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Ever feel like you’re constantly in the middle of baby season where every single one of your friends and relatives are expecting a bundle of joy?
As exciting as it is to welcome a new baby into the world, it also means that you’re now tasked with buying a gift. If your friend or relative is very particular, then it’s best to stick to what’s on their list. But if they’re laid back, well, that opens up a slew of questions:
Are you getting something for the nursery? Looking for a customizable gift? Trying to stick to a budget? Giddy to splurge on your first niece or nephew?
Phew! It can get overwhelming. Luckily, that’s where we come in.
Whether you’re shopping for a loved one’s baby shower or planning your own baby registry, we’ve compiled some of the best baby gifts out there for babies and parents-to-be.
From budget options to sweet toys to gender neutral baby clothes, there’s something on this list to make any expecting parent smile.
Of course, when recommending products that are geared towards babies or children, we always make safety our top priority. In addition to ensuring that none of the products we recommended below pose a safety hazard, we also looked for giftable options that have high ratings, are “outside the box,” or offer customization to make the gift truly personal.
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$100
- $$$ = over $100
Name Puzzle Stool from Damhorst Toys
One of the biggest problems with buying something specifically for newborns is that this stage in a baby’s life is incredibly brief. So whenever possible, it’s best to pick items that grow with a baby.
These custom name puzzle stools from Damhorst Toys are perfect because they fill so many needs. It’s a great decor option for a nursery, and as baby grows, they’ll love the removable letters that they can refit to complete the puzzle again and again. Then, as they get older, it’s a sturdy, functional step stool so little hands can safely reach the sink for washing.
Damhorst Toys is a family-owned company that’s been making these stools since 1971, so you know they’re well respected and well loved. Our Market Editor still has hers from childhood!
Customizable book from Hooray Heroes
This gift will definitely be more significant for mom or dad at first, but a personalized book, like these from Hooray Heroes, is the perfect way to memorialize the fleeting moments that are babyhood.
These hardcover books can be customized with the baby’s name and gender and can be written from the perspective of a mom and dad, mom and mom, dad and dad, or one parent. You can even customize baby’s eye color, hair color, hairstyle, and skin tone — yay, inclusivity!
Parents will love reading this book (caution: tears are inevitable), and as their child grows and begins to understand more, they’ll love hearing a story all about them.
Customizable baby bib from MarlMarl
Having multiple baby bibs is so essential. But the fun, colorful bibs that you want to use for a special occasion shouldn’t be the same stained and beat up basics that you use daily to wipe spit-up and drool.
In that case, can we recommend these adorable bibs from MarlMarl? The Japanese brand offers a wide range of super cute snap-on bibs with appliques. Their 360° design makes it easy to rotate the bib when the inevitable happens, and any style can be embroidered with baby’s name to make them a perfect (and affordable) custom gift.
Personalized milestone blanket from Lifestyle Blankets on Etsy
These days, the first year of a baby’s life is meticulously documented with an elaborately staged monthly photo (then posted on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter). And often times, parents use a milestone marker like a set of blocks, a onesie, or a numbered blanket.
While there are plenty of generic milestone blankets on sites like Amazon, why not step it up a notch with this personalized milestone blanket on Etsy? We love the relatively neutral backdrop and woodland animals along with the baby’s name in a beautiful script. You can even customize the material to be sherpa, minky, or fleece depending on your preferred method of snuggly softness.
Splashin’kids Tummy Time Water Play Mat
In the early days, tummy time usually isn’t met with excitement by most babies. But this inflatable Tummy Time Water Play Mat from Splashin’kids just might change an infant’s tune — that’s why it’s one of the best baby gifts you can find on Amazon.
Intended for ages 3 months and up, this easy-to-use activity mat can be filled with water for a gentle and responsive tummy time experience. Plus, the bold colors and floaty toys will engage baby as they strengthen their neck and shoulder muscles to reach and touch.
It’s also made from BPA-free heavy-duty PVC so reviewers say it’s extremely durable — however one reviewer pointed out that you should change the water often to avoid “scummy water,” and another says it gets too cold for her baby to lay on when the air temperature is cooler.
Captain Calamari clip-on toy from Lamaze
As a general rule, parents-to-be are always advised to make the bulk of their baby registry selections $50 or less so that it’s affordable for their friends and family. But if you’re sticking to a budget, even $50 might be a bit much.
This adorable, tactile toy is a fan favorite on Amazon and a budget-friendly option. Captain Calamari is full of knots and crinkles, and multiple textures to engage babies’ senses. It’s safe for babes of all ages and attaches to strollers, cribs, or bouncers. And, not for nothing, but this toy also deserves 100 cuteness points for the name “Captain Calamari.”
