January 10, 2008

Essential Baby Gifts, With a Side-Rant About Registries

Sara is begging for our help:

Five of my very dearest friends are expecting children (all but one their first) and the baby (3 boys, 1 girl, and 1 unknown) showers are about to start...
I need HELP!

What does every new mom need? What can they not live without when the newborn arrives? What are good gifts for the baby? And maybe even the grandma or dad?!?

I'm dying over here.

My first shower is this coming weekend. I've been purchasing little outfits and such along the way when I find a great deal or sale. But I don't have anything major to show or give away... I want to do more than just get things off of the registry!

As far as price range goes... I'm open. Okay, I'm a true penny pincher & deal finder... but I know not all items are going to be able to be found on sale; sad-- but true. And... not only am I going to need gifts for the shower, but for when the baby arrives... those hospital visits, etc. etc. So I'll just pick & modify as necessary.

And I might need people to explain things... I'm a single girl... no nieces, nephews, or anything -- I might not know the baby supply code. But, I'm ready to spoil some babies & some mommies!


Well! Some parents receive more newborn outfits than their baby can ever use, and others get not one single outfit because everyone's heard that parents receive more newborn outfits than they can ever use. Some people have skilled friends and get a dozen hand-knitted baby blankets, and some people have non-crafty friends and get none. So you can see there is a "shot in the dark" aspect to this task. This is the nature of gift-giving.

Now I DO hope all of us already know that there is NO OBLIGATION to purchase from a registry. Registries are not some sort of ORDER that must be fulfilled. People are allowed to go out and buy anything they want to for the baby, without consulting the registry. The registry is to give ideas (to people who want to know), to inform people (who want to know) of your color/brand preferences, and to aid in avoiding gift duplication. Sometimes I have heard people--NOT YOU--bitching that it is "rude" to buy non-registry items, and that just about sends me TO THE MOON. The gift decision is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT up to the giver. If the parents receive something unwanted, the parents say, "Oh, how good of them to think of us!" and donate or quietly exchange the item WITHOUT huffing or whining or running to their rooms and slamming their doors. If the parents do not receive what they were hoping to get, the parents BUY IT THEMSELVES like grown-ups.

(Important Exception: If you have a tense discussion with someone about a particular item they think you need but you don't want to use--pacifiers, bottles, cloth diapers, swing, whatever--and then they buy it for you anyway, that IS rude. But it's rude because they're trying to coerce you into doing something, not because they didn't follow the shopping list you were trying to coerce them into buying from registry.)

That having been said (and MEANT, so don't let me hear any BACKTALK), a registry is a great way to make sure you don't choose someone a bouncy seat when they already have one, or buy them a swing when they are philosophically opposed to swings, or get them something in a pattern that clashes with their vision for their nursery. What I like to do is get a copy of the registry and see if there's anything on there that appeals to me to buy. If it's all, like, $40 booties and $50 blankies and $400 bassinets, I branch out on my own.

I also take into account the family I'm buying for. Are they poor, and is this their first baby? I aim for practical, and I spend more than I might normally. Are they well-off, and do they pretty much have everything they need? I buy something fun for them to try, or I buy an enormous pack of diapers and tie a rattle to the ribbon.

I told Sara that people vary WILDLY in what they think makes the best baby gifts, so let her have it! And since I ranted bitched chatted so long about registries, perhaps you'd better go back and re-read her question, because there's a lot of meaty stuff in there about gifts for other relatives, gifts to spoil the mommy, and baby things we can't live without--and she would rather NOT use the registry. So we are looking for helpful information OTHER THAN "Buy something off the registry." Like, if there WAS NO registry, what would you give as a new-baby gift? No, no! DON'T say she should really buy something off the registry! I am in NO MOOD!

109 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about a gift certificate for a photographer? We got that with our first child and were able to get lovely family portraits done. It could be as expensive as $50-150 for a good local photographer or as inexpensive as a gift certificate to the local Picture People. Or, if she knows that they use digital photography, a certificate to Snapfish or Shutterfly, or whatever service they use. Babysitting, meals, maid service are also good "non-material" gifts.
As far as "items"- I usually do a bath or bed set- get them a baby bathtub, filled with bath toys, washes, lotions, washcloths, and a hooded towel or two or bedtime-a basket filled with classic nursery books, bed linens (the zipped crib sheets as Moon&Stars), night light, and a few older jammies 6-12 months or 12-18. If its a first time mommy who might be neurotic, the Angel Monitor, a splurge at $100, but worth a good night's sleep. Hope that helps!

Jess said...

I feel that way about wedding registries, too. It is amazing how many brides think it is so rude to get gifts that weren't on the registry. It makes it feel so cheap, like hi, we're having a party and giving you free food and alcohol, and in return you will pay us with an item off this list. I hate that attitude.

Welcome to our World said...

The best gifts were the ones that were for our son AFTER the first six months. It was such a downer and sticker shock to get to six months and have virtually no clothes, socks, little "shoes" or toys for a child beyond that point. I was SO grateful for the few gifts that we were given that were for 6-9, 9-12 months. Now at the time when I received that I was like this is kind of dumb but esp. which the first you do not realize how flipping fast that time goes by and also how fast those wee tots grow! I usually just write a little note as to why I bought a bigger size or a toy for an older child to explain. Everyone seems grateful that... Hope that is helpful...

bananafana said...

no registry push from me - I hate buying off them helpful as they may be. It just isn't as much fun. I like getting one-of-a-kind things like slings made out of really neat fabrics or clothes you can't find everywhere. But that isn't necessarily practical or affordable. I often get a collection of good classic books (goodnight moon, guess how much I love you etc.) since they're great to have but building a library can be really pricey. Also, if you know the parent's taste well enough, I think artwork can be an awesome gift. One of my favorite shower gifts were framed prints from a vintage Mother Goose book for our nursery.

Sarah said...

Similiar to the first poster I like to give the book How To Photograph You Baby by Nick Kelsh and a gift certificate to an online phot developer like snapfish or Shutterfly for all the cute baby pictures.

Sarah said...

Even though I have an 8 month old, I still don't know what really 'good' gifts are, although I will say I am a practical girl at heart, so I appreciated the packages of diapers I received, and especially the Target gift cards - it was nice to know I could go out and buy supplies as needed on that card. I know it's not 'fun' for the gift giver though.

Someone sent us a cookie bouquet (I guess that's after the fact) and they were delicious (and expensive, I found, as I sent them to someone else). This was definitely a favorite of the husband! (cookiesbydesign).

Um....I liked the lap pads (squares of thick flannel - put them over the changing pad cover so that you don't have to replace the whole cover in the event of accident). Again, not fun, but things I remember as being good.

Try etsy.com for cool homemade burp cloths and taggie blankets (they have some great retro designs).

Gift cards for restaurants that do take away food, or to favorite grocery store.

Baby book and/or baby calendar (I've used this a lot to jot down little milestones, and I'll transfer to wordier baby book at a later date). You can get the calendars at Babies R Us.

Really on the personal side is all the hoo-ha recovery stuff (hem pads, maxi pads, recipe for condom slushies, etc....)

Ok, hardly an idea there that would be exciting to see opened at the baby shower, but these are the items I remember the most.

