If like many, you are planning to blitz the last bit of Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve then you need to have a good plan of attack when it comes to buying gifts for babies. The two main areas of choice are toys and clothing.
Toys are always a firm favourite with babies particularly if they have moved out of the newborn stage and are starting to become more aware of the world around them. Most stores will label toys according to the developmental stage and age of the child so that you have a good idea of what is appropriate for the baby you are buying for. Most 0 to 6 month old toys will be aimed at stimulating the senses and will have different textures to stimulate the baby’s sense of touch, squeaks and rattles built in for baby’s sense of hearing and be available in a wide range of bright primary colours to catch the baby’s eye.
Clothes can be similarly chosen based on the age of the baby and in some cases the weight. Check with the parents about what age is best as babies can grow out of clothes at an alarming rate and their current size might soon be too small. When buying both toys and clothes keep the tags on to be on the safe side. Toys may be duplicated by other family members and friends and clothes may not be the correct size.
When looking at practical baby gifts there is a whole array of products falling under the baby safety heading that can be considered to give the parents a helping hand when the bay arrives.
You can look at babyproofing gifts according to the age of the baby. At newborn and 0 to 3 months the immediate safety hazards are relatively low since the baby isn’t mobile yet and can’t stand or reach. However there are safety precautions that need to be taken in the sleeping areas such as the cot and crib.
If you have volunteered to buy a cot or crib then make sure the cot is covered by today’s safety standards. The cot should be labelled with the appropriate standards and also have guideline on the appropriate usage covering guidelines about age for example. If you’re buying bedding or mattresses there are also safety considerations to be made to ensure the hazard of suffocation is avoided.
The temperature in the nursery needs to be constant so a thermometer needs to be purchased to keep an eye on that, and also appropriate bedding bought that will keep baby snug but won’t cause the baby to overheat.
The changing table also needs attention and must be secured as babies can easily topple off.
What do you buy parents to be who are expecting not just one baby but two or more? There is no debate that parent to be of multiple babies need as much help in the form of baby gifts as they can get. In some instances the need will boil down to quality but in other areas they will simply need sheer volume. If you are struggling for practical and useful ideas then here are some guidelines to help:
It goes without saying that possibly the best gift you can offer is that of another pair of hands! In the early days it is natural for new parents to be caught off guard by the arrival of multiple mouths to feed and bottoms to change. It can feel quite chaotic at first until the parents find a routine that suits so all help will be gladly welcomed. Offer to run errands or to help mum on her shopping trips. Supply homemade cooked food for the parents to warm up or help out with the chores to give them a break. Be direct and offer help as many parents might be shy of inconveniencing others.
Another practical gift is that of nappies. Multiple sets of babies go through nappies like wild fire so extra supplies will be warmly received. Before you go filling up your shopping trolley with more multi-packs of nappies, double check whether the parents are going down the disposable route or prefer cloth nappies.
Another good idea is to buy a nursing pillow for mum whether she’s breast feeding or not. It will help her to support the babies and if she is breast feeding enables her to feed both at the same time. While we’re on the subject of mum, anything that gives her a treat after the birth such as spa days, massage or aromatherapy burners will be a lovely gift.
If you are the grandparents to be you may have offered to buy a travel system as a gift for the baby. A travel system is a way of buying the car seat, pushchair and carry cot so that they can be interchanged using the base unit that allows you to snap different items into the pushchair.
When choosing the travel system make sure mum is involved in the process. Start off by looking at the car seats as this is the area that most affects the baby’s safety. Make sure the car seat is covered by safety standards and to make the selection process easier rule out any that don’t fit into the car tightly. Also ensure the installation process is quick and easy, ones that have harnesses with 5 points are safest.
When choosing to pushchair it’s all about making sure it is convenient and portable. There are a variety of style, sizes and colours and you can choose a pushchair based on the lifestyle of the parents. There are jogging and rough terrain prams for example for the active mother. Make sure the pushchair fits in the car and look at how easy they are to navigate around shops and stores.
Bedding is always a popular choice as a newborn baby gift, however when choosing the perfect bedding here are some guidelines:
Baby sheets and blankets need to be super soft for the baby’s skin. Blankets on the market for adults might seem silky soft to you but will feel similar to sandpaper on the skin of a newborn baby so buy blankets and bedding specifically made for babies. Materials such as flannel and double weave and knit cotton are popular choices. Also check the tags to ensure they are machine washable. The parents to be will not appreciate hand wash or dry-clean bedding.
In terms of getting the right measurements for the cot or crib most bedding is made to standard sizes and will fit most mattresses but check with the parents first. Bedding must fit the mattress snugly in order to reduce the risk from suffocation. Elasticated mattress covers are the safest as they are less likely to slip.
Check if the nursery has a theme or certain colour scheme also. You want to make sure your gift matches the décor.
