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Practical and Useful Baby Shower Gifts for First-Time Moms

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Marissa is the writer of "ThePracticalMommy" and owner of Mommy Knows What's Best. She's a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom to four.

This is a list of practical and useful baby shower gifts

This is a list of practical and useful baby shower gifts

Buying the Best and Most Useful Gifts

It seems like spring is the time when a few baby shower invitations arrive in the mail. I grow excited because it means I get to go buy gifts, one of my most favorite things to do.

Shopping Is the Best Part!

With the invitation come the cards informing the invited party where the mommy-to-be is registered. I promptly explore the lists available online, wanting to be one of the first to purchase the items that were cute, useful, and within my budget.

There are times, however, when others get there before I can, dwindling the list down to a few items that, as a mommy myself, I know will not be as useful as advertisements or the latest must-haves lists claim them to be. There are items like bottle warmers (use a measuring cup full of hot water—it works in less than three minutes and doesn’t take up counter space), super expensive diaper changing pads, or fashionable burping cloths (usually too small, and you know what will happen to them).

Practical Gifts

Being me, I don’t like to just buy the non-essentials because that’s what the mommy wants. Having two little ones of my own (both under three), I have some knowledge of some of the items that are practical and useful for a baby’s first few years of life. I like to share some of this knowledge with the new mommy, and to do that, I add gifts of my own that I personally deem practical and useful.

Are formula mixers or bottle warmers necessary? Tupperware Mixer works for formula and it's easy  warming formula in a measuring cup with warm water.

Are formula mixers or bottle warmers necessary? Tupperware Mixer works for formula and it's easy warming formula in a measuring cup with warm water.

Practical and Useful Items I Include in Baby Shower Gifts

Here are some of the items I would include in a baby shower gift:

1. Laundry basket: I like to use a small to medium sized laundry basket as the container to hold the gifts. Babies sure do dirty a lot of clothing.

2. Dishwasher baskets: These are for bottle accessories, pacifiers, small spoons, lids to sippy cups, etc.

3. White cloth diapers: Gerber typically dominates this area. The cloths are affordable, large enough to catch the most mischievous rounds of spit up and can double as quick-use diaper changing cloth. They can also be bleached to eliminate the toughest stains.

4. Scratch mittens: Babies’ nails grow like crazy, so it’s always good to have these on hand, especially for the first few weeks when the fingernails are still attached to the skin of the fingers and difficult to trim.

5. Diapers and wipes: When I buy wipes as a gift, I usually buy them from a name brand in a sensitive formula. Newborn skin can be very sensitive during the first few weeks. As for diapers, I would buy a pack of size 2 or 3. I always found that my babies grew out of size 1 very quickly and I would have to rush out to get the next size.

6. Formula/cereal container: This is great when you’re on the go. You can pre-measure formula or cereal and then just fill a few bottles with water. No ice packs or warmer needed. Later on when the babies are toddlers, you can use it for small snack items, like fruit snacks. After that, the container can be used to store small items like safety pins, buttons, or paper clips.

7. Hangers: Unless you plan on putting everything in dressers, hangers are useful to have. The smaller ones can be used for years, and even after they are not used for small clothing they can be used for belts, scarves, ties, etc.

8. Pocket bibs: When the baby begins solids, regular baby bibs just don’t cut it anymore. Pocket, or catch, bibs capture any food that dribbles out or falls during a feeding. They make cleanup so much easier. They themselves are easy to clean and store. I still use one for my son when he eats items like jello, soup, messy pastas, or any other potentially messy foods that I would prefer not to clean up off the floor.

9. Onesies in larger sizes in white, green or yellow: I tend to look to the future. Onesies in larger sizes are helpful as the babies grow. Buying them in white, green or yellow gives the mommy the opportunity to use them again should another baby of the opposite gender should come along.

