Practical and Useful Baby Shower Gifts for First-Time Moms
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 (hmmm…cold winter?). I become excited because it means I get to go buy gifts, one of my most favorite things to do.
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!), or super expensive diaper changing pads or fashionable burping cloths (usually too small and you know what will happen to them, right?).
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.
Being Practical about Gifts
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.
Must Have: Re-Play Stackable Snack Cups
These snack cups from Re-Play are PERFECT for bringing along formula or cereal for a baby. When the baby is older, they are great for bringing snacks along in the diaper bag. My older kids even use them to bring snacks to school! We have several sets of them so everyone gets to use them.
- Diaper Sample Packs, Variety Packs, Great Baby Shower Gifts
Before you buy a box of diapers, try Diaper Dabbler's sample packs of diapers to help you decide which diapers are the best for your baby. I reviewed one of these boxes on my blog Mommy Knows What's Best and loved it!
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.
Enjoy the 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!