If you are buying a gift for someone who's expecting or already has a little one, consider food related gifts for the baby. They gotta eat too! Doctors recommend starting solid foods at 6 months. If your friend or family is considering making their own baby food (as we did), here's some stuff they could use.
Baby Food Books - this is vital if you don't know what the heck a baby should eat (we didn't). My favorite is Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Foods for 6 to 18 Months. This was my bible the first few months Paxton ate solid food. There is so much information in the book on what foods to introduce when, what to hold off for a while, allergies, and lots of simple and healthful recipes. Pax is a year old now so we are working him towards more "grown up food", but I still use the book as a guide, especially for allergies as Scott's family has some.
Equipment - you don't have to go crazy for equipment but there a a couple of things you should have -
Food processor - this is important, especially the first couple of months when the baby is eating thin smooth food. You don't have to spend a million dollars, but get a good sturdy one that can be used for other meal prep too. Stay away from those ones designed only for baby food, unless you are rich or something. If a food processor is more money than you planned on spending, get others to chip in or give a gift card with instructions for the money to go to a processor.
Cutting boards - for, you know, cutting up the food before cooking and also for finger food. They're not too expensive so you could buy a few and wrap a ribbon around them. Buy plastic so they can be scrubbed and tossed in the dishwasher.
Steamer insert - the first couple of months most of the baby's food is steamed or baked. Buy a silicone steamer that can be tossed into any pot to steam fruits and veggies.
Potato masher - when the baby starts moving to thicker textures, use a masher to leave some lumps behind. This one is pretty cute.
Storage trays - I am a big fan of Baby Cubes. They work very well. They are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe, have a holding tray and attached lids. They just make the job easier. And now we use them to also store his cut up finger foods.
Ice Cube trays - if you don't want to go the route of the storage trays, buy some ice cube trays. Load up with food, cover with plastic wrap and freeze, then move the cubes to zippered storage bags.
Floor Mat - Lord, I wish we had one of these. Kids make a mess when they eat, it's just the way it is. Buy a mat like this to go under the highchair, or better yet if you are crafty, make one.
Tableware - plastic and inexpensive. Paxton loves to lick his plates and bowls, then hurl them to the floor. We've got these Kalas plates and bowls. We used this silicone spoon for the few few months, and now use ones that are still plastic but a little more sturdy as Pax likes to use the soft spoon as a catapult for his food.
Bibs. Lots of bibs.
Facecloths - we have an enormous pile of facecloths. When Pax was a little little guy we used them for wiping his face, cleaning up spit ups, and poop removal. Now we was his hands and face (obvs) in the am and pm as well as after meals; bathtime, and we use them as wipes during mealtimes. They also make fun play hats.
If the baby you are buying for is ready to eat now and you think it would be appreciated, think about making some basic foods yourself, freezing and delivering them. There are lots of good websites out there. You can't go wrong with purees of apple or yam or pear.
Or give the intended a coupon good for one baby food making session. Then show up with a bag of appropriate fruits, veggies etc, make sure you have all the necessary supplies, and fill the freezer up!
Nextie: Tools and gadgets.