Gift Guide

Southern Baby Gift Guide

18 practical (and adorable) items—perfect for baby showers, birthday gifts, and more—that will make you go awww

photo: Colleen Burdett

Wiley with his rocking horse.

photo: Brennan Wesley

Haskell Harris (@haskellharris) is the style director at Garden & Gun

My husband and I welcomed our first child, Wiley McKinney, into the world during the Charleston, South Carolina, blizzard of 2018. In the months since, I’ve learned more about loving big and selflessness than I ever thought imaginable. I’ve also developed unexpected talents like eating with one hand, whittling my morning beauty routine down to the most efficient five minutes in history, and mastering an encyclopedic knowledge of baby gear and baby gifts. There are wonderful resources for all manner of things that make life with a new baby easier. Trust me, I had plenty of time to research during those 3 a.m. feedings in the early days. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.


Rocking Horse

South Carolina artisan Paul Eric Rich recreates the tiny rocking horse of his childhood to order. Beyond being beautiful (the tail is made from an old-fashioned rag rug), the little guy makes for an instant heirloom. Rich still has the original design his father made by hand for him and for all five of his siblings. “It’s a little worse for wear, but it’s one of the most memorable things he made us as children.” Wiley is also a fan, as you can see above. $150; brothersrich.com


Pockit Lightweight Stroller

Strollers are cumbersome instigators of chronic back pain, and this is the only one I will take to an airport, a grocery store, or in a car. It’s super light and folds up into a small square with a handle. $180; amazon.com


Little English Overall

For Wiley, I’m drawn to things that are very, very simple, without extraneous detailing or cutesy sayings. So I’m a huge fan of the Kentucky-based label Little English, especially their overalls—they’re straightforward and beautifully made, right down to the wood buttons. $46; littleenglish.com


Snoo Bassinet

I realize this is a ridiculously expensive bassinet. My own mother tried to talk me out of saving up for it because she thought it was a scam. But if there is one gift for a new mom and dad that you go in on with a big group of folks, this should be it. I cannot overstate how critical this bassinet was in Wiley’s first few months (and he was born a bit early). It has a built-in swaddle and soothing noise machine, and it gently rocks newborns to sleep when they startle themselves awake between feedings. Also, if you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund within thirty days. But you won’t. $928; amazon.com


Azul Hand Blocked Dress

I grew up in smocked everything, and I appreciate the artistry of true hand-made pieces. Which is why I am obsessed with the dresses by Mariana Barran Goodall at Hibiscus Linens in Houston, Texas. They are miniature pieces of art that are traditional without being fussy. The contrasting red on this blue dress is so unusual and lovely. $35; hibiscuslinens.com


Sterling Baby Dumb Bell, Brush, and Rattle

If you’re stumped on something meaningful to give, you’ll never go wrong with anything for infants made from silver. (I received several baby pieces from both sides of the family, and I treasure them.) Silver is naturally antimicrobial, so it’s perfect for teething rings like this one ($68; Amazon), rattles like this ($105; Amazon), and tiny hairbrush sets like this ($77; Amazon). Take any of these items to be engraved with a monogram and the baby’s date of birth to make your gift even more personal.


Kid Mashburn Stripe Pullover Sweater

If you haven’t surfed the sites for Atlanta style icons Sid and Ann Mashburn, do. Lately they’ve added children’s clothing to the list of chic everything they produce. The striped cotton sweater is so timeless your baby’s baby’s baby will likely wear it, too, so it’s worth the investment. Plus it’s cotton, not wool, so it won’t itch sensitive skin. And who doesn’t love stripes for tiny boys and girls? $95; annmashburn.com


Agua Patchwork Cashmere Baby Blanket

As I mentioned, my son, Wiley, was born in a rare blizzard. Luckily a dear friend gave me a beautiful, cozy blanket to bring him home from the hospital in. I’m of the opinion that you can’t have enough baby blankets because you’re always swaddling with one, letting them play on another, washing one, or wondering how the seventh one disappeared into the chaos that is now your car. So they are wonderful gifts, too, and I particularly like this one because it reminds me of Southern patchwork. $180; barneys.com


Blue Jersey Baby Sack

Another lesson I learned as a new parent is that snaps are the enemy in the middle of the night with a one-week-old. I didn’t realize this until someone gave me a sleep sack from Charleston’s Pixie Lily Baby. Not only are they incredibly practical, the crochet tatting and French knot embroidery are stunning. $58; pixielily.com


BlaBla Dog Mini “Tou-Tou”

I’ve been a fan of Georgia’s handmade BlaBla dolls even before I had a baby. I put this little puppy dog on our registry early, and I don’t regret it! $49; amazon.com


Natural Teething Toy

This looks like a mini-sculpture and it’s like catnip for a teething baby. Our dog, Auggie, already ate one, so we’re on our second, and Wiley’s still addicted. $12; amazon.com


Organic Cotton Infant Booties

Wiley lived in Louisiana’s Harbour Clothing this summer because most of their warm-weather pieces are made of gauze, which breathes better in the Southern heat (and washes better) than linen or seersucker. I also love their cotton booties for newborns because they wrap well enough to stay on (unlike socks, which don’t stay on tiny babies—who knew?) and they keep little feet warm. $28; shopharbourclothing.com


Asunflower Wooden High Chair

When Wiley first started eating solid foods, I used a high chair that clipped to our kitchen island, thinking it would save space, which it did. But it also didn’t hold up well to spills because it was made from nylon fabric. Two weeks ago, I bought this high chair and I love it. It’s so much easier to clean and it converts to different heights as he gets older, too. $170; amazon.com


Plush Bunny Pull Toy

Our Digital Director, Kim Alexander, who gave birth to twin girls, Bree and Josie, a few months before Wiley was born, told me about Hallmark’s new collection of baby toys. They have a wonderful vintage look that’s hard to find and they are adorable, from the white bunny to the caterpillar. $34; hallmarkbaby.com


Westminster Bonnet

Babies lose a lot of heat through their tiny noggins, especially if they are born in winter like Wiley was. This cozy knit bonnet by Beaufort Bonnet Company in Lexington, Kentucky, looks both old-school and modern. $68; thebeaufortbonnetcompany.com


A Raven’s Nest

Children’s books are never, ever, ever a bad idea for new parents. And right now I am completely head over heels for a new collection dreamed up by Charleston, South Carolina-based Little Bit Lit. The first in the new series, A Raven’s Nest, tackles all manner of subjects missing in children’s books, and is written and illustrated by South Carolina artist Raven Roxanne. It navigates the world of emotions like anger, fear, and sadness and emotional regulation that’s so important for littles to learn early on. Next up, the new imprint will debut You Animal, which, you guessed it, celebrates all of nature’s creatures big and small. $30; lilbitlit.com


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