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Mommy Dearest: Gifts For Big Brothers and Sisters

Mommy Dearest,

I went to the hospital to visit a friend's new baby boy and gave him a gift. While there, several people stopped by and brought presents for the infant and his older sister. Is this something new? I don't recall getting anything when my younger siblings were born?

— Guilty of Not Buying For Both

To see Mommy Dearest's response,


Guilty of Not Buying For Both,

Buying presents for a babe's siblings is a trend though I'm sure in some families it's a tradition. While I don't recall receiving a lot of loot when my younger brother and sister were born, my daughter got a number of gifts when my son made his debut. She was well stocked with tutus, fairy wands and big sister shirts. Along those same lines, some callers also brought my husband and me congratulatory gifts — chocolates, flowers and CDs. Their thoughtfulness was appreciated, but it certainly wasn't expected. And I imagine with larger families, this degree of generosity could lead people to strained financial straits. Of course when welcoming a wee one to the world, simply saying "Congratulations!" is always a fitting gift.

— Mommy Dearest

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Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
i gave my #2 a gift from #3 and she totally wasn't fooled. it was 11 days shy of her 2nd birthday and she tells the story like this "yeah i got teeta (her doll) from mom at the hospital. well she said it was from leelee but i knew a baby didn't buy a gift". and that's always been her story. she totally adored her baby sister though so it wouldn't have mattered if there was a gift. but when #1 came there wouldn't have been enough gifts in the world to make my #1 happy about her arrival. so there you go. i don't think it even has to be a gift. if the visitors just ask the older child how they are and what they are doing (not mention the baby unless the child does) i think they would enjoy that attention.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
Oh, like Greggie I did have the baby "give" a gift to her older sister upon arriving at the house. My oldest (2 at the time) played with it exclusively for a week and told everyone would listen that is was from her baby sister. So worth it for the bonding opportunity.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I think the gift for the older sibling is a nice idea, but no one should feel obligated to do this. I usually do get an additional older sibling gift (or gifts), but they are usually something simple--maybe even from the dollar store. The gift's value isn't important. It's all about the gesture of inclusion towards the older child or children.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
skigurl, she was more than a little nutso. I only visited once. *lol*
graylen graylen 9 years
My nephew was 22 months when my niece was born, so he really didn't understand what was happening. What he did understand was that his world was changing, Mommy didn't have as much dedicated time for just him, and that lots of attention was being paid to his baby sister. I bought him 5 or 6 little gifts from the dollar store (car, coloring book, etc), wrapped them up, and then when his baby sister got gifts and lots of attention from visitors, we would quietly give a him a little gift later. He certainly didn't expect it, but he was always excited- or "cited!" as he says. It was more of a reward for him- he wouldn't have known to connect it to his little sister. It was just to show that he was important. The gifts were always so little that it was just a treat. Worked great and helped the transition. I wouldn't expect gifts for both kids. Family gave my nephew gifts because they thought of it, but it certainly isn't required by any stretch of the imagination!
skigurl skigurl 9 years
oh, but for the record, i think it's a cute idea, if its the first sibling....i dont think every person is obligated, but i think its a cute idea, and a nice gesture. i also like the idea of getting the mom something personal, as well as giving the dad a present. for my cousin's baby shower, i bought the dad a book about how to be a good dad to a little's nice to be acknowledged every once and awhile, especially if he's a good, supportive, caring husband (which he is!)
skigurl skigurl 9 years
greggie, your friend sounds like a whacko! it's pretty presumptuous to expect that you'd come bearing gifts in the first place, and secondly, it only teaches her daughter that she should expect presents from every visitor who comes to the house, not to mention should always expect a present everytime her sibling recieves one (ie: birthdays could start getting pretty awkward in that house)
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 9 years
those are cute shirts i want them dont even have a baby my baby is 5
Greggie Greggie 9 years
We bought each of our kids a gift from the new baby, but I don't expect anyone else to. Then again, I don't expect a gift for the baby either. I've never done sibling gifts when buying for others, and have no intention of doing so in the future. I did have a friend who stocked her room with gifts for her older daughter so that those of us who "forgot" a gift could choose one to present to her. I thought that was way overboard.
controlledspin controlledspin 9 years
I think the childs age has a lot to do with it too. If they are older and this is the 3rd sibling, they may not feel the need to have more attention lavished on them as a 4 year old would of a new sibling, I think.
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