A Guide to Practical Baby Shower Gifts
When my friends threw me a baby shower, I made it quite clear that my ideal gift would be an Amazon gift card. I had made a half-hearted attempt at a registry, but honestly I only put the things that I felt were essential for right after we brought the baby home. With gift cards, I could easily figure out what I needed and have it delivered to me at lightening speed. I didn’t want lots of toys (we live in a one bedroom condo in the city) or clothes, although I did appreciate the ones I got in varying sizes because I really hadn’t bought much for him yet.
I know that my registry was disappointing to others, but I really didn’t want to be stuck with extraneous things and since babies are all so different, I really wanted to wait and see what he might need before asking someone to buy me a $60 swaddle that he may never use.
My strategy worked perfectly and I am STILL buying things off Amazon thanks to those gift cards (thanks guys!), so obviously my number one choice is that. I know some of you probably love to give actual gifts however, so this post is for you. It can be hard to know what to get if you’re new to the whole parent game, so here are some practical baby shower gifts that may not excite you, but they’ll be great for the mama to be.
1. Swaddles: Due to their startle reflex which doesn’t go away until several months after birth, babies need to be swaddled when sleeping so that they don’t wake themselves up. It helps them feel safe and secure and mimics being in their mother’s womb.
One of my friends is a NICU nurse and gave us one during my shower. At first we were just wrapping him in the blanket we took home from the hospital, but once we started using it, it was amazing. I also realized after spit up and stretching of the fabric (they tighten up again after washing) that we would need more, so now we have four that we rotate through. My recommendation is the SwaddleMe swaddles, but another popular brand is the Ollie swaddle, although at $65 a pop, I’d start with SwaddleMe.
2. Baby toiletries gift basket: I’m sure no one would be excited to receive a basket full of cold medicine for their birthday, but they’d certainly change their mind when they got sick and had everything they needed already at home. This is kind of the same thing.
In my case, I had a friend make a fancy Pinterest-esque wreath of diapers and things like baby shampoo, lotion, diaper cream, etc., but you don’t have to be as fancy if you don’t want to. Simply gather up some baby essentials and give as a gift. It’s been great having everything I need already here. Some things to include:
- Baby shampoo/bodywash
- Baby lotion
- Children’s Tylenol – I actually just needed this after he got his shots
- Baby wipes
- Nail clippers
- Infant hair brush
I also found this great infant toiletries kit on Amazon that has a bunch of these things in one package.
3. Side snap shirts: In addition to any cute clothes you want to give (because who can resist buying such tiny things), also make sure to offer something practical. When babies first come home from the hospital, it takes about two weeks for them to lose the part of the umbilical cord that’s still attached. Dressing a baby in a onesie that goes over the bellybutton and snaps at the bottom can irritate the area and cause the cord to come off too soon.
4. Wubbanub: This has been so incredibly helpful. A Wubbanub is basically a pacifier with a stuffed animal attached. I’m not putting pacifiers on this list because we were sent home with a bunch from the hospital. (Sidenote: there’s several things I’m leaving off this list because of that reason. If they deliver in a hospital they get to take home a TON of stuff).
I found that the pacifier by itself was fine, but it’s small and sometimes gets lost or falls out easily. With this stuffed animal attached, it’s harder to lose and easier to prop up while in his crib. I’ve linked this one, but you can simply search for it on Amazon to find a specific animal.
5. Massage: I was given a gift certificate for a prenatal massage for Christmas and while a massage is always wonderful, I felt big and clumsy trying to roll around on the table. I also didn’t have a ton of muscle issues before I had the baby, so I actually wish that I had saved it for after. Once I had him, I had all kinds of muscle aches and pains from holding him in ways that were foreign to my body. A massage would definitely be a great gift!
6. Blanket: This was a shower gift I received that I didn’t expect to use as much as I do. I literally use it in some capacity every day, mostly to cover him up in the stroller when we go out. Mine is from Monica + Andy, although I’m sure there are tons of great ones out there.
7. Diapers: They’ll likely take home a bunch of diapers from the hospital, but you can really never have too many, so a case or two makes a great gift. The hospital (and now us) use Huggies, but maybe ask the mom-to-be what kind she wants!
8. Taking Cara Babies gift card: You can get a gift card for either one course or her bundle of sleep courses, which I found SO helpful after realizing that babies don’t just “put themselves to sleep.” HA. I wound up taking this course online (I finished it in a day; it’s not super long) and it helped tremendously in learning about newborn sleep and how to get him to sleep more consistently and for longer. Definitely a must for new moms!
9. Amazon gift cards: I’ll say it once and I’ll say it a million times — Amazon gift cards were the BEST present. This way mom is able to get things that she actually needs. It may not be super personal, but it’s definitely practical and made me so happy.
10. Things from her registry: The above gifts are all wonderful and practical, but do take the time to see what she has registered for because obviously they are things she wants. I was so happy when a friend purchased the changing table I had listed because it was the final piece in bringing the nursery (or the corner of our bedroom) together and so essential!