10. Portable placemat: If baby goes along for a meal on the town, it’s best to have a placemat for two reasons: babies like to chew on dirty tables and babies like to make messes no matter where they are. I personally like the placemats by Kiddopotomus because they have a catch tray, they are easy to clean and easy to transport.

Diaper Samples

Personalized Ideas

There are other items I might consider as well, but it depends on the mommy-to-be and availability. If I know the mommy might be or has the potential to be a shutter bug like myself, I might include a photo album for picture storage.

If I know the mommy might use formula, I would include a Tupperware Quick Shake mixer container. My mom gave me one for kitchen use when I first got married, and I figured out that I could use it to mix formula for my son since it measures in ounces. I use it to mix formula in the mornings and then I just pour into bottles and warm it up as the day progresses.

If I have access, I also like to include coupons. They can be diaper coupons, wipe coupons, formula coupons or general baby item coupons. I know I really appreciate when friends and family pass them on to me, so I can predict that mommy-to-be will appreciate as well.

My bundle of joy.

My bundle of joy.

Enjoy the Baby Shower

Have fun at the party, playing those silly games and watching the mommy-to-be opening all of her gifts. She may not know at the moment why you may have included the extra items not on her registry, but rest assured she will be grateful for them later on as her bundle of joy enters the world and mommy-hood hits her head on.

Long Story Short

1. Pick a useful item(s) from the registry list

2. Add a few useful and practical items you know were useful to you as a parent

3. Add a photo album, coupons, or other little extras

4. Put it all in a useful container, like a laundry basket

5. Enjoy the baby shower!


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Marissa (author) from United States on December 06, 2013:

Tiny Pinky, I will be sending you an email from my blog account. Please read!

Tiny Pinky on December 05, 2013:

TinyPinky is a one stop store for baby clothing and gifts and we'd love to be able to do business with you later.

Marissa (author) from United States on April 05, 2013:

carrie Lee Night , glad this hub came in handy for you! Thanks for reading!

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 04, 2013:

ThePracticalMommy: Right in time for a baby shower I'll be going to in June ! :) Thank you so much for your fresh perspective on baby gift giving. Just no frills buying. Like the coupon idea too! :)

Marissa (author) from United States on April 03, 2013:

webscripts, meals for a week would be an awesome gift for any new mom! I know I really appreciated when people made meals for me after the baby was born. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

webscripts from Chicago on April 03, 2013:

Diapers in larger sizes are a smart idea. Most babies do not even fit into the newborn size for longer than a couple weeks. Onesies, blankets, socks and most clothes are overdone. Gowns are good for late night changing though and Ive hardly seen gowns given at showers. A gift for mommy is great. Maybe consider giving meals for a week also?

Marissa (author) from United States on March 13, 2013:

KatNance, thanks for reading and for the suggestions! I'm glad you found the hub helpful. :)

KatNance on March 13, 2013:

I find your hub very helpful..that's a GREAT Idea to make oneises..and childrens cloths,,Cloth dipers I can do without..but I loved the diper genies,,OMG did they ever pay off,,I would highly suggest to get one and get plenty plenty of for mom..Go take a LONG candlelight bath..with some soft music

sunbun143 from Los Angeles, CA on January 30, 2012:

here it is..

A link to this article is at the bottom of my article. Thanks for your support and encouragement!

Marissa (author) from United States on January 28, 2012:

sunbun143, what excellent ideas! It would be so much fun to make DIY-decorated onesies!! (You should make a hub about that, hint, hint... ;) ) Thanks so much for reading and sharing your ideas! :)

sunbun143 from Los Angeles, CA on January 27, 2012:

I love celebrating moms and babies at baby showers! Instead of the standard diaper cake, I've given "cakes" made of washcloths, hooded towels and onesies. As a mom of two under 3 also, I know you can never have enough washcloths, stashed all over the house! And I like to decorate some plain onesies with iron-ons, in whatever theme the mom-to-be likes, so she can have her cute outfits for the new baby. They grow out of clothes so fast, that it's good to have tons of inexpensive DIY-decorated onesies, rather than ridiculously priced brand-name designs, right? Love your practical ideas, PracticalMommy! I am "following you" now :)

Marissa (author) from United States on November 10, 2011:

shea duane, diapers are always a good gift to give! Heaven knows babies use enough of them...

