How to make sure your thoughtful gifts are the talk of the Baby Shower!
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In my last post, I ranted for way too long about things NOT to buy you pregnant friend, so I thought today, I could give you some suggestions of really helpful and thoughtful gifts your friend will truly appreciate. As I mentioned, we were lucky enough (and very grateful), to have four showers and were given really thoughtful gifts for Baby Bear! I’d like to share some of my favorites so that you can give your pregnant friend a slammin’ gift, and be the envy of all the other lame-o shower participants.
Now, purchasing off the registry is fantastic and A-OK in my book, and I’m sure any other pregnant lady; parents take for-ev-er to create their registry, they change it about 600 times before their shower, and they triple-double check it at least 6 times to make sure everything they need/want is on there. But, sometimes, you want to give your friend a thoughtful gift that they may not be expecting, and usually they are very well received. The best gifts are ones that are made when keeping your friend in mind, and using lived experience (yours or someone else’s) about what is helpful for a new mom.
“WHAT?! Didn’t you tell us Diaper Cakes are a no-go in your last post?” Not exactly. I LOVE diaper cakes. They are thoughtful and adorable, and a unique way to give your friend a gift, IF you use the diapers that they are asking for. As I mentioned, we were lucky enough to have four showers, which also meant four diaper cakes. You know my favorite part of diaper cakes? The fun stuff you find INSIDE them! Diaper cakes are so creative, and obviously useful, and sort-of like a grown up cracker jack box! I always loved finishing the top-tier of diapers to find the creative/thoughtful/useful things people put in the center! We had teethers, toys, diaper cream, baby lotion, and packs of pacifiers! It was a small detail that was a fun surprise a few months down the line, truly a gift that keeps giving!
Useful household items
So, babies wreak havoc on your home. Well, really your sleep deprived overwhelmed self wreaks the havoc, but for the sake of self-preservation, lets blame the baby. Gifts that people rarely consider are the ones that aren’t “cute” or covered in “adorable” baby monkeys. One of my sorority sisters (Thanks Big!), gave me one of the most useful gifts I received, it wasn’t on my registry, and its something I NEVER would have thought of, and really, it was just the wrapping…A LAUNDRY BASKET! Babies poop and drool on EVERY damn thing, I swear I could use soiled onesies or drool bibs as currency. She of course filled said basket with items on our registry, onesies, and other handmade gifts; but this was such a useful and thoughtful detail to the gift, it makes me think how helpful it would have been if people gave other household items too! Now accepting toilet paper, brooms, and cat litter as gifts…..What, is that weird?
Again, “What the what?! I recall bane of existence being tossed around.” Yes, I do have a deep hatred for baby clothing designers; but the reality is, baby clothes are a basic need, one that you need copious amounts of, and are GREATLY appreciated in all sizes! One of my favorite gifts that I mentioned previously was onesies with all my favorite things on them! My sorority sister thoughtfully took plain boring onesies and put lyrics and our favorite pop culture references on them, they were cute, versatile, and unique to our family! I also had some really sentimental clothing gifts too; a family member of mine gave us the cutest Tie-Dyed Tee, because she was the first to give me my first tie-dyed shirt as a kid! (My family may or may not be full of hippies). Who doesn’t love a story behind a gift? Baby clothes can be a very thoughtful (and useful) gift that you can do so much with!
I LOVE handmade gifts. Granted, I understand not everyone is blessed with artistic ability, so this may not work for everyone. However, handmade gifts show the person you’re gifting to that you put thought and energy into their gift; also its hard and fast proof they didn’t just hit up the Babies R Us 5 minutes before your shower! Papa Bear and I are lucky enough to have extremely talented friends and family! One of the activities at our shower was Design a Onesie, our friends made a slew of fantastically funny, cute, and down right inappropriate Baby gear, some of which are our favorite things to put on Baby Bear. Many people were thoughtful enough to knit/crochet hats, booties, sweaters and blankets, all of which were geniusly made with baby soft yarn (Baby Bear thanks you for this minor detail!). One of our friends even hand painted art for the nursery!
Yup, medicine. Guess what?! Babies are not magical immortal unicorns; they get sick. At. The. Most. Inopportune. Times. Perhaps at 3am after their first round of shots and a 100 degree fever, or after 2 hours of crying and bicycle kicks? Brand new first time parents, do you think they have Baby Tylenol or gas drops hanging out in the cabinet? Well, thanks to one of the fantastic RNs I work with, we did. Thank goodness! Not a traditional or “fun” gift, but one that saved my ass, and I’m very grateful for that.
Maternity leave Gift Basket
This is not a gift that I received, but one that I bought for myself along the way. You get all this awesome stuff for your little one, and your self-care and own needs are kinda lost in transit. (Check out my post on How to Enjoy Your Maternity leave for some new mom self-care tips!). This gift could include so many things, you really have free rein here, but some suggestions are:
- Sleep mask: Oh dear 8lb 6oz new born baby Jesus, thank you for this invention. So, no one tells you that you will spend the first 700 months with your baby sleeping in your room for fear of…well damn near everything, which means you will probably sleep with a light on. A light that is just a nice little added barrier to the wonderful thing called sleep. Sleep mask to the rescue! Since I’m a super nerd, my mask is a kitten face, I’m secretly hoping baby bear grows up thinking I’m part cat.
- Snacks: Glorious Snacks. When they say that you will need to eat a lot when you’re breast-feeding is no freakin’ joke. I suggest granola bars, the first few weeks I had those babies bed-side for 4am snacks. I have a tendency to get Hangry, or Rangry (RAGE HUNGER!), so these were necessary.
- Books: I did not personally read during my maternity leave, because, honestly, I was just lazy and super into the whole Gilmore binge-sesh. That being said, one of my good friends gave me a book while I was in the hospital, which I thought was super thoughtful, and it was nice to get something just for me, in a room full of baby gifts.
- Slippers or a robe: Home girl will be hanging out in PJs for the next few months on the regular, so this would be really thoughtful, and MUCH appreciated. I bought myself a really big warm sweater right before I went into the hospital that I basically lived in the first month.
Hand Me Downs
Maybe not appropriate for a baby shower per-say, but very very helpful to new parents. We were lucky enough to have four different friends pass down mass quantities of clothing and baby gear, and it was really helpful. Not to mention, there was no guilt (with their permission) donating the extras or if they didn’t fit our style. Also, obviously, HUGE money and time saver for new parents which is pretty much sacred.
Tried and true items from experienced parents!
Did you know that they make baby sized sponges to keep them warm and dry during the first few weeks of sponge baths?? Well, my grandmother did; and it made bath time so much easier. What about a mattress pad for colicky babies that reduces acid re-flux? Thanks Mom! There were so many things friends and family gave us that was helpful in their child rearing that we didn’t even know about, and they were kind enough to share that wisdom with us! Bandanna bibs?! Heaven sent, and kick the shit out of regular dumb bibs. That was a tidbit of info bestowed by Baby Bear’s God Mother, taught by cousin Moose! As first time parents, we really relied on, and were grateful for, the things people gave us that made our life even just a little bit easier!
Whenever giving gifts, always keep the recipient’s likes and personality in mind, I’m sure if you do that you’re golden! The above suggestions are from my own personal experience from people who know how ridiculously picky and opinionated I am. If all else fails, just buy something from the registry, after all, you know its something they want!
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