Someone gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure (that I was supposed to get prior to birth) but I never used it. I did, however, get myself a prenatal massage.

Have fun!

Anonymous said...

A little bottle of Mylicon (and the Target brand is just as good and so much cheaper! it was a God send for us!), something cute for baby (clothes, blanket, bed or bath toy), something for any older siblings (just little but thoughtful) and I love getting moms gift certificates for a spa (just an affordable one even - like for a foot soak and rub or pedicure).

This is my formula. :)

~ML

Jeninacide said...

I had a registry for my baby and I have to say that the majority of the gifts we received were not from the registry and that was totally fine. We did receive TONS of newborn clothes that the kiddo grew out of before they were worn- but you can just save them for (ahem) regifting later or donate them! Whoot!

I have to say the most USEFUL gift we received was a COSTCO brand box of diapers and a box of wipes. We got them for a shower gift and we have STILL not run out of diapers OR WIPES. That being said, some people are picky about their diaper brand- but still- they can donate the diapers if they don't like them.

Also really special: My mom got us some nice wooden baby rattles for Christmas that are really cute for playing with but also for shelves. I also think that books are a good no-fail option- and you can NEVER have enough receiving blankets. I thought you could, but you CAN'T. And hooded towels..

K. Done Now. : )

Linda said...

I love you, Swistle, but I also like when people bought stuff off the registry. I am anal and obnoxious like that. HOWEVER. I did not bitch and moan about it when my husband's elderly aunts bought things I would never dress my kid in. I dressed them, sent them a picture, and then donated the offending item. See? I can play nice.

That said, I did like when people bought my kids stuff in older sizes, mainly 18 months and 2T. I packed it all away and when I brought it out, it was like getting presents all over again! I also liked getting toys for older kids. It was so much fun to realize that suddenly they're old enough for the jumpy thing or they can actually push those shapes through the shape sorter. Older kid toys/clothes get more use than baby stuff.

Oh, and meals are ALWAYS APPRECIATED, especially if you ask about preferences/allergies ahead of time.

Saly said...

I almost never buy off of a registry. I tend to buy the things which have been invaluable to me, which are vibrating bouncy seats and the ocean wonders aquarium that attaches to the crib. My 2-year-old STILL uses it nightly.

I love the idea of a photo gift certificate though.

I save gifts for the mom for after the birth. I bring something small for the baby to the hospital or when we visit for the first time and then I'll get the mom some luxurious fancy lotion or some soft comfy pajamas. Anything to make her feel like less of a feeding machine/zombie for a few minutes. I know that for me, having 10 or 15 uninterupted minutes to shower, especially if I was making myself smell really good, made a whole ton of difference.

Chris said...

OK, I feel the need to put in my two cents. If you are at all crafty you can buy some fleece and make a tie blanket (you can get measurements on-line for size) or make your own taggie blankets with fleece and ribbons sewn in. Both my kids were in love with tags, on toys and blankets. If you are not crafty, I always try to go with one thing on the registry, a newborn size outfit and one in a larger size for later, and something I loved for my kids (Halo sleep sacks, floppy seat, binky holder that clips to your diaper bag etc.)

I agree that spa gift certificates are good for mommys as well as a certificate for one of those assemble-your-dinners places. Those are great because they can go before the baby comes and throw all these dinners in the freezer and then thaw and cook after the baby is born.

Tessie said...

Hee. I love the TONE of this post.

I've done diapers and wipes before, and I also like the idea of a little medicine gift basket, like Mylicon, Infant Tylenol, ADULT Tylenol, whatev. Seems like something easy and inexpensive but when you need that stuff YOU REALLY NEED IT and it would be an appreciated gift at that moment.

I also like those plastic microwave disinfecting bags, which are cheap, easy, and can be used for bottles or breastfeeding equipment/toys. Random, but good for a gift basket or whatev.

Rachel said...

I just read somewhere (where??? I wish I could give this person credit--it wasn't you, was it Swistle?) a great idea--buy the smallest pack of a few brands of diapers and put together a sampler so the parents can try different kinds to figure out what works (we have probably all given away packs of diapers that just don't work on our kids).

I tend to give books...it's nice to look for lesser known ones, anything by Robert Munsch, The Napping House by Don & Audrey Wood, The Maggie B by Irene Haas, The Little House, Ferdinand the Bull...stuff like that.

And once I gave a sleep-themed gift--I made a quilt for the baby, put in Pajama Time (a sleep board book), a swaddler (one of the ones with Velcro, you can find them at Babies R Us), a book on sleep (Good Night Sleep Tight), and Benefit's Eye Bright concealer and a pound of coffee, in case the above didn't work.

el-e-e said...

tessie, you crack me up with your whatevs. :)

I agree with the toys or items for when Baby grows up a bit. We got a gorgeous set of wooden blocks (Pottery Barn) and it made me so giddy when I opened it. Like, "I am going to get to play with BLOCKS??" Took my mind off the impending labor and delivery, heh.

I've given (and received) sweet little soft squishy dolls from this site, too. Very successful shower gifts. (Secretly hoping for one, but you know. Can't put it on the Babies R Us REGISTRY. HAAAA!)

Laura said...

Side note: I finally did my pregnancy test stories.

On gifts, if you have already bought a good deal of outfits, get a clothesline and some of those pink (or blue for the boys) clothsepins. String the clothesline through the clothing and attach them in place with the pins. Layer it all in a big bag. To me, presentation is key. It is really cute to pull the line (keep one end of the line out of the bag with a "pull me" sign) with all the precious little clothes attached. I have also "made a baby"-using a snowsuit (this is perfect for winter babies) and stuffing the arms with onesies, and the legs and body with receiving blankets, burp rags, cloth diapers etc. I usually use a balloon for the baby face, but once I found a pink ball and used that instead, with stick on eyes and mouth. If it is a relative or someone close that I spend a lot of money on, I then stick the "baby" in a car seat and/or high chair and/or carrier. I love, love, LOVE shopping for baby showers, if you couldn't already tell. :) Oh, and also, I love buying the new mama either a little gift basket from the bath and body shop or a massage gift certificate. Have fun!
And, on registries, I never have registered for a baby or a wedding. We just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Now, people register for Coach purses. Can you believe there is a Coach registry???

Swistle said...

Linda- It sounds like you were JUST PERFECT. Registries are GREAT THINGS; they only go awry when people think they are LISTS OF OBLIGATIONS. The photo and gracious thank-you note followed by the toss into the Charity Bag is 100% Polite.

JMC said...

Bouncy seat!!! Invaluable!!

Also, for the parents after the birth - gift certificates to places with takeout.

Someone Being Me said...

The funny thing is that most 1st time parents don't know what they will need anyways. So the registry is usually hit or miss anyways. As a parent I try to buy one or two registry items and then a thing or two that I know they will need but they dont. Things like baby hangers to hang those cute little clothes they get at the shower. Dreft because you need to wash all those adorable little outfits. Burp rags because you can NEVER NEVER NEVER have enough. Same with receiving blankets. I got tons of huge fluffy baby blankets but no little ones I could stick in a diaper bag or actually use in Texas where it seldom dips below 50 degrees. Wipes, diapers (size 1 or 2 because people all buy the newborn ones that they outgrow in a week), and Infant Motrin. I got no less than 7 themometers for my son but when it came time to give him something for the fever I had nada. The big gifts that I used and used were my pack and play, swing, car seat, and stroller. I stay away from things like pacifiers, bottles, soaps and shampoos because I have tons of those sitting in the cabinet never used because my son will only drink out of one kind of bottle and barely used a pacifier. He can only tolerate one kind of soap and lotion.

