Best gifts for a family of 3-6 month old
October 5, 2020 9:09 PM   Subscribe

My brother and his wife had a baby in early September. I’m visiting in November and plan on using my skills as a chef to stock their freezer and treat them to one restaurant caliber meal at their home. that makes up for not getting them a baby shower gift. What do I get them for Christmas? They like food, skiing, have very particular aesthetic tastes, and are both normal and practical.

Open to ideas for kids books, things you wish you would have had as newish parents, gadgets, gifts for mom, gifts for dad, gifts for baby or all three, etc.
posted by Grandysaur to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
As a new parent, we got heaps of stuff newborn sized, but not a lot for 3-6 months. A cute outfit might be appreciated.

What about some baby proofing stuff? Bubby will be on the move soon.
posted by freethefeet at 9:28 PM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

Ask ahead if you get clothes, at 4 months my kid was wearing 9-12 month clothing.

Hape toys are great and soon kiddo will be sittin' up and need entertaining beyond all the floofy chewy things they might have gotten?

Also our kid is loving a Schoenhut toy piano. And they look nice too.
posted by stray at 9:46 PM on October 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

I loved my retractable baby gates by baby dan! I still use them now the kids are 4 and 5. One to keep everyone upstairs at night, another to keep one in the living room for time out and one to block off the kitchen if I’m cooking something hot. They’re the best. But they are basically not there unless you’re using them!
posted by pairofshades at 9:46 PM on October 5, 2020

More food? Seriously food is awesome. You can bake granola, granola bars, muffins, cookies, etc. that don’t need to be refrigerated and mail them, or get them restaurant gift cards for takeout/delivery. If they are not going to see family for Christmas, the ability to order nice takeout and eat homemade cookies will be amazing. (You are already an amazing person for cooking for them when you’re there!)

The Usborne “That’s Not My [Puppy, Pony, Dinosaur, Otter, Tractor, etc.]” series of books is delightful because it has fun textures to touch on every page and bright colors and cute illustrations. My 2.5 year old still loves them.

Do you have any photography skill, even with an iPhone (preferably on portrait mode)? Take a few awesome photos while you’re there of the three of them, a few with mom and baby, a few with dad and baby, a few of just baby, and at least a selfie or two of you and baby. Frame the best ones or make a photo book and gift that. Bonus points if you sneakily solicit photos of other close family members, with or without the baby in them, and add them to a photo book with simple captions of who’s in the photo. The babies and toddlers I know love seeing photos of themselves and family members, and of course the parents will love it. Buy two copies for them so one can safely get torn up/drooled on and the other one can be kept up on a shelf in mint condition.
posted by bananacabana at 10:23 PM on October 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

If the answer isn’t more food, I would vote for a cleaning service, even if it’s just a one off visit. I would have cried with happiness if someone else came in and cleaned my house. I had more onesies and bibs that I could poke a stick at but what I really needed was someone to vacuum the floor.
posted by Jubey at 11:54 PM on October 5, 2020 [8 favorites]

Stuff is nice, but also just an Amazon click away. Get them something that will give them relief from the slog of caring for a child round the clock, whether it’s a cleaning service as mentioned, a night nurse, a subscription, an Instacart subscription, etc.
posted by redlines at 4:42 AM on October 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Seconding asking about clothing sizes. My 5 month old is in 9-12 month sizes and we currently have baby's dresser packed full of gifted clothes in the appropriate sizes and he wears less than half of it between laundry days. Food is awesome! As parents with a soon-to-be-mobile kid and three cats, we're also thinking about gifting ourselves a robot vacuum to help keep the floor fluffs from reaching embarrassing levels.
posted by abeja bicicleta at 4:46 AM on October 6, 2020

Seconding the cleaning service. Or, depending on your budget, a roomba.
posted by EllaEm at 5:06 AM on October 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

My go-to infant gift is a hand-cranked food mill. New parents tend to receive lots of onesies and similar clothes for newborns, and they outgrow them quickly, as others have noted. With a food mill the parents can avoid commercial baby food to the greatest extent possible, and it’s something new and nice for babies in that 5-6 month range who are trying solid foods. It’ll also nicely complement your cooking, which, frankly, sounds like a terrific gift. It’s a simple and cheap but thoughtful gift that usually seems to be well received, and it should be well-timed for the holidays for a baby born in September. Would make a great stocking stuffer.
posted by cheapskatebay at 5:17 AM on October 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you're comfortable and the kid isn't sleeping through the night yet: give the parents the gift of a night (or more!) of uninterrupted sleep, which is the best gift my wife and I got from both sets of grandparents when our two kids were young.

Cleaning service is also a great idea.
posted by kdar at 5:42 AM on October 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I practically wore my food mill out - it was a white plastic model that could go in the dishwasher. Carrots and peas or peaches and berries were baby-food texture in a flash and I very rarely depended on jarred baby food. I felt much more confident about what was in my kiddo's food that way. A couple of food dishes with suction cups to deter throwing the plates on the floor were also helpful, as was a molded plastic bib that could be hosed off and also go in the dishwasher.

