Starter Mom: Baby Shower Gift Ideas (that she’ll REALLY need!)

By Nicole Loughan

Bunny mobileIt got cold about 8 months ago, everybody went inside…some people got bored and some people got busy. For those who created life, it’s now time for you to get them a gift. Yep- we are heading into baby shower season!

Every time I am invited to a shower, I rack my brain. I want to be the creative gift maven- that clever guest who supplies gifts beyond the not-so-well-thought-out registry. To help all of those facing a similar shower situation, check out four things I asked for that I barely touched, and what I would ask for if I could do it all over again today (AFTER the baby):

1. The bunny of death mobile and accessories – When my husband and I went to the baby store we picked out this adorable and expensive bunny baby bedding set. I pictured my baby girl rolling around in her field of bunnies blissfully cooing at me and loving the decor. The reality is the crib bumper is considered a suffocation hazards and there are warnings all over it not to use it for babies, same for the fancy bunny comforter. The worst part was the matching bunny mobile. We did not realize until we opened it at home that the bunnies were supported by a string on the back of their necks. It looked like four bunnies being hung at the gallows. We used it once, got scared, threw it under the crib and let it collect dust.

New wish list idea: Sheets and receiving blankets get a ton of use. In the winter months we used warmer fleece blankets and sleep sacks.

2. The ear thermometer – To use this instrument of doom you actually have to hold a sick baby down and jam a beeping piece of plastic in their ear. I could never get a good reading off of mine, not even in my own ear (unless I really am 92 degrees). I quickly switched to a digital thermometer under the arm pit. A veteran mom shared with me that I could use my lips to tell temperature best of all. She said to place them against the babies for head and if it felt warm the baby was getting a fever.

New wish list idea: Baby medicine cabinet. A friend bought me baby gas drops, infant pain reliever and a bulb syringe. All were used up.

3. Dress-up clothing – It was nice to open cute flowery dresses and shiny Mary Janes at my shower, but the reality was they never got any use. It’s a lot of work to put a baby in a dress or a suit and tie and forget about shoes, they kick them right off. I never felt like I had anywhere to go fancy enough to wear them and by the time I decided to use them they were too tight or my kids had an “poop up the back” blowout within minutes of putting it on.

Instead: Cute onesies or footied rompers for the winter months. Not a single romper or onesie stayed packaged in my house.

4. Water temperature gadgets – I used one of these the first time I gave my kids a bath and learned that the ideal temp is a little colder than your bath. That’s it, once I felt it I got the gist. I never referred to it again. My mom shared with me that in her day they just dipped their elbows in the water, if it felt hot, it would feel hot to a baby and to add some cold water.

New wish list: Baby bath set with baby wash, baby shampoo, towels, bubbles and squeaky toys. Hooded bath towels with animals or characters are both cute and practical. Babies need towels anyway and by the time my kids were past one cutsie towels helped coax them out of the bath. It tricked them into thinking we were playing “dress up” with their towel.

Despite these nice practical gift ideas, you may have a case of a mom in the idyllic fog of pregnancy. If she asked for the suffocating baby bumper, the hang man’s bunnies or a sequin studded baby suit, you may just have to get it. But, you can try to slip in a practical item here or there, which she will thank you for later. 

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