Anna, Bethany, and I have all had new babies this past year, so I’ve been thinking lately of out-of-the-box baby gifts for those of us who already have kids (and all the necessary gear that comes with them). The standard baby gift around here seems to be a cute outfit, but honestly, I’m already up to my ears in 3-6 month dresses and really didn’t need ANY more clothes for my third girl in a row! I’m a pretty practical girl, so I tend to give diapers because I KNOW they’ll be used, but sometimes you just want to do something more personal or fun. I love receiving diapers, but I’m also blessed to have friends who have come up with creative ways to celebrate the birth of each of my kids! I thought I’d share a few ideas with you.
1. Gifts for the mom. Let’s face it, no matter if she just gave birth to baby #1, 4 or 6, she’s a pretty big deal. With my last two babies, I’ve loved getting flip-flops, fun DVDs, a relaxing CD, and of course, chocolate. If she’s breastfeeding, fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea will be put to good use. One of my more creative friends just sent me a big picnic-sized tote stuffed with healthy picnic type foods, perfect for a long day at the park (where the big kids can run off energy while I cuddle the baby on a shady park bench). My best baby shower gift ever was when church ladies pitched in and got me two visits from a cleaning lady after #3 was born.
2. Books. We all get tired of our children’s book selection at times, right? (And by the time several children have gnawed the corners of our family favorites, it might be nice to get a fresh copy.) If you’re sure the family already has classics like Goodnight Moon, go old-school with older favorites that are just coming back in print (like Gyo Fujikawa) or go cutting edge with the most recent Caldecott winners. I firmly believe no family can have too many quality children’s books in their home. And if you’re a classic literature lover, you do know about Baby Lit and Cozy Classics, right? There’s nothing like introducing your friend’s daughter to Pride and Prejudice in Board Book form. It makes me smile every time.
3. Sock-Ons. I came across these amazing little accessories at a baby boutique in Chicago several years ago, and my kids never lose their socks when wearing them. They don’t show up on a Babies R Us gift guide, but you can get them from amazon now, and I think every mom of a newborn should have a pair.
4. Month-by-month onesie stickers. I try to get a picture of my babies at each month until a year. That task is more fun with these stickers, which I was given for baby #3 by a friend who also loves monthly baby pictures. I put mine against a white onesie and have a cute record of S’s monthly development. I’ve paired them with packs of onesies for first-time moms or just ordered the stickers for veteran moms who already have more onesies than they know what to do with.
5. Orbit Labels for color-coding cups, water bottles, bottles, etc. Our family plugged along with random cups until we got to three kids. Then we simply had to color code to keep track of whose stuff was whose. They’re my go-to “fun” gifts because it’s an easy way to get something personalized for the older siblings as well as the baby. (Check to see what their color code scheme is first, of course!)
6. Finally, ask if any of your friends’ gear has worn out or expired. We assume that a family with three kids has all the gear they need, but I’ve discovered that not everything will last through all my kids. Even our nicer bibs have gotten ratty with three kids wearing them nonstop. Is your friend’s diaper bag worn to bits like mine was after six years of constant use? Are their baby washcloths rough or lost? Our infant carseat expired after #3, so we actually needed a new one for J. I didn’t know what I was doing when I registered for babywearing gear back in 2006, so I was thrilled to receive a Pikkolo carrier this spring and finally be able to pass along the less versatile carriers that I’d been making do with for the first three kids. (And you can still go for cutesy monogrammed stuff if that’s your thing—it doesn’t hurt J to use burp cloths, bibs, and towels with her older siblings’ names on them, but it’s nice for her to have some of her own things, too.)
For those of you who have more than one kid, what have been the best gifts you’ve received for subsequent children?
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