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For Baby's First Christmas, A Lump Of Coal? Ten Baby Gifts To Avoid This Holiday Season

By Stephanie Gallagher

What could be worse than a lump of coal in baby's first Christmas stocking?

One of these ten gifts:

1. Any Toy or Product With More Than 10 Pieces That Must Be Put Together

Ever see a new parent on Christmas day? You know why they look so tired? Because they spent the previous 12 hours putting together a single baby toy that promised to be "easy to assemble."

If you see the words, 'Assembly Required' anywhere on the packaging, that is not a gift you want to give for baby's first Christmas.

If you're absolutely in love with a particular toy or baby product that requires assembly, put it together yourself before you give the gift. The new parents will appreciate your efforts as much as the baby gift itself."

2. Frilly, Impractical, "High-Maintenance" Baby Clothes

You know the outfits: They're oh-so-cute, yet oh-so-impractical. They have buttons instead of snaps. Or they have no snaps in the legs. Or they snap up the back, rather than the front, turning diaper-changing into a gymnastics exercise for the parents. Or worse yet, they're dry clean only.

Think about it: What new mom has time to take her baby's clothes to the dry cleaners every time he spits up?"

3. "Hot Button Baby Christmas Gifts"

These are products the parents will only use if they subscribe to one particular parenting theory or style.

For example, books like "On Becoming Baby Wise" by Gary Ezzo and "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems," by Richard Ferber, are "hot button baby gifts," because parents tend to either strongly agree or strongly disagree with these theories.

So are things like breast pumps and nursing pillows (unless you're absolutely sure the new mom is nursing), and bottles and bottle accessories (again, unless you know for certain the parents are using them).

4. Incomplete Gifts

Don't make your recipients work to enjoy your gifts. If the recipient has to buy something else in order to use the gift, it's a loser.

For example, a Boppy (special nursing pillow) is a great gift. But the Bare-Naked Boppy is not, because you have to buy a slipcover for it, which costs almost as much as the original gift.

Most people expect to have to buy batteries for toys and baby gear, but including them is one of the most thoughtful things you can do to make your Christmas gift for baby stand out.

5. Wipe Warmer

Not only do wipe warmers cause wipes to dry out and get discolored, they're often more uncomfortable for babies than cold wipes.

Babies are much more sensitive to heat than we are. They don't want anything too hot touching their skin, whether it's a warmed wipe or hot bath water.

6. Baby Bouncy

This stabilized exercise ball, which retails for $39.95, is supposed to calm a colicky baby and help the mother "exercise her core" at the same time.

But how many moms can accomplish anything while trying to soothe a colicky baby? Yes, babies do like to be bounced, but they typically enjoy a motion that requires the parent to be on his or her feet, not sitting down.

What's more, there are cheaper bouncing alternatives that last much longer, such as the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker, which goes from birth to 40 pounds.

7. Baby Walker

Each year, some 8,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms because of injuries related to baby walkers. The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for the sale of baby walkers to be banned in the United States. They are simply unsafe.

That should be reason enough to skip the walker for baby's first Christmas. But if it isn't, consider this: Baby walkers do not help children walk sooner. In fact, they can delay walking.

8. Cradle

Another beautiful, but impractical, baby gift, cradles are unsafe because the rocking can cause baby to turn over and suffocate.

9. Newborn Clothes

Even if the baby was born last week, newborn clothes are a baby Christmas gift "Don't."

There reasons are simple:

1) The parents probably already got oodles of newborn outfits at the baby shower 2) babies typically grow out of newborn clothes within a few weeks.

A better bet: 3-6 month clothes.

10. Baby Shoes

Pediatricians recommend that babies go barefoot or with socks until they're actually walking, making baby shoes unnecessary. Some doctors even say baby shoes can interfere with proper gross motor development.


About the Author:

Stephanie Gallagher, a.k.a., The Shopping Mom, is the author of several parenting books and Editor of The Shopping Mom's Guide to Baby Gifts, 

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