Erica said...

I'm a registry buyer, myself. Especially if it's something big, like a stroller or something.

I used to buy cute little outfits as shower gifts until I had my very own baby. I got so many clothes and most of them Maddie never wore. She grew too fast or they were the wrong size in the wrong season.

Now, I buy things that I loved. Like a million burp cloths or a Bobby. And you can never, ever go wrong with diapers. Especially if you buy them in future sizes. I was blessed to get loads of them and it really helped with the expense.

K in the Mirror said...

I love to do baskets of stuff. Most of the things I buy have already been mentioned. I do always look at the registry though, just to see what's already been bought and what their style is. Sometimes I buy off it, sometimes I don't. If I know what they're naming the baby, I like to have stuff monogrammed too. That's fun.

And I have to ask- WHAT is a condom slushie? I don't believe I'm familiar with that particular euphemism...

jennifer said...

Oooh, this is hard, since everyone has different ideas about what is/isn't useful/useless.

My favorite gift was a set of burp cloths that they had decorated with paint pens and stencils.

A white noise machine was invaluable for each of our children.

Love the boppy covers and changing pad covers from Pottery Barn kids.

The one gift I always wanted but never received was a HOT MEAL and a genuine offer to babysit after the baby was born. THAT would be the best gift ever.

Come to think of it, that would be a great gift NOW.

K in the Mirror said...

Oh, and I LOVE the photography certificate idea. I wish somebody had gotten me one of those!!

Mama DB said...

I usually buy something that appeals to me off of the registry and then I throw in this diaper cream that I LOVE.

If they are good friends I'll take them a pumpkin pie when they are in the hospital. We got lots of flowers when we were in the hospital but really, they weren't needed. We didn't have room in the van and needed a cart to take it all down. We ended up giving the flowers to the nursing station. I think food is a better gift when people are in the hospital with a newborn - that and a visit. I loved having visitors.

Diapers are always appreciated. Not the newborn but the size 1-2.

We also received a ton of clothing in 0-3 months. We ended up exchanging a lot of the clothes for the next size up. I didn't dress my newborn up in fancy clothing a lot - it was too hard to get the stuff on a person who can't hold up his/her own head. One tip when buying baby clothes - stay away from buttons (just get snaps).

Just my two cents. Good post, Swistle!

Barb said...

Ditto on the books! I have been to baby showers that were only book showers and it was so fun! (Books are expensive to buy as a parent, but one or two here or there really enhance your collection!)

Anything that you have gotten is bound to be wonderful because you seem very thoughtful and considerate already!

ktjrdn said...

ooh, I am going to have to come back here and read all these things, but I don't ahev time right now.

The best thing I ever got was blankets that are bigger than the receiving blankets. I believe they were 45 inces square. It made it so much easier to wrap up a baby after they got a little bigger. It's so hard to swaddle an infant after they start growing. the blankets my frnieds gave me (homemade, with just the edges folded over and sewn) are so much more useful.

As far as toys, i never once used a rattle. But the First years stacking cups were my kids favorite toys from 6 months on. they still play with them 4 years later. The best toy ever. (And cheap too)

Emily said...

Oooh, I love the idea about a gift certificate to a photographer.

I agree with the registry business. When we did our wedding registry we obviously liked all the things we got from it. BUT, it was awesome getting a gift not on the registry that you could tell someone put effort and thought into. Someone took our invitation and framed it for us and it is one of my favorite gifts. (Not sure how you could work that idea into a baby shower gift though. . .)

d e v a n said...

My favorite gifts:
boppy pillow
swing
carseat
clothes that were 3 mo and up, but not newborn
newborn diapers, but not other sizes (Only because we cloth diaper, might want to take that into consideration when buying gifts.)
FROZEN MEALS or Gift cards for MEALS! Huge favorite of mine!!!

Things I found useless:
receiving blankets (not homemade ones, those are awesome.)
Baby bathrobes

Practical:
digital thermometer
gift cards
breast pads, or bottles
bath stuff for baby

d e v a n said...

ooh - slings!! Yes, yes, yes!

Personal fave: hotsling

moo said...

As a first-time mom, but a long time babysitter/nanny, I was a careful registry ... register-er. Is that even a word? ANYWAY. It's not very "fun" but DIAPERS are the best gift to give, IMO. Followed closely by a basket of wipes, infant tylenol, mylecon, hyland's teething tablets, etc.

After having two baby showers, I will NEVER give clothes to another pregnant woman again, unless they are 12mo.+ or hand-me-downs. Your tastes are not MY tastes and how many clothes does a newborn need anyway?

Not that I have a strong opinion on the matter or anything.

Alice said...

i LOVE THIS! i just went to babies r us literally during my lunch hour today to buy for my first shower... and i've got another one to buy in the next week. excellent timing! i LOVE the photographer idea too!

Anonymous said...

Condom slushies are sooooo not what I thought they would be LOL

Ellen said...

My due date with my first is tomorrow and I'm swimming in 3-6 month size clothes. All of which I love and I appreciate the generousity of each giver!!! But I'm hoping that a lot of the clothes that come after the birth will be 6m+ sizes because I had enough newborn and up to 6m clothes BEFORE my last shower. Now I'm not sure that baby will even wear everything. So many clothes! At my last shower, I admit having been most excited by crib sheets (still need some!!!), washcloths, bathtowels, lap pads, use-up-able stuff like baby shampoo.

Ellen said...

Oh... and I would LOVE it if some people decide to give me gift certificates, especially for a cleaning service or something, and I'm hoping for frozen meals too! So before actually having a baby I'm already very much leaning towards never again giving clothes and ALWAYS giving useable stuff!

My Buddy Mimi said...

Gift certificates for maid serivce!

LoriD said...

I loved getting baby clothes as gifts, but I agree that you should stay away from the newborn sizes - none of my monsters ever fit into those.

Some different things I got and loved:

Bumbo Chair

Hanging Closet Organizer

Homemade CD's with quiet songs (but not kid songs or lullabies)

Homemade blankets

Frozen meals (lasagna, quiche, muffins)

Baby Bjorn

A wagon

A baby toboggan

Brooke said...

Tie-dyed onesies. When my daughter was born it was Indian summer and the only thing I dressed her in was onesies. I got lots of "Isn't he sweet!". One day while she was napping I tossed all her onesies into a sink of pink dye and had the cutest onesies on the block after that. Especially if you're better at tie-dyeing than I am.

I have also given Picture People gift cards. Make sure they live close to one, though. Ours is 30 minutes away (but we still go there for pics).

Meals are so nice, but I'm a picky eater and didn't like everything people brought. Gift cards for takeout would be more flexible.

We got a bouncy seat we didn't even know we wanted and it was the Thing We Used The Most with my daughter.

Huckdoll said...

That's some great advice right there, S.

