Baby Gifts for Any Budget: $100-$200
It can be difficult deciding on the right baby gift for a friend or family member - with so many options out there, it can be hard to know if you're picking something that the parents and child will love and use! As a long-time nanny, I've had the opportunity to try out hundreds of baby products, and I've seen which products get used frequently, and which are more hype than help. Here are my recommendations for baby gifts in the $100-$200 price range.
Ergo Baby: My Favorite Baby Carrier
I've used a lot of different baby carriers, and the Ergo wins my vote for best baby carrier. It's among the most versatile you'll find - it can be used starting in infancy and through toddler-hood, and it can be worn with the child on the front, back, or on your hip. It's also one of the most comfortable - unlike a lot of other carriers, it distributes the weight across the hips and the shoulders, avoiding the sore back, neck, and shoulders that baby carriers so often give.
The Ergo comes in a variety of colors and can be purchased in both regular and organic cotton versions. I would highly recommend also purchasing the Infant Insert, which is needed if the parents plan on using the carrier when the baby is still an infant.
Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon
Sure, this toy won't get use right away, but one of the things that can help parents get through the crying, sleepless nights, and constant worry of having a new baby is being able to imagine all the fun things they'll be able to do with their child in just a few short months. The Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon will definitely help them envision lots of fun times!
This wagon is fantastic for almost-walking kids, who love to go-go-go but aren't quite ready to ride a tricycle or even clamor in and out of a wagon by themselves yet . The base folds up into high-backed seats with buckles to strap little ones in, or it can be folded down once kids are a little bigger and the bottom used for storage. It seats two with the seat backs up, so it's great for families with more than one kid or for outings with a little playmate. It even has cup holders!
This wagon is a classic all-American toy, but with updated safety features that parents will really appreciate. If the new parents you're buying for are the type that love to go on walks, trek to playgrounds, and generally spend a lot of time outdoors, I highly recommend this product!
Pack 'n Play: A Must-Have for Traveling Parents
For parents who make frequent trips to visit relatives and friends, a pack 'n play is an essential item. They're easy to pack up, and easy to set up, and many of them include a bassinet option for infants as well as a changing station, which is really convenient to have when visiting people who don't have young kids of their own. The pack-and-play continues to be useful well into the toddler years as a travel bed, and I know so many parents who also love it as a play space for crawlers and early walkers to keep them contained and entertained while parents are making dinner, cleaning up, or doing anything else where they can't have both eyes on their child. If you want to give a gift that will definitely get a lot of use, this is a sure bet! If you want to earn bonus points in the gift-giving category, buy a couple of extra sheets - parents will appreciate the extras on those days when the baby goes through sheets faster than the machine can wash them.
Read the entire "Baby Gifts for Any Budget" series to see Kate's recommendations for baby gifts in other price ranges!
Baby Gifts for Any Budget: $200 and up (coming soon!)