Privacy Policy for

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What to Give When Your Friend's Expecting

At 28 I am in the process of transitioning from the "wedding stage" of my life (i.e., where most of your free time and disposal income goes into celebrating your friends' nuptials) to the "baby stage" (i.e., where said friends start having children and, again, much of your free time and disposal income goes into celebrating the blessed events). In short, my weekends in Vegas or Austin have been replaced with baby showers and "sip and sees". [By the way, the montage above is from the now-defunct Blueprint, which featured a spread on a baby shower thrown for two of its editors. This is definitely how an office baby shower should be thrown in my book.]

Sure, I could go the easy route and shop off the registry, but to be frank Babies 'R Us makes me nervous and I don't really enjoy the experience of gifting diapers and bottles. So I say let the new parents by the boring stuff and I'll play grandparent for a day by bringing the fun, unique gift. Over the course of the past year or so I've culled together a relatively fail-proof selection of "go-to" gifts for babies that with make just about any stylish mom-to-be happy and I thought I'd share them with you should any of the rest of you be in the baby stage of your life as well.

Without further ado, here are my favorites (in no particular order):

1. Pop Menagerie Piggy Bank from Jonathan Adler ($48). A piggy bank is a classic baby gift and this iteration (oh the polka dots!) from Adler just makes me smile. Perfect for the modern nursery.

2. Mary Jane Brights from Trumpette ($24.50). Sure babies can't walk, but that's no reason not to help kick start an early shoe fetish. Since baby shoes are impractical -- and not especially comfortable for little tootsies -- a set of these cute socks is sure to keep baby looking cool while keeping feet warm. For boys, try the Cowboy socks. The entire line of baby socks from Trumpette is available HERE. [Random aside: What is it about teenie, tiny baby shoes that make grown women coo and squeal in delight? Just try and surf that site without so much as a "so cute!" peep...just try it.]

3. Sleep Thief Playsuit from Chasing Fireflies ($48). From what I hear, newborns can never have too many onesies (after all, they're making costume changes multiple times a day) so these are always a safe bet. Extra points if the onesie manages to be (a) adorable, (b) not pastel, and (c) rub it in just a little that you, as the childless friend, are still sleeping in on Saturdays. For more inexpensive clothing options, I absolutely adore the baby clothes from DwellStudio for Target; this gift set for a baby boy for under $20 is insanely cute. And speaking of DwellStudio....

4. Stroller Blankets ($40) and Hooded Towels ($44) from DwellStudio. For a range of adorable yet modern patterns and unbelievable softness, you simply cannot beat DwellStudio's line of stroller blankets and hooded towels. I've gifted these in the past with great success and have every intention of doing so again (after all, if it ain't broken...).

5. Take Me Home Gift Set from Serena and Lily ($68). I love this gift set (and, truth be told, just about everything else on offer) from Serena and Lily, the purveyors of all things baby chic. It's lovely, simple and organic.

6. Elsa Peretti Open Heart and Fork Set from Tiffany's ($265). A gift of silver baby utensils from Tiffany's is the gold standard in shower giving. Obviously not something you'd gift to a friend of a friend, but for a sister, daughter or best friend, it's definitely worth giving them something they will treasure -- a future family heirloom. Of those currently on offer, the classic open heart motif is my favorite.

7. Children's books (various). If you want to instill a love of books in children, you have to start them young. Favorites from your own childhood are a lovely, personal gift for new parents. My personal choice would be a selection of books by Tomie dePaola whose beautifully illustrated stories I remember fondly from my own bedtime rituals.

8. Baby's First Book by Rag and Bone ($68). And finally, one of my all-time favorite shower gifts is this handmade baby book from Rag and Bone, an old-fashioned bookbinding company run by a couple out of Rhode Island. The book comes with plenty of space for the parents-to-be to fill in lovingly with all sorts of pertinent (and not so pertinent) information for the child to cherish many, many years later when she realizes just how great her parents are. All of Rag and Bone's books comes in a wide array of cover choices. If you're looking for a less expensive option, the brag book ($34) would also be much appreciated (though perhaps not by all the coworkers and strangers forced to ooh and ahh over the pictures therein).

So what about you? What sorts of gifts do you like to give new or expectant parents? If you're a parent yourself, what sorts of gifts did you most appreciate or cherish?

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