My favorite gifts were those of the homemade food variety and the gift certificate varitey.

A freezer full of homemade soups, stews and casseroles was nearly Godly when we brought our newborn twins home from the hospital.

Too many clothes! Too many newborn clothes and not enough 3-6 months stuff. Way too many 12 months and older stuff that hung in the closet forver.

Rayne of Terror said...

If you know they will use a crib, then you can't go wrong with the ultimate crib sheet. I also received about 80 onsies in sizes 0-3 through 24 months, most of them had been culled from garage sales. That was quite handy because when my son had those up the back newborn poops I had no problem cutting the onsies off him so I didn't have to drag poopie clothing over his head. I thought burp cloths were useless, but liked cloth diapers for all manner of wiping up.

Mairzy said...

I usually get a few onsies about one or two stages up so they'll have it on hand when Baby suddenly outgrows all of her clothes.

I also do name plaques: Print out the name and meaning on pretty paper, and frame it. Sometimes you have to wiggle with the meaning (Julian means "downy beard" hmmm... youthful?) which is fun. If you like that kind of thing.

The packs of baby washcloths are great. Not for baths -- I never used them -- but for hankies for runny noses.

Diapers, of course.

A wipe-warmer, something I'd never buy myself but wish someone had bought for me.

A diaper genie.

Gift cards.

Here's hoping I didn't simply restate what everyone else said, because I was naughty and didn't read other comments before jumping in myself.

Nellyru said...

I loved the Bumbo Chair, too! And I also liked having a Babies R Us gift certificate to hold onto until I really knew what I needed a few weeks down the line...about the time when I was really itching to get out and go on a little shopping trip by myself. I think a Target card sounds even better.

And can somebody tell me why I'm CRYING over this post?? Jeez, damn pregnancy hormones!

donna said...

Too pressed for time to read all the other comments so sorry if this is a repeat. But I just decided that a diaper sampler for new parents is a great idea. Most of the time you go by recommendations from friends or family but you don't know what works best on your baby without trying. And it's expensive to buy a bunch of brands and risk hating them. So especially if you have a bunch of showers, you can buy a bunch at a warehouse store or something and give a sampler to each new mom. You can make them into a cake too for cuter presentation!

Melissa Haworth said...

definitely diapers (size 1, not newborn) plus another little goodie that strikes your fancy. A hat or something.

My other perfect (and cheap) baby gift is a set of the carter's fold over baby socks from target. They are the ONLY socks that didn't fall off my baby's feet. they have a little trim on the edge of the fold that reminds me of frosting bumps and some have a little stick on picture of a duck or whatever. A friend recommended them to me and I buy them for everyone now. They come in "girl" packs, "boy" packs and "gender neutral" packs for like $8.

Jennifer said...

we have an eight month old and the things we appreciated the most after she came were the meals people delivered to us. neither me (obviously) or my husband (because he was at my beck and call) had time or wanted to even think about preparing a meal for ourselves or our two other kids.

And yes, clothes in the older sizes are extremely appreciated. Sometimes you can be frugal and shop from clearance racks for future sizes for the appropriate season.

I also really enjoyed a gift certificate for a pedicure which I used shortly before the baby was born. It's just kind of nice to know that your toes are nice even if you can't see them any more.

Carmen said...

I also don't have the time right now to read all the above comments - I only made it through 3 - so please forgive me if this has been said. "Welcome to our world" said that it was nice to get clothes for after the first six months. I agree, that was quite nice, because otherwise you suddenly and abruptly run out of clothing for the wee one. What I didn't realize until I had one of the wee ones myself, was that buying in advance for sizes 6-9 months later usually ended up in season-related problems. I mean, buying clothes in the summer (when all the clothes in the store are shorts) for a child who will be that size in the winter (or the opposite problem of sweaters/coats that fit in the heat of the summer). I'm not wording this well - does everyone know what I mean? This never ever occurred to me when I was the person buying the gifts, so I try to remember it now. That cute little shorts outfit won't be very practical in the winter! I now try to buy clothes an entire year in advance so the season "match".

Natalie said...

Healthy Meals. I would have appreciated that with a newborn. Maybe a gift certificate to some place that's healthy AND delivers? Or, if you are so inclined, make the meals yourself. Or offer your services. I mean, if you've got oodles of free time that is.

Tracy said...

I have a couple of gifts I make, but this site http://www.honeybeemel5.blogspot.com/ has some really neat gifts NOT ON THE REGISTRY!
Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE personalized stuff. My first got SO many things with her name on it and my poor second child got NOTHING! Lands End has little fleece blankets that are Great, Pottery barn has many named things, and Lillian Vernon even has some (I love the name puzzle. It is great in teaching them how to spell their name, and I don't think it is odd to give it to them at birth) And the other thing I really like is a bracelet with either a charm of the kids name or an engraved bracelet with the kids name. THe charm idea lets you give them something for the shower and then something after the baby is born and a name is established... Believe me, I lived 10 years as a military wife and I felt like I went to showers every weekend!

Melissa Haworth said...

One more thing--a friend who gave birth 5 months ahead of me gave me two boxes of super absorbent sanitary pads. Weird gift but lots better than sending hubby to the store for that item since it's not something I would normally have around and I didn't realize quite how much you need them postpartum...

Anonymous said...

Baby wash clothes are my favorite gift (giving and receiving). They can be used for so much - I still carry one in my purse as a back up for "oops" moments.

Again not a super creative idea, but if you know they still need a car seat or stroller or other higher priced item, going in on a present with a small group of others is great way to give those larger items without going over budget. I often do this and then give a very small (like the wash clothes) personal addition.

nanann said...

One thing I've never given but now consider a good gift:

Some "parenting" books, such as Happiest Baby on the Block or The Baby Whisperer.

I know I bought both of those within the 1st 2 weeks of giving birth b/c I was going nuts and didn't really know how to sooth a newborn! I think we all concentrate on reading pregnancy books too much while pregnant instead of baby books!

mama snee said...

My best shower was a book shower. They're going to grow out of (or quickly ruin) the cutesy onesies, but you're going to be reading Goodnight Moon for YEARS. It's nice to have a selection to choose from, especially after a six-month run of "Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?" My daughter is two now and we're just starting to pull out the "big kid books" (non-board books) from my showers.

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to read all the suggestions, but I always buy clothing for a 1-year-old. The right season is available to purchase, and then the growing baby actually has something to wear rather than mom saying oh cr*p nothing fits anymore.

Pixie said...

As first time parents we had no idea what we would need, looking back at our registration some of the things on there were ridiculous and were never used. Looking back two and a half years later the best gifts were the ones we didn't know we needed. I got a ton of hand made blankets which I loved and still do but rarely used. As well as so much new born and pre 6 month size clothing that most of it still has tags on to this day in storage. The clothing she was given for 9 month and up was so great and we used every bit of it. The very best gift we received and still use to this day is this http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2265272
It traveled well and could attach to any chair so when we went out and about we never had to worry about germy high chairs or being at a friend’s house with no highchair. Also you can store a bib and a spoon right in the tray. Now that the girl is older and has long refused to sit in a high chair we just keep the booster attached to a chair and she sits right at the table with us. I now give this seat to everyone I know who is having a child. It's especially perfect if you live in a small house and don't really have room for a highchair and it is useful from the time a child can sit up until they are big enough to sit in a regular chair and reach the table.
It traveled well and could attach to any chair so when we went out and about we never had to worry about germy high chairs or being at a friends house with no highchair. Also you can store a bib and a spoon right in the tray. Now that the girl is older and has long refused to sit in a high chair we just keep the booster attached to a chair and she sits right at the table with us. I now give this seat to everyone I know who is having a child. It's especially perfect if you live in a small house and don't really have room for a highchair and it is useful from the time a child can sit up until they are big enough to sit in a regular chair and reach the table. Truly the perfect baby gift, IMHO.

minnie said...

cute hats a socks seem like a good idea. they can be cute AND practical.

