There’s a bit of a baby boom going on around here. I know so many people who are expecting or just had a baby. At church alone, there have been about 5 babies born already this year and another 5 or more due before March 2018. Then I can add in a few friends and even my sister-in-law to the list and you can see that’s a lot of babies!
With so many babies on the way, that means a lot of baby showers. A lot of showers means buying a lot of gifts. But with so many gifts to buy, what is a good option? What do new parents want and what do they really need?
I’ve got some suggestions for every price point that will leave new parents blessed with things they actually need as well as want.
This is one of the most versatile baby products out there. I even wrote a whole post about them and the 7 (yes count them, 7!) ways you can use one. It’s a must-have for every mom! I got a muslin blanket as a gift for my second baby and it was a life changer. I’ve hardly touched any of our other blankets and I don’t leave the house without one (I’ve since purchased 3 more).
Being able to see what’s going on with your baby is so important. A Baby car mirror is a great gift. They are made from non-breakable materials (in the event of an accident) and strap the headrest. They allow mom to see the baby in their rear-facing car seat and baby can see themselves which can be quite entertaining, which means a more pleasant car ride.
Milestone Memory Item
Babies grow so fast and most parents want a way to freeze their little one in time. Monthly pictures are super popular and there are some great products out there to help make taking them fun and easy. From cards to blocks to milestone blankets, a great memory marker is a must have for new parents.
Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie the Giraffe is arguably the most popular baby toy out there. The soft rubber body is designed for tiny hands and the face and feet make for the perfect chew toy. Before kids, I didn’t’ understand all the hype. Every mom I knew insisted that I needed one. It came as a gift (thank you!) and it’s by far the favorite with both my kids and every kid I know who has one.
Nursing Cover/Car Seat Cover
Some moms are super comfortable nursing in public without covering up. Great! But there are others (like me) who just want to keep things a little more private. The great thing is, a great nursing cover can go double duty as a car seat cover, chart cover, and scarf. You’ll never go wrong buying one.
Like Sophie, I’ve yet to meet a kid who didn’t like the Jolly Jumper. It’s portable and all you need is a door frame to hang it from. It’s an instant hit and a great way to tucker a baby out before naptime.
One of the most overlooked things on a baby registry is a humidifier. But when baby catches their first cold, it’s must have to have on hand. They help clear congestion and open baby’s airways. We’ve even turned ours on when we went through a dry spell and we all started getting nose bleeds. A little extra moisture in the air made all the difference and we were so grateful to have one.
Bumbo with Tray
A Bumbo is a basically a little chair that baby sits in and they can’t really get out. We love ours. It’s a great place to put baby for a few minutes when you really need them somewhere safe. We also love ours because it’s basically a portable feeding chair. Pop baby in, add the tray and you’re set for a meal. This is a great option when having dinner at a friend’s house or a family member who doesn’t have a high chair. For that option alone it’s a must have. And get the tray, always. The tray can be tricky to find by itself and is a little on the expensive side if not included with the chair.
A great thermometer is the most important piece of equipment in every medicine cabinet. With a baby, it’s hard to know what’s wrong when they are fussy or unwell and ruling out a fever is always a parent’s first concern. Making it easy to take a squirmy baby’s temperature is a must. That’s why I love my forehead or temporal thermometer. Just touch, press the button and get a 1-second reading. It’s that easy to rule out a fever and give new parents piece of mind.
Video Baby Monitor
We have a small house and didn’t think we really needed a video monitor. But we received one as a shower gift and I honestly don’t know how I would have lived without it. The difference between just hearing and seeing is huge. Babies are loud sleepers. Heck, my oldest often spoke, laughed and rolled all over her crib, banging the bars with her hands or feet while she slept. Being able to see that she was still asleep made all the difference. And once they start sleeping in their own room, knowing whether you actually need to get up or not, being able to see that they are safe, from your bed at 1 am is so reassuring.
Moses Basket with Stand
It’s recommended that baby sleeps in mom and dad’s room in the beginning. Having some sort of bassinet is essential. We love the Moses Basket style for several reasons. It functions as a bassinet, next to my bed. But I am able to take the basket where every I need to go. Early on, I often laid our little one down in it while we ate or brought it downstairs while we watched a movie. It was great because I could bring it around with me and she could sleep the whole time. Then at night, I would pop it into the rocking stand it became an instant bedside bassinet.
Spa day for Mom
Moms in their third trimester are done! They are tired, sore and huge. And while they are usually happy and excited about the arrival of their new bundle of joy, they are also exhausted because they are carrying around an extra 30+ lbs and finding a good sleeping position is next to impossible (and once you do, you have to pee.) Pamper her with a gift certificate to a spa. A prenatal massage is the best thing I ever did for myself. I left feeling relief from pain I didn’t even know I had. A pedicure, because at 30 weeks pregnant, mama probably can’t see let alone paint her own toes! A nice spa is so appreciated!
