Grandma’s List of Five Best and Five Worst New Baby Gifts

After six grandchildren and many baby gifts, this Grandma has listened to her daughters rave and complain about baby gifts.  Of course, when we give a baby gift, we want the recipient to be happy, if not overjoyed.  Here are some do’s and don’ts from this experienced Grandma:
Best New Baby Gifts:
Number One:
Home made by Someone We Love.  When a great grandmother (GG) or grandmother knits a blanket or sweater, it becomes an instant family heirloom.  My daughter just sent a picture of our fourth grandchild wearing a sweater knitted by a GG who has been deceased for several years.  She will always be remembered with love.  Hopefully, I will live to see a great grandchild of mine wearing this sweater.  For those of us who may not be handy with knitting needles, think about creating a coupon book especially for the soon to be parents, for example, a coupon for babysitting on a Saturday night, a coupon for a paid dinner out with babysitting services provided, a couple for airline tickets to visit Grandma if you are a long distance grandparent.  This can be simple or elaborate in a handmade scrapbook!  Think about creating a scrapbook genealogy with pictures of the new addition’s extended family, of course, with room to add pictures as the baby grows.
Number Two:
On the baby registry.  When soon to be parents make a registry, they WANT everything on the registry.  When this Grandma sees a baby registry, I know to buy the listed staples first: baby bottles, newborn diapers, etc.  New parents appreciate groups of the small inexpensive items, so do not shy away from those, but figure out your budget and buy a bundle.
Number Three:
A Target gift card.  A Target gift card is always welcome.  This enables the soon to be parents or new parents the ability to buy what they need, even groceries.  New babies are expensive.
Number Four:
Open a 529 plan for college.  A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. It is named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code which created these types of savings plans in 1996. Yes, grandparents are able to do so.  There is information for grandparents. A Grandma does not have to open a college fund with a lot of money, but starting one puts the parents on the right road we want for our grandchildren.  Add a note that for the baby’s birthday and Christmas, contributions will be made to the plan for the grandchild.  Some states, such as Florida, have prepaid college plans.  I know some grandparents who have gone that route and contribute monthly toward those plans.  If you are a family member or a close family friend, ask if there is a 529 plan set up for the new baby, and ask if you can contribute as well as a gift.
Number Five.
A luxury gift that is wonderful, such as a personalized bib or burp cloth from Chad and Jake,  or the softest baby clothes from Splendid Littles, Juicy for girls or Polo for baby boys . Gap Baby is always welcome.  Gap runs true to size.  Splendid Little, Juicy and Polo run a size small.  Buy bigger than newborn or 0-3 months size and remember seasons!  Buying a bathing suit that is a size for winter will not work unless it comes with plane tickets for the family to visit the Florida grandmother in January!
If you know if it is a big baby, or if it is your own grandchild, you won’t know but how long the 0-3 month clothes will last until the grandchild’s growth curve is known. Using the most recent information from each pediatrician visit will help Grandma see what to buy for a next visit. There is an  iPhone app that can help find the clothing sizes that fit your grandchild’s current and future weight and height.  The app uses the medical charts to establish and then predicts your grandchild’s growth and matches that to major brands size charts.
Remember to check the website to see if there is a discount code.
Worst New Baby Gifts:
Number One.
Not on the baby registry.  I understand.  We feel that we are not being unique if we just choose something on the baby registry.  However, the parents need and want these items.  If there is anything left on the baby registry in your price range, please buy it.  Your gift will be most appreciated and you will have spent little time thinking of a gift. Consider buying a group of inexpensive items that are necessities.
Number Two.
Something green or yellow when the parents have made the sex of the baby known.  Unless you are specifically told that the parents desire something green or yellow, buy pink or blue!
Number Three.
Bigger than a bread box and stuffed animals.  I put these together for those out there who think a giant giraffe is a welcome new baby gift.  Babies come with an enormous amount of paraphernalia.  Unless the swing is on the baby list, don’t buy it no matter how much we know that a swing is a god sent for new parents.  They may all be living in a tiny apartment for all we know.  I happen to love stuffed animals.  I think my grandchildren do too.  I tend to buy stuffed animals for my grandchildren (especially Disney) when they ask, but a newborn cannot ask.  Please do not think the newborn will be deprived of stuffed animals.  People who don’t know buy new parents dozens of stuffed animals for the baby.  Although I am loath to lump blankets along with the stuffed animals as some of the worst baby gifts, new parents get dozens of these too.  If you are trying to be original by buying a beautiful blanket, it will join the many new parents receive.
Number Four:
Monogrammed designer baby clothes.  Yes, I know.  I put monogrammed and designer in the best category too.  Be selective.  Putting a $150 newborn baby outfit on a new baby just to have spit up and poop destroy it after one wearing is not the best investment for a newborn.
Number Five:
Newborn size anything not on the registry.  Newborn size is tiny, and usually, after washing, and we must wash all clothes before putting them on a newborn, they shrink to where they do not fit.  Try to limit 0-3 months sizes as well.  If you are interested in sizes, see Number Five above for an interesting app.
This Grandma loves buying and bringing gifts.  Although all gifts are appreciated, some are more appreciated, especially those that do not have to be returned.  I wish you happy new baby shopping so you can share the
Joy,
Mema

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