Top 10 Baby Shower Gifts

Now that we’ve been at this for a little over 3 months, I feel that I should make a note of the things we found most useful that we will without a doubt suggest to new parents & will bring to any baby showers going forward. Also, if you are my friend and will have kids, you will get something off this list. New moms, register for these things. They are very helpful, all are things we use everyday (exception: #7) and are often overlooked.

1. Baby Legs or other leg warmers (babylegs.com )

Image

When our friends gave us a pair of these, I thought “these are cute, but what on earth am I going to do with leggings?” Turns out, when you have a REALLY squirmy newborn, getting pants on and off are a challenge. These kept A’s legs warm, and were significantly easier to maneuver around while we were learning the fine art of diapering.

Now that she’s a little older, I put them under her pants, and use the bottom of the leggings to hold up her socks, which she inevitably would kick off otherwise and in the colder weather, a second layer is good.

2. Binky leashes (booginhead.com )

Image

We found these in a bag of stuff given to use from a friend. Once we figured out what they were for, we thought it was freakin’ ingenious! One end loops around the handle of the pacifier. The other end clips to the shirt of the baby.

Here is how it works:
Baby spits out the pacifier, pacifier does NOT HIT THE GROUND. The pacifier does NOT get lost in a pile of blankets. The pacifier does not end up as a cat toy. The pacifier stays tethered to the baby! YAY!

3. Long Sleeve & Short Sleeve Onesies, solid colors.
There are lots of adorable prints, patterns, bunnies on outfits, and plaids. When you want to mix and match (or if baby pukes on the shirt, but the pants are still usable), it can be tough when everything is decorated with patterns. Having solid colors does make things easier when dressing. Also, in the climate we happen to live in, long sleeves and short sleeves are super-important as we are now discovering.

4. Clothes beyond 3 months that are seasonally appropriate.
We got a TON of summer stuff for Baby A. TONS! The awesome thing is that we got a lot of clothes that were up to 3 months of age. The downside of that is she only wore some of the clothes, most of it only once, and outgrew the 3 month clothing by 2 months of age. We have a freakishly long baby, but many of my friends with kids say they tend to outgrow the 3 month old clothes before 3 months regardless. It’s not just us.

So now we have a pile of clothes for up to 3 months, which we were grateful for, but that don’t fit her anymore. The significantly smaller pile of clothes for 6-9 months old are mostly summer stuff, which won’t really work in Boston’s December. So though the clothes are cute, Baby A can’t really  get away with wearing a tye-dyed tank top set under the mistletoe.  So we had to go out and get more clothes that were seasonally appropriate, even though we have a massive pile of clothing that technically still fits her.

The best advice I can give is this: ask for clothes that are of varying ages (the NB stuff won’t last more than 3-4 weeks, and the 3 month stuff will not last 3 months), and not just in the season that your baby shower happens. We had a summer shower, and most of the things we got were for summer.

5. Diapering Supplies (Diapers.com or local diapering facility)
Either way, if you are buying bum-stuff for a baby-to-be, the easiest thing to do is get a gift card to Diapers.com so the parents can get the things that they discover that they need, or replenish the things they need AND don’t have to go anywhere during the first few weeks.

If they are doing disposables, they might discover they need more cream, or diapers, or wipes – stat! If they are doing cloth diapers, having access to different cloth covers and inserts is incredibly helpful. Plus, they have other things for babies – not just diapers and diapering supplies, so you know your gift card will definitely be used!

6. Coffee. Bags and bags of ground coffee. 

Image
If you don’t have a French Press, get one. They are literally $20. They also happen to be the easiest, and one of the tastiest, ways to make several cups of coffee. You put the grinds in the French Press. You add boiling water from a kettle. You let it sit for 3 minutes, and plunge the grinds to the bottom of the container. Good tasty coffee in 3 minutes. If you forget, no worries. You can pour it into a cup and microwave it.

If you already have the coffee maker, have people get you bags of your favorite coffee, ground, of course!

7. Massage/Spa Day/Haircut
Two weeks after having Baby A, all I really wanted to do was feel like a human being. I was tired, still really sore from having a baby, but I was also starting to feel a bit stir-crazy. Any significant time out of the house was not possible yet. I wasn’t up to it, and the baby couldn’t handle it.

A haircut fixed all of  that. My husband watched her on his own for an hour and a half. Someone else washed my head and gave me a stylish haircut that was easy to manage with a newborn, but most of all, socializing with other people while I was getting cleaned up a bit made me feel like a human being. AND my husband got a little bit of bonding with the baby. It was a break I needed, and a connection he wanted.

If you know where someone gets their haircut, and they are expecting, do them a favor, and get them a gift certificate to their salon of choice so they can go and experience a little break, and look good after!

