The Best Baby Gifts, According to Child-Development Experts

They help infants make sense of their brave new world.

by Donna Freydkin
Originally Published: 
photo collage of the best gifts for newborns against a yellow background

While developmental milestones vary wildly, from the moment they’re born, babies are learning about the crazy, bright, loud new world around them. They focus their vision and track objects. They reach out. They touch and grasp things. They coo and repeat sounds. So when choosing the best baby gifts, pick ones that that aren’t merely cute but help babies make sense of what they see and hear. The best newborn gifts and baby gifts aren’t dry clean-only cashmere receiving blankets, but everything from rattles and teethers to board books — whatever encourages babies to learn about colors and sounds and textures.

“Babies from their birth day to their first birthday are learning all about how this new and amazing world works. Young babies enjoy easy-to-grasp objects they can safely explore with their hands and mouths. Rattles, maracas, or textured teethers are perfect. Starting at about 6-9 months old, they enjoy toys that give them the thrill of cause-and effect—think about a busy box with buttons to push, a drum or toy piano to bang or plink, or bubbles for you to blow and them to pop,” says Rebecca Parlakian, the director of programs at Zero to Three.

So there you have it. These are the toys and gifts that fit the bill.

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