The arrival of a new life is cause for especial celebration. A new baby brings promise for the future, a sense of family legacy, and a peek into the very mysteries of human experience. The tradition of gift giving to celebrate a baby's birth dates back thousands of years, and appears among all cultures. But choosing the right gift, especially in today's media-saturated economy, can lead to even the most well-intentioned family friend or godparent to confusion, frustration, and insecurity. When choosing the perfect baby gift, consider some of the following guidelines:
- Allergies: a baby's newborn lungs are still developing, and especially in humid climates and warm months can have trouble adapting to airborne allergens such as dust, pet dander, and especially pollen. Too, some materials may provoke allergic reactions to the baby's delicate skin. To avoid such problems, look for toys and gifts that are hypoallergenic or resistant to carrying dust and pollen. Soft stuffed animals, quilts and blankets are comfortable and comforting, but also a safe bet when choosing a gift that will ensure security and comfort. Also, clothes and pajamas should be hypoallergenic, machine washable, and resistant to everyday wear and tear
- Growth Spurts: It goes without saying that babies grow up fast. When choosing clothes for the baby or toddler, consider buying items that are a half-size or full size too large. This gives the child time to grow into items, and extends the usefulness of the clothes by crucial months. Blankets and coats especially, since these items can be used throughout infancy and early childhood with little concern for their obsolescence. Or, consider an item like a utensil set or dinner plate, which retains its usefulness throughout the entire childhood. Such gifts are sure to please the cost-conscious parents, as well.
- Gift Sets and Baskets: These are items such as baskets of baby bath goods or diaper cakes. Bath goods baskets typically include hypoallergenic shampoo, soft bath soap, a towel, and sometimes even booties or slippers for the children to wear after the bath. Diaper cakes are decorated bundles or pyramids of disposable diapers that parents can have ready at a moment's notice. They are often festively decorated and make a sort of centerpiece or arrangement for a baby's nursery. Parents greatly appreciate these gifts because they provide supplies that both stretch their baby care dollar and also prevent running out of supplies at the last minute.
- Baby scrapbooks are also great gifts. They allow parents to chart a child's early growth with visuals and have an attractive, secure place to store such crucial, memory-nurturing keepsakes. A unique scrapbook might include a personalized touch, such as a hand-written title page or the child's name engraved on the cover. These books are great to show to the child as he or she matures, as well, providing retrospective and nostalgia as the child develops. Too, they can be expanded as siblings join the family or as the child one day has a child of his or her own.
These gift ideas are meant only to point someone in the right direction when finding the perfect baby gift, and should be used merely as suggestions when making the final gift purchase. More than anything, however, the ideal gift will lend itself to permanence or convenience. Permanence in that the gift or its benefits remain even after the child grows and develops. Convenience in that the gifts aid the child or the parent in the crucial early months of infancy.