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First-Birthday Gifts Your Child Will Actually Use

Baby gifts don’t have to be cute and soft to be a hit. Check out these ideas for presents that make everyone’s life a little easier.

4 min read

Age one is a major milestone. Your baby is no longer an infant and is now headed for toddlerhood. She is learning to walk, develop more independence with food, and may even try to sit on the potty for the first time. In truth, most one-year-olds want nothing more than to do what the big people do.

Yet for all of these developmental steps forward, your baby is still an adorable bundle of cuddles, and as such, first-birthday gifts from family and friends tend to favor soft and snuggly over functional and practical. If you are dreading the onslaught of stuffies and toys that are sure to come with your baby’s first birthday, consider asking for these useful gifts instead.

Sippy Cup

At age one, many tots are ready to drop bottles. Soft spout sippy cups mimic the experience of bottle-feeding with an almond-shaped spout that opens when your little one’s mouth comes in contact, while providing the experience of holding and drinking from a cup. If your child struggles with the wider spout, straw cups are recommended. Bonus: The straws also work muscles in the cheeks and jaw that help in speech development. A straw cup with handles allows your little one to easily grip and position the cup as he learns to work the straw. Choose one in his favorite color to bring along on outings or pack for daycare.

Booster Seat 

Newly minted toddlers may begin to resist the high chair in favor of “sitting like the big people.” A booster seat with side support allows your little one to sit at the table with the family, while holding her securely in place. For children 15+ months, a fold-and-store version helps make sure they can reach their plate with minimal fuss. And you can rest assured that they will stay safely in their seat with a three-point harness. In both cases, the cushions are removable for easy cleaning.

Step Stool

One-year-olds love to be wherever you are, doing whatever you are doing. As they gain more confidence, they may even want to join you at the kitchen counter while you prepare a meal. (Youngsters can help with tasks such as forming balls of cookie dough with their hands.) A sturdy step stool lets your child participate in the action while also reaching the sink (key for practicing hand-washing skills).

Potty Chair

A potty chair is a first-birthday gift every parent appreciates—and you may be surprised by how eager your child is to try it out. Even if you haven’t started potty training yet, it’s a good idea to introduce a potty early. This small sturdy chair makes its purpose clear and young toddlers can take a seat next to the big-person toilet in your bathroom. When you’re on the go, easy bathroom access is key, which is why you’ll be forever grateful for one of these portable 2-in-1 potties that folds easily into a travel bag.

Fork and Spoon Set

When your toddler begins reaching for your fork at the dinner table, she might be ready to upgrade from finger foods to baby utensils. A fork and spoon set designed just for toddlers features easy-to-grip handles and flat spots to prevent utensils from rolling off the table. Plus, rounded fork tips help keep tots safe. Use them during family dinners or pack the utensils to go for a picnic.

PS: For youngsters who insist on feeding themselves, check out our Messy Eater Survival Guide to help minimize the chaos.


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