There is so much gear out there for babies that buying a shower gift can be totally overwhelming. We’ve weeded through the boppys and burpies and binkies to find the real gifts new parents need. Think of these as a new-parents survival kit. And p.s., every time they use the item, they’ll think of you and say a silent “thank you!”
No, diapers are not the most exciting gift, but parents will be overjoyed to have them on hand once the baby arrives. Trust us. Really. Parents want diapers. If you’re going to go this route, consider buying a few packages of different sizes, that way the new family can be stocked with sizes that range from newborn or preemie, all the way up. About $20 per package.
It’s always a dilemma—the baby needs to go down for a nap or to sleep but a blanket in the crib is a safety no-no. How do you keep him warm? Enter the sleep sack, essentially a wearable blanket. Sleep sacks are smart and safe, and babies look adorable in them. Our favorite brand: Halo’s Sleepsack Wearable Blanket made from micro fleece. Price: $25
Not just any tote bag will do. You want one that is strong and sturdy and will last. Our hands-down favorite: The L.L. Bean Boat & Tote with a zip top. It is big enough to carry clothes, toys, and just about anything, and will last from the time the baby is born to their teen years and beyond. You can choose the trim color and have the child’s name or initials monogrammed on it. A total winner. Price: $34.95-49.95
One of the scariest things new parents encounter is clipping the baby’s nails. That’s why one of our favorite products is nail clippers that have a light, so parents can see exactly what they’re doing. If you want to put together a personal-care basket with all kinds of essentials, consider these items as well: Triple Paste Medicated Ointment, the holy grail of diaper rash ointments; Mylicon Gas Relief Drops, a life-saver when the baby has gas; infants' ibuprofen; infants’ acetaminophen and an adorable hooded bath towel.
Blankets are the VIP of shower gifts. Get the right ones, and they can be used for swaddling, covering the baby when out for a walk in the stroller, as a shoulder cover for mom or dad when burping the baby, and a dozen other uses. Not all blankets are created equal. Moms we know love the muslin 47x47 square blankets from Aden & Anais. They are super-soft and big enough to use for anything. Price: $49.95 for a 4-pack.
Parents (and grandparents) can’t hold the baby all the time—even if they want to! Babies love motion and a swing is a great gift that gives parents a little relief, and may even lull the baby to sleep. There are all kinds of swings out there—full-size, travel size that fold up and even hybrids. Our favorite: The innovative Rockaroo by 4Moms, which rocks like a rocking horse, is low to the ground, and has a great, sleek design. Price: $160
Every new family loves taking lots and lots of photos of the baby. And what every new family wants—but often it falls by the wayside—is a professional photo session either just for the baby or for the family. So if you want to give a splurge gift, buy a photo session for the new family with a local photographer, or check out Target Portrait Studios, JC Penney Portraits or Picture People.
One thing grandparents love most is reading to their grandchildren, so why not be the one to start your little one's personal library? Studies show that talking to babies can have a huge affect on their language skills. Books everyone loves: Goodnight Moon, Guess How Much I Love You, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Is Your Mama a Llama and The Snowy Day.
What makes parents feel calm? Knowing their baby is safe and sound. A baby monitor (similar to walkie talkies so adults can hear the baby when she is in a different room) gives them that sense of calm—and is great for alerting parents in the middle of the night that baby is up. Some monitors come with a video screen so parents can also see the baby. To us, the video screen is not worth the extra cost. A standard monitor system where you can hear the baby does just fine. One to try: The First Years Crisp & Clear Audio Monitor. Price: $25.99
Yes, you read it correctly—food! And lots of it. Once the baby arrives, life becomes a whirl of diapers and feeding and bathing the baby. Things like cooking and laundry and cleaning go by the wayside. As your gift, stock the family’s freezer with soups, stews and casseroles (Get great recipes here), or even consider getting them a cleaning service for a couple of hours. They will be forever grateful.
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.