So your sister has had a baby. Your best friend has popped one out. And your cousin? He’s disappeared into a haze of diapers & endless talk of wind with a giraffe called Sophie.
But it’s Christmas. And whether you want to buy the little one something, or feel obliged, I suggest you prepare yourself. I know if it was me, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. And Mothercare is a minefield to even the most seasoned of parents, so god help the rookies, nevermind the babbyless.
Below is a list of what not to buy this Christmas. I know, ‘it’s totes adorbs’ or hilarious or just ‘has to be done’. It doesn’t. Trust me. Don’t be that person. Please.
1. Drum Set
Really, you need an explanation of why not? There’s a de-friend button on Facebook. We’re not afraid to use it.
In this vein, if you buy any toy that makes noise – VTech, Fischer Price, Leapfrog, whatever – it had better have an ‘off’ button.
(Dad, this one’s at the top of the list especially for you. Hint, hint)
2. Shoes, specifically those with a hard sole for anyone under 1
I agree, they look awesome. They’re mini shoes! But babies just kick them off. And they end up lost. And then everyone is sad.
Also, there’s now research suggesting babies & even toddlers shouldn’t wear shoes with a hard sole:
“Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot,” she says. “The feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down.” Walking barefoot, she continues, develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arch, improves proprioception (our awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.
3. Raincoats for babies
Babies spend their lives either in a sling under an umbrella, or in a pushchair under a rain cover. They have no need for a raincoat. And unless you’re going to splash out (no pun intended) they don’t usually provide much warmth either.
However, if bambino is toddling around, this does have it’s uses. More than likely they’ll be in & out of the pushchair, wanting to run around catching raindrops in their mouth. Why not throw in a pair of wellies too? (Despite number 2, toddlers can’t very well splash about in puddles in January in bare feet!)
4. Clothes for the wrong age in the wrong season
[Sorry, no image for this one, it’s a hard one to depict!]
If you have the foresight to think, ‘I’ll buy clothes for later because they’re bound to get loads for now’. Then quite frankly, I applaud you. You’re one of the few babyless geniuses. I certainly never thought of that before I had Baby Girl.
BUT think about the baby’s age. It’s no use buying that lovely, cuddly jumper at Christmas for six month’s time (July) when the UK might just make it into double-digits-Celsius. Just make sure you buy it for far enough ahead. Eg, if he or she is 9 months now, buy 18-24 months, which is next autumn/winter. You just won’t get to see them in it for a while.
5. Baby scarves & snoods
This seems an obvious one to me, but a few of my friends have indeed received a baby scarf or snood.
Babies love strings, wires, laces… Anything remotely dangly. And If something is wrapped around your neck & you pull on it, it gets tighter…
Just put the scarf down & walk away, mate.
6. Books with paper pages
It’s a lovely gesture, a special edition Mother Goose Rhymes book, or that classics collection Peter Rabbit book. But babies & toddlers do not mix well with paper books. Board books (with cardboard pages) are the only option until they are into preschool years. Any paper books will be put into a box in the cupboard or loft until suitable.
Baby Björn Original Baby Carrier
Where to start. This, unfortunately, is the one that catches many out. You think you’ve done a great job, got something genuinely useful & baby-related. But sadly…
- if you’re buying for a newborn, babies can’t use baby carriers until they’re 8lb.
- the Björn is not ergonomically friendly for babies’ hips. Their legs should be at a right angle, not dangling. See the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for more details.
- I’ve met so many babies who just don’t like the Björn. They sit in other slings or carriers happy as Larry, but in the Björn they just fuss & cry until you take them out. I don’t know why (maybe the hip thing?). I haven’t heard of any other carrier that has this effect on this many babies.