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Pregnancy & Parenting
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Baby shower gift ideas- what's practical?

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I've had several friends having babies lately so I've been to several showers in the last year with more to come and we also usually bring a gift to the hospital. My husband was a single dad for many years and since he's raised a child from infancy, I do respect his opinion on gifts because he knows what is necessary and practical. Sometimes it seems people put impractical things on their registries (you aren't going to need baby gates and outlet plugs for a few months and I shy away from getting clothes in the newborn size until I know you aren't having a 12 pound baby) and I'd rather buy you the stuff you are going to NEED right now. Anyhow, I'm getting tired of always giving the same things and would love to hear what you couldn't live without right after you gave birth. Please share your favorite gift ideas and opinions on these gifts. Things my spouse swears by:

  • white onesies (long and short-sleeved in different sizes)
  • receiving blankets
  • cloth diapers or other spit-up rags
  • diaper genie and refills

My friend's aunt-in-law (if that's a word!) loves to sew and she made my friend about 20 burp clothes and 10 bibs. They were all made of white terry cloth and she sewed brightly colored trims around them. So cute and so useful! We were all very impressed. She also gave the new mom 2 quilts- one for the wall and 1 for the bed as well as sewing 4 or 5 receiving blankets.

Another friend sewed a rug shaped like a teddy bear. The rug is made of a variety of different textured fabrics for baby to touch, yank, and drool on. Very cool!

On a topic unrelated but worth sharing: our friends are having a boy but are keeping the name a surprise. They did tell us that the name is in the bible. The couple's 6 year-old cousin heard this and asked: "Jesus?" So, like it or not, we're calling the baby Jesus Friedmeyer because it's funny!

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After the birth of both our boys, it seemed that we never had enough receiving blankets.

But to be quite honest with you, the best gifts we got were when my hubby and I were running on 2 hours of sleep a day, and my MIL and my mother looked after them for a few hours a day so we could get in a nap and not go stark raving mad.

And one gift I gave to my boss after their little one came:  I baked a pasta casserole in a disposable covered aluminum pan, attached a recipe card and baking instructions, and included a little something for the baby (I cross-stitched a couple of bibs).  They really appreciated not having to worry about cooking a decent meal for a couple of nights while dealing with juggling work and a new baby.  (Not exactly a shower gift, but a great one for after the little one is at home.)

Good luck!

The cloth diapers for spit up rags were the most useful thing I got-- I still have them 8 years later and use for dusting and other cleaning.

If you know they will nurse, lanisoh (ah savior of the nipple), breast pads, milk collection bags, etc.

Socks!!  those little baby toes are always so cold!  mittens too, to keep the baby from scratching him/herself.

Sling or other carrier.  Again, consider the woman-- one who is nursing or who is larger sized would probably do better with a sling, one with a very involved dad or who is thinner might prefer a carrier.

Breast feeding blanket-- they have all sorts of cool ponchos for it now, with wire in them so you can see baby and baby can see you but the prudes who dont like boobies in public keep their tender sensibilities in tact.

One of those things that you put in the grocery cart for shopping so the baby is comfy and can sit in the front.  Carriers take up so much room, much better idea-- but I dont think can be used until 4 months.

Vibrating bouncy chair.  We had the one from target that was also a feeding chair and rocking chair.  It got used until about 2.5 yrs, maybe up to 3 years.  She loved it.


Diapers, selection of sizes for emergencies.  Dont bother with the first size, they grow out of em uber quick.  A pack of 2, 3, and 4, and they are covered for emergencies. 

LOVED the little play mats, with the hanging things.  Even newborns love to look at them.  Ours was black white and red-- all the better for new baby eyes to see you with.

OK there is my book, there is tons I am forgetting, but there is a mix of practical/useful/baby's love these things.  Happy shopping!


burp rags for sure!  Gift cards for restaurants that you can get to-go from.  Cooking was  a hard one for me, but my husband is kind of picky, so people would bring over dinners, but I was the only one that would eat them! Nursing supplies are great, especially for first time moms that are nursing.  I was pretty unprepared for all that was involved with pumping and ran out of extra bottles pretty quickly. 

Newborn babies don't really need much.  I, personally, appreciated all the mama-care stuff:  casseroles, breast pads, clothes that weren't my maternity clothes but were still bigger than my regular size, a latte brought to the house, the offer to watch the wee one while I ran some errands and had just a smidgen of "me" timej...Stuff that's actually tangible, useful and essential:  cloth diapers (I really like bumgenius from, sheets for the bassinet (baby soaks through a lot of them if you're not using disposable diapers, because the cloth diapers don't really seem to work perfectly until the baby is larger and they fit better), this fuzzy stroller/carseat liner that keeps the baby in place and supported--we used our BOB stroller since birth with this thing.  I think it's called a Kidopotomous, or something like that.  I also was a big fan of the pacifier--newborn size, of course.  And, this is crazy, but a girlfriend made me a CD of blow dryer, vacuum and other background white noise, and when our boy was crying inconsolably, this seemed to really help.  And finally, not that they'll have the time to read, but the book "The Baby Whisperer" was received by us at a shower, and we've been applying the principles since the first few weeks and by 8 weeks, our kid was sleeping through the night without neglect, tears or trouble.  There you go!