Don’t worry about the parents having bought bedding already. Babies are messy and can have frequent accidents in the night so changes of bedding clothes are essential.
When thinking of an unusual and welcomed baby gift you may be considering handing down a much loved cot or crib. Perhaps you are the grandparent to be and have always dreamed of handing the crib down as an heirloom or perhaps you just have in interest in antique furniture and think an antique cot would set off the nursery just beautifully. Although older cots can be both nostalgic, beautiful and charming there are some serious considerations to be made where safety is concerned before you decide to give an older cot as a gift.
There are some important safety standards imposed on cots that are produced today which are designed to protect the baby from accidents relating to fire, mechanical, chemical and electrical hazards. The enforcement of the safety standards has done much to reduce the instances of infant fatality and injury due to the cot. Obviously older or antique cots are not covered by these standards and need to be approached with caution.
Old mattresses can pose a suffocation hazard if they are too soft. You also need to check that the mattress fits the cot snugly to avoid any chance of the baby slipping underneath. The space between slats needs to be checked and if there are any missing slats they must be replaced. Many antique cots have beautiful ornate patterns cut out of the headboard or footboard. Although these look very attractive they are dangerous for babies as their limbs and head could get trapped.
When choosing baby gifts for a baby it’s useful to understand the stages in their development. From 6 to 12 months a baby’s development continues rapidly and the type if toys that a baby will be attracted to changes also.
From 6 to 9 months many babies start to say the first few words. Even if they don’t make a whole lot of sense they will babble away in a conversational manner and their facial expressions will be developing. They will certain cries for certain needs and they will react in certain ways to different members of the family.
In month seven and eight you can start to feed the baby finger food but don’t be surprised if they get pleasure from dropping it on the floor! Baby gifts of cuddly blankets or teddies will start to be firm favorites now and they may get upset if separated from them. They can also sit up without support.
At month nine they will start to grab at things more and become more active. He or she will delight everyone by waving goodbye and will master easily changing positions from sitting to crawling.
From month 10 to 12 toys that make sounds, have different shapes and colours will appeal to the baby. The baby will also love story time. He or she will mimic your gestures and speak simple words. The baby will also love stacking toys and filling up containers.
In the newborn stage it may seem that your baby is only interested in sleeping eating and filling their nappy. Toys don’t seem to be of interest but this can rapidly change in the months that follow.
From one to three months the baby will start to move around more in the crib and baby bouncer. They start to discover their hands and feet and will start to make baby noises. They start to smile now and will follow the sound of mum or dad’s voice around the room. They will enjoy seeing their own face in mirrors as well as brightly coloured toys and mobiles in their cots. Toys with bright colours and different textures are great choices for baby gifts at this stage as they provide stimulation to the baby’s developing senses.
From three to six months you’ll a big acceleration in growth. By the end of month three your baby will open and close its hands, hold it head up and start reaching out more. They will also start to imitate sounds that they hear. They recognize faces and will smile and coo when you enter the room. At month five and six your baby will be rolling over, using a cup to drink and making two syllable noises. Baby proof the home at this stage as crawling could start!
In the weeks before the birth there will be many things crossing your mind about your baby. How will the baby like its new home? How will they sleep? How will I manage? These are all normal questions and even if this is your second or third baby you will have other questions to replace those you had with your first.
Every baby is individual. For example personalities even at newborn stage differ dramatically as well as growth rate and appearance.
The first milestone is the newborn stage when you initially bring your baby home from the hospital or introduce the baby to the new surroundings if you have a home birth. You will be very excited to show the baby their newly decorated nursery and open all the baby gifts that you have no doubt been inundated with.
There may be some things your baby needs to recover from that have originated from the birth process.
Many babies get jaundiced or may have a pointy head. Don’t worry as these things disappear after a few days. Hold your baby close and cuddle him or her often. In the first few days and weeks the mother/baby bond starts and is extremely important. Breastfeeding can help this process and has amazing health benefits for your baby. Your baby may sleep a lot at this stage. Make the most of it to recover after the birth.
Would you believe that by the time your baby has grown to using the potty you will have made a staggering 4,000 nappy changes and may indeed have made many more! Friends and family may want to buy you practical newborn baby gifts and disposable nappies are a popular choice. However, what about real nappies? There is often a debate to be heard over the pros and cons of both types and here’s a summary of those applying to real nappies.
On the positive side they are much more environmentally friendly for our planet. You may be shocked to hear that around fifty per cent of a household’s waste where there is one baby is generated by disposable nappies! 8 million nappies are disposed of per day in the UK alone and they take several hundred years to decompose.
Real nappies cost much less than choosing the disposable route and can be re-used for a second or third baby. You can get lots of different colours, sizes and styles and they are just as quick to change as disposables as the safety pins have now been replaced by Velcro.
On the downside you have to do extra washing and you need extra space for drying them. When buying them check out how long they take to dry.