Great Baby Gifts


Baby Shower Decorations

I’ve had this list sitting on my desk since Evan was about three weeks old; I never posted it because it was one of those “this is going to be a lot of work” posts and I didn’t have a lot of time for those posts. Now, almost six months later, Evan’s in bed, all of my Christmas projects are through, and Brian’s studying for the NY Bar Exam. Banana bread’s in the oven, laundry’s in the dryer, and I’ve got some good old fashioned time on my hands.


So here’s the list. These are my favorite baby shower and new baby gifts and things I had to buy myself that I’ve since realized make excellent gifts. People always send clothes and stuffed animals, and we had a million blankets, none of which was big enough to swaddle an active baby boy, but these are some different ideas to help those of you who might be seeking some more creative baby gift ideas.

100 Stamps – for thank you notes, birth announcements, etc.

Pre-addressed envelopes – this mostly makes sense if you’re throwing a friend or relative a baby shower. My sister, while making the invitations for my shower, made me matching thank you notes and gave me preaddressed envelopes. I was able to write all of my thank you notes in one morning which was such a relief.

Maid service – for postpartum. Benefits mom and dad.

Blockbuster online or Netflix – we rented a ton of movies and even more TV shows in those first six weeks (and since, of course). Having a newborn is exhausting but there’s also a ton of down time and not much energy for doing much more than sitting and staring. Might as well have something fun to stare at. [NB: We especially enjoyed the first season of Veronica Mars when Evan was a wee one — it was simple enough that it didn’t require our fullest, most awake attention, but it kept us guessing so well that we would find ourselves sitting there feeding him or changing him and asking, “Who do you think did it?”]

Swaddle Me – far superior to receiving blankets for those babies who insist on being tightly swaddled but then fighting against the blanket. An honest-to-god lifesaver for us.

Baby Bjorn – again, this is one thing that we used every single day from about two weeks to about six weeks of life and then quite often after that.

Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Leg and Foot Crème – for the pregnant woman, a nice refreshing foot crème. Good for self-massage. Even better if the dad-to-be does it.

Giftcard – for someplace that carries both baby and mom clothes (Gap, Old Navy, Macy’s) with a note saying to spend on either.

Baby washcloths – you can never have enough.

Medela Micro-Steam Bags – whether you’re breastfeeding or not, these are handy during those early weeks.

Small-necked bibs – if the mother is bottle-feeding, these are essential. Most bibs are way too big for tiny newborns’ itty little necks so you have to look around for nice small ones otherwise they really serve no purpose.

High-contrast toys­ – newborn babies love to look at black-and-white toys. A friend got us a crib bumper (Taggies Play With Me! Activity Bumper) that had high-contrast animals on one side and colorful toys on the other – we used it on the floor instead of in the crib and Evan stared at it nonstop for months. We’d put it in front of him for tummy time to encourage him to lift his head and even used it to help correct his flat spot by putting it next to him on the side he didn’t sleep on. A big hit. He still loves it, in fact.

Baby kimono shirts – we had a whole drawer full of onesies but Evan got three kimono-style shirts from the hospital and lived in those for his first several weeks. We even went and bough tiny tiny ones so that he wouldn’t be swimming in them – about the only tiny tiny clothes we bothered buying (preferring just tiny clothes, instead, for a fast-growing boy).

Straws or a closeable mug with a straw – a friend of mine gave me a big box of plastic straws at my baby shower and I thought she was totally weird, but she was right: they came in handy when I was breastfeeding and thirsty. I also got a big straw mug from the hospital that accompanied me everywhere for the first few weeks.

Plain old Vaseline in a tubeif you have a boy, and he’s circumcised, you’ll probably be instructed to apply ample petroleum jelly until the wound heals. The hospital gave us some but not enough, so on our way home from the hospital we actually had to stop at a drug store. It’s kind of hard to find in a tube so getting it in advance is helpful.

Pop-Up Jungle Book – it’s just so cool.

Wide array of breast pads — for the breastfeeding mom. A friend of mine gave me a little sampler of all the brands she tried, and I did the same later for my friend, who told me that it was really helpful. There are so many kinds out there and they’re all so different — it took me some serious searching to find my favorites and I was glad to pass a few of each on to someone else. (Note: my personal favorites were Johnson’s nursing pads.)

Finally, if you’d like to make something, I love the bibs in Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules Sewing and several of the items (stuffed elephant, puzzle ball, and a few cute quilts and blankets) in Joelle Hoverson’s Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts.


5 Responses to “Great Baby Gifts”

  1. Great suggestions! Can I add one to the list? How about a personalized sign that accents the nursery décor? Personalized items are always special, and personalized artwork is something the baby won’t outgrow. They have nice ones at The artist is a mom.

  2. great list. I second the kimonos. I just bought a ton of the cheap ones that come three to a package–the ones that have a sidesnap. indispensable through all three babies.


  3. I second the baby washcloths – – I’m still using them every day, eight years later.

    Great ideas! Now I just another firend to have a baby.

  4. This is a great list. I almost always give a couple of Earth Mama Angel Baby products along with some miscellaneous stuff. Thanks for the ideas.

  5. Top Five Gifts for Baby Shower

    A baby shower is a happy event where family and friends give gifts to the parents to be. Baby gift registries offer nice gift selections hand picked by the parents. If parents don’t have a gift registry, or you want to choose a gift on your own, My top five list may help.

    5. Luxury Baby Bath Products – Consumable baby products like bath soaps and lotions are always useful for new parents who may want to experiment with several varieties before choosing a favorite standards. Natural baby products are made with soothing botanicals and delicate oils that turn a baby’s bath into a spa-like experience. Babies and parents will enjoy the wonderful scents of these products.

    4. The Baby Book by Martha and Dr. Sears – a common sense guide to parenting that covers babies from birth to age two.From wearing baby in a sling to whether or not your spoiling your child. Parents can find useful information about baby parenting. Stress out new parents may appreciate the more relaxed parenting style promoted in this book.

    3. Over the Shoulder Baby Holder Sling – Baby slings are becoming a popular choice for new parents. These versatile baby carriers offer many carrying positions to suit a parent’s style and a fussy baby’s whims. Parent will find many uses for a sling, like being able to shop and hold your baby while still having free hands to pick up items is a very good thing.

    2. Your Favorite Baby Story – A selection of your own favorite books for baby is a personal and thoughtful gift. Experts say that reading to a baby is an important part of boosting their development. Help parents to be build their library by choosing books with bright bold pictures, rhyming prose and interactive features like touch and counting.

    1. Baby Einstein Videos and DVDs – You may not think a young baby would watch a video, but the Einstein company has found a way of making these movies interesting to babies as young as one month old. Many parents consider these videos a must have for entertaining baby while mother or dad needs time to do other things.

    Reprinted from:

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