7 Great Baby Showers Gifts (That Moms Don’t Realize They Need)
With the recent announcement of my pregnancy, friends and family have been pouring in with the congratulatory messages (thank you!), and questions about the gender and shower details and birth plan (hmm, not-so-thank-you). Well, it’s going to be at least another month until I get to know the gender, and my shower would not be until be this fall–months away! But, as goes the tradition in my family, I started creating a gift registry so at least I knew there were things I wanted in there. Heck, most fulfillment shops give you a discount on the items you purchase for yourself from your own registry anyway, so go ahead and add that extra “so-expensive-that-nobody-will-buy-it-for-you-but-you-need-it-anyway” gift and you’ll be doing yourself a favour.
Being on the clueless end of things, I turned to creeping the pregnancy forums, Facebook mom groups, and friends for the low-down on what I should be putting on this magical list. Well, turns out there is a boatload of things out there that I didn’t even know existed, that other moms swear by, and many wish they had had these things for their first baby. So I decided to take all of that research, and put it all into one convenient place for others to learn from. I know what you’re thinking, but this list is total different from the one about useful shower gifts for mom (those are for HER) and the one about the baby gadgets you don’t need. This is a list of items that a parents-to-be wouldn’t necessarily have bought for themselves because at first they seem necessary, but after using it once were hella-grateful for whoever did buy it for them. And yes, these are all on my registry–so if you’re feeling generous… just kidding! Or am I… 😉
1. Binxy (Baby / Carseat Hammock For Shopping Carts)
The first on this list, for good reason, is the Binxy. While it may sound like a childhood cartoon character, this versatile (and safe!) baby hammock allows for you to take your kiddo shopping and not take up the entire cart with the car seat, and not need to wear them all the time, or to always bring the bulky stroller and still try to manage the cart too. It travels small, clips onto the edge of most shopping carts (even Costco!), and your baby is safely secured into it. It was actually designed to hold most car seats so you don’t even have to transfer them in/out if they are sleeping, but if they are awake you can put baby directly into the soft comfy cotton cocoon. It is available locally in Ottawa at Fab Baby Gear (when not sold out, which is often–it’s that good!), OR you can use this link for 10% off on the company website (disclaimer: yes, I get 5$ towards my next one).
2. Boba Wrap (Baby Carrier)
Not everyone wants to wear their baby, and that is okay. But this wrap is something of a life-saver when you’ve been holding baby for hours and your arms are turning to jelly. This one works for preemies all the way to 18 months, so you don’t have to upgrade to something else in a few weeks. There are no straps, buckles, snaps or other complicated crap so you can just wrap it around you, put baby in (as per the included instructions), and regain control of your arms. And maybe get stuff done around the house while baby sleeps. It is also great for stuffing into the diaper bag for a just-in-case addition if you’re going out and don’t want to bring a stroller. It is available locally at BuyBuyBaby.
3. Open-Ended Footie Sleeper
These might seem like a staple in baby’s wardrobe, but there is a handful of small differences that makes these ones that much better–things you may not realize you need until you’ve seen the them in action. These bad boys have open-ended footies, which means they can grow with your little as they get longer before buying the next size up–saving you money, and the arms are the same, which means you have fold-over hand cuffs should you need to keep baby’s hands warm or away from their face. And THE best part? These unique sleepers have a double-ended zipper, which means you can leave the top undisturbed while you undo the bottom for a diaper change. They can be purchased from Little Sleepies, and I am sure if you look around locally they will have something similar, but be sure to check for that coveted double-zipper (and let me know where you find them because my searches so far proved unfruitful!). The LS ones are made from bamboo, which is is naturally hypoallergenic, antibacterial and regulates body temperature, these are perfect for year-round wear.
4. Baby Bouncer / Lounge Chair
Moms swear by the Mamaroo! I’ve seen it in person, doing my proper deep-dive research like I always do, and while it might just look like a fancier version of the standard baby bouncer, it is a motorized version that actually sways and bounces in a very similar way to the way humans move (or car rides if you choose that setting!), so it actually manages to convince baby that they are still being held and they stay calm. This upgrade, likely purchased as a group since it is on the expensive side for a shower gift for a friend, is very welcomed by many. And on the odd chance, that particular baby doesn’t like it (you never know!), they can always exchange it for one that baby DOES love. It is available locally at Fab Baby Gear, BabyenRoute, BuyBuyBaby, and if buying for yourself, there are usually a bunch available on Kijiji that have been outgrown as well. And yes, any baby seat will do, it just may not be as magical. We ultimately decided to stick to our hand-me-down one and splurge on the stroller instead, and 6 months later she is still happily enjoying her lounger.
5. Baby Safety Gear
Sure, babies don’t typically start crawling until after at least 6 months, but by then you are chasing after an escaped child and don’t have time to get all of the safety measures in place. The trick is to get most it done BEFORE baby arrives, so that you can add the final touches when you only absolutely need them. Because let’s face it, no pregnant woman wants to fiddle with the toilet lock in the middle of the night in the dark when that bladder is about to burst. So start with the plug covers and the cabinet locks <– magnetic ones that can be disabled! on dangerous things like chemicals or garbage cans, and save the toilet and laundry machine ones for later. These great flexible locks will allow for you to install them before baby, but they can be disabled until baby arrives. They work for stoves, fridges, toilets, laundry machines, cabinets, and more. Most people don’t register for this kind of stuff, so it might be an off-list buy, but let me tell you that it will be appreciated either way. And on the odd chance that more than one of you though of this genius idea, the gift-receipt means the expecting parents can exchange some of the extras for something else. Win-win.
6. A Second Camera For the Baby Monitor
This might seem excessive, but at the same time, it would be a VERY welcomed gifted addition to whichever monitor parents are already buying (or being gifted!). Here’s why this is such a mind-blown! moment: The monitor usually goes in the nursery, gets mounted to the wall, and you carry the screen around with you (or connects to your phone if you’ve got a wifi-enabled one). BUT who actually leaves their baby in the nursery all the time?? Sometimes they are on the main floor with you and you need to be in the next room to make food, or pee, or whatever. With that extra camera, you can set it up in that second most-used room, and still be able to watch your baby while you live your life–aka clean or cook or do laundry. Bonus if it points in a direction that allows you to see the front or back door in the frame, and it doubles as a security camera (especially useful if you have another child who likes to open doors!). Most systems allow for you to add up to 4 cameras, so if you have a large home–or lots of awkwardly placed walls that block views–you can truly utilize the additional vantage points. We love our Motorola monitor!
7. Car Seat Installation & Cleaning
This is one of those things that applies to every single parent, because even if you do not own a car, you still need a car seat. You need to get home from your birth place, or go to visit family (who will often offer to drive you places), and even taxi’s require your baby to be in a proper car seat. And with babies, messes are inevitable, especially as they get a little older. SO offering them a cleaning of their car seat is a great gift! And no, I am not saying YOU should clean it–I am saying you purchase a voucher from someone like Car Seat Maven (available in Ottawa), who will come pick it up, do a FULL cleaning, and then deliver it back to you with a full re-INSTALL, and all for less than $100. Umm, yes please!! Buying for a first-time parent? The initial install can be overwhelming, and companies like CSM will walk them through the install, and you can even purchase an in-store consultation where the expert will accompany them through actually shopping for the carseat and adding the best one for them to their registry. Safety will always come first in my books, but if I can combine safety + convenience? SOLD!