The “Old Faithfuls” of gift-giving are out of the question: Babies have no use for chocolate, a scented candle, or a new kitchen gadget.
And if you’re looking for a baby shower gift, you don’t want to show up with the same toy or teether that someone else is bringing!
You’re left with three strong approaches: A tangible gift for the child, a gift for the new parents, or a financial gift for the child’s future.
This article will discuss all three approaches and give you some actionable tips on how to find a great gift for the little ones in your life.
First, Ask the Parents!
Before you rush out to buy something, it’s helpful to simply ask the parents about a good baby gift idea.
Parents will know best what the baby (and they) need. Plus, some parents may have preferences — they may wish to avoid certain types of toys or may have safety concerns with particular gift items. For example, some parents may prefer wooden toys over plastic toys.
If you’re heading to a baby shower or other organized celebration, there may already be a baby gift registry. With a registry, gifters can even mark when they buy something so that no two people come with the same gift.
It can also be worth suggesting a gift (like a financial contribution to the baby's future), as new parents have enough to think about!
Financial Gifts: A Gift That Lasts
Babies are more interested in their own feet than they are in savings bonds or investments. Fair enough — there is plenty of time to worry about money in adulthood.
But when it comes to gifting, one of the most impactful things you can do is to give a financial gift.
Here are some ideas...
EarlyBird investment account
EarlyBird is the simplest way to gift money to children and have a significant long-term impact. EarlyBird lets parents, friends, and family collectively invest in the futures of the little ones in their lives. Here’s how it works:
- Someone (parent, guardian, or another loved one) sets up a custodial investment account in the child’s name
- The account custodian (person who set it up) selects how funds will be invested (there are multiple diversified portfolios of stocks and bonds to choose from)
- Once the account is set up, anyone can send money to the new EarlyBird account, along with fun video messages and notes that the child can watch once they’re older
- Investments grow over time with the market
- When the child becomes a legal adult, they can take control of the account and use the funds as they see fit
With EarlyBird, a small gift can have a big impact. When you gift money, you will see an estimated value of that gift when the child turns 18 (based on estimated returns from the stock market).
Click here to download the EarlyBird app and learn more.
If the parents have already set up a college fund for the baby, you can help by contributing cash to the account. If they don’t yet have an account set up, you may wish to introduce them to EarlyBird (see above) as a more flexible alternative.
A piggy bank (with starter funds)
It may seem a bit old-school, but a piggy bank is a fun way for kids to save, and it can also help teach them about financial literacy. Consider gifting a physical piggy bank (along with some starter funds) to help instill a lifelong saving habit.
You can also purchase a savings bond from the U.S. government for a safe, albeit low-yielding, investment for the child’s future.
23 Best Gifts for Babies & Baby Showers
Need some gift inspiration? Whether you’re heading to a baby shower, a baptism, or a first birthday party, or you just want to give a celebratory gift to new parents, the baby gifts below offer some great options.
Teething toys provide a safe item for babies to chew on. Teethers can also help soothe the pain caused by growing teeth. They are typically made of rubber, silicone, or wood. Some teethers can even be put in the freezer to provide a cool, soothing feel for youngsters.
Here are some of the best teethers for babies:
- Calmies Teether for Babies: A natural rubber teether that’s free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates.
- Sophie La Girafe Teething Toy: A cute giraffe toy that’s made of natural rubber and free of BPA and phthalates.
- Nuby Silicone Teethe-eez Teether: A simple and inexpensive silicone teether that includes bristles and a hygienic case.
- Not-Too-Cold-to-Hold BPA-Free Silicone Teether: A two-part teether that features a freezable component and a separate handle, offering the benefits of a cold teether without hurting the baby’s hands.
Sensory toys are designed to help stimulate the child’s senses and encourage them to explore their capabilities. This not only keeps the child engaged but also contributes to vital early childhood development. Wooden blocks, small balls, and rattles could all be considered sensory toys.
Here are some of the best sensory toys for babies and youngsters:
- Edushape See-Me Sensory Balls: A set of four brightly colored balls that feature a bumpy design for better sensory engagement.
- Bright Starts Oball Rattle: A smooth, flexible rattle that is safe for newborns and features three rattle designs in one.
- Plan Toys Sensory Blocks: A set of six blocks made with eco-friendly materials and featuring two visual blocks, two auditory blocks, and two texture blocks.
- Manhattan Toy Classic Baby Beads Wood Rattle: A wooden rattle that doubles as a clutching toy and a teether, helping babies to explore and build motor skills.
Most of us had a beloved stuffed animal as a child, so this one doesn’t need too much explanation.
While stuffed animals are often a favorite companion of toddlers, babies too can benefit — just be sure to get a baby-appropriate product, as some stuffed animals can have pieces that may pose a choking hazard.
Here are some of the best stuffed animals for babies:
- Baby GUND My 1st Teddy Bear: A simple, soft, baby-safe teddy bear from GUND, available in both 10” and 15” sizes.
- Under the Nile Giraffe Lovey: An easy-to-hold stuffed giraffe that’s baby-safe and made from 100% organic Egyptian cotton.
- Bedtime Originals Choo Choo Express Plush Elephant: A simple, inexpensive stuffed elephant that’s baby-safe.