Squeaky Clean Gift Set
If you’re at a loss as to what to get your friend or relative for their baby, you can’t go wrong with a gift basket. And if you’re not sure whether they’re having a boy or a girl, you should always opt for a gender-neutral basket. The easiest way to do that is to pick colors that aren’t overly associated with baby boys or baby girls.
This bath time gift set from Baby Basket is the perfect option for any new babe. With four soft terry velour washcloths, six pairs of teensy cotton socks, and a snuggly cotton hooded bath towel, it’s a gift that’ll definitely see some use.
‘The Super, Incredible Big Sister’ Book
If your friends or relatives are expecting a second or third child, the older siblings might soon feel left out of the mix (especially if there isn’t much of an age gap). Not only does gifting the older sibs make them feel extra-special, but it’s also a quick way to become the coolest aunt or uncle around.
This cute, personalized book from author Jennifer Dewing and illustrator Jill McDonald is available in “Big Sister” or “Big Brother” titles. The story reassures soon-to-be-siblings that they’re appreciated and loved, and even rewards them for helping out with their newest family member by awarding them a medal of honor. We’re not crying, you’re crying.
Scalloped Bodysuit from MarlMarl
Onesies are a go-to gift for newborns and babies, and they definitely get a lot of use in the early days. That being said, they can be pretty forgettable when it comes to a baby gift.
If you’re looking to wow your friends or relatives, you might want to splurge on another unique option from MarlMarl. While the brand has a wide range of items for infants up to toddlerhood, we picked this cute dress bodysuit that is anything but boring.
Scalloped lace detailing and a soft pink color make this adorable 100 percent cotton outfit a guaranteed head turner. The only downside is that little ones don’t stay little for long, so it’s not a gift that will stand the test of time.
Baby Clothes from Primary
If you’re struggling to find clothing that deviates from the traditional “pink is for girls, blue is for boys,” might we recommend Primary?
This bold children’s brand offers a range of cute outfits in colorful, gender neutral options for children from newborn to 12 years old. They’re known for using chemical- and irritant-free fabric and for being super soft and snuggly.
Hanging Décor Clouds Mobile
This minimalist-inspired cloud mobile is perfect for your design-savvy friend whose nursery looks like something out of a Restoration Hardware catalog. The best part? It doesn’t have a RH price tag.
Made from chemical-free polyester, this cloud mobile is a great gender neutral option that will go with any nursery aesthetic. It doesn’t move on its own, but reviewers say it’s beautiful when you give it a spin (or if a fan is on or a window is open).
Note that it’s intended to be hung from the ceiling (as opposed to connecting to the crib), so it would be wise to investigate the specs of the nursery before purchasing.
Puzzle Baby Play Mat from Sunny Home on Etsy
We’re not going to lie, this is most definitely a splurge. But it’s adorable and, if you’re close with the person you’re shopping for, totally worth it.
Baby play mats aren’t new, but imagine a play mat that’s cut into a jigsaw puzzle! This nine-piece plush puzzle mat from Etsy is a soft place to play and a great addition to a nursery floor.
Safety-wise, it’s important to note that because this mat is plush and intended to come apart, this gift is intended for older babies who can sit up unassisted, not for infants practicing tummy time.
Lamb Plush Nursery Rocker
Again, this is another splurge, but a totally thoughtful and special gift. Rockers aren’t new, but if you’re not a fan of the plastic options from mass-market brands, this plush lamb rocker from Pottery Barn Kids is a great alternative.
It has a vintage feel thanks to the wooden frame and the plush body, and well, it’s just too darn cute. And while this gift probably won’t get any use in baby’s first 12 months, the fact that you can add a monogram and that it’s safe for kids from 1 to 5 years old means it’ll be a nursery staple for years to come.
Gray Tubby Bath Organizer
Bath time can be fun — unless you’ve misplaced your child’s favorite bath toy. Whether or not they’ve experienced the drama of a missing toy firsthand, expecting parents will definitely appreciate the gift of organization in the form of this bath toy organizer from Pottery Barn Kids.
This suction-mounted mesh container with a visible window means that you never have to wonder where Ducky wandered off to. Plus, its clean design doesn’t make it an eyesore for more design-focused families. For gift givers who want to give a name-brand appeal gift without the sticker shock, this is a happy compromise.
Baby registries can be intimidating if you’ve either never shopped in this category before (ahem — or you put it off until the last minute).
But if you have the wiggle room to go “off-script,” our top recommendations will prove that you’re the most thoughtful and unique gift-giver at your next baby shower.