In the first year of a baby boy or baby girl's life, they go through the most incredible amount of change. However, it can be challenging to know what to buy gift-wise. After all, a baby could be a couple of months old at their first Christmas or almost at their first birthday! Whether you are a parent or a grandparent, or simply a close friend of the family, you'll probably want to buy them something meaningful that they'll enjoy using.
Here are some of our current favourite baby gifts.
Baby’s first Christmas gifts
Christmas is a really special time when there's a new baby around. The promise of Santa on Christmas Eve and buying stocking fillers are still a little way off yet, meaning parents can enjoy their baby's first Christmas with a little less pressure. Christmas gift ideas for babies can be themed around the festive season, giving you a little more direction than buying presents at other times.
Buying a baby their first Christmas bauble and Christmas tree decoration is a great option to ensure that you get them something that they'll use year after year, way after they have had their first Christmas dinner. Many people keep gifts they received as babies for much of their lives!
This tree ornament is pretty as well as personalised, but you don’t necessarily have to go with having something engraved or with their name on it. Simply buying a pretty decoration from a place you have visited will often be suitable too.
It may sound a bit OTT but buying a small Christmas tree is actually a good idea for a baby. If you get one with lights on, like this one, which is small enough to go in their room, they’ll want it up each and every December. What’s great about that is that it will also act as a night light in the depths of winter.
3. The Snowman
The Snowman is such a well-loved story, making it a fantastic idea for a present. There are no words in the book, so reading it with your baby will rely on you to tell the story, and, as they get older, you can get it out with them every festive period and talk through the pictures. Talking together is key to a baby and child's development, so this is a great way to get little ones approaching their first birthday talking.
This pop-up version of the book is beautiful and a way to make the story even more special.
4. Snow globe
There's something very magical about a snow globe that, as you watch your baby grow, you'll be able to share with them every year. They can range in price - starting at just a few pounds and going up steeply - often reflective of the quality. You can get some scenes inside that include icy landscapes with a penguin or two, ones with snowmen or perhaps with Father Christmas himself.
This Paddington-themed one is a wonderful idea for a little one. Paddington is such a beloved character and also means that you can bulk out any presents with other Paddington-themed items - like books, toys and cuddly bears.
Given the time of year, you could buy a baby an advent calendar. Of course, they'll not be onto chocolate yet, but you can buy ones these days with books behind the doors, or you could go for a straight picture one.
Julia Donaldson has one for her books which she has written with Axel Sheffler. They're not copies of the books but activity books or game books. The colouring ones will be perfect for older babies, but using all the books is a great way to get your baby involved with the story and light up their imagination.
Buying a baby a Christmas stocking for their first Christmas is a wonderful option. It's another present that will get used repeatedly, so you'll know it's not a waste of money. There are some really pretty ones available these days, too. Alternatively, you could go as gimmicky as you like or even have one personalised.
We love this traditional one with an embroidered first initial. It means you choose a meaningful stocking for the baby - plus, it's not too big either, leaving you a smaller space to fill each year!
Popular gifts for babies
Buying a present for a baby need not be complicated. They're easily pleased at this age! So keep it simple and know they could grow out of it soon. That said, it's also possible to buy 'forever' toys that they return to repeatedly. If you're looking to buy one of these, it's best to spend a little more if you can - that way, they are more likely to last!
7. Soft toy
All babies love cuddly toys. They'll love sucking on ears and will use them as a soother when in bed or out and about in new places. Characters like Peter Rabbit always stay popular, while Jellycat toys will last all the rough and tumble that babies and toddlers will put them through.
If you wanted to buy something a little different, this banana-themed one would fit the bill nicely - though other fruits and vegetables are available! More traditional soft toys like rabbits and dogs can sometimes be put together with accompanying books in a gift box which would make a wonderful present.
A teether is ideal if you are looking for a practical present for a baby. They'll be used all the time and can help a baby stop being cranky when teething.
There are many types of teethers out there now - many of which parents can put in the freezer, which can help a baby when their gums are sore. They come in different shapes and sizes and can double up as toys when baby is out and about.
While perhaps not the most entertaining of shapes out there, we like this one from MAM - a brand synonymous with excellent baby products. It's got a clip so you can attach it to a baby's clothing, meaning it won't get easily lost or thrown out of a pram.
9. Board books
Buying a baby a storybook is a brilliant idea as it gets them interested in reading. It's possible to buy fabric ones, which are great as they can go in baby bags without weighing them down. Board-backed books are fantastic as they last a long time and are difficult for a baby to ruin or break.
Many classics have been printed on board, so it's possible to get them a story which will grow with them as they learn to read. However, buying any books that expand their early vocabulary is a good option. For example, this 'My First Animals Play Book’ has delightful pictures and can be used to create a 360-degree play scene.
We spoke to Sonia from Mummy Constant, who told Age Times: "I always try to find something that will stimulate the baby. Bright colours and different noises are always good as it helps with so many developments a baby goes through. I always check online reviews about the things I buy too to see what other parents have said!"
10. Baby clothes
Baby clothes are always a great gift for any baby boy or girl right up until they are toddlers. The speed at which they grow at this age is hard to keep tabs on - clothes which seem to be baggy one day are tight the next. They always seem to need a new sleep suit, onesie or romper! What's excellent about clothes is that you can buy themed ones. For example, you can buy clothes decorated with Disney characters or little outfits for 'Sunday best'.
Smarter outfits are an example of something parents often never buy unless they need to. So it's a great excuse to spoil the baby and buy them a cute shirt and jumper set or even this baby boy's trousers, braces and shirt outfit. Traditional pretty is hard to beat for girls; check out this tartan-style skirt, top and headband outfit.
Personalised baby gifts
Buying personalised gifts can help make a keepsake extra special. Plus, it can turn something a bit mundane into the perfect gift. Lots of companies offer personalisation these days on all manner of goods.
11. Baby blanket
Keeping a baby snug and warm is always high on a new parent's priority list. So gifting a baby blanket is helpful, especially as babies can go through bedding quickly! Personalising them helps make the present unique to a new family who will be touched that you've gone to that extra effort.
This cable knit one comes in various colours and has a classic look while being soft to be next to a baby's sensitive skin. It's also easy to wash, which is a must!
Teething babies dribble a lot and will go through several bibs a day if they are teething badly. Plus, as they approach one year old, they will be eating more and more types of food, which can spill onto their clothes. Bibs can therefore be a godsend - buying a personalised one is not only meaningful but also practical.
These ones are soft around a baby's neck and are embroidered beautifully. Plus, as they're 100% cotton, they can be washed easily in the machine, removing any pesky stains quickly.
13. Dressing gown
Putting a baby in a dressing gown may seem excessive, but they look adorable in them! Putting their name on the front, as you can do with this one, is probably a present that parents of a baby would be hesitant to buy themselves - erring towards other more practical things the baby needs. That's not to say they wouldn't want one of these gowns, though, so it's a good option coming from a grandparent or friend who can indulge the little one.
14. Photo frame
It's possible to buy photo frames that are easily personalised these days. So you can choose what you want to write on it - be it "Baby's 1st Christmas" or "We love you". People often use these frames for wedding day pictures, but they're great for babies, too - like this classic wood one. You can include a photo as a memory for the baby or give it as a gift to a family.
Buying gifts for a baby
Birthday gifts, Christmas presents and buying items for a baby's christening can be tricky. Babies change a lot, meaning there's a high chance that what you buy them won't get much use for very long. That means you want to buy something meaningful.
Try not to overthink it. Tired parents will be grateful for anything you buy them as it is one less thing they have to worry about in the little time they have.