Katie said...

NO BLANKETS!!!! Everyone gives blankets...and I used about two of them!

My favorite things are:
Snack Traps
http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2404578

Shampoo Cups
http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2793366

Tiny Diner Mats
http://www.shopping.com/xPO-Kiddopotamus_Tiny_Diner_by_Kiddopotamus

The Miracle Blanket (I know I said no blankets, but this is DIFFERENT. This swaddles easily!)
http://www.miracleblanket.com/index.htm
(People don't always react all that well to the Miracle Blanket, if they are the "anti swaddling" types...)

Robeez Shoes in size 6-12 months
http://www.robeez.com/Department.aspx?DeptID=223&PriceCat=2&Lang=EN-US&RefID=9091

Clothes, over 12 months in size. That is when everything runs out and you realize your kid has nothing to wear!

BOOKS! Always books!

Katie said...

Oh! I also second the Ultimate Crib Sheet!!! Awesome!

Glory Laine said...

Luker de-luking here. Ok I have a great idea. How about an emergency baby car kit. Buy a shoe box size rubbermaid tote and in each put a few diapers, wipes, bottle, water bottle, one piece outfit, toy, bib, and baby spoon. Everyone needs these essicals in a neat place in their car. They'll be glad you put it together for them.

jennifer said...

Two things I didn't have on our registry that we received that our son LOVED were a womb bear for his cradle (he outgrew it by crib time) and a music machine (the Neptune one) for his crib! Also things that I got in a bundle from family members that I LOVED having it all taken care of at one time were a bathtub full of bathing supplies & toys and then a feeding bundle with bottles, washing things, tie-dyed cloth diapers (we call them gag rags) - all things we need but aren't too "glamorous" as stand alone items! Eliminated the need to go up & down every aisle post-baby searching for little things - we had them all already! And bath towels with hoodies - something I hate thinking about spending that much money on but loved having people pick out their own for our little one. I also received Happy Mama spray, tea & nipple (!) butter (!!) from a good girlfriend and many a time it have me some much needed "pampering" in the fleeting spare moments of alone time during the infancy stage.

Sarah said...

K in the mirror - a condom slushie is a condom filled with water and a touch of rubbing alcohol, then wrapped in another condom and put in the freezer - it freezes into a slushie and the theory is you can use that to soothe your lady bits (I guess it is supposed to lay in your giant undies like the frozen diapers can). My husband made one for me (why did he have black condoms, I'm not sure) but alas, I never got round to using it.
It was funny to have my mom visiting and have her see a black filled condom in the freezer as she contemplated dinner plans!

Oh, I also bought a set of stacking cups from Ikea for about $3, and they're great - some are used in the bathtub, some in the highchair.

Great ideas on here!

Sarah said...

I can't stop posting (even though I said 'oh, I have no idea!)....

Our friends brought us over a giant homemade carrot cake and a huge bowl of chicken salad - this was excellent as it required no preparation on my part and could be eaten from a bowl with one hand.

Ultimate crib sheet - I bought 2 of these and have never used them...I guess it helps if the crib is actually slept in. But even so, I couldn't figure out how to attach them!

I definitely second the 9 month+ ideas as that's about the time you run out of everything else. And food, always food.

Mimi said...

I think that Robeez shoes are a great gift. They come in so many cute colors and are the perfect baby shoe!
I also think that a luxuriously soft baby blanket is something everyone likes to get.
Also, so many places are selling cashmere baby clothes (Land's End, for one). A cashmere cardigan and pants would be a great splurge, especially for someone's first baby.

anatomist said...

if the parents are hippies, or even the slightest bit inclined to think about anything other than conventional medicine, try to find "smart medicine for a healthier child", a great book with loads of options for treating all of the basic baby/child health issues. also a great introduction to homeopathics and such (for adult treatments too). good stuff.
i'd also recommend kiddopotamus swaddlers. the #1 best thing that we received when our boy was born.

Rebecca said...

With my first child we didn't find out what we were having, so the gifts we got were so practical and that was great. I'll echo some of the sentiments above.

- Home cooked food
- Diapers (size 1 and 2), wipes
- Infant medicines
- A baby bathtub filled with baby wash, lotion, diaper cream, and wee towels and washcloths

Not a shower gift but: When my second child was born in September, my sister came to visit me bearing four bags of groceries: Milk, juice, cereal, sandwich fixings, a few frozen meals, roasted chicken, soup, fresh fruit, bagged salad, pasta etc....things that were easy to prepare and quick to grab out of the fridge. It saved my husband from having to run errands in those early days. It was one of the best gifts I ever received for any occasion.

Maggie said...

The gift certificate for photos/photographer is a great idea! When I worked at the hospital, one of the things that people never seemed to bring with them (or maybe didn't have, I don't know) was socks - socks make great mittens to keep them from scratching their faces, and also can be put on their feet over a onesie to keep their legs from getting lost in the outfits that are too big.

I also tend to give meals or certificates for places that will deliver.

I love seeing everyone's ideas!

Stimey said...

For second babies (or third, etc...), a gift certificate for a nice restaurant and a gift certificate offering your services as a babysitter for their existing child is nice. Let them get out pre-baby.

For firsties, maybe a pregnancy massage?

Meegan said...

I loved receiving anything - anything at all - with my baby's name or initials on it. I loved the personalized burp cloths, the sun hat w/ her initials, the soft fleece blankie I received after her birth with not only her name but her birthday, etc.

And how ironic that just today I found an adorable jumper in my daughter's closet that FINALLY fits! It's an 18 month size and I've been waiting for it to fit forever. I received it at a shower for her. It's so fun to have clothes that she's still growing into!

All of these are "wants", certainly not "needs". On the need side, diapers, diapers, diapers, Target gift certificates, washcloths and hooded towels (fun but still a need) and plain old onesies in every stinkin' size they sell!

Jerseygirl89 said...

There are just so many options. I am a huge fan of the Tiny Love Symphony -in-Motion mobile, diapers, clothing for six months and after, shoes of different sizes and vibrating bouncy seats.

Anonymous said...

Well, I've been lurking for a while and love your site.
I have an almost 3 year old and I loved my mom for making my fave meals and freezing them for me. We also ate out a lot the first few weeks, so gift cards would have been GREAT! I usually give new parents a basket with a cute outfit, washcloths (I never had enough!), diapers and diaper cream, towels, and a gift cert to Target or BabiesRUs to get whatever else they need.
Cloth diapers are great for cleaning up spit up, more than burp cloths, and then you can use them for rags later.
Things I didn't like--too many photo albums!
Also, certificates for massages are great to pamper the mom. Another great idea if you don't have time to make meals for the new parents, is to check out My Girlfriend's Kitchen or Dream Dinners, where you prep 6-12 meals at one time and freeze them.

