If you’re like me, at 29 years old, you’ve been to a billion baby showers, possibly including your own. You’ve known young moms and old, had at least one close friend have a baby, and needed to hit up the local baby store for a set of bottles or a sweet, monogrammed blanket.
That being said, those gifts are sweet: bottles, blankets, teethers, etc. They’re thoughtful, useful, and probably from the mom’s registry. But there are a few things that, as a mama who’s attended some baby showers, I’ve learned are really great gifts that new parents love, even if they aren’t quite as cute in the gift wrap.
On the heels of the success of my “10 Tips for Soon-To-Be Moms“, here are a few unconventional but awesome baby shower gift ideas.
1. Stain remover. I really love the BabyGanics Stain Remover (find it on Diapers.com) personally, but Shout and OxyClean also are winners. I always include a bottle of the BabyGanics with whatever I get the new mama.
2. Clothes in bigger sizes. Yes, those newborn outfits are cute, and yes, the tinier they are, the cuter, somehow. BUT there are two reasons to stay away from the tiniest clothes you see: 1. Everyone else is buying them, too. While newborns probably have lots of costume changes, no mama needs 59 outfits for the first week of the baby’s life. 2. Babies grow really, really fast. And some babies, like my J, never wear newborn sized clothes anyway. He was a little long and a little porky for most of the newborn-sized clothes I had, so he jumped straight to three months size. I’d love to have gotten more cute clothes in nine months size and up, even all the way to 3T! Kids always need play clothes, and if you’re worried about sizes for the right seasons, just get t-shirts and leggings (girls) or jeans because those are can be worn in every season.
3. Restaurant gift certificates. Whether for a date night before the baby comes, or after, or for take out during the first few weeks where life is a blur, providing a meal is always a good thing.
4. Laundry detergent, dish soap, or hand sanitizer. These are great gifts, because we go through TONS of it in the baby’s first month or two. Dreft or any natural brand (insert second BabyGanics plug) is great for laundry, natural dish soaps (Honest Company, Mrs. Meyer’s, etc) for paci/bottle/teether washing, and hand sanitizer for every single soul who walks through your front door. Sorry germs, ain’t nobody got time for that.
5. Diapers or wipes. Some mamas have a huge bias when it comes to these (brands, cloth diapering, etc) but it’s easy to ask them what their plan is, and offer to contribute to it. Even if you’re cloth diapering, it can be an expensive undertaking. And just like clothes, diaper sizes change often as well, so don’t get two jumbo cases of newborn sizes… go all the way up to 4 or 5 if you want. I promise. They’ll be used.
6. Don’t be afraid to go gender neutral. This is important especially for bigger ticket items. It’s super cute that your baby girl’s carseat is covered in pink flowers, but when your second baby is a boy, and you have to buy a new one, that’s a big bummer. This also applies, in my book, to things like burp cloths, muslin swaddles, crib sheets, bath towels, socks (Yeah, I said it. What’s wrong with white?), and toys. I know, you can get teethers and noisemakers that are all princessy, or all have trucks on them, but why can’t you just get the ones covered in giraffes?
7. Baby food pouches. For the most part, these things stay good a long while, and they’re great even for moms who want to make their own baby food, because you can find things that might be out of season, or that are a little more expensive fresh for the same price – not to mention they are GREAT for being on the go. Choose simple, though, and get pouches that have only one or two ingredients (just peaches, or plain ol’ applesauce) instead of blends, and always go organic. (I like the Plum Organics brand a lot, just by the way.)
8. Housecleaning service. I don’t think it’s too forward to pay for a few hours of a housecleaning service so that mama can worry not about her floors and toilets during the first month or two post-partum. She’ll just thank you later.
9. Wine, booze, coffee, and chocolate. It may sound silly, but after nine months without any (or with very little) of these things, it’s a welcome change to enjoy them in moderation – you know, except the chocolate. Don’t bother moderating the chocolate.
10. Salon gift certificate. Maybe a facial, a massage, or a pedicure, but definitely a winner. If you’re brave, you could add a clause about keeping that sweet little snuggler while she gets pampered!
What else would you add? Anything else super useful that gets overlooked?