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The Best & Worst Baby Gifts

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The 10 Best

1. Housecleaning service for a month, if the person who's doing the cleaning is quiet, efficient, self-directed, and cheerful.

2. A hand-knit baby sweater, in a practical color and fabric like navy cotton, that buttons up the front.

3. A black Kate Spade diaper bag, for feeling chic and sleek against all odds.

4. An engraved sterling silver picture frame, a future heirloom that's as useful as it is luxurious.

5. A portable phone.

6. Gourmet take-out and a video delivered to your door — and picked up the next morning — plus a cache of pretty paper plates and napkins.

7. A gift certificate for the big-ticket item — car seat, bassinet, play yard — that nobody else bought you.

8. Size 2 denim overalls, a collection of animal cookie cutters, and a copy of Runaway Bunny — to savor when all the other presents are history.

9. A voluminous, soft, beautiful yet comfy nightgown that unbuttons to the waist for easy breastfeeding.

10. A big box of stain-free, sweet-smelling hand-me-downs to take Baby through the entire first year.

The 10 Worst

1. Babysitting service for a month, when you really aren't ready to turn your baby over to a sitter.

2. A hand-knit baby sweater, in hand-wash-only white angora, that goes on over Baby's head.

3. Diapers. There is such a thing as being too practical.

4. A sterling silver rattle — or any rattle, for that matter. Has anyone ever seen a baby actually hold one?

5. A puppy.

6. An invitation to a celebratory dinner at the best restaurant in town without kids, of course.

7. A big-ticket practical item that's likely to be a duplicate and will only need to be returned.

8. Expensive outfits in size newborn — outgrown before the baby's even home from the hospital.

9. A sexy lace negligee a size smaller than you wore before giving birth. (Gee, wonder who'd give you that?)

10. A tiny black linen dress, useful only if Baby attends a lot of cocktail parties.

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