Sara

Shannon said...

I don't know if Robeez are as popular in the states as in Canada but they are the best! They are great for little babies because they keep their socks on and they are great for little ones who are starting to move around because they have good grip. And the company will replace shoes that wear out or get holes for free! Plus they are sooo adorable! Check it out at: http://www.robeez.com/Department.aspx?DeptID=223&PriceCat=2&Lang=EN-US&RefID=9091

Tina G said...

I just want to say that I like you even more Swistle, now that you've said what really needed to be said about GIFT REGISTRIES OF ANY KIND. I hate them- and I refuse to even look at them. My gift is usually something more personal and not found in your average Baby Superstore. I love some of the ideas the other posters mentioned, though!

Julie said...

If the mom is planning to breastfeed, my standard gift is Lansinoh cream and nursing pads. If not, then I usually get some foot cream and booties for mom to pamper her feet -- you know, now that they can be reached again!

samantha jo campen said...

This is crazy, as we just finished OUR registry, so now I'm trying to think of things that would be great that you CAN'T register for.

*scratches head*

If you know the couple doesn't have it, how about a Netflix subscription? Then they can still have a 'date night' without a baby sitter and it's a free movie to them.

For our bridal shower, I had someone give us all pre-addressed and stamped thank-you notes with all the guests names on them. SUCH a time and money saver. I'm sure a pregnant lady would appreciate that too after the baby shower.

Money for birth announcements? Either a check with a note saying what it's designated for, or find out from the mother of the preggo where they might be getting them from.

With all the toy recalls and lead paint scares, maybe an enviornmentally friendly toy? They look beautiful and is a thoughtful gesture. Amazon.com has a lot to choose from--wooden, made with vegetable dies and are fair trade.

Savings bonds. Can't go wrong there.

Good luck!

Sarah said...

I'm the mom of a 3 month old little guy, and I have to say, my registry was mostly completely irrelevant. I really had no idea what I needed until he was here and we were in the thick of learning what worked for him and us. I think this would probably hold true for most registries that first-time parents set up. They know what their friends used (maybe, or they just went with the store's suggestions or maybe even intuition), but that stuff might not work for them.

All that to say, I could not live without SwaddleMe sleep sacks by Kiddopotamus in both small and large and flannel and fleece (for a winter baby). They get hot in there, though, so if you have summer babies on your list, get the lighter materials... I also can't live without my Fisher-Price Rainforest multi-directional swing. Our guy sleeps in his swinging side to side all night, every night. Lastly, if you're going to get clothes, I have dressed him almost exclusively in footie PJ's and one-piece rompers with thick socks and BabyLegs (a really neat product!) underneath. Thick socks are much easier to deal with than little shoes like Robeez, imho.

Good luck!

Jen said...

I try to always make something. For most friends I crochet a baby blanket. If I don't have as much time or for people I don't know as well, I either sew some soft flannel material into a blanket or just cut fringe on some pretty fleece. None of these are expensive and they show some time. I also like to pray for the baby and family as I crochet or sew.

If I give this gift at a baby shower, I'll usually throw in a nice shower gel (lavender usually) for mom and pick up some diapers or wipes.

laughing mommy said...

I hate registries. I don't even look at them anymore. I pick a baby product that both my babies liked, and buy that because I can personally recommend it. I include the gift receipt so they can return it if they got two, or if they hate it.

I think another reason I don't even look up registries anymore is because it ticks me off when they only register for expensive items. As if everyone who comes to their shower will spend over $200 on them.

Taggie blankets are always good. Babies love them.

The Mommy Years said...

COFFEE

After Noodle's birth (about an hour after) I realized that I needed that most basic of life essentials ~ the strongest grade columbian coffee ever imported into this country.

Juan Valdez is my drug dealer.

Yes I drank decaf since I was breastfeeding. I tried to trick my body into thinking that "If it smells like, tastes like & is warm like ... it must be caffiene!"

It sorta worked. But the real thing is oh so much yummier.

Give COFFEE!!!

Mandy said...

Favorite gifts - diapers, blankets, onsies (any size), the jenny mccarthy book series (belly, baby, and life laughs). A friend also babysat my 2-year old for most of my hospital stay with our newest addition without asking for anything that was pretty sweet. a crib set.

Least favorite gifts - the baby swing that MIL knew we were opposed to using, too many 0-3 month sleepers to count, 5 precious moment dolls that each pray, and an umbrella stroller.

Things that parents should pick out themselves - bottles, any holiday outfit, nuks, babybooks, any anything sentimental that they will only need one of for the child. Bitchy? Maybe...

Chraycee said...

I'm all for giving a boppy and an "Itzbeen" timer. I still use my boppy with my baby and she's 7 months old. That is one handy invention....god bless the boppy inventor. As for the Itzbeen.....I wish sooo desperately that I had known about them before Jilli was born....I would have had some idea of how long we'd been asleep in the chair - supposedly nursing instead of having to guess, and how long HAS it been since I changed her last etc.... My tired brain just couldn't function well.

Of course these are geared for the mom who's breastfeeding .....

Sharon said...

The two best gifts I received were a massage (I'd never had one before and had a bit of a hard recovery) and this. Who knew that a safe place to put a baby was a good idea? Good thing my sister did! :)

Giselle said...

My favorite gifts were the ones that kept on giving. A year's subscription to Parent's magazine. A membership to JC Penney portrait studio (lasted 2 years!!!).

Diapers and clothes are such crap shoots. My son was in 3-6 month clothes at 3 WEEKS. Size 2 diapers at 3 WEEKS. Just imagine all the clothes and diapers I had left over.

Black Sheeped said...

I've been finding out how the nursery was being decorated, and then I do a little art piece or four to match it. If someone isn't arty, it would probably be easy to go to art.com or Etsy, do a search for "frogs" or "octopus" and get something cute that way. I wouldn't do this for someone who I knew was in desperate need of the basics, but it seems to work well for people who already have tons of the necessities. Maybe they hate it, I'm not a mom, but they've SEEMED pleased.

Vicky said...

I love any gift photo related. Gift certificates for photo developing or photo taking session are great. Frames are also nice.

If you see an outfit you totally love buy big. 6-9 months is when I ran out of the clothes gifts.

Manicure/pedicure gift cards are great to pamper the mom-to-be. I remember how much I needed one at the birth of my first. For my second I made sure to get a pedicure. It is nice to have pretty feet to look at.

Gift cards to a restaurant were great for takeout those first few weeks.

Linda said...

If you are a bargain hunter, DON'T BUY ROBEEZ! You can get knock-offs for half the price on Ebay:

http://stores.ebay.com/Shoes-Zoo_W0QQssPageNameZstrkQ3amefsQ3amesstQQtZkm

She combines shipping if you order 2+ pairs. I've ordered more than a dozen over the past few years and have never been disappointed.

Also, I can't believe I forgot to mention this. I have friends who are major scrapbookers and they made me an entire first year scrapbook. All I had to do was put pictures in it. Since I am a plain photo album kinda girl, that was really thoughtful (and a lot of work!).

