Gift Card
If you are still nauseous at the end of this list, go with a gift card to the store where the parents are registered. Many stores give incentives to moms who buy the rest of the items left on their registry, so the gift card to that store will get mom even more savings.
So, out you go, to buy a baby gift with confidence. Happy shopping!