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Best Thoughtful And Practical Baby Gifts

Updated on July 31, 2013

Baby Shower And New Baby Gift Ideas For Babies Under 1 Year

Like most first time parents, before my daughter was born I stocked up on vast amounts of stuff that "seemed like a good idea at the time".

It took me a few weeks to find my feet with all of the new baby gear that I had never used before and once I figured out what I was doing I realized disappointingly, that all the gifts that I have purchased for new babies in my life were actually, mostly totally impractical and as a result quite possibly hadn't even been used which is in my opinion pretty counter-productive.

Below I'm going to share some reasons why certain baby presents are a lot more useful than others. I decided to write this because, if I had seen an article like this before having the new baby crash course myself it would have helped me to change my perspective and I would (maybe) feel less silly now about some of the stuff I wasted money on for my daughter as well as money that could have been better utilized on gifts that I have purchased for others over the years.

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Baby Clothes

OMG IT'S SOOOO CUTE!!! - Buyer Beware....

The majority of baby gifts we received were clothing related and that's why this is at the top of my list.

Although all the clothes were adorable and appreciated, our daughter unfortunately only wore about 30% of her cumulative pre-purchased wardrobe and this includes a pile of things that I purchased myself.

Mostly the reasons for so much clothing going unused can be narrowed down into two main points.

* Inappropriate for the time of year during which she was the right size for the clothing item.

* Not comfy or easy to get in and out of.

No Matter How Adorable It Is, Keep These Points In Mind When Purchasing Baby Clothes

1. Fabric should be soft and flexible. Avoid denim until baby is old enough to sit up unaided.

2. Buy something a minimum of one bracket up in terms of size and keep in mind what the weather is going to be like when they're big enough to fit into what you've bought. I would recommend that you buy for at least the 6 month mark because mom and dad are probably already drowning in newborn stuff.

3. Babies live in their jammies most of the time. If you buy some nice soft and comfy jammies they will be used frequently!!! Same rule for socks, can never have too many socks!!!

4. If it's not easy to get in and out of, it will NOT be the first thing mom is going to grab out of the dresser. Most babies HATE getting dressed and they're not fond of things going over their heads so ideally buy ANYTHING That snaps right up to the neck so mom can avoid it going over the head. Anything that goes over the head and has snaps at least along BOTH legs to the ankles is also good. Things that snap only down one side are not great for very small babies even though it is a very popular style.

5. Everyone knows that babies are adorable little puke and poop factories so make sure that the clothing you're buying doesn't require any special washing or drying care because it's doubtful that Mom will have time for anything she can't wash along with everything else.

These Sets Tick All The Boxes For A Perfect Baby Clothing Gift

Baby Aspen Baby  "Caterpillar Crawlers" Baby Socks Gift Set, Multi, 0-6 months
Baby Aspen Baby "Caterpillar Crawlers" Baby Socks Gift Set, Multi, 0-6 months

This set is unisex, the packaging is adorable and it contains socks. Honestly, you can never have too many socks!

Babysoy Footie - Eggplant-3-6 Months
Babysoy Footie - Eggplant-3-6 Months

Soft footed jammies are also a gift that will be well received and worn frequently!


Soft Toys

It can be dangerous to give babies stuffed toys which aren't specifically approved for their age range so if you want to buy something that they can enjoy sooner rather than later, the best option is a mismatched cluster of high contrast stimulation.

Babies need something that is well made, easy to clean, visually interesting for their developing eyesight and something that makes noises in response to their efforts to devour or otherwise destroy it.

Fortunately, toy manufacturers are on the ball with these requirements. The items below offer a variety of textures and colors and sounds which combine all of the things budding minds require to give Mommy 5 minutes of peace.

A Few More Colorful Sensory Development Toys

Lamaze Freddie The Firefly
Lamaze Freddie The Firefly

We don't have one of these but it ticks all the boxes with textures, colors and lots of bits for chewing on!

Lamaze Soft Chime Garden
Lamaze Soft Chime Garden

There is one of these at our play group and all of the babies find it fascinating! It's especially good to help them when they're first learning to sit up.



If you want to purchase a gift that baby can enjoy from day one, which they will be extremely slow to outgrow, go the blanket route.

Our daughter has about 10 different blankets, all different sizes, colors and textures. Some were gifts and some we bought ourselves when we realized how handy they are to have around, in abundance. She loves a good cuddle with any blanket but she does have a favorite. It's not just her favorite blanket, it's her favorite thing and she loves it so much that I've actually purchased two spares for when it inevitably goes thread bare!

Our Daughter's Favorite Blanket - This single piece of fabric has saved my sanity

Cutie Pie Soft Baby Blanket Sweet Cupcakes/cupcake Pink
Cutie Pie Soft Baby Blanket Sweet Cupcakes/cupcake Pink

This is it, we have three of them. At the time of this update she is 10 months old and she still cuddles her cupcakes every day!



