A first birthday is an exciting celebration in a baby's life. It marks the end of an amazing year of transitions for both the baby and their family. Even though a first birthday is a celebration of a baby's birth, it is also a celebration of the parents for making it through that first year. So what birthday gift can you give a baby to celebrate this important milestone? While the answer to this question varies greatly from person to person and depends on your specific relationship with the child, this article provides some suggestions and ideas that may help you find that perfect first birthday present.

The first thing to determine is what type of present you would like to give. If you are a parent, grandparent, or an uncle for example, you may want to find something personal that the baby can keep as they grow up. If you are a friend or acquaintance, who just wants to recognize the big day, you are better off with a more generic gift. You should also find out if the parents have any preferences for what gifts they may prefer for baby's first birthday. For example, if the family lives in a small NY apartment, a large truck probably won't be appreciated by mom and dad. Likewise, if the baby lives in Maine and their birthday is in the winter, you probably should avoid a new bathing suit. Here are some gift ideas you can give baby for their first birthday:


Babies go through clothes at an alarming rate and new clothes are always appreciated. Try to choose clothes that are appropriate for the time of year and the climate. On their first birthday, most children are wearing sizes 9 months to 24 months depending on the size of the baby. If you can't find out the child's size, you can always buy bigger clothes, knowing that the baby will grow into the clothes. Unless you know the child well, stick with relatively neutral clothes. As a mom, the worst thing is to receive a frilly pink dress for my daughter when I usually dress her in jeans and t-shirts. You can shop for baby clothes in most department stores, online, or in baby specific stores. Consignment stores and upscale thrift shops are also great place to find either slightly worn or brand new baby clothes at a discount.


There is a seemingly unending assortment of toys on the market today. When choosing a toy to give baby for their first birthday, check that the toy is age appropriate or at least designed for slightly older children. By their first birthday, babies have mostly outgrown rattles and are on to more challenging gifts. Basic toys are usually best: blocks, musical instruments, simply stuffed animals, etc. Babies of this age enjoy toys that they can recognize from everyday life, animals or trucks are great ideas. On their first birthday, many babies are old enough for push or ride toys. It is often better to buy 1 quality toy for baby instead of many cheaper plastic toys that end up broken or in a box somewhere. Books are also great ideas that can fall under the toy category. Cardboard books are good at this age and books that have parts the baby can touch or move.


Furniture is a great idea to give baby on their first birthday. Small wooden toddler chairs and table sets, or an arm chair or Adirondack chair are perfect gifts that baby will appreciate throughout the next few years. Most babies start to walk around their first birthday, and a step stool will help them look out the window, reach the faucet, or even brush their teeth. Furniture can be personalized with the baby's name or pictures of the baby's favorite animals.

Dishware, Self Care Items, etc

On their first birthday, babies are just starting to learn to do many things on their own, including feeding and brushing their own hair. Dishes and silverware are great gifts for a baby. If you are looking for a more personalized gift, you can order silver cups, spoons, or jewlery engraved with baby's name. Depending on the types of activities that the family enjoys, you could give baby an item that will enable them to participate, such as life jackets for the sailor, a snowsuit for skiers, an apron for a family who likes to cook, or a football for the sports fan.


Activities are a great gift for a first birthday. These activities can range from lessons to tickets to an event or attraction. Many community centers, YMCA's, or recreation departments have lessons for babies mostly in music, swimming, or gymnastics. If you are looking for an activity that the whole family can enjoy, you can give tickets to the nearest zoo, aquarium or museum. You can also look for children's musical performances or shows at locations near the baby's home.

Handmade Items

Handmade items are often the best gift if you want to give something personal to baby on the occasion of their first birthday. You can make clothes, blankets, fabric blocks, or other soft items using fabric and yarn, or if you like to work with wood, you can make baby their own table, chair, toys or step stool. Make sure you are making something that is age appropriate for the baby. There is nothing worse than knitting baby a new hat only to find that their head is much too big to ever fit into it.


Many parents feel that their child already has everything they need and more. This is especially true for a second or third child who may be receiving hand-me downs from their older siblings in addition to new items. If this is the situation you may choose to give baby a donation to a worthwhile cause for their first birthday. Choose an organization that the family believes in, or choose something that is baby related. Either way, this is a great gift idea not just for baby's first birthday, but also for their future birthdays. If the organization does not have a letter they can send for the birthday gift, you can copy the emblem and print it on paper and include this in a gift card. For those trying to go green this is a great gift!

Buy the Parents a Gift

This is a great idea, especially for the baby who has everything, or the parents that had to work extra hard during their first year. You can give the parents a physical gift, or a gift certificate for a night out. A night of free babysitting is also a much appreciated gift for any parent.

Whatever you choose to give baby for their first birthday, don't be hurt when they spend more time with the wrapping paper and bows than the actual gift. Once the excitement of the first birthday is over, the baby and the parents will appreciate your gift.