Amy said...

I am a huge fan of the Patemm Pad (www.patemm.com). I have found a zillion different uses for that thing!

nicole said...

I'm sure I will be repeating other ideas.

For the mom--if breastfeeding, Lansinoh for her girls to be protected. Also, maybe a magazine subscription to something she buys but does not subscribe to--this can be great for reading when nursing. Probably not parenting-related if you really want to emphasize you are spoiling the mommy.

For both parents--a gift card to a restaurant that does take out would be awesome (I'm expecting my fifth, maybe I'm projecting my own wants) for those nights when no one is bringing food and cooking is out of the question.

For dad--depending on what you want to spend, a digital frame for the desk at work would be nice. This would make a good grandparent gift too. Or, a photo card for printing those digital images we never get off the computer.

For baby--be guided by the registry, but also think about what you want to buy. You can't go wrong with diapers (well, some people have brand issues, but just keep a receipt). If you know a person well, and you know the intended name of the baby, a personalized blanket or something is nice. You can always buy the blanket at any store and just have an embroidery shop do the monogram. The most important thing for any item that is returnable is to keep the receipt! Having received many gifts myself over the course of 4 children, I don't have a favorite item to receive. It is just nice to be thought about. I love to give baskets with bath stuff, a board book (Goodnight Moon or Guess How Much I Love You are my favorites), and an outfit or two, usually in a size they will wear in a few months, rather than right away.

I don't think you should feel obligated to buy gifts for showers and hospital visits and visits at home. If you really want to do something, call when on your way to the hospital or their house and see if they want/need anything. I had a friend bring me a sandwich and tea from my favorite sandwich shop and that was great! Another time, friends brought over some standard groceries for us to have on hand. If they are having a lot of family in town for the birth, maybe you could offer to be a tour guide of sorts--giving suggestions and directions to places of interest for visitors.

You are so kind to think of your friends and what they will want/need. Good luck!

Misguided Mommy said...

i think in this situation it is VERY importatnt to stick to the registry. i am a second time mom and both times i was highly frustrated with getting other things that weren't on there. one of the reasons i had a registry ws to lessen the amount of times i had to go back to teh store and buy items i needed or return things, in those last trying days of pregnancy. also with my second child he was same sex as the first so i was loaded with clothes from the first and at the shower for the second all i got were clothes. it was so hard because i had a bunch of stuff i now didnt need and none of the stuff i needed. not to mention that when someone registers for a baby it is full of things they put a lot of time and effort into picking out. not to mention if it was me, i know i only picked out highest rated items after spending hours online, i found it very frustrating when i received stuff that wasn't rated well or easy to use.

my favorite gift to give is to buy the baby bath the register for, those are usually cheap. then i purchase one new born outfit, and then other stuff off their registry, like lotions, washes, mylecon, pacifiers if they registered, nail clippers, or other things they registered for, and the one nice item, like a boppy or blanket they registered for. another thing i LOVE to do is see what bedroom theme they picked and buy a basket with liner that matches (almost all sets have a basket liner that matches) then i fill up that basket. also to be honest one of the most useful things to get is diapers and wipes in the brand they registered for. so far my son is 8 weeks old and i haven't had to leave and buy diapers once because i was so well taken care of. plus those are such an expensive item to have to buy when youve just had a baby. and also we go through wipes soooo fast! and finally if you want to include something off the registry i always suggest picking out a book that you truly like and then writing on the inside of it so mom and baby will always knew who got them that book.

Misty said...

Oh Man! White Noise Machine! Baby Bjorn! Sling! Wish I had had a sling...they are pricey. Robee(Also, *shocked look* there are people who are philosophically opposed to swings??? I never knew.)

I always liked receiving blankets, because I never felt like you could have too many and since they are made of such a light weight cloth, they really don't last through more than one kid. (Of course, this is just my opinion.) Plus! We are swaddling kinds of folks and these are the blankets to swaddle with. I liked mine on the large size. Easier to swaddle with.

For dads? Maybe a nice neutral diaper bag without little fluffy ducks and big pink flowers? And if I could have had a perfect baby gift just for me? A spa gift certificate and a matching certificate offering a couple hours of baby care.

OOoo, and I would have loved this as well (but since we have no friends and our families suck, we never got it. But I ALWAYS do this.) Send food within the first week they get home from the hospital. Some husbands struggle with dinner issues and you never ever know if those Orange Cranberry Muffins you sent sustained the new mother for 2 days solid. Having a baby is hard. :)

Saly said...

I forgot to say that I always buy the lansinoh nursing pads for mom's who I know will be breastfeeding. They are the best ones in my opinion, and I never would have known I needed them if it weren't for a good friend.

Bren said...

I usually give books, a nice gift set or first edition of a children's classic.

gabby said...

books, books, books, books, books and books.

desperate housewife said...

Well holy crap, it's not like you need my two cents on this anymore, but for what it's worth I LOVE my wipes warmer, our exersaucer, and, if you know they're the type of parent who will use things like TV and playpens with their kids, then children's DVD's are awesome (Baby Neptune is my favorite) and also the Superyard, of course! Like a playpen you can use until kindergarten!

Jessie said...

It's so interesting how different people are about the registries! I, in fact, loved it when poeple bought stuff off my registry. I made that sucker with tons of thought going into it....read books about which gear was the best, took the advice of vetran moms which was the best...and quite frankly, LOVED everything I registered for. The gifts that were not on the registry were very thoughtful, do not get me wrong, I'm not attempting to sound ungrateful and selfish here...but, my son was bigger than many of the newborn clothes taht were given after about the first week....I ahve about 5 metal Noah's Ark frames and no where to out them, and about 3 baby books, which I'm attempting to re-gift, becuase I bought one almost the same day I found out I was pregnant! So, I love the registry...even if just to decide where to buy a gift card to, but another creative gift I loved was from a friend who had 3 kids already before I had #1 and she gave me an assortment of her favorite tried and true things...which I now also love and give to new Moms....this includes a tube of Lansolin (for b'feeding moms) Aquaphor (LOVE IT to treat and prevent diaper rash) Infant Tylenol, which I didn't think of buying myself before vaccinations started...Saline drops (Little Noses) and a "nose thingy" for stuffed up noses, a LARGE pack of diapers...size 2 to be safe, and some wipes. I know it sounds pretty 'simple' but I LOVED it! Another item I bought myself, but now give as gifts....The Bumbo seat...love this!

Heather said...

I was really happy to receive diapers; maybe not at the time, but later when I realized how hard a simple trip to the store became and my baby suddenly had outgrown the only size diaper I had in the house. A soon to be new parent really has no idea how many of these they will go through. Also, for after the baby was born, I was most grateful to receive a gift card to some place like pizza hut so I would have one night where I didn't have to worry about dinner.

Sleepynita said...

I actually did a blog post of my favorite baby things (complete with links and photos ooohhhh) a while ago. It is here:

http://drowninginlaundry.blogspot.com/2007/08/favorite-baby-things.html

I also think that going to a meal preparation place or giving a certificate to make 6 meals there to freeze (do it before the baby is born) is a great idea too.

mmh said...

