If you are looking to buy baby gifts without breaking the bank, I recommend that you first surf the recipient’s baby registry for items in your price range. The parents-to-be took the time to register for what they want and need, and it’s nice to get them something you know will be useful to them and the baby.
But if the registry is covered or you’re looking for a holiday gift for a baby, here are 20 great options (recommended by myself and fellow parents) for under $25.
(I tend to shop on Amazon because I pay for Amazon Prime and have "free" two-day shipping, but most of these items are also available at Walmart, Target, and Babies R’ Us so please shop around for the best prices.)
Want to give the baby a spa experience that also benefits the parents? Try one of these options.
Babies can listen to the ocean waves, sounds of nature, or heartbeats, while drowning out the drone of the neighbor’s lawn mower. Here’s a sound machine recommended by a friend who swears this sound machine helps her baby get to sleep twice as fast as any others, for $20 on Amazon.
Kickee Pants pajamas
Not many new parents are going to buy their baby one set of pajamas for $30 a pop. That’s why this Kickee Pants pajamas makes a great gift. They are super soft (we’re talking fancy resort style PJ’s here) and parents and babies both love them.
The Kickee Pants are available on Amazon and start at just $19.
When I’ve asked parents what item they didn’t know they needed that they now can’t live without, the most common response is a wipes warmer. Warm wipes are more comfortable for the baby, and they don’t trigger mid-diaper change peeing as much as a cold wipes do. Here’s one with good reviews on Amazon for $18.
Those first few months go by fast, and then babies need real food. These items make the transition to solid food easier on parents.
Pre-made baby food is expensive. Pureeing real food in a blender can be messy and time-consuming. Food grinders like this one for $15 are simple to use and easy to tote.
Fresh food feeders
These tools help babies safely feed themselves. Parents have their hands free to eat their own food and the babies enjoy the autonomy. They come in different sizes and run about $4 with a lid (which I recommend).
New parents get a lot of blankets so I don’t normally recommend them, but these three brands offer something unique.
Aden and Anais muslin blankets
These are great for swaddling but they’re also a lightweight, multi-purpose (they make good sun shades and burp clothes) blankets that grow with the baby. Make sure you get the muslin kind - that fabric is lighter weight and more versatile.
A single Aden and Anais muslin blanket is $14 to $20, but most come in packs of two or more for about $32 and up. However, Home Goods and TJ Maxx often have them for less.
It’s a baby in a zip-up blanket – it doesn’t get much cuter than that. Plus, they’re safer than loose blankets because they’ll never cover the baby’s face. There are lots of brands to choose from but Halo SleepSack has a lot of choices and good reviews. They start at $27 on the Halo site, but you can get them for $15 and up on Amazon.
Make sure you consider the time of year and the material (i.e. you wouldn’t want to buy a fleece blanket for a summer baby).
This blanket takes all the work out of swaddling. They’re kind of a swaddling parent’s best friend. They’re $30 or more on most sites but you can often find them on sale for less.
Improved baby staples
Every baby needs bibs and pacifiers but these brands take these everyday items to the next level.
Baby Bjorn bibs
These bibs are easy to wipe down and have a little catch-all at the bottom for food that misses the mark. You can get a two-pack at Target for $14.
These are pacifiers attached to little stuffed animals (or little stuffed animals attached to pacifiers). For $14 apiece they make searching for tiny, translucent pacis a thing of the past.
A monkey was gifted to my daughter and that monkey became MoMo and he is still part of our family (though he went through plastic surgery to remove his paci). A couple of reminders: the Wubbanub is only for babies with no teeth, and parents should always use caution when putting a stuffed animal in a baby’s crib.
Gifts that make life easier
Trying to keep life organized and clean is a full time job as a parent. These two products make it simple.
These labels for bottles and clothes are great and start at $22. They’ll survive the dishwasher and the washing machine.
Toy, cup, and pacifier holders
You can find lots of options for "holders" that prevent toys, cups, and pacifiers from falling to the floor or getting lost.
The PBnJ site was recommended to me for their pacifier clips but they have lots of cool gift ideas that are very practical and inexpensive. I especially like this package which includes a cup holder, toy holder, and paci holder for $10.
When it comes to toys, the amount of money they cost definitely does not equal the amount of playtime they incur. These three toys will get a lot of play for little money.
Plastic stacking cups
Plastic cups hold up better under a baby’s wrath than cardboard boxes, and they can be used in and out of the bathtub. These cups are $4, and my friend says that they are equally interesting to her six-month-old and her three-year-old.
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
This musical toy with a handle received thousands of good reviews on multiple sites. Here it is on Amazon for $6.
Suction cup toys
They’re toys with suction cups on the bottom so they stick to high chair trays, floors, play stations, and more. There are lots of options to choose from, but this one is especially cool for $15.
One of a kind gifts
If you really want to give a unique gift, consider these practical but special items.
A swimmy bag
It’s a waterproof, lined bag that can hold anything from dirty diapers to wet clothes. On this Etsy page you can have one custom made and choose from a number of gorgeous fabrics. Yes, they are $2 over budget at $27, but just look at them! It’s a fashionable and useful gift.
Personalized onesies and items
A friend of ours turned posters of movies we produced into iron-on transfers, and made custom onesies for our daughter. They were so special that we kept them even though she’s now four. Remember to wash and dry the onesies (so they’ll shrink) before you iron-on the transfer.
Another friend of mine recommended buying a plain onesie from anywhere (here for under $10) and having it embroidered at a local shop (ask your laundry cleaners who they recommend). She especially likes to do this for friends who are big fans of certain shows or movies, and she’ll have character names or quotes added to the clothes. You can do this with bibs, too.
Obviously prices will vary on this, but you can make a customized onesie for under $25. Embroidered blankets are also nice gifts, but they’ll cost more.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give a great baby gift. Any one of the above items makes a thoughtful and useful gift.
If you have a little more money to spend, check out these 11 baby items worth the money.