Now that we are nearly a year and a half into this whole parenting thing, I decided that it’s about time I put together my own list of necessary baby gear. We are also at that point in our lives when more of our friends are starting to have babies and some are even having second babies so we need to figure out what gifts to bring to baby showers and new parents. While cute outfits are cute and all, the fact of the matter is that babies spit up and poop and cute outfits will get spit up and poop on them and they will not be cute once they are stained. Also everyone brings clothes to baby showers, and don’t you want to be different?!
(Here’s an important tip: if you do decide to bring cute clothes, because they are just so irresistible, to a baby shower, bring them in size 18 months or 2T because everyone else will be bringing clothing that fits a newborn, or clothing in size 0-3 months but nobody will bring bigger sizes.)
There are also some gifts that you get someone that they’ll use for a few months (like those cute little bibs, or sun hats that fit size 0-3 months) and then the baby will quickly outgrow it and it will just sit in their basement gathering dust for a long time to come. So these gifts I’m suggesting are good because either they have lasting power (i.e. will be used many many times or for a looooooong time) or they will increase the parents’ level of sanity (i.e. will help the parents get more sleep).
First up… if you are going to breastfeed, you will probably need a pump at some point. This one got me through Julia’s first year of life as a working/pumping Mama: The Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump
High Chair: we use Julia’s highchair 3 times a day, every day and have been since she was about 6 months old. I don’t see that stopping anytime in the near future. If you want to get a gift that the parents will use very often and for a long time, this is a good choice. (I will always remember that my dear friend Dana and her mother Kim got us our high chair and it’s probably one of the gifts we got that has gotten the most use. Thank you, Dana!) There are so many to choose from but I recommend not getting one that’s super expensive because it will take abuse… your kid will kick it, will spill food on it, will spit up on it, will pour juice on it, etc. Also, if you’re going to get one with a fabric cover, make sure the cover can come off easily and be thrown in the washing machine. We have been very happy with ours (I don’t see our exact high chair on BRU anymore but this is very similar to the one we have):
There’s one other feeding-related thing that I use every single day and have since the day Julia was born, and that’s our Boppy Pillow. Whether you’re nursing or not, this is a useful pillow to have.
As far as other feeding things are concerned… obviously you’ll need spoons and forks and plates and bowls, bottles and sippy cups, etc. I personally don’t use bibs with Julia since she pulls them right off and won’t keep them on. And as far as the bottles/sippy cups go, I would let the parents decide because there are way too many to choose from and you never know if they’ll choose a bottle that looks like a boob or if they want to avoid any and all traces of BPA or if they want to be super green and use bamboo baby bottles. Also babies are very picky and some will flat out refuse certain types of bottles while others will drink happily from anything you put in front of them so let the parents pick the ones that work for them.
You know those “receiving blankets” that people give you? Those are only good to use as burp cloths. We never used them as a blanket because they are too small to swaddle and they are too light to keep the baby warm. Don’t buy those for anyone. If you want to buy blankets, I recommend Aden & Anais blankets. They have HUGE swaddling blankets that are fantastic, very soft, easy to use as a swaddling blanket and they also have thicker blankets that Julia loves. These are the ones I recommend:
and these thicker blankets for when the baby’s a bit older:
Swaddlers–there are two types I highly recommend. The ones with velcro help you swaddle as tightly as possible and help keep the swaddler closed so the baby can’t break out of it. And then there’s the Miracle Blanket, which is great because it really is like a baby straitjacket!
We loved these SleepSlack Swaddles from Pottery Barn Kids:
and here’s the Miracle Blanket:
Just like feeding and sleeping, diaper changing is something that parents of babies do a lot. So if you want to get a gift that will last a long time and be used very frequently, get something related to diaper changes. Our dear friend Gabby was the one who bought our changing table pad and I am grateful to this day for that gift since it is one of the things we use multiple times a day every day (and will until Julia is totally potty trained). You don’t need a picture or link since it’s really not that interesting, but if you want to get a gift that will be well used, get this.
I’m trying to think back to the toys we got that got the most use and they are not always the ones you would think about initially…
one of the first toys Julia was interested in was this ball:
she also loved her Sophie the Giraffe squeaky toy (we were lucky that we got 2!)
As Julia got to be a bit older, she loved her little activity center/exersaucer/whatever you want to call it. She spent a lot of time in it. Here’s one similar to the one we had:
and once she became mobile she really liked (and in fact still likes to play with) the activity table we got as a gift for her first birthday. This isn’t the one we have but it’s similar:
and of course now that she can walk around more her tastes are slowly changing… she’s getting to be more and more into books, her baby doll, and stuffed animals and she also loves her musical instruments and Duplo blocks. One last thing I would recommend as a gift is this tunnel from Ikea. Julia’s Uncle Adam gave it to her and she absolutely loves it!
That’s all for my recommendations for now… any questions? Other things to recommend? I’d love your suggestions!