So a friend/co-worker and I had a conversation about baby showers a few weeks back. She doesn’t have any children of her own (yet!) and requested that I share what I have learned being a mom with her and others about what in the heck to give at a baby shower.
First off, ask! Ask what the mom-to-be wants for her baby. And use the registry that she spent hours building! That was one thing that drove me nuts at my baby shower. It seemed that nobody bothered looking at my registry that I had waddled around Target for nearly 3 hours to accumilate. Don’t get me wrong, the gifts were wonderful and everyone was so generous, but there were those things that I really NEEDED for my daughter, but ended up buying out of my own pocket, when she could’ve received less than fifty little onsies and been just fine…
So being a mom, I have learned of some things that you really do need that I had no idea really how much you did, and some things that I thought I would need, but haven’t ever or rarely used. Take baby powder for instance, I have a lifetime supply, and I have needed it like once. Pediatricians now say that it isn’t such a great thing for babies because if they inhale it, it can cause severe respiritory problems and even permanent damage. I used it once when she was chaffing under all her neck rolls, that’s it. Another thing I have a lifetime supply of is baby soap. That’s the thing people feel that you need, so they all take the opportunity to buy you a bottle, so I have seriously like 10. I have regifted a few, and gave my brother one for his new tattoo. And then there is the lotion. I can only put so much of that stuff on my kid before she becomes un-holdable. She’ll just slip out of my arms! Hahaha but no really, I have too much of that stuff. And skip the newborn diaper sizes, and limit the newborn sized anything, really! I had several packages leftover of newborn diapers. And she wasn’t born very big… Some babies can’t fit into them at all! The weight on them says up to 10 pounds, but by the time Skyrie was 9 pounds, she was having too many blow outs and I had to up her to size ones. She was in newborns for all of 2 weeks. And I got a lot of hats. She hated them, and I hated them on her.
Back to the asking thing, ask the momma what kind of diapers she wants to use, disposable or reusable, what brand, etc.. If she is going to breast feed, or use formula. If she is formula feeding, find out which formula she wants to use, the bottles she likes, and ask if she likes things such as a bottle warmer, and if you really want to spoil her, you could get her a formula dispensing mixer! If she is going to breast feed, and is really committed to it, then things I have needed (still going strong at 5 months, thank you very much!) are nursing pads (Lansinoh is the best brand), a manual pump (unless you want to splurge $200 for a decent double electric), lanolin cream (heaven in a tube in the first couple weeks), a nursing cover, a nursing bra and/or tank top, ice packs (she will thank you once that baby comes), and find out if she will be returning to work. If that is the case, and she plans to pump, then get her some storage bags. The best brand that I have discovered is the Target up&up storage bags. They are so much cheaper and are tons better in quality. Also ask her what kind of bottles she wants her baby to use, and a little cooler with a re-usable ice pack to tote her mommy milk in discretely at work.
Stay away from binkies. Though she may want her baby to use one, not every baby likes the same ones, and some babies won’t take them at all! So the one brand she has picked for her child to use, may never get used. My daughter started off with the big round green ones supplied at the hospital. She wasn’t able to really keep it in her mouth, though. Especially in her sleep, it would fall out and startle her awake, which means that I had to wake up as well! So I switched to a different nipple type, same brand. Those were HUGE on her face, but she liked them much more. I found a different brand with a very very similar nipple type, that had much cuter designs, a smaller shield, and that is where we stand on the binky. But stay away from them, it’s a very risky gift! Same thing goes for a swaddling blanket. Skyrie hated being swaddled, so I wouldn’t have used any (didn’t get any of them anyways) but some babies will not sleep without being swaddled.
So, you are probably wondering what IS a good thing to get. WIPES. Those have so many uses, and are such wonderful little things! That baby will always poop, that’s a given. You can never have too many of them! But don’t get a crappy brand (i/e: Walmart’s brand). They have to be thick, not tear easily, soft, and gentle. My favorite are Huggies thick care wipes. The Pampers wipes container bugs me, so I haven’t tried those. It has a little hole on top instead of a hole with little flappy things to seperate each wipe (if that makes sense)…
And, of course, a great thing to get is a gift card to whatever store they are registered at so she can get those few things that she needs that were not given.
A few other things, laundry detergent and fabric softener. Get a free and clear kind, though. Nobody knows if that baby will have any allergies to those detergents! Wash cloths are good, but I haven’t used them since she was a newborn. Burp cloths!!! Those things are a MUST, especially with a baby that has reflux (it’s no fun changing your shirt 3 times in an hour). And there is always the hooded towel. Get a good thick kind, not the thin ones. I only got the little whimpy thin towels, and haven’t bothered buying different ones because I just use normal towels… And receiving blankets! Those things have so many uses. I use those still to this day for random things. They are great for quick diaper changes, a makeshift sheet in an emergency nap time situation where it’s either put that baby down or else she’ll wake up, or after bath time on the counter top or wherever.
Best brand for baby clothes, hands down, Carter’s. They fit amazing! They are always so cute and they LAST! Especially when I do laundry like crazy.
Also, if they are having a girl, hair bows and flowers are always a great thing! And headbands, but make sure they’ll fit a tiny newborn head!!! I only had one headband that fit Skyrie when she was born (but her head was rather tiny). You’d be surprised how tiny they come out though!
Also, things like diaper rash cream and ointments, sunscreen, should be given in small amounts to avoid the over gifting… And to add to the list, there are always things that are more expensive, such as stroller, high chair, car seat and base(s), bouncer, jumper, swing, and baby gyms. Those are amazing gifts, but are quite expensive. But if you would like to spoil this person, make sure you know what brand, style/color, and model they prefer!
And I think one of the best purchases I have made for my baby has been the Graco Electric Nasal Aspirator. If this person is having a baby in any season, this is the best gift. It works better than the nurses suction machine at the emergency room, not even kidding. I get more snot out of my daughter’s nose with this little $20 miracle machine than the machine that I’m sure cost thousands of dollars at the hospital. Gift this with a bottle of baby saline! Babies get colds, that’s just a fact. When a baby cannot breathe through their nose, they get very very very angry. Granted, my child does NOT like her nose sucked out, but I’d rather her cry for 2 minutes while I suck out her nose, than scream day and night because she can’t breathe!
If you are debating what product to get, look up the reviews for it!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Reviews for baby items online have saved me lots of money, effort, and frustration with something that doesn’t work the way it should.
There are so many things to consider when it comes to gift giving. But, when it doubt, ASK!!