These are GREAT ideas.  I never would have thought of grocery cart seats or socks.  The white noise cd is brilliant!  One of my friend's will be breast feeding so maybe when the baby comes we'll get a poncho or blanket as was suggested.  The other lives far away but socks and blankets are cheap to mail!

I love to cook and bake so new moms always get a casserole and dessert from me.  If my friend has a c-section, I'll do several dinners during those first 6 or so weeks.  My husband and I also always offer to baby sit for friends with newborns and offer that even if they don't want to leave the house, we'll come watch the kid for a few hours so they can watch a movie or take a nap.

Please, keep 'em coming.  You folks know best!


I didnt get alot of things for my daughter when iw as pregnant, and when she was born  she needed onies.. (3-6 months)  I never got her any newborn things, besides the outfit she went home in.. 2) sleepers 3) Pampers,  4)Bibs (she had really bad reflux and i would go through at least 15 bibs a day)  5) a bottle brush..  6)  a wipe warmer.. ( I never got one but i wish i had,  she HATED getting wiped by the wipes because they were so cold.. i ended up warming them in my hand first  7)a few outfits.. 8)  i loved the umm baby packpack.. not sure of the "proper" name for it.. but she loved it and would fall right to sleep when i put her in it and strapped it on.. she was right on my chest.. and it kepted her warm

my friend is having a baby so i just went out and got her a bottle brush, a few sleepers, and a formula mixer...  which was pretty cool because i didnt see them when i was shopping for my baby... and i got her some size one pampers, wipes, and i plan on getting her a wipe warmer. OHHH and u would never have enough blankets.. u can also get some outfits for the next season

A lot of people have baby registry's - and you know even tho you might not like it they picked that stuff out cause they do need it - and when you have a new born sometimes the staples that everyone thinks are boring do come in handy as a gift....

I LOVED personalized gifts for my little guy - anything that had a personal message hand written (think beautiful book of nursery rhymes with an hand written beautfiful note inside) or the hand made burp clothes.  They really meant a lot.

I would never buy newborn sized anything anymore. They are good for 3 weeks and then you are straight into 3mo clothes!   lol

I too have been going to a ton of baby showers! One in Feb,three since the beginning of the summer and three more to come. Its been quite a baby boom! Anyway, I have found that alot of people buy outfits, which are so cute and everyone ohh's and ahh's over. But lets face it, the baby is soon going to grow out of the clothes and wont get a chance to wear most of them! I personally always buy the essentials (diapers, wash clothes, hooded towels, baby wash, baby lotion, ETC). I made a huge gift bag for my best friends baby shower which had just about everything that she would need (I spent WAY too much money but we have been best friends since we were four) and she said it was the best present! It may not be the funnest to buy or open, but when the baby comes, it is greatly appreciated!

My baby is now 5.5 months old. It seemed I never had enough receiving blankets during the first few weeks and then they were all outgrown.

she would have loved the MIRACLE BLANKET. we got it too late for her. I also like these baths they have which are upright tubs so the baby just sits in it. very cool.

We got a mustela set of shampoos and ointments - they were great. She really likes the wipe warmers too. She hated getting her diaper changed. Now we are on cloth and she doesn't cry any more?

a large boppy would have been good (from the pump station) Breast pump. I was spoiled. she got an organic mattress. classic baby books.

Original Post by niccimax:

A lot of people have baby registry's - and you know even tho you might not like it they picked that stuff out cause they do need it - and when you have a new born sometimes the staples that everyone thinks are boring do come in handy as a gift....


Right but one friend in particular admitted she didn't know what she was doing when she was making out her registry.  She had down 3 or 4 boxes of newborn diapers and I can't see her needing THAT many before he outgrows them (unless he comes early), tons of newborn clothes, and other things she probably won't need or doesn't need right now.  Another friend told me that with her first baby she registered for and received all kinds of things she didn't really need.  So, I'm trying to be a little more practical for friends like that when possible.  It's not like I'm anti-registry or anything.  I just like to be thoughtful and buy useful items.

Oh my gosh, I think diapers were my absolute favorite!!! My little girl is now almost 5 months old and we STILL haven't had to buy a pack of diapers!  It's awesome and I will be so sad when that last pack is gone (we are on the last one right now).

