I said I was going to post about the house today, but a request for baby shower gift ideas fell into my lap this morning and it was too good not to share my experiences.
When registering for Baby E, I turned to Pinterest and store recommendations for baby product must-haves. I did ask friends for suggestions, but by-in-large I went with what I thought I’d need.
At her shower we received numerous adorable outfits, personalized gifts (my favorite), toys, and blankets. All of these gifts have been used tremendously, but there were items that I needed that I didn’t yet know I would.
Fast-forward six months and I’ve identified what I would have really enjoyed and what I have yet to use. With friends and family planning for children in the future, I thought this might be a good time to share what this new momma recommends as great shower/baby/mommy gifts that are a little outside of the gift-giving norm.
Stuff the Diaper Bag
Every Mom will likely want to purchase her own diaper bag to fit her style and needs (I loved the Kate Spade bag because it can be cleaned easily, had enough pockets for me and was cute). What’s often missing from showers are items to stuff the bag with. I’m talking about necessities that always seem to be needed and disappear when you’re on-the-go.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Diapers and Wipes with Case: I’ve used these for more than just bum clean-ups. Keep a fresh stash always packed.
- Diaper Trash Bags: You never know where a diaper will need to be changed, so keeping a trash bag handy will prevent you from leaving a used diaper on the floor of your car (like I’ve sadly done on more than one occasion).
- Homedics Portable SoundSpa: For $10-$13, you cannot go without this. E enjoys the soothing sounds of the ocean to wind down for naps or sleep and this has saved us from meltdowns while out.
- Extra Pacifiers: We use the Avent Soothies (especially the WubbaNubs) and these always seem to disappear – I swear there must be a pacifier fairy who robs them in the night.
- Pacifier Wipes: Babies CONSTANTLY drop their pacifiers. It’s a fact. Keep them clean with wipes.
- Burp Clothes: We use cloth diapers as burp clothes because they’re cheap, easy to clean and fold nicely. E likes to spit up out of nowhere, so this helps keep her (and us) dry.
- Extra Onesies and Socks: E is also queen of the blowout. By keeping an extra outfit and onesie in her bag, we are always covered for the outfit changes.
- Hand Sanitizer (for MOM and DAD!): Cleaning butts while out and about with no access to a sink? No worries, just sanitize it.
- Boogie Wipes: Clean up drool and snotty noses with Boogie Wipes with Saline. It’s soft and gentle and does a great job of getting those dry, sticky boogs.
- Bulb Syringe: Again, you never know when a snotty nose will crop up. Keep a bulb syringe in your bag to make sure your little one’s airway is open for business.
- Tide To-Go Pen (or similar Spray ‘n Wash pen): Spills, blowouts, and spit-ups happen. Keep your clothes looking their best despite the accidents.
- Small Books: Now that E is bigger, she needs to be entertained when awake. Little books don’t take up a lot of room but provide visual stimulation when you’re away from home.
Pick Up the Health, Nursery and Care Necessities
Health: Babies get sick. Babies get dirty. Mommy needs to STOCK UP in advance of need so that she isn’t running out to the store when little one needs her most.
- Infant Tylenol (one for home, one for diaper bag; MUST BE INFANT): E started teething EARLY and this is what her Pediatrician recommended for the days when the cold, wet teething rag just wasn’t cutting it. *Always contact your Pediatrician’s office to determine dosing amount!*
- Mommy’s Bliss Probiotics: We fortunately never needed to use this, but friends with babies who had a lot of tummy troubles thought this was helpful.
- Baby Saline (Little Remedies): E had THREE colds within the first month and a half of daycare (true story). This was a lifesaver for making sure we sucked out all of her snots.
- Gripe Water (Mother’s Bliss): Again, we didn’t come to need this, but friends swear by it!
- Digital Thermometer: Fevers can spike with teething and illness. A quick-read digital thermometer for taking temps via booty makes it quick for Mom and baby. (You can try the temporal or ear thermometers, but these DID NOT WORK for us.)
- Vaseline: Soothe chapped noses and baby fat creases (poor E’s leg rolls sometimes get chafed) using good old fashion Vaseline.
Nursery and Care Necessities: These particular items made my life so much easier. They aren’t the glamorous nursery, bathing and feeding items that Mom’s typically get at showers, but they’ll come in handy!
- Bottle Warmer: As a momma who nurses, I never thought I’d pick one of these up. But, when I went back to work, I realized I was doing a disservice to my family/care providers who needed to quickly warm up a bottle for my daughter. We bought one and she’s been happy to take her perfectly warmed bottles.
- Nursing Cover: Again, since I nurse, there are times when it’s not possible to go hide in a room. My nursing cover has been wonderful for keeping us concealed in public.
- Nursing Bag: I didn’t purchase this until a month after going back to work and it’s been a lifesaver. Mommy can keep all of her pumping parts in ONE PLACE. The Sarah Wells version has insulated inside pockets and sections designated for pumps of all sizes.
- Diapers (size 1 or 2): Not all babies fit in newborn size diapers, but almost all will go through sizes 1 and 2. Though not a glamorous gift, help families stock up on these expensive essentials!