You could also cook lots of food and mill some of it for your new niece or nephew while you're there and maybe stock the freezer.
posted by citygirl at 5:43 AM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I have a slightly older baby and a toddler. A lot of these are tricky because they might not work for everyone but looking back at pictures from that age, here's what we used a lot:

Jolly Jumper. PTs tend to not recommend jumpers because they can delay walking but, wow, did my kid ever love this from 4-8 months and he walked early so I don't know.

Baby led weaning course from feeding littles: ask if they'd be interested first because baby led weaning can be divisive but it worked so well for us. I never used a food mill because we fed our baby whole foods.

A baby carrier cover because I was walking with him in the carrier every day even in the winter. I had one from Make My Belly Fit but there are others.

I got a lot of use out of my instant pot because it just turns itself off and keeps the food warm if you get distracted.

My baby was very into crinkly toys at that age, i.e. Baby Paper and some soft books. He also spent a lot of time on the baby gym mat but they probably have one of those already.

For clothes, we still preferred footed zipper pj's at that age as the easiest option.

A freezer full of food sounds like an amazing gift! Normally I would hard agree on the cleaning service but with the pandemic, we have not been having anyone else in our house.
posted by carolr at 6:14 AM on October 6, 2020

Lift tickets and a certificate for babysitting while they are skiing
posted by beccaj at 7:06 AM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Around six months babies can start enjoying a Pikler triangle, which is a wooden, apartment sized climbing apparatus that kids can use across many stages, until 4 or 5. It folds away when you want it out of sight. In COVID times, this is a good alternative to being able to go to playgrounds and baby gyms. Parents in my social circle are extremely enthusiastic about Pikler triangles right now.
posted by unstrungharp at 7:58 AM on October 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

If they don't already have one, an Instant Pot.
posted by essexjan at 7:59 AM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, when a friend had twins a few years ago I bought them a dozen or so packs of baby onesies (bodysuits), just plain white ones in multipacks of four, in increasing sizes from 3 months up to 18 months old, short-sleeves and long-sleeves. My friend told me later that it was one of the more useful gifts she was given, as you can't underestimate the number of times a baby needs to be changed, and how quickly they grow out of things. I think in total they cost about the same as two fancy outfits the twins would probably have worn only once or twice before growing out of them.
posted by essexjan at 8:07 AM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

lot of great ideas here.

Housecleaning service voucher is excellent if their COVID practices will permit it. Unfortunately some of the best gifts are hampered by COVID (I'm a fan of massage gift certs for new moms in normal times...) Practical clothing in a variety of sizes is much more useful than fancy outfits; and a good baby gate is even better than that, (buying clothing isn't much of a burden, as clothing is plentiful and cheap and fun to pick out for the kid, much more so than babyproofing stuff.) I also really liked an exersaucer as a place to park a pre-crawling or crawling baby.

Doesn't have to be in form of fancy gift, but take lots of pics of the parents with the baby, especially pics of both of them with the kid, but also of each of them individually with the kid (more likely to get "good" shots of each adult when the shots are individual.) Even in families where the photo-taking work is evenly distributed (and it often isn't) the opportunities for photos of the kid with both parents are rare. They may feel disheveled and not-photogenic now, but if you take lots of pics there will be some that they treasure.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:44 AM on October 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Diapers. They are seriously expensive.
posted by heathrowga at 10:53 AM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Alcoholic beverages. This 3-6 months age is when I really needed it as a new father.
posted by Patapsco Mike at 11:13 AM on October 6, 2020

I'm with the voice above that pointed out Amazon is just a click away for so many things. We always liked to do something that you couldn't get through simple shopping, like the idea of pictures already mentioned. Pre-COVID (lifetimes agooo...) one or both of us would come by and babysit for an evening while the new parents went out, like people. (If it was a gift we'd provide a gift cert as well.) We've got four kids, so as long as the wee one didn't care most of our friends felt comfortable with this.

But man, this plague thing is a downer that wrecks a lot of options. Maybe aim to give them some time. You could do a serious housecleaning for them, if that's in your wheelhouse. Maybe run some errand like a major Costco expedition. Oh, and for families that already have kids you could do (or pay for) a minivan detailing, as those machines get pretty gross. That could be an annual deal that would put you in Favorite Relative status.
posted by Cris E at 12:24 PM on October 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Make some cookie dough. Make into balls, freeze in the freezer, and then after a day or so put them in a bag. Put baking instructions on the bag. Now they can have fresh cookies whenever they want. Also, whatever it is you cook, make extra, put it in the freezer. (If they don't have a freezer, and you're rolling in money, get them a freezer.)

Seconding uninterrupted sleep, which my kid's grandparents (both sets) helped out with when they visited at various times. Also clothes in the size that they tell you. (This may not be the size that the baby is! My partner is really on top of clothes-buying so we've ended up shopping at least six months out.)

Don't get any fancy clothes, the kid won't wear them anyway.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:51 PM on October 6, 2020

Where are they located? Maybe one of us can rec a local prepared food service or a restaurant that does exceptional takeout/delivery near them.
posted by potrzebie at 7:36 PM on October 6, 2020

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