We have been invited to several couples' baby showers for their first baby and I have been giving this book; "The Baby Owner's Manual: Operating Instructions, Trouble-Shooting Tips, and Advice on First-Year Maintenance" by Louis Borgenicht, Joe Borgenicht, Paul Kepple, and Jude Buffum. it was written by guys for guys. I often include a square blanket (easier for swaddling) and mark the page in the book that has very clear daddy friendly instructions on how to do it. Plus a thing of Baby mylicon, and maybe the new mom can get a few hours sleep.

Mary said...

If I don't know the people really well, i stick to the registry. But if I'm very close to the new parents, I like to give a mommy/parent gift at the shower, like a spa gift certificate or gift card to a great restaurant, along with some baby-sitting "coupons" from myself. and then I usually give the baby gift at the hospital or when the baby comes home. That way you know the gender and you can find out what they didn't get from the showers.

Shelly said...

Hey Swistle! I just posted a pregnancy story for you!

Be Inspired Always said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Be Inspired Always said...

I made a wood cradle for my best friend when she became a Mom. I placed alot of soft baby blankets in there and a few outfits.

I also love to give books. I love the photography idea, how beautiful is that.


I love homemade things, maybe a baby quilt. I make homemade things all the time, which reminds me I'm adding a new product to my website soon, if anyone needs a good homemade gift for children around the ages 3 through 7.

Tammy said...

Condom slushies! I had to look it up on google, but why oh why didn't I know about this when I had my babies!

I personally never had enough burp rags or receiving blankets. Diapers and wipes are so appreciated. I used cloth diapers with both of my babies and my gift from my mom was a free month of diaper service after the babies came home. It was so nice to not have to worry about the extra laundry of cloth diapers for a month.

My sister used to stop by constantly to give me a hand. She would hold the baby so I could shower, fold the wash for me, run the vacuum, take the garbage out or just sit with me and chat. When I had my second child she would come over and take my three year old to the park so I could take a break and he could get some much needed play time.

The gift baskets that were put together for me brought me to tears, as it is easy to feel a little forgotten when everyone is cooing over the new baby.

A lot of the tiny clothes I received were never used as both of my kids were big at birth and grew quickly.

Food that can be slipped from freezer to oven is great.
The offer of a babysitter is wonderful so that the new mom and dad can go out on a date or mom can get a hair cut or something.

Mary Beth said...

I always give books because I think you can never have enough. Even if they're duplicates of favorites they can be be important gifts (we went through several copies of Good Night Moon before we were done). Then, if you can find great things (like plush or posters) to go with the books, it's all good:)

Sabrina said...

I am rudely not taking the time to read all the comments, so forgive me if I repeat what many others have already said.

Here are my favorite what-you-need-for-a-baby-and-never-knew items:
*white cotton "cloth diapers" (actually square cloths, to actually be used as burp cloths. Need one dozen at least)
*a white noise machine, preferably with various relaxing settings including hearbeat for baby
*side-snap shirts in 0-3m size (do any first-time parents know that you're not supposed to put a onesie on a newborn until the little umbilical thing falls off?? I found out in the hospital and was shocked. 5 or 6 shirts should do.)

And here are my more general thoughts on gift-giving, especially baby gift-giving:
*please, please, please include gift receipts. I have mixed feelings because it sounds ungrateful, like "I would rather pick out my own stuff," but like Swistle said, sometimes you get WAY more outfits than baby could ever use. Or in my case, 6 pairs of white tights in size 0-3m. And I have dumped hundreds of dollars worth of baby clothes into the donation garbage bag with tags still on [90% bought by MIL] because we just never needed it, I considered it to be too impractical to wash and place in her dresser to be worn ONCE in her entire life, or because she finally grew into that size in January and they were all sundresses, etc. So if you don't mind the receiver just throwing it away, don't feel pressured to give a gift receipt. But if you're trying to be helpful and actually want to provide useful things so that the parents' burden is lessened, give a gift receipt.
*While it is very nice to buy things in bigger sizes (an early poster said that once you get over 6m, parents really have to start buying a lot of clothes, and that's true...), it is nearly impossible to tell the rate with which a child will grow, and the clothes will not likely be seasonally appropriate. But you can always stick with the basics when buying future sizes--undershirts and onesies and socks are always useful, and they're costly to parents so will be much appreciated.
*if you are into creative gift-giving, ignore the registry. I don't think there's the slightest offensive thing about that. But, if you look at the registry a few days before the event and notice any essentials not purchased, and you'd be spending that much anyhow.... any parent would be MUCH more appreciative of receiving the carseat over yet another bag of oh-my-god-isn't-that-so-cute-who-cares-it's-ridiculously-impractical clothes.
*Don't buy baby sunglasses. Really.

Courtney said...

I know, I'm sorry, I haven't read all of the comments to see if anyone has suggested this but one of the best gifts I got was a little basket full of a couple bottles each of Children's Tylenol Infant Drops, Children's Motrin, Mylicon Drops for gas, Oragel for teething, etc. I had NO IDEA w much money I'd be spending on this sort of stuff until I had to and it was very nice to already have a couple of bottles of each when my daughter was a baby. BTW - make sure you check expiration dates when purchasing.

Also, my friend sells these awesome baby bibs at very reasonable prices. I have purchased several and they are of very good quality. I wish that I had been given a ton of these b/c we could have put them to good use! Every baby uses bibs!

Mary said...

Rant, rant. I'm with you -- I assess that registry list and often branch out because there's nothing reasonably priced that's meaningful. I save our children's best and/or most worn clothes. Some are in a box for their children but the rest I give out, one at a time, to new parents. It's sweet because it's something that our kids wore and are now handing down to theirs. People like it.

d e v a n said...

BABY LEGS! How could I forgotten Baby Legs?!
Every baby needs a few pair! Unique, cute and totally useful!!

d e v a n said...

http://www.babylegs.net/

I know you might not think they're useful but they TOTALLY are. I love, love, love them and wish I had gotten some for a gift. :)

maggie said...

Today I logged on to a friend's wedding website that included the following helpful note on the Gift Registries page: "Feel free to think imaginatively about something we might appreciate."

OH MY GOD. My gift just might be feeling free to stay home and keeping my imaginative mouth shut.

And so this comment isn't COMPLETELY irrelevant, I totally second the babylegs suggestion. And you can never ever go wrong with books.

Angie said...

I think that if you are not buying from the registry, then get something a bit more unusual. Instead of an outfit, a pair of Robeez, a sling (unless they registered for one), On the Day You Were Born Journal (my daughter loves hers), maybe a hooter hider (if the mom is nursing and modest.) If mom doesn't seem to have a lot of essentials already, cloth diapers, diapers. I had an overload of sleepers, onesies, and blankets, so unless I found some that were really unique (or homemade) I would steer away from these.

Angie said...

oh, and books of any kind. I've been amazed at how many people told me I gave their child their only books.

Tamsyn said...

I did cloth nappies, so getting disposable diapers would not have been terrific at all. They're not the best gift for EVERYONE, and closet hippies like me won't be wildly amused.

The best gift I received was some lovely homemade burp cloths with terry down the middle and little tags to the sides. Admittedly, my baby is what they call 'a happy spitter' and covers everyone in sick, so I may be biased here!