Baby Shower Presents New Parents Will Actually Use

Two pairs of baby booties

I love shopping for babies. Everything’s so cute and tiny and adorable. But most of the things that I’m drawn to aren’t going to be very useful to the new parents. I got the skinny from two experts (with babies) who say that the following items are the most appreciated – all quotes are from the mouths of moms!

“Onesies are wonderful because they reduce the need for daily laundry. Yep, daily.” For the price of a super-cute sailor outfit or a customized shirt that says “Future Doctor,” you can get several basic onesies at Target or Wal-Mart.

Diapers and diaper accessories
If you’re organizing a baby shower at work or among friends, contributing to a account will allow the parents to order diapers as needed. But diapers themselves are always appreciated, as are extra supplies of Desitin, Vaseline, and baby wipes.

Toiletries and baby supplies
Other toiletry items like shampoo, powder, and baby lotion will also come in handy. “The convenience items that you are always going to need and never want to run out of are the most important things.” Gift cards to Target, Walmart, or the grocery store are also much appreciated – “when you’re at the store getting diapers, and you remember you need nipple cream and ex-lax and a nasal aspirator, it’s nice to have that stuff covered.”

Gift cards to restaurants near their home that you have checked will deliver to them are a wonderful gift. If you’re close friends or family, dropping off frozen food that can be heated up for a quick dinner or sending them a surprise delivery dinner from a favorite spot will get you nominated for sainthood.

Parents’ nights out
Movie tickets or a gift card to the local theater company, along with a coupon for free babysitting from you (if you’re able or willing), are a great boon to parents who haven’t been out of the house without the baby in weeks. Just make sure they aren’t date-specific in case “life happens.” And sincere, time-specific offers to take the baby out, even for a few hours so the parents can take a nap, are always appreciated. If you give them a coupon for your services, follow up a few weeks later so they know you’re serious, and can set up a specific day.

Day to day items
Coffee and ibuprofen might seem like a gag gift at the shower, but according to my experts they’re going to come in handy. Also, if they don’t already have one, an electric kettle can be very useful for making a cup of tea quietly.

A head start on college
Especially for a shower with a large group, starting a 529 for the baby is a lovely idea. Each person won’t have to contribute much to get a nice sum, and believe me, when the baby gets to college, both the baby and parents will appreciate every dollar (plus interest).

The cutie-poo gifts we love buying
From my experts – “The sentimental items won’t be sentimental until the other person (the gifter) makes them sentimental – for example, a disposable camera used for pictures of time spent with the baby is strongly preferred over a darling embroidered pillow that they’ll throw up on.”

Readers, what items did you find useful at your baby showers? How many onesies did your kids go through a day?

(photo credit: sarahemcc)

  • [email protected]

    These are some great suggestions. The items that I found the most useful from my baby shower was diapers, wipes, bottles and other baby essentials. Onesies are great too. Both of my babies pretty much lived in onesies when they were newborns and they went through several a day.

    Now that I am a mom, and I understand what items are really useful, I try to avoid buying the cutesie stuff like stuffed animals and frilly clothes. Or, if I just can’t resist, I at least try to buy something practical to go with it like diapers or wipes. My favorite way to give diapers is to make them into a diaper cake. This makes the gift practical and cute at the same time.

  • Lsvilla18

    These are great practical gifts! When I had my shower 2 years ago, I got a lot of onesies and I remember thinking… that’s too many! Haha was I wrong! I also appreciated diapers! While I appreciated the baby grooming and other supplies, I confess I’m really picky – during pregancy I had switched out our household cleaners, detergents to non-toxic and eco-friendly, so when baby was born I also got baby soap, shampoo and lotion from the same company (Melaleuca). Same thing with diapers – we were experimenting with diaper brands and he got a really bad rash with Pampers so we stuck with Huggies ever since. So now when I give gifts, I stick to practical but still cute gifts!

  • jiksewlips

    These are all great ideas, I loved getting diapers. If you prefer a certain brand you can scan the barcodes with a smart phone and know which store they were bought at. I returned all the Huggies b/c they tended to leak with my baby, and was able to get a store credit for all the extras we needed. I loved the zip up snuggies, they remove the need for blankets in the crib which can cause the baby to be smothered. And when they get older, (they are 0-12mths bonus), you don’t have to worry about them kicking off their blankets and becoming cold. Also the open bottom nightgowns were a godsend when she was a newborn, made 2am diaper changes as pleasant as they could be.