Personalized baby gifts
A personalized baby gift could include clothing, accessories, toys, and more that have been customized. Usually, this means adding the child’s name, but you could also add the date of birth or a customized message. These are great newborn baby gifts as they can help the parents record memories from day one.
Etsy is one of the best places to look for a personalized gift. Some great options include:
- Signature Cursive Baby Beanie: A knit beanie with a vegan leather patch that’s customized with the child’s name in cursive. It is available in several colors and sizes.
- Personalized Animal Lovey: A half-baby blanket, half-stuffed animal that can be customized with the child’s name. 12 different animal designs are available.
- Personalized Elephant Stuffed Animal: A small stuffed elephant that can be custom printed on each ear with the child’s name, as well as time of birth, weight, and other details.
Baby memory books
For parents who want to record memories of their young children, a baby memory book can help. Each page has different prompts to record specific memories, whether through written stories, pictures, or measurements.
They serve as part-scrapbook, part-journal, and they are a great way for parents to track and reflect on the rapid progress of their beloved child!
Here are some great memory book options:
- Lucy Darling Little Camper Baby Memory Book: A memory book to record a baby’s first year, with whimsical illustrations and sturdy construction.
- Beautiful Baby Memory Book: A gender-neutral baby memory book that helps parents record key moments from the first five years of their child’s life.
- Pearhead First 5 Years Chevron Baby Memory Book: A five-year memory book with 50 guided journal prompts, a baby-safe ink pad to take hand and foot imprints, and a slot for a photo insert on the front cover. This book is available in several colors and designs.
Play gyms & mats
Baby play gyms and mats are toys designed to allow babies to interact and play in a safe manner while developing fine motor skills.
Most have a soft mat for the baby to lay on, with toys dangling down that they can interact with. These play gyms are usually specifically designed for very young babies, but be sure to check the age range to make sure you’re buying an age-appropriate baby gift.
Here are some of the best baby play mats:
- Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym & Maracas: A machine-washable padded play pad with several interactive toys, rattles, “piano,” and more.
- The Play Gym by Lovevery: A Montessori-inspired play mat with stage-based developmental play features, designed to be useful for newborns all the way through to toddlers.
- Tiny Love Gymini: A small, soft play gym specifically designed for newborns, with a high-contrast black-and-white design and up to 18 skill-building activities.
Baby clothes & gift cards
This one doesn’t need much explanation — babies need clothes! If you expect others will be gifting clothing, it may be smart to buy one or two sizes up (the parents will thank you later).
Another note: Many parents will have preferences for what their children wear (designs, color, etc.), so it may be best to simply get a gift card.
We won’t recommend any specific products here, but some good retailers to pick up gift cards for include:
- Carter's & Oshkosh: Carter’s is one of the biggest brands for baby and toddler clothing, and their gift cards also work with three other brands (Oshkosh, Skiphop, and Little Planet).
- BuyBuyBaby: A large retailer of baby and children’s clothing, accessories, home goods, and more. BuyBuyBaby is owned by Bed Bath and Beyond, and it has both physical stores and an ecommerce website.
- finn + emma: A smaller specialty manufacturer and retailer of organic/natural baby clothing. Gift cards can be purchased and used online.
Gifts for New Parents
Here’s the deal: A thoughtful gift for the parents of the child could have a bigger impact than another pair of onesies or a cute stuffed animal.
Helping out the parents can provide some much-needed relief and will also benefit the child — happier parents mean a happier baby.
New parents are going to be exhausted, so the best gifts for parents are often gifts that can save them time. There are dozens of great options for parents, but we can break things up into a few categories:
Everyone needs to eat, and with parents spending all their time caring for their newborns, proper nutrition often gets left behind. The gift of food could look like:
- Home-cooked meals, particularly those that reheat easily (think lasagna or casseroles)
- Gift cards for take-out restaurants
- Gift cards for grocery delivery services
- Gift cards for meal kit services such as HelloFresh, Home Chef, or Sun Basket
- Fancy coffee to help give the parents some energy
Parents pour their hearts and souls into caring for their children — so much so that caring for themselves often takes a backseat. The gift of self-care could look like:
- A gift card for a massage or spa day
- Fancy toiletries, skincare products, etc.
- Candles or aromatherapy items
- Books (or more helpfully, audiobooks)
New parents will be constantly strapped for time and will likely greatly appreciate offers to help them out. Giving the gift of your time could look like:
- Offering to babysit
- Offering to cook or clean
- Offering to run errands, pick up groceries, etc.
- Offering to take care of older children for a day so the parents can focus on their newborn
Ultimately, buying gifts for parents is often easier than buying a gift for the actual baby — and it can have a huge impact on the parents' and child's well-being.
It can be difficult to find a good gift for a newborn. But with the recommendations on this list, you’re sure to find a good option for the kids in your life.
And remember — when in doubt, simply ask the parents what they need. The best option may be something as boring as a few packs of diapers, or it may be something you would never think of on your own.
Want to learn more about giving meaningful gifts? Check out the EarlyBird blog for some inspiration.
Gifting is tough enough when we’re buying for adults. But how do you possibly find a good gift for a newborn?
This page contains general information and does not contain financial advice. All investments involve risk. Any hypothetical performance shown is for illustrative purposes only. Actual investment performance may be different for many reasons, including, but not limited to, market fluctuations, time horizon, taxes, and fees. Please consult a qualified financial advisor and/or tax professional for investment guidance.