Awesome gifts for newborns – and what to steer clear of
Baby products are super cute, but often useless. So what should you steer clear of? And what gifts are actually worth giving?
First off, it’s wonderful that you’re celebrating the arrival of your friends’ baby. And it’s lovely that you want to express your joy in the form of a gift. Unfortunately, the likelihood of going wrong is quite high. The world of baby products is a jungle filled with a bunch of rubbish that new parents rarely – if ever – need. And what they do need, they usually already have.
After two births and unwrapping quite a number of gifts, I know what tops the list of no-goes. I also know what gadgets really do make everyday life easier.
Because sharing is caring, here’s my personal, tried and true list of bad buys as well as unconventional, but meaningful, gift ideas.
Skip these gifts
Bad buy: baby shoes
Could there be anything more adorable than a tiny par of baby shoes? I, myself, have also purchased a pair of pink mini Vans. I was at the height of my pregnancy and seeing things through rose-coloured glasses. When my child was born, we were gifted a pair of black baby Chucks in addition. I don’t remember who from, but in case you’re reading this: I’m sorry to report that the Chucks have remained unused – just like the size 16 Vans.
Let’s be frank: babies don’t stand. Neither do they walk.
A child takes their first steps at about one year of age, some earlier, some later. Until they do, socks, knitted booties or leather slippers are enough. While the soles of mini sneakers are softer than those for adults, they’re usually still too rigid for a newborn to move its tiny toes in.
Bad buy: baby clothes
You may be thinking: if not shoes, then a cute little baby onesie. Don’t do it. New parents will already have enough – if not too much – of everything. And before the parents get the chance to dress their child up in each outfit, the child will have already grown out of the size.
Bad buy: stuffed animals
Do you know how many stuffed animals children typically own? An entire zoo’s worth! Yet they end up playing and cuddling with just one chosen one. Your chance of winning the lottery is higher than that of your gifted stuffed animal becoming said 'chosen one’. All this to say: let the stuffed animals be.
Get these gifts
Gift idea: milestone cards
When did the child smile for the first time? When were their first steps? And when did they finally sleep through their first night? Use photo cards to capture significant milestones. Simply date each card and take a picture with the child.
The cards also come in a 'cheeky' edition to immortalise the not-so-cute moments. For instance, the first time your child scribbled over a piece of furniture with a sharpie pen. Or the first all-nighter you were forced to pull.
Gift idea: Nip Cool Twister
Now, I was very sceptical of this egg-shaped apparatus at first. My initial verdict was: «BS and a total gimmick». The Cool Twister is supposed to cool down the water for baby’s bottle. But you can do that without any gadget:
- Set aside the bottle of boiled water. Wait.
- Place bottle of boiled water in a cold-water bath. Wait.
- Mix cold water into bottle of boiled water.
Sounds easy in theory. In reality, here’s how the scene typically plays out: baby is hungry and needs the bottle. Now. Immediately. Waiting isn’t an option. This is where the egg comes in.
You let the 100-degree-Celsius water flow through the Cool Twister. Just a few seconds later, it comes out cooled down to a temperature of 40 or 60 degrees Celsius (you can set it). Magic? Nah, just heat exchange. The water flows through an aluminium spiral that cools it to perfect drinking temperature. All you have to do is keep the egg, itself filled with water, in the fridge.
The Cool Twister was a lifesaver for us over a period of several months, even on vacation.
Gift idea: e-reader
Few people realise how time-consuming breastfeeding is. A single session can often last 30 to 45 minutes – repeated about every three hours in the beginning. This means about four to six hours of breastfeeding per day. Why not go for an e-reader to pass the time? A pricier, but very useful (family) gift.
And in case you’re wondering why a good paper book won’t do: have you tried turning the pages of a book one-handedly?
Gift idea: dry shampoo
I didn’t even know of dry shampoo’s existence until my first birth. Today, I swear by it. In the early weeks with baby, you may barely have enough time to take a shower, let alone wash your hair. Thanks to this little lifesaver, overtired parents can still feel reasonably fresh and presentable.
Invest in a really good dry shampoo. My personal tip is the «Water Killer».
Gift idea: time vouchers
Speaking of showers, being able to stand under the warm shower in peace and quiet for longer than three minutes is a luxury for new parents. Why not gift them a voucher or two for a relaxed shower? Or a voucher for some other labour of love, like babysitting, cooking, or cleaning. Time is worth more than money.
What gift giving tips do you have? Which products have actually made your everyday family life easier? Tell us in the comments!
Senior Editor, Zurich