The birth of a new baby is a wonderful thing, and when someone you know gives birth you are often drawn to the cutesy outfits where you will squee over how tiny they are and how you just have to get them for the baby...
Hold your horses.
Now - this is of course only from my own perspective and by all means, buy the entire Spring/Summer catalogue of Mini Boden if you really cannot contain yourself. But if I was you, I would first stop and ask myself these questions...
Do you and the parents of the new bundle share the same tastes? For example, you might rock up with character sleepsuits without realising that the baby's parents in fact hate character clothing, and it will never make it out of the wardrobe never mind on to the actual child. I'm not saying what you had in mind isn't lovely, I'm just saying make sure you know what they like.
Do they have older children, particularly of the same gender? If so, outfits are possibly not the best buy. Chances are that they have a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes from their other kids, also if they have family with young kids they might well have lots of clothes that have been passed on to them already.
Is there something else that would be more practical to give them? Babies grow ridiculously fast and get very little wear out of outfits. You could give vests or sleepsuits in larger sizes, don't immediately go for the NB or 0/3 - think ahead. It's always good for them to have things to grow into and I know that my babies could go through several vests a day on occasion. And unless you are positive that they are into certain patterns, colours or characters, though you might think it "boring", sticking with white is a good bet. Especially since they can go on a hot white wash if they've been subjected to an assplosion.
What else would be useful, instead of clothes? You know what new parents are? Exhausted. You know what is a bit of pain in the early weeks? Cooking. Especially if there are other kids in the family. When my sister N had her second baby in December 2011, I dropped off things like casserole and cottage pie, big dishes of them! So they could grab something to eat and save some for later. And I literally mean "dropped off" - I put them on the doorstep, knocked and left.
If you can't cook, don't. New parents do not need food poisoning. Maybe buy them some takeaway gift vouchers for local restaurants - especially if they offer delivery. Supermarket gift vouchers are a good idea also.
- Nappies (ask which brand).
- Wet wipes (again, ask which brand).
- Washing powder (see previous two suggestions, babies can have very sensitive skin).
- Supermarket vouchers so they can buy whatever they like/need.
- General gift vouchers so they can go and choose their own baby clothes.
Should I just ask them what they want/need? Yes. But mind your wording, as to be polite almost everyone says "Oh don't be silly, you don't have to do that/get us anything" when they're actually thinking "I really don't have the energy to cook tonight and I'd love a chinese". Saying something like, I am getting you some takeaway vouchers, which ones would you prefer? Or Which supermarket do you shop at? should remove some of that to-ing and fro-ing.
As I write this, another of my sisters has gone off to be induced (with her third daughter) so sometime in the next few days we'll be welcoming a lovely new baby into the family - so I'm off to buy them some nappies & wipes!