8. Baby Straight Jackets /Swaddlers (Kiddopotomus via Amazon)

Image

The Baby Straight Jackets were a lifesaver, and source of comedy. Babies have a startle reflex that will wake them up if they sleep on their backs and move their arms. The more they wake up in the course of the night, the more you wake up in the course of a night. By swaddling, you can prevent the startle reflex from waking up the baby. The baby will still wake up at night, but at least you know it will be from hunger or a soiled diaper.

The swaddle pods, blankets, or other swaddling devices make things idiot proof, and if fitted correctly, impossible for the baby to break out. They have light fabrics for summer, and fleece fabrics for winter. The velcro helps make things stay in place as the baby sleeps.

If you are purchasing for someone, get two sizes: Small and Medium. The small will get a baby up to about 12 pounds, but they still need to be swaddled until 4 months – long past the 12 pound mark for many babies. Baby A outgrew blankets by 2 weeks, the Swaddle Me size small at 2 1/2 months and is now in a medium Swaddle Me. We got a few different kinds – some that transition into a sleeping bag once they don’t need the swaddle anymore, but honestly having a couple of swaddles at each size is so helpful.

9. Babies R Us, Motherhood Maternity or Amazon Gift Card
You will get a lot of things from friends, work, and hand-me-downs. You will also realize 2 weeks into being a parent that there are things you don’t have, or need more of. This is where the gift cards come in. You will still be sore after having a baby, and if you can get things shipped to your home while you are sleep deprived and still adjusting to being a parent, life will be easier. Babies R Us has swaddles, nipple cream, nursing pads, and other “new mom” stuff. Motherhood Maternity (or another “for mom” store) has nursing tanks, and shirts to make nursing/pumping easier. Your shape will be different for a while after the baby is born, and you’ll need in-between clothes. That’s where the Amazon and Motherhood gift cards can come in handy.

10. Nursing Pads (Lansinoh.com)

Image
Get the gel ones for the freezer for the first month ahead of time, and get the disposable ones for longer term use. You’ll find a brand you like, but get ahead of it. The gel nursing pads were a god send in the first month. Put them in the freezer or fridge, depending on the instructions for the brand you get, then stick them to your sore self while you get accustomed to nursing.

You won’t need the gel ones forever, which is something you need to know. However, when you need them, you don’t want to send your partner out for them – you’ll need them RIGHT NOW. The disposable pads are great to have in bulk, because you’ll go through a ton of them at the beginning, and will need them throughout your nursing days.

 

Help: Need Organization Tips

So, we officially had our baby shower last weekend, and have filled up the nursery with all sorts of stuff that we need – but now we have to organize it. We live in a small apartment. Technically, there is a closet that we can use, but it currently has our winter clothes / vacuum cleaner and some other assorted things in there.

Our options are to get a dresser to put her stuff in, but I’m afraid with the space, and my lack of sleep, that I’m going to whack into it on more than one occasion in the middle of the night. But, we’ll have storage space for her things – her many, many, many things she already has, and I won’t have to clean out the closet.

The other option is to clean out the closet, move all the winter things to another space, and use closet organizers/baskets until she’s older, or until we move to a place we own (currently we rent) where we’ll have a little more space for a dresser. I’m thinking once the crib is gone, we can move a dresser in there without much issue.

There is a bed for me and/or my husband for night time feedings/falling asleep without waking the other partner, which is something that was suggested to us, but it does take up a bit of space, hence my hesitation on getting a dresser in addition to the changing table, the crib, and a side table for a dim lamp.

Does anyone have any creative ideas for small spaces and organization?

People are Awesome

I’m stunned. Not that people aren’t inherently kind (that’s a debate for a different blogger), but that people are just giving us stuff that we need.

Our friend Adam, who married us last year, and his wife gave us all of their daughters stuff. They aren’t planning on more kids, and they have outgrown all of the stuff that would take a baby through the first year – so we don’t have to worry about a changing table, changing pad, Boppy, clothes, bottles, or a car seat that will get her through 6 months.

A group of people I went to high school with and their significant others (people that I’m really lucky if I see once a year – it really should be more, but I never get home anymore) got us a bunch of stuff that we still needed. Plus, one of the women and her husband have twins, so they happily dished out advice on diaper cream, baby carriers that worked for them, what didn’t work for them, and let us borrow some things that will make our lives easier.

My husbands parents gave us a crib – but not just any crib. My father in law’s FATHER built this crib for my father in law and other siblings. My husband and his sister used this crib 30+ years ago. Now, our little girl will get to be the 3rd generation in this crib. I figured everyone before who has used it happens to have all their fingers and thumbs, so it’s probably safe. They just don’t make things like they used to!

One of my places of employment have given us a few books, and really adorable clothes that are also really functional for newborns (Swaddlers and easy access one-sies that are stylin’).

Lastly, my family had a surprise shower and we got some great stuff there, too, which will absolutely be useful.

My husband and I are going to be brewing a couple batches of beer with some friends for a baby shower that will happen in July from our friends down here – we’re a non traditional group, so dudes and ladies will be in attendance, drinking our Brew, and just hanging out. I’m really looking forward to the social aspect of this shindig. I miss hanging out with people, and I should do that while I still can!

