Baby Gap has skinny jeans. For babies. Why.
August 27, 2010 10:49 AM   Subscribe

My close friend is about to give birth to a baby girl. I'd love to do things for her (babysit, cook dinners, help with groceries) but since she lives across the country, a gift will have to suffice. She's already had a baby shower where she received swings, slings, pumps, bottles, blankets, tons and tons of pink baby clothing, etc, so I'd rather not get her any more of that stuff. Additionally, I'm her least traditional friend (read: happily unmarried, childless, liberal New Yorker) and I think she's looking forward to getting some sort of "alternative," gender neutral, really different baby gift from me. I'd like to deliver, but I have no ideas. I'd love some website/store/product recommendations. Where do new moms who hate Baby Gap and gender specific clothes and frilly baby things shop? Thank you!
posted by blackcatcuriouser to Shopping (33 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
How about a Waiters on Wheels gift card?
posted by hammurderer at 10:54 AM on August 27, 2010

There are always interesting baby things on Etsy.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:59 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Get her a stuffed aardvark (baby appropriate). Every baby should have an aardvark. (I just got my baby cousin an aardvark that claimed it was a rat, but I, Humpty Dumpty fashion, declared it an aardvark. The same people make really cute lobsters.)

On a more serious note....Zoobies.

I know my cousins were also really, really pleased with the gift of a professional photo shoot for the baby.
posted by eleanna at 11:03 AM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

All of my hipper baby ideas come from browsing Ohdeedoh, the kids' section of Apartment Therapy. It's very decor-centered, but they regularly feature cool personalized wall art, storage, toys, etc., that'd be perfect for baby gifts.
posted by Bardolph at 11:05 AM on August 27, 2010

American apparel.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:07 AM on August 27, 2010

For baby gifts I like Rare Device and Pur Bebe. Pur Bebe has a series of ironic "I'm With The Band" type onesies and also some very nice, super soft kimono-style bodysuits. You can get a variety of colors, and even the pink-oriented ones are subtle and not too obnoxious.
posted by handful of rain at 11:13 AM on August 27, 2010

Send her or have sent a weekly supply of diapers. she has more clothes, etc...for her baby then she needs. she will always need more diapers for the next two years. be the untraditional friend that you are and get her something no one else got her...diapers, diapers, and more diapers.
posted by swmobill at 11:15 AM on August 27, 2010

You could get ideas from Polarn O. Pyret. Gender-specific clothes annoy me, too.
posted by geekchic at 11:16 AM on August 27, 2010

Does she have a Sophie? My son LOVED THIS THING. Here's a picture of how much he loved one that didn't belong to him. So I got him his own. I lost ours, though. Gonna have to buy a new one for baby #2.

Also, has some great baby shirts. My son had a few and I hate that he grew out of them.
posted by kpht at 11:18 AM on August 27, 2010

Thinkgeek has a wonderful selection of nerdiness, if that works. My little girl looks tremendously cute drooling on her Star Trek onesies.
posted by stevis23 at 11:21 AM on August 27, 2010

She received blankets but I bet they were all tiny flannel receiving blankets (i.e. useless). These Aden + Anais muslin swaddlers are gorgeous, high-quality, practical, and sort of "hip" as far as baby gear goes.
posted by tetralix at 11:23 AM on August 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

The best thing for a baby is a happy, healthy mommy. I vote for, in addition to a small gift for the little one, that you send her something for her. By doing so, you will be giving the baby something --- a more relaxed mom, a mom not worried about x, a mom who got some caring herself, etc.

Do you have money for a cleaning service to come by, even once, and do a massive clean on her house? That would have been a hit gift with me!

Personal care kinda goes out the window for a while after a baby comes. I remember one day when my mother and sisters visited about two months after Baby Zizzle was born and they asked me what I wanted to do. I looked at them and all but burst out sobbing, "I WANT A HAIRCUT!" Send her a giftcard to her favorite stylist and make sure you tell her husband he's to arrange baby care while she's getting her hair or nails or toenails done.

