Most people searching for baby gifts head to the nearest toy store or department store. While these retailers offer plenty of options and babies should have developmentally appropriate toys, there are many other ways to shower your baby with presents this holiday season. We’ve put together our list of wholesome baby gifts to help inspire you to think outside the toy box this year, foster creativity in your baby and yourself and help teach your baby the true meaning of the holidays.
Of course our #1 idea for babies is the gift of perfect nutrition for immediate and life-long health. Study after study shows that benefits of breastfeeding for a baby’s cognitive development, digestive system, metabolism and overall well-being. We can’t think of a better way to share your love with your baby than starting her off on the best diet in the world: breast milk. This emphasis on health from an early age continues to every stage of your child’s life. Start early, do it often. Breast is best!
Whether your new baby is the first or your fifth child, incorporate baby into your family traditions at a young age. She may not fully understand what’s going on as you bake decorative sugar cookies or sing holiday tunes around the fireplace, but she will soon enough. One day you can remind her she’s been part of these traditions since she was a baby, giving her a special sense of her place in your family and encouraging the holiday spirit in her for years to come.
Homemade from the Heart
If you have a special knack for crafts, spend time making a holiday gift for your baby. Knit a blanket, hat or sweater. Paint a mural on her nursery wall. Create a mobile of colorful objects to hang in her playroom. Record a CD of yourself singing lullabies. Make a scrapbook of her life thus far. These items will delight your little one now, but also become a special keepsake as she grows older and remembers the love you put into making her a gift. Also, encourage siblings to hand-make presents rather than asking for money to buy them. This instills a sense of pride in creating a gift out of love and creativity, and takes the emphasis of the holidays off commercialism.
Experience the World
The holidays are the perfect time to share experiences that seem almost impossible to enjoy during the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Spending time together as a family is the ideal gift for your baby, especially if she doesn’t get much one-on-one time with you otherwise. During the holidays, carve out time to take your baby on an adventure, perhaps to a children’s museum, aquarium, zoo or theater performances designed for the very young. These places foster exploration and imagination. Watch your little one soak in the environment as fish swim past her, monkeys swing from tree branches or a puppet comes to life. Trust us, you will get just as much joy as she does when you see her face brighten with enchantment.
Be One with Nature
Depending on where you live, try to spend time outdoors. A nature stroll, building a snowman or going apple picking are great new sensory experiences for baby. Let her touch different types of rocks, gravel and sand. Have her listen to the wind, rustling leaves and bird calls. Let her taste safe natural foods such as fruits or even snow. Encourage her to smell flowers, trees and perhaps the scent of a warm fire. Fresh air is important for children and you can foster an appreciation for nature and the environment at an early age by teaching your children about plants, weather and topography. For a fun activity, pick up some things in nature – sticks, shells, leaves – to use in an art project.
Baby gifts need not center around expensive toys and clothes. Wholesome, heart-felt gifts, from breastfeeding to family experiences, are all a baby needs to feel your love this holiday season.
Happy holidays, from our family to yours!