the 5 Very Best (and not so great) Baby Shower Gifts of All Time

I once heard a woman with 13 children say she was no expert on raising children. How true!  I think the more kids you have the less you know about kids themselves, but you do get some kind of experience with what tools you need to navigate the baby years.  So from that point of view, I bring you Debra Wallace's Opinion on the 5 Very Best Baby Shower Gifts of All Time (followed by the 5 Not So Ideal Baby Shower Gifts of All Time).

1. Really nice name brand diapers.   I never buy these but I love them so much. It gives a mama great joy to put nice cushy diapers on her newborn. If she's doing cloth, cloth diapers are an *awesome* shower gift because they are super pricey.
If you want to take it to the next level, you could even make a diaper cake.   These are the coolest things EVER.  You can buy them on (or lots of other places, just google it) or if you're a creative type, you can make one yourself.

Image from the Corner Stork Baby Gifts

2. A newborn photo shoot!!! (you knew that was coming, right?) Give the gift that literally lasts forever. I have newborn pictures on my wall and will for the rest of my life because they always make me happy. Who can look at a newborn baby sleeping and not smile? Especially because the picture can't wake up and scream, so that increases its cute factor exponentially. The time will go by so fast and she will cherish nothing like images of those first few weeks. This is also a great group gift.

3. Oxiclean. Everything oxyclean - laundry booster, pre-treating spray, carpet cleaner.  It actually gets out baby poop which stains worse than permanent marker. It's the only thing I've found that does that and there will be lots and lots of opportunity to use it (I'll spare you the details). If you don't want to buy oxiclean because you're not such a practical person, at least tell her about it. You cannot survive year one without the stuff. (Better yet - include it in the diaper cake!)

4. Meals for a month. Or baths for a month, but that might be weird. Since she won't be showering and you don't want her eating McDonald's three times a day, make her homemade meals. MealTrain is a great website to coordinate this.  A month is a good start. You could even go for two. That way she can focus on doing things like sleeping, and falling in love with her beautiful baby.
Photo Credit: Sundin Photography,

5. Housecleaning. I love TimeWise Cleaning and they'll let you pay for someone else's house to be cleaned. This is awesome because bathrooms get gross really quickly and most people would rather watch paint dry than clean their bathroom.  She may not actually want you to personally clean it since that could be a little boundary violation, but paying someone else?  That's usually kosher. 
Photo Credit:

Disclaimer: If you've given these in the past you are still awesome!!!  Everyone loves people who love them.  Moving forward though, it might be worth reconsidering the following 5 Not Ideal Shower Gifts:

1. Baby bottles. Your poor friend needs every single bottle she owns to be exactly the same, or if they aren't it needs to be her fault so she's not cursing you at 2 am. The dishwasher eats the lids and the nipples and all the pieces and parts so do not, under any circumstances, buy baby bottles (unless they're on the registry).
Photo Credit: Similac
2. Onesies, especially newborn onesies. Onesies are great, but everyone and their dog will give her onesies. She will have onesies coming out her ears, onesies for washcloths, onesies for dinner... it's just overdone. Plus they aren't that expensive so if for some reason she has a need, she can pick up a pack at Walmart for $5.  Give her a frozen pan of homemade lasagna instead.

3. Clothing for sizes over 6 months. It's a great concept really, except for that babies are so unpredictable. My kids were never in newborn clothes, for example. They were huge. A 12 month summer outfit might fit in February. Plus where should she keep it? Better bet: a Target Gift Card.

Image from the Asian Parent
4.  Regular Shoes.  Babies are soft.  Shoes are hard.  'Nough said. Robeez are awesome though - buy a truckload of those.

5.  Items that are gender specific (except clothes).  A pink car seat? Pink Stroller? They are so ridiculously adorable but I can't help but feel like the manufacturers don't have our future in mind. If a pink stroller is on her registry, it might be worth trying out a little persuasion to go gender neutral.  She'll thank you when she gets pregnant again.

Image from

What do you think?  Anyone had a really awful shower gift?  A really great one?

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