Baby Shower Gifts 101: A Smart Shopper's Guide

Photo by fotostorm / iStock
Photo by fotostorm / iStock

Got a baby shower coming up? Time to hit the stores! It’s so fun finding those oh-so-cute little outfits adorned with bunnies or ducks—but sometimes it can be hard knowing whether or not your gift pick is useful. The registry should be your guide, but you can also veer off into the unknown to keep the element of surprise. With that said, though, there are some baby gifts out there that parents are less likely to use. Worried you might grab one by mistake? Check out our list of items to steer clear of, along with suggested replacements for each:

1. Newborn shoes.

Those teeny-tiny sneakers may be super cute, but shoes for newborns aren’t really necessary since they aren’t walking around just yet.

Your Go-To: For brand-new toes (which are about the cutest little things in the world), socks and little booties suffice.

2. Pee-pee tents for boys.

These tend to be a popular humorous gift at baby showers, but unfortunately they don’t tend to work well with wiggly babies. Parents have reported still being sprayed themselves, and sometimes the tents can cause urine to go all over the baby.

Your Go-To: A better pick for this one would be a nice set of washcloths instead, which tend to be easier to operate.

3. Baby hand covers.

These little mitts are touted to be great for preventing newborns from scratching themselves with their nails, but they have a lot of problems. First and foremost, infants frequently use their hands to not only explore the world through touch, but also to soothe themselves—and with those hand covers on, those abilities are restricted. Secondly, a lot of hand covers don’t tend to fit well and just wind up being an irritation.

Your Go-To: Itsy-bitsy infant nail clippers get the job done!

4. Pint-size bath robes.

As cute as the idea is of an infant wrapped up in a plush mini bath robe, the reality may wind up much differently. If the baby likes to move around, it can be tricky getting her into the robe in the first place—and for babies who don’t like that wet sensation, a robe can just cause tears.

Your Go-To: Baby-size towels are the way to go.

5. Blankets.

There’s nothing wrong with blankets, per se—they’re very popular gifts. But that’s the problem: Chances are that fuzzy blankets featuring lambs, ducks, and even “skull-printed fleece” will abound at the baby shower.

Your Go-To: Wearable blankets still aren’t thought of as much, and they’re incredibly useful for transporting babies in cold weather.

6. Baby wipes warmer.

Granted, if the mom-to-be lives someplace where temps are super cold, this might be useful. But according to most moms, there’s no reason to warm your wipes as they’re usually room temperature anyway—and if not, holding a wipe in your hand for a few seconds will warm it right up.

Your Go-To: Changing pads and pad covers are always useful and sure to be appreciated.

7. Outfits with snaps in complicated patterns.

It may be to-die-for cute, but if the snaps aren’t easy to work, it’s best to opt for a different outfit. Think about it this way: At 2 a.m. when a wet baby is crying, snapping up a onesie shouldn’t have the potential to make her snap.

Your Go-To: Zips or onesies with large snaps placed in a straight line will be received with gratitude!

8. Anything ceramic, glass, or just plain breakable.

It’s true, that beautiful glass rattle that can be engraved would receive lots of oohs and aahs at the baby shower—but after that, it’ll go right on a shelf so the baby won’t break it!

Your Go-To: Pick items made of durable materials that will withstand a curious baby’s hands (and most likely, mouth).

9. Pacifiers, nipple shields, and bottle steamers.

Just like the blankets, there’s nothing really wrong with these gifts—but each mother and baby is different. Some moms breastfeed through the bottle stage, not all babies like pacifiers, and not all babies will need help with a latch. 

Your Go-To: Since there’s no way to know for sure what feeding challenges the mom-to-be will face, why not grab something that will help out in another way? Baby board books are always a great buy, and an easy way to help the new mom start building her baby’s brain right from the start!

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