Anyone who has ever been to a baby shower knows exactly how the “gifts” portion of the party is going to go.
The mother-to-be will open the first package and pull out a darling outfit and everyone will “ooh” and “ahh” over the cute miniature clothes.
Then she opens another package and everyone “oohs” and “ahhs” over another cute set of matching clothes.
By the 10th set of clothing, however, the “oohs” and “ahhs “ are a little less boisterous and the future mom is starting to realize that she’s going to have to purchase all the items that she actually needs for this baby.
It’s very tempting to buy clothing for new babies. The outfits are tiny and adorable and you can’t pass through Babies ‘R’ Us without spotting one that you fall in love with and want to purchase.
Don’t do it.
The minute a woman finds out she’s pregnant, she starts collecting clothes for the new baby – as do the grandparents on both sides. By the time she attends her baby shower, the mom-to-be probably already has enough outfits to clothe three babies for a full year.
As hard as it is to pass up those little onesies and overalls and dresses, just be real with yourself. She doesn’t need more clothes, and on the rare occasion that she DOES need clothes, she would probably rather pick them out herself. Allow her to indulge in that little joy of parenthood.
So what does a new mom need? Here are 10 helpful hints when it comes to shopping for baby showers.
- Check her baby registry. If the couple has registered for it, they need it and are hoping they won’t have to come up with a way to pay for it.
- Avoid knick-knacks. Picture frames, photo albums, “keepsakes,” and little objects that take up space may look good on the store shelf, but they don’t make the best gifts. Unless they specifically match the themed nursery décor, they will likely just end up being re-gifted or in a closet collecting dust.
- Avoid pink. If you are shopping for a baby girl, try to branch out from the ubiquitous pink that seems to overrun every girl’s room, wardrobe and home until she’s 10. Unless you know that the mom-to-be just really adores pink, chances are good that she doesn’t want her entire house to look like it has been sprayed with Pepto-Bismol. Purple, green, and even blue can be great alternatives to this very overused color.
- Shoes & Accessories. Everyone buys clothes. No one remembers to buy the shoes. If you know the baby will be a girl, also look for hair bows, frilly socks, and even hats that will easily coordinate with all the clothes that are undoubtedly already in her closet.
- Books. While it won’t be an immediate need, every child develops an interest in books within the first year. Books that are universally popular with all children, like Goodnight Moon or The Hungry Caterpillar, are always a good idea. Books with moving parts, such as Matthew Van Fleet’s Dogs are also a good choice and will eventually provide hours of entertainment. Cheerios makes an excellent line of books where the child can help fill in the picture by placing actual Cheerios into recessed holes in the pages.
- Diapers and wipes. While not the most exciting gift, diapers and wipes are essential, will be used, and are expensive for the parents-to-be.
- Travel Accessories. These often get overlooked when parents-to-be are creating their registries. A diaper bag is necessary and a good start, but how about filling it with all the things the parents will need when taking the baby to a restaurant or over to Grandma’s: Disposable placemats, travel wipes packages, changing pad, travel-sized baby powder (and/or diaper cream), lotion, diaper baggies, a portable bottle warmer, disposable plastic-ware and food containers, toys, etc.
- A moving glider. If this item is not on the registry, it’s possible that the mother-to-be hasn’t considered that she will need a place to put the baby down to sleep, other than his crib. Many babies don’t sleep well in a crib for the first several months. A moving glider is portable and most babies find them soothing and a good place for naps.
- A sling or front carrier. This item will probably be on the registry, but even if it isn’t it’s a great gift. Babies like to be held, and the new mom will quickly discover that she needs the use of her hands throughout the day. A hands-free way to carry a newborn can be a lifesaver.
- A gift card. Again, it’s not the most exciting gift, and you probably won’t get a bunch of “oohs” and “ahhs” when she opens it. However, you’re buying the gift to help a new mom, not to get accolades from random people at a shower. A gift card gives her the items she needs and still allows her to do the shopping and selecting. It’s a safe bet and will ALWAYS be appreciated.