The problem when buying a gift for a baby or toddler is not so much where to begin, but how to stop.
The baby industry, said Brian Green of the tot emporium Great Beginnings, is an industry of excess.
The good thing is everything looks darling small. Even a sheet. And when it comes to clothes, figure that one baby might need six costume changes a day. This season you can't go wrong with bright colors, polka dots, stripes, prints . . . caterpillars are currently in vogue.
"There is a cute factor when dealing with baby items because of their size, color and softness," said Laurie McCartney, founder and CEO of estyle -- the parent company of babystyle.com. And a nostalgia factor: "A lot of these items take us back to our own childhood."
And of course the style factor. "People are always looking for something funky and unique. When lunching with friends, you want your baby draped with the cutest stroller blanket, not something that came out of a three-pack," said Mirav Bradshaw, co-owner of 2 Little Monkeys, whose blankets -- this time around -- include rickrack, pompoms and faux fur trims.
Everyone will go gaga.
-- Janelle Erlichman
Dinosaur belly bank ($29.99), at Great Beginnings, 301-417-9702, in Gaithersburg,M&M monogrammed stool ($52), at Lemon Twist, 301-656-1357 in Chevy Chase, and 703-524-4680 in Arlington.Blue Moon chenille pillow ($85), at Mint Julep's, 202-333-2173, in Georgetown.My Favorite Rolling Puppy ($28, assembly required), at babystyle.com or 877-378-9537.