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I’ve been to a number of baby showers.
Over time — and after talking to moms — I’ve learned 3 interesting things that have changed how I buy baby shower gifts:
- Unique baby gifts aren’t always the most appreciated.
- Avoid giving baby clothes as gifts.
- Think beyond the newborn.
Let’s talk about each of these…
#1 – Unique baby gifts aren’t always the most appreciated.
New parents aren’t necessarily looking for the ‘coolest’ baby shower gifts. They’re looking for things that they know they need (or want), based on what they already know.
While many of us strive to find the most unique baby shower gift ever, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that the expecting parents work hard selecting the exact items they want (and need) when they’re deciding what to put on the baby shower registry.
So definitely start there.
Even if you know that you want to get something that’s really unique and probably not on the baby registry, do the parents a favor by at least getting one small item that’s on their baby registry list.
Then, if you want to find something creative or unique on your own, think of it as a bonus gift:
- You’ll be going above and beyond by helping them acquire items on their list; and at the same time
- You’ll be adding a personal touch by getting something that they may not have even known existed or thought to put on their registry.
Many mothers-to-be will create gift registries for the convenience of their guests, while others do so because they also want to make sure they receive items that they both want and need. It may be hard for a pregnant lady to fake a smile over a decorative, orange lamp that her aunt thought was “just darling” when her registry stated that the nursery colors are blue and brown. While it may provide the giver of the gift immense joy to pick out a unique wall plaque with a cute saying on it, the giver may be thinking more of what they would appreciate than what the recipient would. After all, the purpose of giving is entirely for the sake of the other. That is why it is always important to at least view the gift registries of the expectant mother before deciding on a gift. Source
As a result, my baby shower gift strategy is always to get at least 1 item from the registry and at least 1 item that’s uniquely my own.
I think of the baby shower as an opportunity to share fun baby things with the new moms I’m shopping for — items that they probably don’t even know about. Truth is, with hall of the new baby products invented each year, there are lots of great gifts that new parents may not realize they need… yet!
So I’m actually helping the couple with item #5 on this list of baby shower gift registry advice for new parents:
Don’t be completely serious. Don’t forget to have fun! Include some fun items like toys and baby memory albums. It will help you remember to stay wild and free in parenting.
My idea of ‘wild and free in parenting’ is to try new products and explore unique baby items that are practical and helpful at the same time. That’s why I like to buy 1 item that’s unique, in addition to 1 item from the baby registry. (Multi-gifts have always been my favorite anyway, no matter the occasion.)
After getting something from the couple’s baby registry, I always pick another gift from this list of unique baby shower gifts.
#2 – Avoid giving baby clothes as gifts.
No baby clothing, really? What’s a baby shower with out showing off lots of cute baby outfits?!…
It’s no surprise that the most common gift new parents receive at their shower is baby clothes, even when they don’t request it.
That’s on top of all the cute outfits the parents have already purchased or picked out themselves for the little one.
So, while cute baby clothing may be one of the easiest items to shop for, it’s important to keep in mind that baby clothes are not always the best choice.
A baby can only wear so many cute outfits before they grow out of them. In no time, babies become toddlers, and some skip specific sizes altogether. And one thing’s for sure: the appropriate size matters in baby clothing.
In fact, many new parents resist the urge to put ‘no clothes’ on the baby shower invitations, for the sake of sounding rude.
So, if you’re going to get baby clothing, be sure to stick to the outfits that are specifically mentioned on the baby registry itself, or consider outfits for 6-month-olds and older.
Most people buy newborn or 0-6 months when buying for a baby shower gift. But, there is nothing wrong with thinking ahead and buying 6-12 months or even 12-18 months. It’s probably not appropriate to buy too far ahead and burden a busy, new mom with storing something the child won’t use until they are 5. Realistically, a new mom will appreciate baby clothes up to size 2T (2 years). Source
Here are some important safety tips for buying baby clothes.
#3 – Think beyond the newborn.
Something interesting that most new parents realize at about the 6-month mark is the fact that they have very few things that meet the need of their growing baby, who is much bigger now and much more active.
That’s why many couples wish they would have received more gifts at the baby shower that were for 6-month-olds and older.
Think about it: they have received all of the very basic baby necessities that are great for parents of newborns, but what about when the baby outgrows the newborn stage?
Once babies are bigger and more attentive, they have completely different needs.
Typically when people create a baby shower registry they are thinking of the newborn phase. But take it from a mom who has been there, this is perhaps the shortest phase of your child’s life and a newborn in actuality requires very little to be happy … The reality is that most of what you receive during your baby shower become nothing more than nursery art that your baby will soon outgrow … Newborns don’t play with toys. They play with their toes. If you want to give a baby a toy, then think ahead and buy one designed for a 6 to 18 month old, because that is when the baby will actually use toys. (Plus, mom and dad will be broke by then from buying diapers and will appreciate having the toys on hand.) Source
It’s not an understatement to say that many parents would benefit from having a 6-month baby shower too!
Of course, that’s not going to happen. But you can help to alleviate some of that burden by giving a baby shower gift that babies beyond the newborn stage could use.
Buy pajamas in 6, 9 and 12 month sizes. PJ’s were the first thing I ran out of early because when Isla was wearing a 3 month size she was wearing 6 month PJs (due to height). I hear this is totally normal! I say stick with any brands excluding Gerber or cheaper, lightweight fabric. They shrink too fast. Consider stocking up on PJ’s for new mamas! … Look into the best toys for 6-, 9- and 12-month-olds! I’m now researching toys for my 6-month-old because she’s bored with all her ‘baby’ toys. I came to realize we really only have one 6-month-old toy. Source
Here’s a month-by-month guide to gifts for babies older than 6 months of age.
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).