When I had my first baby I realised pretty quickly that every new baby gift I'd ever bought for friends was useless. Save yourself the time and money - don't buy any of these. Ever.
1. Proper outfits. I'm talking real clothes in teeny weeny sizes like 'new baby' or 0-3 months. Just don't even. Have you ever tried getting a tiny little linen shirt over a newborn baby's floppy head? Or a pair of skinny jeans on a one-week-old who is basically made of jelly? Chances are, your beautiful little outfit will be worn for all of 10 minutes for a photograph, then packed away for good.
Swap it for... soft clothes - basically something you'd be comfy in if you were planning to stay in bed all day.
2. Cuddly toys. A cute little bunny to go in the cot is one thing. 58 fluffy teddy bears without a home is quite another. Please, no more.
Swap it for... a teething ring or a simple toy that'll come in handy a few months down the line.
3. Babygrows without poppers down the front. They may be beautiful, but they're always going to come second to the ones that you can pop on and off without having to worry about damaging that fontanelle thing on their head.
Swap it for... babygrows with poppers.
4. Tiny sizes. Unless your friend was surprised by the arrival - or the size - of her baby, chances are she's pretty well stocked for clothes to fit him or her in the first couple of weeks. Plus, 'first size' clothes don't last very long once they've been washed and dried a million times to remove sick/poo/both.
Swap it for... clothes from six months onwards - just bear in mind the season they'll be worn in (no snowsuits in summer).
5. A dummy. We got five for my first baby, and we didn't end up using a dummy at all. So that was weird. Plus, babies can be pretty choosy with dummy teats, just like they are with bottles, so it's not the best idea for a gift.
Swap it for... a bottle of Infacol or gripe water if you're feeling the need to be practical.
6. Newborn shoes. Did you notice this baby can't walk yet? That'll most likely be the case for another year. If you really want to buy shoes, chip in towards a pair of Clarks when they're about 12 months old, at which point I'll be about ready to remortage my house to pay for them.
Swap it for... some socks. It's virtually impossible to ever find a pair when you need them, so you can't go far wrong.
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