Cards and Presents
When a close friend or relative has had a baby, share your
delight at the good news with a suitable greeting card.
Frequently, you won't be able to see the new parents for a couple of weeks (immediate family often has top priority, or they may just find the prospect of visitors too overwhelming, and you must - of course - respect their wishes).
A card, therefore, is a good preliminary way of marking the birth, and will serve as a reassuring bulletin from the real world for the new parents, who frequently feel as if they have entered a strange state of suspended animation, divorced from ordinary life.
There is a great array of birth cards available, ranging from the humorous to the twee and sentimental. You must, of course, be the best judge of what is appropriate…
Your first visit to admire the baby is the perfect opportunity
to give a present. At this stage, you do not need to worry so much
about lasting, significant gifts - leather-bound books, silver
spoons and mugs, charm bracelets etc., if you want to give them at
all, can all wait until the christening (or equivalent).
Most new mothers are thrilled with baby clothes, and baby-gros, hats, cardigans, shoes, shawls, and so on will be much appreciated. Be careful about sizes and seasons; it would be foolish to buy a summer romper suit for a 3-6 month old baby in September!
Alternatively, you can aim your present at the baby. This will also delight the parents, though you should be aware that it may have no impact whatsoever on the main recipient…
Cot mobiles, rattles, wind-up music boxes and so on are all entirely appropriate. You may strike lucky with a cuddly toy, and give the child a gift that they really do treasure throughout their childhood. But look out for cuddly toys that are suitable for 0-3 year olds (they should have a CE label and should specify that they are safe for 0-3 year-olds), and ensure that they are machine-washable.
Don't expect the child to bond with your present immediately - most very small babies will show no interest in teddy bears etc.