- Diapers. This may seem like a pretty boring gift, but they are a necessity, not to mention ex-pen-sive, so every pack is appreciated!! Little babies poop and pee all day long, so baby can easily run though 10-12 of these in one day. It is such a relief for parents to have a stash of these in the closet and be able to avoid the hassle of running to the store for more during the crazy first few weeks (months, really!) of adjusting to this new life. A perk of giving diapers at baby showers is that there is a good chance that a variety of diapers will be given, which is great for the parents to have a chance to find what diaper works best for their baby. On the other hand, you may happen to give a brand the parents cannot use due to preference or a sensitivity the baby has, so please include the gift receipt. Nothing is worse than wasting precious diapers!
- Clothes. This seems like a pretty obvious gift, but here's how to be the best giver of infant clothes: make sure you are choosing a size that is appropriate for the season it will be worn. If you pick a 6-month summer outfit and the baby is born in the summer, the outfit will be useless. Of course, sometimes babies are born early and are small for their age, or are chubby marshmallow babies and have to go up a size (or two) in clothes, so there can be exceptions to this. Also, think twice before buying size newborn; some babies skip this size entirely, and most only fit in that size for a few weeks, if that. The smallest outfits are always the cutest, so it's very tempting to want to buy them, but consider that everyone else will be thinking the same. Consider buying a less commonly gifted size - 6, 9, or even 12 months. And lastly, duplicates in clothing can happen often, so it's always best to include a gift receipt.
- Specialty Items. I received some of my most special things for Ava at my baby showers. I was focused on getting essentials for baby, so it was nice that friends and family could "spoil" her with fun things that I probably would have not thought of getting. Examples would be keepsake items, high-end clothes and accessories, boutique finds, or even just a really fun pair of shoes. Mommy may not think it is necessary at the time, but once her little bundle arrives, she will be tickled pink to have these special things for her perfect babe.Need those adorable handmade leather moccasins? Check out my friend's Esty shop to get yours!
- Toys and Books. Sometimes new parents overlook this important category. Suddenly their little baby can reach out and grab and kick and they are ready to be entertained! And we've all heard how important reading is for a young, growing mind. While these items may sit for a bit until baby is a few weeks old, they will be very useful! Newborn toys like rattles, O-balls, linking rings, and crinkle toys are a great start.
- A Group Gift. If the shower is with a bunch of your work friends or girlfriends, consider all going in on one expensive item. It is a huge relief when a pricey item is purchased - one less thing for the parents to buy! Especially if it is their first baby; buying all the necessary baby gear can easily set them back several hundred dollars, if not more. Be sure to include the gift receipt; it's always possible someone else may have given the same item - two of the same would not be useful, and returning it would mean money for mom and dad to purchase another baby item on their list!
- Your Favorite Item You Have Been Gifted. Most new moms want all the help they can get once baby arrives (they just don't know it yet at the baby shower!). So consider giving an item that you loved for your child or that made your life easier. A special note in the gift could be helpful to explain how/why it was helpful to you; it might just be the thing that she will go to when new baby won't stop crying. I was gifted a few items that, at the time, I thought I would never use. But I kept them, and it turns out, I was so glad I had them! Mothers-to-be have this idea of what a newborn will be like and they think baby will like exactly what they picked out. I learned that is not always the case! For example, a pacifier your baby loved - you never know which one a baby will prefer (or like my baby, she won't take one at all!). Just in case, include the gift receipt.
- Things Mommy-to-be May Not Have Thought Of. I was gifted a small stash of "baby's first medicines", and these were SO great to have on hand for her 2-month shots and early teething. No first-time parent is expecting their child to need over-the-counter medication, so they are typically unprepared...and terrified! Give a quick-read thermometer to make temperature-taking easier. Consider gifting infant acetaminophan, infant motrin, infant saline nose drops, infant-approved teething remedies, infant gas drops, lotions, and diaper creams. It was nice for me to have a variety of things on hand, for example, kinds of lotion. One brand did not moisturize enough, so I tried the other kinds I had been gifted and found one that worked really well for my baby's dry skin. It eliminated the need for me to find time to go to the store and stand and compare products and prices - someone else had already done that step for me! I also got some cleaners - stain removers and baby-safe cleaning products, and I would highly recommend gifting Baby Oxi Clean - anyone who has a baby needs this to get out poop and food stains! Don't bother giving a gift receipt. It will show just how much she NEEDS these items!
- Things For Mom. Depending on your type of relationship with the baby momma, you may want to indulge her instead of the baby. As soon as the baby is born, all eyes go to the little bundle, and everyone kind of forgets what the poor postpartum mommy needs! Maybe some relaxation-promoting items, like chocolate, a relaxing shower gel or new shampoo, a gift certificate to a spa or salon, a lightweight robe and slippers, or a promise of some freezer meals after baby is born. Or perhaps gifting Tucks pads, boat-sized maxi pads, nursing pads, and hemorrhoid cream is more your style! Chances are, she'll use it all!
- Items Off the Registry. Out of ideas? Use the registry! Mom (and dad) probably invested quite a bit of time selecting just the right items that they would really like for their new addition to the family. It may not be the most personal item, but guess what...baby needs bottles! New mommy may not think, "Oh how sweet! This is the bottle that Aunt so-and-so gave us!" when using it, but dang it, baby needs to eat! Some stores offer points for each dollar purchased off the registry! My registry at Babies R US earned us $130 to spend in the store, simply because items off our registry were purchased!! That's free money, people!
Ultimately, just about any gift is greatly appreciated. Babies are expensive, and they need so much! Bottom line, you should probably include a gift receipt with any gift - you never know when duplicates will happen, or mom looks at it and thinks "what am I going to do with this?!", or it simply won't be used for x number of reasons. Now go spoil that baby!!