- Extra Crib Sheets: We purchased ONE for her crib. One. This was stupid considering how many times we’ve picked her up out of the crib in a soaked PJ set or walked in to find she spit-up in bed during the night.
- Crib Liners: If your mommy-to-be doesn’t have a lined mattress, this is a must! This saves your kiddo’s mattress from becoming a pee-smell depot.
- Extra Changing Pad Covers: Again, blowouts happen. Sometimes blowouts happen mid-diaper change. Make it easier on yourself/your friend by having extra covers.
- Babyganics SPF Sunscreen: Babies have VERY sensitive skin. Help keep that baby’s skin clean and protected with the Babyganics (or other variety) SPF in a high concentration.
- Aveeno Baby Bath Products: We started out with Johnson & Johnson washes, but I noticed E’s skin was drying out quickly. We switched over to Aveeno’s Sensitive Skin (Eczema Concentration) body wash and shampoo and her skin has been so soft ever since.
- Cloth Diapers: Again, pick up some in cute patterns to use as BURP CLOTHES! Super easy to wash, fold and transport.
- Humidifier: E was born in the fall, so the house was very dry during the winter. Keeping a humidifier running in her room kept her nasal passages cool and moist (ick, hate that word, but it’s the best description).
- SoundSpa: We play the Ocean sound when we want to lull E to sleep. Works like a charm!
Playtime and Fun!
Babies want to be entertained – they DEMAND your attention. But why can’t you have a little fun with them and help them learn as they play?
With these items, we’ve been able to keep everyone happy!
- Oball Exercauser: The Bounce-o-Bunch has been a lifesaver during times when we need to set E down but she’s too stimulated to sit nicely in her Bumbo seat. It’s easy for baby to turn themselves around the circle of activities and the bottom is adjustable based on height. It has a little bounce to it, too, so they can work on their little leg muscles.
- Oballs: These little balls are so easy for babies to hold and many come with rattles to keep baby engaged. Plus, they’re affordable!
- WubbaNubs: These little “lovey” pacifiers helped E soothe herself when going down for naps or long car-rides. She was able to work on hand-eye coordination using her WubbaNubs and can now pick up her WubbaNub and pop it in her mouth all by herself. Plus, they’re cute.
- B. Zany Zoo: When you think of your pediatrician’s office, do you think about those little twisty, windy tracks with the beads? The Zany Zoo is the at-home version of this. Only better, it has activities on all four sides of the box. It’s a little pricey, so perhaps this is best for a close friend or relative.
- Step2 Buggy Car: Now that E is big enough to sit up on her own, we let her ride around in her buggy car (strapped in, of course!). She loves seeing things from a new perspective and pushing on her little horn. Toot, toot!
- Pop-Up Toys: When baby is bigger, they want to discover. This toy is a great bridge item to help children learn hand-eye coordination and pique their interest. It helps them with “if/then” scenarios.
- Indestructible Books: Kids love chewing… and drooling… and tearing. Keep your books in working order by picking up a few “Indestructibles.”
The “Womp, Womp, Womp” List
Now, as I mentioned earlier, there were things I thought I would need FOR CERTAIN, but when it came down to it, we either had too much of this particular, never used it or E didn’t take to it. Here’s what I would consider to be “gifts you may want to deviate from.”
- Clothing (sizes Newborn or 0-3): Yes, babies need clothes! But, what’s the FIRST thing you think of when you hear “Baby Shower”? Probably clothing, and so does every other shower attendee. Be cautious when considering Newborn-size clothes. Some babes are chunkers and never fit in Newborn. Most people will also pick up 0-3 month sizes, too, because they want to see the cute cherub in their outfit ASAP.
- Consider looking at sizes 3-6 and beyond. The family likely won’t have much of these sizes and when babies go through growth spurts, they GROW. Help them out by getting sizes they will eventually need (or may need sooner than expected).
- Swaddles: Ugh. I registered for SO many velcro/easy-to-use swaddles and I got all of them. Little did I know that E would NEVER tolerate a swaddle. Not even the Zipadee-Zips (aka “Flying Squirrel” swaddle). I was so disappointed when I had to pack away all of the pre-washed, unused swaddles.
- Perhaps wait until baby arrives before picking up this kind of gift. This way you can feel out Momma to see if her baby cooperates with a swaddle. If so, then you can stock them up!
- Blankets: There are SO MANY DARLING blankets out there — so soft, with adorable prints and patterns — it’s hard to resist picking one up. But, much like baby clothes, Mommy-to-be probably already has at least three or four.
- Diaper Wipes Warmer: You use a wipe on baby for a total of 5-10 seconds. These are marketed as “lifesavers” for middle of the night diaper changes when you don’t want to wake baby. But really, if you’re changing a diaper in the middle of the night, the baby is already awake. They may scream for the first second or two after a chilled wipe, but it’s over before you know it. Save your money here.
- Sophie the Giraffe: I bought into the Sophie hype. I thought, “Great! This is made of safe materials, is squeaky and E will love chewing on it! All of my friends have one and love it – I’m sure my baby will, too!” Nope. The shape is awkward, hard for little hands to hold and my dog was so OBSESSED with the smell that I spent more time fighting her off than letting E teeth on it. I’m sure it’s great for some, but we were let down by this one particular. Bummer!