Saturday, February 25, 2006

Unisex Baby Gifts

Recently, I was involved in planning a baby shower for a friend of mine-- a friend who opted not to find out the sex of the baby when she had her ultrasound back at Week 20. It was amazing how many people were "annoyed" that our friend didn't find out the sex of her baby.

"It makes it too hard to pick out a shower gift" someone complained. Another person added that she didn't think it was appropriate to even have a shower for this person ("If she didn't find out the sex of the baby, we shouldn't even bother with a shower"). I took offense to that remark. As a woman who has given birth to three children and never opted to find out the baby's sex beforehand, I can't believe that people would act all put out when invited to a shower for a friend who didn't find out the sex. Is nothing sacred anymore? Are we all such organized planners that we can't even let nature take its course and just be "surprised' at the end of none long months and a long hard labor?

In any event, the shower went off beautifully and my friend received dozens of great gifts. Yes, there was a lot of yellow and green, but there was also a lot of creativity.

Here are some suggestions for some great unisex baby gifts for that special someone who just wants to keep her baby's sex under wraps until the baby's "birth day":

Baby book or calendar. Most women love recoding baby's milestones in a baby book, so this makes a great gift. Look for one that isn't too girly or isn't too boyish. Most baby books are perfect unisex gifts and come with pictures of teddy bears or something equally adorable on them. Ditto for "Baby's First Year" calendars. These cute calendars come with stickers to mark baby's milestones like the first time baby rolls over, laughs, or eats solid food. You can't go wrong with a gift like this.

Plush toys and rattles. All babies will want to play at some point. Look for unique plush toys, rattles and learning toys. Children's specialty stores like Learning Express and Imaginarium have great toys for babies of all ages.

A photo album or scrapbooking materials. Your friend will undoubtedly be taking loads of pictures of the new baby, so give her something to put them in. If your friend likes to do scrapbooking as a hobby, consider buying her a scrapbook for the new baby-- and include some cute paper selections and stickers, too.

Anything off of the registry-- that means mom needs these things. If the mother-to-be has registered at Toys R Us, Babies R Us, or any one of the many other baby registry sites, consider buying something off of the registry. Babies of either sex need the essentials--a stroller, a bouncy seat, a baby monitor, a Diaper Genie, etc. If mom has gone to the trouble of registering for these items, then she must actually want and need them. Don't get so caught up in being "original" that you neglect to check out mom's baby registry. If it's looking pretty sparse (as in most gifts have already been gobbled up) then you will know what not to buy, too.

Children's Books. Oprah likes to give this gift-- a basket filled with children's books (of course, her basket is probably a huge one). You can make your won version by purchasing classic children's books at a discount from places like Amazon.com (spend over $25.00 and the books can even be shipped for free). Some book suggestions include "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown, "On the Day You Were Born" by Debra Frasier, "Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt and "Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See" by Eric Carle.

Two adorable outfits-- one pink and one blue. If you're just itching to shower your friend with a gift of "the most adorable outfit in the world", simply select two outfits-- one for a boy and one for a girl. Include a gift receipt for both items so your friend can exchange the one she won't need for another gender appropriate outfit.

A gift for mom. My friend's favorite gift that she received was one that was just for her. A thoughtful friend gave her some elegant pajamas and a pedicure kit. Remember, after baby is born mom will need a little pampering too.

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