In all seriousness, the only three things were purchased so far have been a car (to be fair, we traded in two cars for one family friendly car, which should fit us, the baby and the two dogs…and it’s NOT a mini van!), a hamper for her room for all the clothes she’ll be puking on, and a spare bed that we’ve been meaning to get for awhile, to keep in her room for late night feedings/ eventually a spare bed for a house if we get that far.

Oh, and I think I’ll get her a hat. I’ve had my eye on one for awhile.

I’m just completely overwhelmed by the kindness of people – people I know really well, and people I don’t know as well at all, that are all trying to help us get a good head start on everything we will need for our new family member. It’s incredible, it’s sweet, and it’s so appreciated.

I feel so amazingly loved.

Unexpected Things: Top 10 “They Make That?!?”

One of the first posts I made highlighted a Baby Hanging Harness. It got me to thinking what OTHER stuff is out there that seems a bit….odd, creepy, or weird?

10. The Nose Frida
From their own website:

Nose Frida: Manual Snot Sucker.

  • It’s smart.
  • It’s Swedish.
  • It’s maybe a little strange.
Maybe a little strange? Um…..

9. Zaky Infant Pillow

To get your bundle of joy used to
really creepy hands


I don’t know what’s more odd. The fact that it exists, or the fact that it’s sold out on the website.

8. Placenta Teddy Bear

Winnie The Placenta


Sure, you could eat it, you can drink it in a smoothie, or bury it under a tree in a religious ritual. OR, you could have it made into a creepy, salt cured, preserved teddy bear to pass down through the generations.

7. Baby Bangs


Bangs are the only thing this website touts, and they say it’s so people don’t get confused about if your child is a boy or a girl. You know, in case the pink tutu didn’t give it away. For fairness and to keep things a little less sexist, it seems like they should come up with a Baby Mullet and other hairstyles as well. Click on the link because the before and after photo is pretty funny.

6. A Crib That Costs $19,995
Wow. A crib that costs about the same as a 2012 Nissan Altima.
5. Diamond Encrusted Pacifier
This one also fits under the “Crazy Expensive” category.  A pacifier that costs $17,000, encrusted in diamonds, that you can literally purchase on Amazon.


Although, I’m sure there will be nights where I’d be willing to give anything – including $17,000, to keep her quiet.

 4. Terribly Inappropriate Clothing
 Ok, I’m the LAST person to say what’s appropriate and inappropriate as far as humor is concerned. However, I think we can all agree that putting your tot in these gems are probably a bad idea.

 

3. Poop Bags…..for Babies
I clean up after my dogs at minimum 2 times per day, 1-3 times per walk. Apparently, there is a similar movement (no pun intended) called elimination communication, where the parents depend on their baby to tell them when the need to eliminate is going to happen, therefore, reducing or eliminating the need for diapers.

This depends on a few things:
-That you are watching your baby like a HAWK, which you should be doing. However, sometimes Mommy needs a sandwich, and that will be the time your baby will invariably need to be held over a Diaper Genie to poo in a bag.
-You really don’t care about your carpet
-That your infant, who can’t talk or control any body function, can communicate with you.
Now, I haven’t spent a ton of time with babies – but the time I have spent with them has taught me that they have ZERO motor function, for quite some time. Plus, they pee or poop once approximately every 10 minutes.  I’m not sure how many bags you’d go through in a day, but it sort of negates the eco-friendly aspect of things. Plus, as eco-friendly as you want to be, this is still just rather icky in public spaces. Like, on a train, or at the supermarket.

2. Gourd Rattle
The good folks at Regretsy have never let me down. According to the post, it’s a “large gourd rattle with deer hooves, leather, fun yarn, and furry acorn”.

To me, the sharp hoof, the heavy gourd, the strings of “fun yarn” screams UNSAFE!UNSAFE!UNSAFE! But hey, danger builds character!

 1. Man-Boobs
What’s the man of the house to do when the lady goes out for 2 hours of peace and quiet? How on earth will he feed the baby pumped milk or formula? He COULD use a bottle, or he can strap on a pair of these:

Most teenage boys wonder what they would do if they had boobs. Now, you know. Not as fun as you thought, now is it?

Unexpected Things: Things You Buy

My husband and I traded in our two vehicles today. One was an older crossover Jeep, the other was his most prized possession: a sporty Mini Cooper that he affectionately named Tess.

But, we had two car payments. We want to save up for a downpayment on a home someday, and I won’t be working for a few weeks to a month after the baby is born. It’s not practical for us to have a car that we don’t all fit in.

So today, we brought home a Mini Countryman. After driving it around today, I’ve totally fallen in love with this car.

I thought we’d be buying diapers, clothes, and baby Bjorns. Instead, our daughter isn’t even born yet, and we bought her a car. Didn’t see that coming…