Monday, March 28, 2005

Best baby shower gifts

One of the most challenging things for people without children can be purchasing baby gifts for friends who are expecting. Unsure what the new baby really needs, they often pick things that are lovely but impractical. These tips can help a novice pick the perfect baby shower gift.

First, consider the circumstances of the family having the baby. Is this a first baby or a second or third? If it is a subsequent baby, were the children close together in age or is likely all the baby gear was sold at a garage sale long ago? If it is a first baby, the parents probably need more of the basics. Concentrate on practical items such as strollers, car seats, diaper pails, and manicure sets. If there are previous children, consumable items or items that wear out with one baby (diapers, baby shampoo, bibs, burp cloths, pacifiers, and diaper pail liners) are usually greatly appreciated as are extra blankets and clothing. Gift certificates to baby stores are always useful since parents can replace any worn out items or gear they never had. If the previous babies were boys and the new one is a girl, clothing, blankets and room decor in feminine color schemes are a good idea.

Second, find out whether the parents have signed up for a gift registry. Since most stores offer registries, it is easy for parents to indicate the items they need or would like to have. While some people feel shopping from the registry takes the surprise out of gift giving, what could be more considerate than giving the parents exactly what they need? If you must give a surprise, choose an item from the registry and then add another small item (such as clothing, a toy or a book) that is not listed. This way you have the best of both worlds.

Some ideas for basics that new parents nearly always need:

- Baby blankets
- Footed sleepers
- t-shirts, onsides, socks
- hats
- Diapers or a subscription to a diaper service
- Diaper pail
- Burp cloths (or cloth diapers)
- Hair brush and comb
- Manicure kit
- First aid kit
- Cradle or crib bedding (mattress pads, sheets, bumper, dust ruffle)
- Baby towels and washcloths
- Baby bath tub
- Diaper bag
- Toiletries and medicine basics: baby shampoo, diaper cream, baby powder, baby Tylenol
- Infant thermometer
- Car seat
- Stroller
- Bouncy seat
- Bottles/ formula (if the parents plan to bottle feed)
- Swing
- Playpen/port crib
- Furniture and decorative items for the nursery

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