Clothing bundles. Custom baby blankets. Personalised baby gifts like toys. A gift for a newborn should set up a baby for life. Most won't even last a lunchtime.
That wasn't always the case. There are traditions of gifting gold to little ones that go back centuries. Newborns would see their palms crossed with coins. Or they would get a golden bangle to ward off evil spirits. In China, babies were given gold coins as gifts for the Zhua Zhou ceremony – a precious, meaningful custom that held significance for both the giver and the baby.
Choosing a gift for a newborn in 2023 can still do the same. A present should be thoughtful. It should feel special. The gift should signify that you’re invested in the newborn’s future. It should show them that you want to give them the best start in life.
This guide will walk you through a selection of baby gift ideas that both the parents and their baby will treasure for years to come, from practical baby accessories to the gift of gold.
Newborn baby gift essentials
Typical newborn baby gifts tend to cover the must-haves that new parents will need: baby grows; sleep suits; and special outfits for zero-to-three- or three-to-six-month-olds. These essentials can be a blessing for parents.
Generally given to the mother as baby shower gifts, the best bundles and baby gift sets tend to include a hat, mittens, booties, and a bib. Other essentials can include baby bottles, cuddly toys, and even hamper-like bundles that bring together much or all of the above.
Other basics most parents will require include baby towels, muslins, and vests. But it’s the one-off, bigger ticket items such as a pram, car seat, or a good quality cot that’s the most helpful present you can give younger couples.
Baby shower gifts
Presents like Bertie’s New Baby Girl Gift Baskets from Babyblooms are a good place to start. Featuring soft cotton muslins, bibs, baby clothes, and a small teddy bear, these hampers have everything new parents need to get through those first few weeks.
Similarly, a bundle of homecooked meals will always be welcomed. In the UK, COOK has worked with the Positive Birth Company to create the COOK Meal Box, a week’s worth of homemade meals for mummy and daddy. They arrive frozen and can be heated up in the oven or microwave, giving parents more precious one-on-one time with their baby.
Giving gold as a gift for a newborn
Some might prefer to give a newborn something a little more meaningful, such as bequeathing them a wedding ring that belonged to the baby's great-grandmother. Gifting jewellery or a family heirloom is a touching gesture that mixes the personal with the precious: part inheritance for your children; part a direct link to the past.
Traditional ways of gifting gold
Another way to do that is via the custom of coin-giving. Practiced for centuries across Europe, giving a gold or silver coin to a baby was said to bring good luck. The money also served a more practical purpose: it became the start of a nest egg for the little one.
Gifting Napoleon coins and crib medals in France
In France these days, a child might receive a gold Napoleon coin. These finely engraved coins were minted during Napoléon Bonaparte's reign. However, it is more common for family members to give newborns a crib medal. These small, round decorated medallions, often engraved with different Catholic symbols, are attached to the baby's cot to watch over them at night like a guardian angel.
Italy gifts handcrafted baby items like engraved bracelets
Catholicism plays a part in the gifting of gold in Italy, too. Parents here don’t accept presents until the baby is born and even then, a newborn is likely to get its most significant gifts at its christening. Traditionally, they will be presented with a gold bracelet.
If you buy a newborn some engraved baby jewellery like a bracelet, having it engraved with a personal message, the baby’s initials, or their date of birth can be a lovely, thoughtful touch.
Babies in Switzerland are given a Swiss Miss, a Vreneli coin
In Switzerland, it’s customary for a newborn to get a Vreneli coin as a gift during their christening. This fabled 20 Swiss Francs gold piece, nicknamed the ‘Swiss Miss’, was first issued in 1897 and features a bust of Helvetia, the national personification of Switzerland, with the Alps in the background.
A popular investment for those who buy gold, a Vreneli coin is a secure way to set up the next generation of your family financially. The coin can also be stored in a display case, giving it an aesthetic value too.
The most meaningful new baby gift ideas for 2023? A Lady Fortuna gold bar
Alternatively, if you have a little more to spend, consider buying the newborn a Lady Fortuna gold bar as a gift. Elegantly engraved with the goddess Fortuna, daughter of Jupiter, these sophisticated small gold bars start at just 1 gram, and offer a majesty and an appearance few other baby gifts can muster.
Developed by MKS PAMP, each gold bullion is engraved with its own serial number, marking it as a unique gift for your family’s latest edition. The bars have also been certified as Carbon Neutral by the Carbon Trust, meaning they are a desirable, eco-friendly baby gift, perfect for 2023.
Whatever you choose to buy for the latest arrival in your life, few ideas can beat a modern twist on the age-old tradition of coin-giving.