I was lucky enough to hold a sweet little baby in my arms this week. It was an awesome treat as my kids are now 10 and 13. I marveled at the tiny little hands and toes, felt hair that was softer than the most luxurious silk and inhaled that distinctly wonderful baby smell.
If you are looking for a gift to welcome a little one, here are some ideas to get you started:
• Give a gift that will last for a while-I know it’s hard to resist buying those teeny tiny cute little clothes, but babies are quick to outgrow them. I’m always a fan of stroller blankets or hooded bath towels (nowadays, they come in many fun styles—animals, robots, etc.) because the gift can be enjoyed so much longer. Adding the baby’s name or monogram is also a nice touch. It not only personalizes the gift, but it will make the parents very happy since they just spent months deciding what to name the baby.
• Give an item that your child/niece/nephew once enjoyed-think back to when you had little ones in your life, what were some of their favorite things? Maybe it was a favorite CD of lullabies they always listened to or you finally discovered the perfect pacifier holder. By giving an item that had meaning to you, the parents are getting the benefit of your experience and your memory. Plus, it will give you a chance to connect over the gift in the future, “Our son always conks out by the third song on the CD. Was that your experience?”
• Remember older siblings! -As most parents will agree, the second baby is always harder than the first one—-if for no other reason than there are now multiple children in the house! Though you may be excited to get your first glimpse of the newborn, it will be the older sibling(s) who are likely in need of some extra attention. A small gift for the sibling(s)—a book, a toy—can go a long way in letting the other children in the house know they are important too.
• Have your kids make a picture-there is something very special about a child making a picture for a new baby. When my kids were born, we were lucky enough to receive several of these and I put them in frames in the nursery. Years later, they still make me smile—especially the one that shows a baby wearing sneakers.
• Give a gift that keeps on giving-I’ve recently started giving books to new parents that capture special memories. In this digital age, there is something downright quaint about writing down the small things that make a big difference. One of my favorite books is called 940 Saturdays, which is the number of Saturdays in a childhood. Each Saturday allows for a small entry, so that by the time the child is 18, they will have a weekly time capsule of their life. What I especially like about this book is the format is manageable—a few lines, once a week. Years ago, I had received baby books that required daily entries…and let’s just say that the books are so empty they could pretty much be regifted!
• Gift a Time Capsule-on the day the baby is born, head to the local newsstand and purchase a collection of newspapers and magazines. The parents will be glad you did (because of course they meant to, but they were busy trying to figure out how to install the infant carseat) and someday the child will love seeing what made the headlines on the day he was born.
• Don’t forget the sleep-deprived, time-starved parents-the “highs are high and the lows are low” is the way I describe the first months of parenting a newborn baby. (Although, maybe that’s because my kids were lousy sleepers!) During the first week of my son’s life, a neighbor brought over lasagna and a salad and I thought it was the best meal I had ever eaten. A hot meal is such a luxury when your days are suddenly filled with diapers and feedings and you realize you haven’t been to the grocery store in days. An Amazon/Apple/Netflix gift card to help the parents through those late nights is also a great idea, but be sure to make some suggestions on what movies/shows might make them smile.
There are few gifts in life more precious than newborn babies. Celebrating their arrival and helping everyone in the family feel special is a really nice way to welcome little ones into the world.
The picture above is my babies holding 6 week old twins, Audrey and Sadie. Welcome to the world sweet girls!