Call her up a few hours before dinner, ask her what she'd like for dinner that night, then go on to Foodler and order and pay for it for her. Or call the restaurant or the delivery service. Do this however much you can because it'll afford her the chance to talk to someone and get dinner (or lunch or breakfast) taken care of.
posted by zizzle at 11:23 AM on August 27, 2010 [7 favorites]

Threadless and Thinkgeek are both great for fun stuff. (Ball Miniland was the very first toy my son took a shine too, grinning at it as soon as he was able to grin.)

This is more off the wall (or on the wall, as you'll see), but the decor ideas made me think of it -- we had a favorite poem, a verse from e.e. cummings, made into a custom stencil so we could stencil it on the baby's wall. Most of the "wall words" we saw were overly twee and cutesy, or were painfully, trying-too-hard hip, so we selected one that was meaningful for us and had it made up ourselves. This cost around $70 for a five-foot-by-three-foot stencil (four lines) plus around $5 for the paint and stencil brush. If you knew she had a favorite poem or saying that she would want to share with her children, and you knew she could paint on the wall ... super-personalized, I know, but if you know her really well it might be an option.

(They also do those neat wall stickers, which are a similar idea!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:36 AM on August 27, 2010

As a recent new mommy (our baby is 12 days old today!) I second the folks who suggested including something non-baby-related for mom to enjoy. It doesn't have to be big. I had a friend visit a couple days ago and along with her baby gift (a blanket and washcloths) she brought homemade peanut butter cookies for me. Yummy!

Also, swmobill's advice is good *if* you know your friend is using disposable diapers. We're using cloth diapers, so getting lots of disposables as gifts would definitely not thrill us.
posted by sanitycheck at 11:50 AM on August 27, 2010

If she already had a shower, and has friends who have babies and could be giving her hand-me-downs, and you don't have a baby and babies aren't really your thing, why not just skip the baby-centered gift and give her something awesome for her to enjoy herself?
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:02 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Aden and Anais swaddlers are now my go-to gift. My 15 month old LOVES them. They're her "blankie" although she has several. They're amazingly soft, they are big enough to actually swaddle with, and are just awesome. I came to recommend those too -- all our other blankets have been put away.

Sophie the Giraffe is also a big hit at our house, but her favorite teether was a borrowed sterling silver teether.

Baby nerd things from Tiffany Ard is awesome - we have Pat Schroedinger's Kitty and the baby nerd flashcards. Love them.

Other things we liked getting: toddler sized, but real, silverware; a giant piggy bank; really good bath time stuff. Speaking of baths, we did not get, but I think this puj tub is.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:02 PM on August 27, 2010

I also say nay to the diapers because you don't know what kind of diapers will fit the baby, won't cause a rash, etc. (Your friend probably doesn't yet, either!)

Cool gender-neutral gifts:
1. a whole lotta board books, since it's never ever too early to start reading to the baby.
2. a set of basic Duplos (I know it's too early for the newborn, but it's really nice to have those when the baby is ready for new toys, and what's cooler than Duplos? Our baby started playing with them at seven months).
3. Finally, if you want to buy clothes, has imports from Denmark and Sweden, for some reason the epicenter of cool baby clothes. I'd buy stuff for 9-12 months or so, babies grow out of newborn clothes so fast there's not time to enjoy them very much at all. Same goes for newborn toys--newborns don't play a whole lot anyway.

Also, second the idea to get something for her as well; those first few weeks after the birth can be a little brutal.
posted by agent99 at 12:03 PM on August 27, 2010

Oh, and agent99 reminded me that the other thing I give babies is a set of anamalz. Actually, Bright October has tons of interesting toys. And no, babies don't need toys, and neither do kids (ours plays with laundry and pens and cd cases more than actual toys). But there are so far three sure fire toys at our house: Duplos, anamalz, and the fisher price laugh and learn puppy. I hated that puppy, but seeing my daughter laugh every time it starts to sing has endeared it to my heart.
posted by dpx.mfx at 12:09 PM on August 27, 2010

I just got this Twilight Ladybug for my baby, and it's really a neat alternative to the traditional night light. I want one for our room!
posted by Ostara at 12:30 PM on August 27, 2010