But I wish you had been my friend here--I would have LOVED anyone who made dinners and brought them over after my c-section!  (Not that I was cooking---it just would have been nice to actually have some home cooked meals)  That is a phenomenal gift in itself!

Original Post by marceleric:


But I wish you had been my friend here--I would have LOVED anyone who made dinners and brought them over after my c-section! (Not that I was cooking---it just would have been nice to actually have some home cooked meals)

Well, we don't live in the same town but I'll offer myself up- any pregnant, Des Moines, CCers can contact me and let me know their due date.  I'd be happy to cook!! Laughing

Here are a few of my baby favorites:

  • blanket sleepers. these are great for winter. baby stays warm, dont have to worry about smothering blankets, easy access for diaper change. i had several of these for my youngest, wish i knew about them with my oldest. i had fleece and velour ones.
  • wipe warmer. frivoulous, maybe. but it is something that creates a small comfort for a newborn (no shocking cold wipes!) and i did not fork out the $$ for one with the first but i needed much less for the 2nd so i splurged. $20ish bucks and her butt was appreciative.
  • mom always says to give diapers and larger sized clothes.
  • lots of bibs i used quite a few of these with both babies
  • the first useful toyish item is the vibrating bouncy seat
  • after moving into a house with a dishwasher i found the little contraption to put bottle nipple and rings in very useful cuz it would sterilize the bottles in the dishwasher. previously i was using a microwave sterilizer.

That is all i can think of at the moment. i had 2 girls pretty close together and kept all the baby stuff from the first so that i could use it again so i got interesting things the 2nd time around. i had the diaper genie for my first and i was not impressed. too much work when i could just tie a poop diaper in a plastic grocery bag and not smell it. the refills are not that expensive i guess but grocery bags are free! oh somebody gave me a little box of scented bags to put diapers in that came in handy when i would be at a friends house and got a poop that i did not want to stink up their house with.

A gift we have often given, that usually hadn't been thought of yet, was a baby-room monitor (those walkie-talkie things so you can hear when the baby cries from another room).

I NEVER had enough burp cloths!! This is something you use a ton of.  I just had my son 8 months ago too so i should know!! LOL  Receiving blankets too, i went through alot of these.  Newborn babies poop and pee (especially boys) will take any chance they get to soil anything clean!! LOL  Bibs is another good one BUT until he started drooling we didn't use ours.  A good stain stick is Dreft stain stick you can rub it on the stain and leave it until your ready to wash the baby's clothes and the stains come right out.  My son's clothes dont have any stains thanks to this stick!! :)  ANything you can do for the couple too (cook meals that can be frozen) you dont have much time to cook after baby gets here.  Or gift cards to eat out too.  That's nice.  I would love to know the baby's name once you know it.  When is she due??? Both of my sons names are from the Bible.  Jacob and Asher.  :)  Bouncy seat  (the vibrating kind) with music was a godsend!! Very nice!! Buy lots of batteries for it though!! LOL  That's about all i can think of right now.  If i think of anything else i will write later.



I usually make a diaper cake.  What's more practical than 100+ diapers?

My husband's co-worker's wife made us an awesome towel for daughter #1.  It was a full size towel with a hoody sewn on.  We still use it and she's about to turn 5.  Most of the baby towels you can buy are thin or small.  Basically useless, even if they are cute.

I'm going to spell this wrong, but Beaudreaux's Butt Paste is awsome.

I never had much use for receiveing blankets.  I preferred fuller, fluffier baby blankets.  I also prefered cloth diapers to use instead of burp cloths.

I've seen those diaper cakes before.  VERY cute.  Also, Clarice reminded me that I did give a big box of Dreft at a shower once.  The mom was THRILLED because she said then she could wash all the clothes she had just received at the shower and they'd be baby-ready before he got home from the hospital. 

I never thought of a baby monitor and I don't think she was registered for one.  They have a 2-story townhome so this would be very practical. 

I'm gonna print this thread and keep it.  Thanks for sharing your wisdom, experience, and creativity!


I absolutely loved my Bumbo Seat and so did my babies.  They sell them at Target and probably other stores too but also online

My favorite thing to give new parents is a small screwdriver set.  Every toy your child will play with will require one of these to put the batteries in or even sometimes just get the darn thing out of the box.  Any idea why they secure Barbie in as if she is a prisoner???  And diapers......but buy a couple of sizes up from newborn.

Oh they sell these at walmart but they are swaddlers (they help you learn to swaddle your baby correctly) like the nurses do and believe me when i used these they helped my baby sleep sounder at night.  I wished i had had these when my other two were little.  But they are nice. I second the Bordeaux's butt paste it's great stuff.  A and D ointment is good too between diaper changes.  :) 




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