Tag Archives: new mom tips

Giving a REALLY Good Baby Shower Gift

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.

This is like a mini-throwback from my shower before EK was born. These are my college girlfriends!

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?

10 Tips for Soon-to-Be Moms

I’ve had a few friends who are expecting their first baby ask for a little advice on how to prepare for the bundle of joy. So here are a few things that I figured out either with EK or with J or because a wise woman told me so.

This was when a friend and I took our collective three kids on a walk. Only two are mine, but she was saying since we knew we’d have another, it was only a matter of time until it was me without a friend…

1. When placing your nursery furniture, to important to make it look nice. It’s also important to make it convenient for you to use each of the pieces in the room. For instance, when you wake up to the cry of your newborn at 3:00am, walk in the nursery, and immediately smell something… terrible… you know that you’re gonna need to change a diaper, and probably clothes, blankets, and maybe sheets. You pick up your sweetie, move to the changing table, and roll up your sleeves. Within arm’s reach, you want to have that extra change of clothes, as well as diapers and wipes, of course. So when arranging your furniture, it’s good to have your dresser (or wherever clothes are kept) within easy reach of the changing table, so you don’t have to walk off and leave the baby!

2. Speaking of changing the sheets, all moms know that changing crib sheets is a giant pain in the booty. So how do you make yourself have to change them less often, even though your baby will have messy poops, incredibly sized pees, and spit ups that stink to high heaven? One word: layer. My wonderful mother-in-law introduced me to this idea, and it’s saved my sleepy or busy self more times than I can count. So what you do is have 4-6 sheets AND full mattress-sized waterproof pads, and layer them into the mattress. I like to take the mattress completely out of the crib to do this. That way, I just peel off the offending layer whenever there’s a mess, and toss it in the laundry, and there’s already a sheet on there, ready to go! Of course, 1/6 times, I’m screwed. But I’m saved the rest of the time!

3. When someone offers to make a meal calendar for you, take them up on it. When they ask for email addresses, give them every single one you know. If people don’t want to help/are too busy, they just won’t sign up. But everyone else? Let them feed you. Lots of them (like me a lot of times) will just ask what you want from your favorite take-out place. It’s a win-win. And sometimes, it’s a sweet friend, who comes bearing dinner, and does some dishes or some laundry while she’s there, because it’s somehow easier to do someone else’s than your own. ((If you need help with this one or don’t have someone to do it for you, email me and I’ll help you out.))

4. Related to #3, stock your freezer. If you’ve got a meal calendar set up with people doing dinners, stock the freezer with pancakes, waffles, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, sausage, bacon, etc. Another great idea is to pack individual baggies with everything for a smoothie in them. Put in your fruit, kale, spinach, oats, flax, or whatever you like in there, each in an individual Ziploc bag, and then all you have to do for breakfast (or lunch, or a snack) is put it in the blender with the liquid of your choice, and yogurt or peanut butter if that’s how you roll. For lunches and dinners, spaghetti sauce and chili are easy things to make and stock up on, as well.

5. Get the book Happiest Baby on the Block or at least skim it in Babies R Us one day. Cliff notes: When they are fussy, swaddle them, let them suck on something, swing or bounce them, hold them positioned on their side or stomach and make some loud white noise (loud “shh”, vacuum, hair dryer, etc). Y’all are thinking I’m crazy. Try it.

6. Start letting baby put himself to sleep even when he’s a couple of weeks old. When he’s fed and diapered and snuggled (and swaddled, in my opinion), lay him in the crib and leave the room. Learning to go to sleep on his own will make everyone’s lives easier in the long run.

7. Something I didn’t do until recently (mostly because I think they didn’t have it when EK was a newborn) is sign up for one of those Amazon or something diaper subscriptions, where they just send them to you. I’ve got it now that my kids aren’t growing out of diaper sizes too quickly (and they’re both in the same size), but here’s what I did. I took all those coupons for creating registries at Babies R Us and Bed Bath and Beyond, and bought diapers – a couple of cases in every size. I waited till they were on sale (since before you have the baby there’s no rush, right?) and used the coupons. Babies R Us is great at mailing you stuff monthly, and almost every time there are coupons for diapers. I only bought one box of newborn size (they grow out of those the quickest in my experience) and two boxes of the rest (stopping at size 4) just in case. I felt totally prepared, and if I did run out of diapers, I at least had some in the size up they could wear so I was never completely and totally out.

8. Find a good stain remover. This is a total must, because your baby is going to be causing stains on everything. I really love Babyganics, and it really seems to work on everything from poop and spit-up to red wine and coffee (and those are the four most common stains at my house).

9. Use the heck out of those annoying and wonderful Bed, Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons you get all the time. Use them on carseats, strollers, toys, nursery furniture, pillows, swaddles, and anything else you can buy there instead of a baby store. Our BB&B recently got a major baby section upgrade, so I get tons of stuff there with those super coupons.

10. Don’t refuse the help. Yes, there’s a line between letting a thousand people traipse through your house every moment of the day and accepting the help of well-meaning friends and family for a few days, or a few days a week if they’re willing to keep it up for a little while. But if someone offers to snuggle the baby and let you nap, or let you shower, let them. If someone offers to do a load of laundry or pick up some groceries, let them. These things are so nice and helpful, and often it’s a chance for a friend or aunt or someone to meet your little bundle. A win-win for everyone!

All you almost-mamas, I hope this helps! Pass it along to anyone who might need some words of wisdom before their little babe gets here!

Do the veteran mamas have anything to add to the list?!

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