Other great ideas for any price point:
Diapers and Wipes
Buy any size of diapers or a pack of wipes because they will be used. Remember to include the receipt because most stores will allow for parents to exchange unopened diapers for a size they need. Also, consider getting the ones for sensitive skin over regular ones just in case.
The teacher in me has to suggest books. Reading to kids is the best thing you can do for their education and it starts as newborns. Buying a board book (or 2 or 3) is a great gift. I personally try to make sure the stories are short and that there aren’t more than a sentence or two on each page, which means the pictures will change more quickly, which is good for the little attention spans of babies and toddlers. These are 3 of our favorites here:
I know. You wanted to buy a gift. But sometimes a gift card can be just as helpful as a gift. Consider buying one for a take-out place so dad can pick-up dinner on his way home and save mom the hassle of cooking. Or maybe a gift card for the grocery store so they can stock up on other supplies before baby arrives (check out my checklist of supplies here). Parents can also pool gift cards to get something bigger like a crib or a glider. Gift cards aren’t a waste and they let parents get what they want and need.
This is something I learned from my church. They love group gifts and someone always arranges on for each shower. One or 2 people are in charge and they collect money from others ahead of time. They then pool the money to buy larger gifts off the registry like maybe the crib or the travel system the parents picked out. All the names go in a card so the parents-to-be know who contributed. The only stipulation is that it has be a gift (or gifts) purchased off the registry. It makes your small contribution so much bigger. And if you aren’t able to attend the shower, it’s a great way to contribute without having to figure out what to get, how to get it to the parents, etc.
Things not to buy:
There are a few things that I don’t suggest buying for baby showers. It’s not that they aren’t good products or things parents need. Some of these things are just too personal to buy for someone else.
A baby carrier is a must for new parents, but don’t buy it for them. I always recommend parents so to a store that has some on display and try them on AFTER baby is here. Why? Because everyone is built differently. What might be comfortable on you, might not be for someone who is a few inches shorter. There’s also a certain personality type that goes with each carrier, and you don’t really know which you’ll be until after the baby is born and you’ve had a few days to settle in with them. I’m a sling person but my sister-in-law is a structured carrier person and that’s fine but they are totally different. So just get a gift card and let them pick their own.
Car Seat and Stroller/ Travel System
Car Seats and Strollers can be a little tricky to figure out how to install and close up. That’s why I recommend parents go to the store and try them before they buy them. Everyone is different and what you might find really easy, might be really confusing and hard for someone else. Case in point: My sister-in-law and I both tried a few strollers from the same store and bought 2 different ones. When we compared I realized hers was the one that I hated at the store because it took me forever to figure out how to close it. She said the same time about mine. So unless the parents have tried them out and they are on the registry, don’t buy it.
Big ticket Items that are not on the Registry
Maybe you saw a beautiful crib or rocking chair on sale at your favorite store? Don’t buy it! Unless it is the exact make, model, and color from the registry, don’t buy it unless the parents have okayed it first. Same goes for any big ticket item.When I say big ticket I’m talking about cribs, gliders, rocking chairs, furniture pieces and high chairs. Parents put a lot of thought into picking the perfect crib and furniture pieces for their home. Honor their choice by picking these bigger items from their registry or ask first.
I know it can be so tempting. You see the perfect little picture, lamp, basket and you just want to get it for them. Don’t! Unless it’s on the registry and it’s the exact item don’t buy. Decorating your nursery is such a personal thing and most parents have a specific way they want it done. Don’t muddle that up by buying items they don’t want (like that pink rug because their nursery is going to be purple), need (a porcelain piggy bank for their superhero themed room) or are impractical (pillows while pretty are dangerous in a nursery). Unless they have specifically picked it out and put it on the registry, don’t buy decor items. Let them decorate the room the way they see fit.
Baby Hygiene Products
This one sounds counter-intuitive but hear me out. There are so many products out there. And a lot of allergies and sensitivities.I ended up donating about 5 bottles of baby wash after we discovered that it was irritating my daughter’s eczema. It’s a little disappointing to know that your gift will be donated because of something like an allergy. There are also a lot of parents who are very concerns about what they put on their baby. Things like fragrance, dyes, and preservatives are often lurking in baby products. It’s better to let parents pick what products to put on their baby, so everyone is happy and healthy.
Those are my suggestions! Happy shopping and congratulations on the new little one joining your circle soon.