Perfume for babies and silly gifts for newbornsAlamy

Have you ever heard of anything sillier than perfume for babies?

Someone in the fragrance department at luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana must have been sniffing the stock a little too vigorously of late, because the iconic Italian designer label is set to sell its first fragrance for babies.

Apparently it's an alcohol-free perfumed cologne inspired by 'the softness of baby skin, the freshness of baby breath, a mother's sweet hug, the first smile... and other tender moments'.

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Sounds like a marketing man's wily ruse to monetise a mother's tender moment, if you ask me.

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And I'm not alone. Mother of three Lisa is perturbed by the very notion of perfume for babies. "What's the advertising tag line - for the baby who just doesn't smell 'baby' enough?" she muses. "Seriously though, don't babies already smell better than anything else in the known universe?"

But it seems it's not just perfume for babies that makes new mums go mad. Age-inappropriate gifts are another bugbear.

"I got a snowsuit in newborn size," says mother of two Joanne. "For a July baby."

And my friend Chloe is equally baffled by the numerous weird items her friends and family saw fit to lavish on her upon the birth of her first child. "My worst gift was a pair of baby cowboy boots," she says. "Like you're going to squish your baby's tiny toes into stack heels. But don't get me started on newborn-sized cashmere cardigans. All very cute but three months of handwashing baby sick? No thanks. And as for those hideous slogan T-shirts that everyone buys. Yuck."

It's the inappropriate ascribing of adult interests to children that seems to offend us most. My friend Cara had conniptions when well-meaning family members bought her newborn son a tiny pair of baby-sized jeans.

"Jeans on babies is just plain wrong," she says. "Babygros are for babies. Jeans are not."

Mum of two Hannah agrees, and is similarly indiscriminate in her hatred of inappropriate gifts for babies. "I hated every piece of clothing we were given except the babygros," she says. "But I was especially provoked by the toddler toilet seat that someone gave us. Utterly useless and strangely discomfiting with a newborn in the house. I gave it away immediately as it had Disney characters on, and I don't do characters."

But as with all things pertaining to parents, opinion is divided as to what constitutes an appropriate gift for a baby, and what does not.

"We got one of those daft silver boxes that you're supposed to keep your child's milk teeth in," said mother of two Sarah. "Ewww!"

But when I canvassed opinion on silly gifts for babies, another friend begged to differ over the box of teeth. "I have a lovely silver box like that, and I'll be keeping every single one of my son's baby teeth," she mused. "What's so strange about that?"

So perhaps one mum's daft silver box for teeth is another mother's perfect baby gift. And yet the world seems pretty unanimous about the pointlessness of perfume for babies. Blogger and mum of one Laura says: "It's an utterly ludicrous idea.

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Babies need perfume as much as fish need bicycles. Natural baby smell is perfect and delicious.

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And while it doesn't take a parenting expert to tell that your baby can probably live without his or her very own designer fragrance, Liat Hughes Joshi, mother and author of What to Buy for Your Baby, says impractical or inappropriate baby gifts are usually given because so few people have experience of actually caring for babies until they have their own.

"That means it's hard to know what new parents genuinely do and don't need. And some companies do such a great job of making their marketing seem so compelling that it's easy to think 'Yes that sounds like a good idea'. But the bottom line is you really don't have to spend much to keep a baby safe and comfortable."

And when it comes to perfume for babies, Liat think the idea is nothing short of awful. "A newborn's natural smell (the pong of dirty nappies excluded!) is important for parent-child bonding, and it seems odd to me to mask that," she explains.


Five things no baby needs


Baby high heels
There are no words.

A blinging dummy
Nothing says 'dummy' quite like a diamond-encrusted one.

A pee-pee teepee
Also known as a willy wigwam. Just no.

A baby mop
Isn't this what we used to call child-labour?

Your baby can read
The marketing men can definitely see you coming...