Thanks for reading and commenting !

shea duane from new jersey on November 09, 2011:

Great ideas... i always give diapers because I didn't really have too many other ideas.

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on October 07, 2011:

I love your hubs! It's a pleasure.

Marissa (author) from United States on October 07, 2011:

Sinea Pies, I really appreciate that you've shared my link in your hub! I'm going to go read your new post right now. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Marissa (author) from United States on October 07, 2011:

Kathleen Cochran, it really is amazing how many products are available for mothers and babies now, isn't it? My mom, who had five children, always comments that she got by just fine without all of the extra contraptions. :)

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on October 06, 2011:

Post is up and there is a link to this hub!

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on October 06, 2011:

Great hub! I'm in the process of writing a hub about onesies and, now that I've read this, am going to add your link as a related article for my readers.

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on October 06, 2011:

I am still amazed by diaper genies - where were these when I was having babies? The carseat you can pop out of the car and never disturb the sleeping infant? Wow! On a smaller scale, my grandbabies are soothed every naptime and bedtime by a thing that attches to the crib, lights up and plays music to fish swimming. Even less expensive: One piece sleepers that are like sacks - no pulling legs out of PJ's in the middle of the night. And clip on pacifiers! I'm sure all these inventions were created by Moms from my generation who managed to raise kids without such conveniences. But I'm glad they are available for my daughters and grandbabies.

Marissa (author) from United States on July 08, 2011:

Avamum, I'm glad you like the ideas. Thanks for commenting! :)

Sarita Harbour from Yellowknife, Canada on July 07, 2011:

Good, sensible ideas that will help make any mum's life a little easier. I particularly liked your summary at the end. Good job!

Marissa (author) from United States on May 20, 2011:

JamaGenee, that's a great idea to make printed coupons for babysitting. Many new parents would certainly appreciate that!

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on May 19, 2011:

A self-printed "coupon" (or several!) for an afternoon or evening of babysitting the little darling would be an inexpensive but welcome gift from those on fixed or limited incomes.

Marissa (author) from United States on May 11, 2011:

Maggie.L, thanks for reading and commenting. And yes, you're right: moms do deserve to be spoiled! ;)

Maggie.L from UK on May 11, 2011:

Great hub with lost of useful ideas for gifts for baby. That's a great idea to spoil mum with a little gift too. Mums certainly deserve it!

Marissa (author) from United States on April 26, 2011:

Thank you for reading, Sharkfuel! I hope that I'm able to provide some good ideas to first time and experienced moms, and I'd love to hear their ideas as well.

SharkFuel on April 26, 2011:

I think that these tips on selecting practical and useful gifts for a baby will be helpful both for first time and even highly experienced moms. Thanks for providing so detailed information on this topic.

Marissa (author) from United States on April 19, 2011:

Glad I can help, TCM Specialist! Have a blast shopping for the grandbaby and lots of luck to your son. Thanks for the vote!

TCM Specialist from Glassboro, New Jersey on April 19, 2011:

WOW what perfect timing on my part for coming across your article. I love it! My 24 yr. old son is going to be a daddy this July. You know what that means-shopping for Grandmom :) It's been a long time for me, but with your tips I'm sure I'll succeed.

Voted up with useful.

Marissa (author) from United States on April 18, 2011:

That's a great idea, Duffsmom, to include extras for the mom. Thanks for leaving a comment!

P. Thorpe Christiansen from Pacific Northwest, USA on April 17, 2011:

Great hub and great suggestions. I like to get something extra just for the mom, a little something like lotion, or something to pamper herself.