Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Right? Well, not necessarily. Today, many parents are stepping away from gender identifying items and trending toward gender neutral items and décor. Whether you are a parent, or are celebrating one, there are lots of good reasons to consider gender neutral gifts for the new baby.
The internet is filled with gender reveal videos. But, once upon a time, parents didn’t know the sex of their child until that baby made an appearance in the world. Birth: the ultimate gender reveal! Today, genetic diagnostics leave little room for doubt before birth. Still, lots of parents want to have that moment of surprise when they meet there are still a lot of parents that want to be surprised in the delivery room.
Gender neutral gifts are the way to shower the parents that want to be surprised at birth.
So, the parents know the gender of the baby. Great. The shower is set with varying shades of pink or blue. So you know exactly what gender to shop for, right? Well, maybe. But, think about it: is this the only child these parents will have? Is there any guarantee that their next child will be the same gender? Of course not. Choosing gender neutral gifts for your favorite parent-to-be encourages that parent to keep your gift, using it again with successive children. When you think about the fact that few parents have baby showers for second, third, or fourth children, you see how your gift can help the entire family for a long time.
With changes in social/sexual expectations, there have been changes in child rearing thought. There are some people that believe in the inherent danger of raising a child to “be” a specific gender. Whether you ascribe to that position or not, the fact is, babies aren’t born knowing about gender at all. You can put baby boys in dresses with no change in their later “masculinity.” In fact, until the mid-1920’s baby boys and girls were both in dresses from birth until toddlerhood. So, it will do no harm to dress babies in every different color. They just need to be kept warm and protected, color doesn’t matter.
Gender Neutral Gifts
There are some gifts that lend themselves better to gender neutral colors and types.
Sure, that little tutu, or the tiny tux is cute, but babies go through a lot of clothes in their first months of life. While it may be tempting to go the “safe” route, consider choosing more gender-neutral clothing. Babies look cute in more than just pink and blue. There are more patterns out there than flowers, fairies and fire trucks. Look at clothing that both genders wear such as onesies and blanket sleepers. Look for solid colors or patterns that boys and girls both wear such as jungle animals, clouds, or duckies.
Bath time Buddies
Sure there are a few items available for bath time that are gender specific, but most are gender neutral. Look at sink inserts or stand-alone tubs for baby’s bath. Parents will go through dozens of baby towels and washcloths, simply solid color items to help Mom and Dad stock up. Consider making a basket of bath time necessities such as soap, shampoo, washcloths and lotion. Then there are toys. While the newborn won’t play in the water, that baby won’t stay a newborn for long. Water play has been shown to help the baby’s brain develop. Help the parents prepare for their growing child by supplying them with a wide range of educational water toys.
Is this baby the first of a new generation in the family? Celebrate with a memento of those who have gone on. You might choose an antique silver rattle, cup or spoon. If the item is already engraved with a monogram, consider adding the child’s to another side. This personalizes the gift, adding a new name to the traditional object. Even if your family doesn’t possess such items, you can choose to start the process with the child, purchasing such an item and engraving the child’s initials on it.
Furniture should always be gender neutral. You can find some items that are more masculine or feminine, but this really limits the item. Most parents aren’t going to purchase a new crib or changing table for every child. Instead, they will use what they have until it wears out. Even if they will only have one child, a gender-specific item limits how they can pass on their furniture.
Sure, it can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. First of all, consider bringing several guests together to purchase larger items such as a crib or dresser. If you are offering a solo gift, consider a smaller piece of furniture such as a portable highchair, a swing, or a stand-alone changing table.
Baby toys really don’t need to be gender specific. Baby girls love rolling toys and baby boys love to look at faces. So, either can play with trucks or dolls. But, there are plenty of toys available that are gender neutral. Look for toys that strengthen the baby’s back and legs such as walkers, loungers and play gyms. Also consider educational toys such as soft blocks and stacking toys.
All babies should be safe. So, it’s no surprise that safety items should be completely gender neutral. Consider gifting foam strips to cover sharp corners around the house. Then there are outlet covers, cabinet and drawer locks, and cord catchers to prevent baby from pulling lamps and other items to the floor. Don’t forget larger pieces. TVs and bookcases should be anchored to the wall to ensure that they will not fall on the child. You can always create a basket with a variety of items the parents will need to keep baby safe. If you aren’t sure what modifications the house needs, think about offering a gift certificate from one of the hundreds of different safety companies around the world.