Fresh Direct will deliver prepared meals including wine. I have a four-month old, and I would have liked: prepared food, gift certificates for massages, cleaning service, babysitting service. For "things," well, I saw in a hip baby store these adorable little baby-sized bandannas to use as bibs (they fasten with a velcro behind the neck, like a bib--not tied) which is great when the baby starts drooling and you don't want to change the shirt every five minutes. I didn't buy them because they were $15 each, but they were really an adorable solution to the drooling problem, which is something I didn't know about before I delivered. If you can't find them in your local hip baby store, maybe have someone on Etsy Alchemy make them?
posted by pipti at 12:37 PM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: I love the idea of getting something for both baby and mommy!
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 12:55 PM on August 27, 2010

Response by poster: I should also add, she loves photography. So perhaps fancy film? Baby book?
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 12:57 PM on August 27, 2010

I like baby gifts that will last through childhood and are useful. My go-to baby gift is a personalized step stool. I have ordered from Baby Wonderland probably 3-4 times over the past couple of years. I like puzzle stools the best. You can specify the colors they use, the quality is nice, and the parents like being reminded of the lovely name they picked. I personally love the idea of the toddler using it to stand or to pull the puzzle pieces out later in life, and then as part of their play area through childhood.
posted by aabbbiee at 1:15 PM on August 27, 2010

Nthing "get something for the mom." The absolute BEST gift my wife and I received was a huge pan of lasagna that, put in the refrigerator, fed us for most of that first sleepless week our baby was home.

Is there a way you can have something like that delivered after she has given birth?
posted by wjm at 1:46 PM on August 27, 2010

Yeah, anything that helps her get sleep in the first 3 months after the baby is born is pure heaven. You don't actually have to like or enjoy children to take care of a newborn in the middle of the night -- just put in some earplugs and some good walking shoes and decide, for just this night, you are going to survive hugging & jiggling a cranky squirmy thing while pacing for 2-4 hours.

But cute clothes are nice, too. I LOVED Zutano's simple cotton and cute prints when mine were small.

Also, post-pardum hormones and fatigue and everything else seem to come together to make week 3-4 especially bad, if you could plan something for then and see if her mood seems to drop.
posted by MeiraV at 2:33 PM on August 27, 2010

I meant "keep an eye out for her mood crashing"
posted by MeiraV at 2:35 PM on August 27, 2010

I got a set of Trumpette Socks for my son and I swear, I got as many comments on them as I did my son. They have gender neutral ones sock sets on their website. I am far from a traditional mom/woman and I loved this gift more than any other!
posted by murrey at 4:28 PM on August 27, 2010

If you know her musical taste, get her some Rockabye baby lullaby CDs. It was so wonderful to have soft soothing baby music that I could sing along to. Those CDs always evoke newborn life for me now.
posted by xo at 5:16 PM on August 27, 2010

Get her some older-baby stuff. My experience with friends having babies has been that they get a ton of cutie-pie newborn stuff that the baby outgrows very quickly. She'll be glad down the line that somebody thought if getting her something for when the dust has settled, the baby is grown a little and she has nothing to use with it.

Also, a nice collection of books is a very good gift and my favourite thing to get new parents.
posted by JoannaC at 5:58 PM on August 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

A nice blue tuxedo onesie might offset some of the frilly pink junk.

And JoannaC is right about getting older baby stuff.
posted by cloudburst at 6:44 PM on August 27, 2010

A membership to a place she can go with the baby would be pretty nice, especially if she lives in a cold-climate place. It's hard to get out of the house, but a place with other moms on a quiet week day is a life-saver. If her city has a Movies for Mommies program, or if her museum has a stroller walk program (in Toronto, there's Moms in the City) - tickets, passes or a membership could be the difference between going or not going.
posted by peagood at 10:56 AM on August 28, 2010

Oeuf be good is mainly known for their children's furniture but they also have a small line of clothes, gifts and accessories made of alpaca wool. The stuff is a bit overpriced but it's very trendy and definitely not your typical baby gear. I think the hand-crocheted butterflies would make beautiful, unconventional gift.

Their classic toddler bed is a thing of beauty; but, alas it is way out of my price range.
posted by juva at 2:17 PM on August 28, 2010

How about some board books for when the baby is a few months older? We loved Urban Babies Wear Black. But there are tons of cute board books out now.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:40 AM on August 30, 2010

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