Mary Meyer Taggies Oodles Owl Cozy Blanket
Mary Meyer Taggies Oodles Owl Cozy Blanket

Taggies is a brand that takes advantage of the fact that babies are attracted to tags like cats are attracted to catnip. With a Taggie blanket you get the blanket as well as precious soothing moments of baby entertainment and amusement as they explore the different colored and textured tabs with their little fingers and mouths.

Mary Meyer Taggies Buddy Dog Cozy Blanket
Mary Meyer Taggies Buddy Dog Cozy Blanket

Here is another Taggie blanket that is less girly than the pink owl one but I would say the puppy is fairly unisex..



Small babies have extremely short attention spans. If you're going to get a book for a tiny person you may want to consider choosing something that is meaningful to you. Something that you think no child should be without.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant I started tracking down and buying up all of my favorite story books from when I was a child. Even though they're WAY above her head now, I just want her to have them because they are special to me and I remember the way that they made me feel as a child.

She also has a bunch of the baby appropriate touch and feel books which she loves to chew on, for the most part (examples below).

Baby's First Books

That's Not My Dragon...(Usborne Touchy-Feely Books)
That's Not My Dragon...(Usborne Touchy-Feely Books)

There is a massive range of "That's Not My" books and this is just one of them. Each page has a different texture for baby to explore. My daughter is nuts about her Dragon book. She has the Monster and Bunny ones as well.

My First Taggies Book: Who Do You See?
My First Taggies Book: Who Do You See?

This is a book that combines the magic of Taggies with a mirror. We don't have this book specifically but it's definitely one that our daughter would enjoy based on my observations of her with a different taggies book as well as a book with a big mirror. She loves looking at herself!



To me, the best Keepsakes are customizable. I find them to be very thoughtful gifts and that makes them a favorite for me because I love being the person who finds the most unusual and memorable present. Most people will be buying clothes and gift cards so your gift will really stand out if you choose to go the keepsake route.

Below are some examples of wonderful, affordable keepsake gifts for very small babies.

"Deluxe" Baby Inkless Footprint Kit with White Papers
"Deluxe" Baby Inkless Footprint Kit with White Papers

This is the same "inkless" process they use to take footprints in the hospital packaged for home use.

Pearhead Babyprints Baby Handprint or Footprint Keepsake Ornament - Makes A Perfect Holiday Gift, Holiday
Pearhead Babyprints Baby Handprint or Footprint Keepsake Ornament - Makes A Perfect Holiday Gift, Holiday

This is a great kit which creates a three dimensional keepsake, however bear in mind that the prints one (above) is probably a bit easier to get baby to cooperate with.

C.R. Gibson First 5 Years Memory Book, Record Memories and Milestones on 64 Beautifully Illustrated Pages - Laguna
C.R. Gibson First 5 Years Memory Book, Record Memories and Milestones on 64 Beautifully Illustrated Pages - Laguna

For those who don't scrapbook but would still like to keep mementos for baby's early childhood.

Your Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal
Your Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal

I bought this recently and it is honestly the best baby book I've ever seen. Instead of recording milestones it just focusses on birthdays and there are some really clever pages inside to fill in as well as pockets to store bits and pieces. It's spiral bound so that it has plenty of capacity to fatten up and I think it's very well made.

I would say this would make an absolutely IDEAL first birthday present as well.


Commission Customized Artwork

The internet is a vast place in which you can locate artists with ease who are willing to create something special just for you, for a price.

I am an artist and among the commissions that I have completed over the years, several have been for new babies. Commissioning artwork gives you the ability to control exactly what goes into the piece and it means that the resulting gift will truly be one of a kind.

Some examples of my work are in the image above and more information including a price list is available on My Website.

Gift Certificates

And finally, Gift Certificates! If you just can't think of what to buy, you don't have time to shop or if you want to contribute toward a larger present, gift certificates are the way to go. We received several when our daughter was born and we promptly forgot we had them because we were so overwhelmed with the new parent experience so they were fabulous when rediscovered a couple months later.

We were able to get her toys that she really enjoyed and some clothing that she really needed as she rapidly grew out of everything she owned!

Available from Amazon

Amazon eGift Card
Amazon eGift Card

I have given and received several Amazon E-mail gift cards. They are instant and extremely handy but you should always check to make sure they've been received. Amazon makes it really easy to resolve if they're not received (faulty email, caught in spam filter or just lost in the ether) but you should always follow up to be sure.


Image Credits

Intro Image and Original Artwork - Sarah Bonczek Simpson

All Amazon Products -

Did you find this page helpful? - What are your favorite baby products?

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    • gregs411 profile image

      gregs411 4 years ago

      Nice collection of baby gifts.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 4 years ago

      I like personalized baby gifts - they make such nice keepsakes.

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      Cute choices; I love that shade of green in the first set of clothes up on top. Pretty popular right now!