Please help me come up with a great $50-100 baby shower gift!
August 24, 2015 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I came down with a cold and missed my friend's baby shower. I'd like to get them a nice gift, maybe around $50-100, but their registry only has burp cloths left. I know that they already have a car seat and baby monitor and that they will be using cloth diapers. Parents: what items/services in that price range have you found to be really useful?
posted by robstercraw to Home & Garden (36 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Baby K'Tan. Great for the first few months when you're staying close to home and baby wants to be held a lot; very easy to use.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:45 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Gift certificate, or clothes in larger sizes -- at the shower you get deluged with cute tiny outfits, but it is awesome to get seasonally appropriate things for 12-18 months. That way on the first day you need a sweater or shorts, you are ready to go.
posted by apparently at 7:52 AM on August 24, 2015 [8 favorites]

Do they have a travel playpen yet? Not everyone registers for that. I didn't. I didn't think that I would need one. I ended up buying one, though. It's so handy to have when travelling.

You may want to get more diapers, in larger sizes. Most people underestimate how many cloth diapers they actually need. Throw in extra socks. Baby socks disappear at a magical rate.

I don't like bouncers because I think they mess with brain development but a baby swing is wonderful.

If they have two cars, they would love to have two carseats, so you could go that route. Get one that converts from infant to big kid for added points.

If they live in a climate with really cold winters, you could start looking for baby's appropriate sized warm weather gear. A really good coat that is car seat adaptable can be pretty expensive.
posted by myselfasme at 7:54 AM on August 24, 2015

If they registered for a boppy (or other breastfeeding pillow), spend $50 on extra covers. Just get whichever covers Amazon has at the lowest price regardless of the print. Sometimes babies go through the covers so fast you don't even get to look at the print for an hour.

I've also heard some moms with multi story houses say that a second boppy turned out to be a lifesaver. Carrying baby and all the stuff to a second location was crazy making.

Also, a case or two of "sensitive" wipes. New parents go through wipes like there's no tomorrow. The sensitive ones are good because you don't know if they're going to get a rashy baby.

Then troll their registry and see if there's anything that might be good for duplicating. Creams? Crib sheets? (Just sheets, no bumpers, blankets, or decorations for inside the crib) baby shampoo? It all gets used up so fast. The laundry thing is the one that makes some moms cry. Standing over a pukey baby knowing there isn't another set of clean sheets.

If they're cloth diapering, maybe send them a gift card with a note that you wanted to contribute to their diaper stash but you don't know what they need to fill in the gaps.
posted by bilabial at 7:57 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I like a gift of a wrap, but I have experience babywearing and can help get the new parents comfortable with it.

What else is on the list? If they got a particular diaper pail, a few packs of bag cartridges and larger sized diapers and clothes are good. We had our kids in daycare and daycare mandated we use a cartridge system diaper pail at daycare, though we stuck to a plain wetbag at home. Another thought might be to get reusable baby wipes.
posted by tilde at 7:58 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wished that someone had given me these bandana bibs. The first few months are so drooly and spit-up-y, and these are so much cuter than regular bibs. And more expensive than I was willing to shell out for myself. You could pair it with some nice coordinating Aiden & Anais swaddling blankets (those I did get as a gift, and we used them from day one and still are at 15 months, though not as a swaddle anymore).

An Amazon gift card is also a really good practical gift. There are sure to be things that they'll need that no one's thought of, and it's great to get them delivered to their door. If they don't have Amazon Prime, that would be a good gift in iteslf.
posted by Kriesa at 7:59 AM on August 24, 2015 [4 favorites]

A burp cloth, two nice linen napkins, and a generous gift certificate to their favorite restaurant that delivers.
posted by Kabanos at 8:05 AM on August 24, 2015 [6 favorites]

Great ideas, y'all! Thanks!
posted by robstercraw at 8:20 AM on August 24, 2015

For that amount, I would go with a gift certificate along with either
  • Aden & Anais swaddling blankets (they are fabulous- we are still using them daily for our 11mo)
  • Robeez socks gift set (Robeez socks stay on flaily baby feet!)
  • Zutano fleece booties (perfect for infant feet in winter!)
I don't recommend going off-list for babywearing, cloth diapering, or really so many other baby things. The decisions are so personal and the items may not even work for the baby on arrival. I loved my K'tan for about 4 weeks, and then my giant infant was too heavy for it!
And buying baby clothes in bigger sizes is only a good idea for the basics, like onesies. My 11mo is now wearing size 2T, so we have had to give away lots of cute clothes that were totally seasonally inappropriate for the 2 months they fit him.
posted by aabbbiee at 8:20 AM on August 24, 2015 [8 favorites]

A diaper sprayer? It connects to the toilet so you can spray solid poops off of cloth diapers before the diaper hits the laundry machine.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:21 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Are they washing their own cloth diapers or using a service? If it's the former, and they are like me, they may have totally under-appreciated what kind of CD accessories they would need. After baby was born and once we started to better understand our changing/laundry/outing logistics, we ended up buying a bunch more wet bags, bottles of wipe juice, etc. I would have been thrilled to receive a gift card to my local CD store, maybe packaged with some things a person always needs more of (pack of cloth wipes, travel size booty balm, hand sanitizer, etc.)
posted by juliapangolin at 8:26 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding Zutano booties -- they actually stay on babies' feet. (And they're cute, too!)
posted by cider at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

A temporal thermometer is great.
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 AM on August 24, 2015

If they are using a diaper service (like I did) you could get them a gift certificate for the company they use. That would run $100+/mo. My two favorite diaper accessories were Snappi's Diaper Fasteners and Thirsties Diaper Covers. The former are cheap, but easy to lose, so I ended up buying like 20.
posted by sacrifix at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2015

Do you know if they have any kind of sling or carrier? That was definitely one of the most helpful things I had. Even if they already have one, you could get them a different type. Different things work better for different parents and babies or for different ages of babies. There's no way they can know yet what's going to work best for them, so it would be nice for them to have some choices. The mei tai carrier I had for my second baby was a such a lifesaver I'd be inclined to give a mei tai if I were in your position.
posted by Redstart at 9:30 AM on August 24, 2015

Nthing getting baby clothes in bigger sizes. They have always been a hit when I did that.

I also always throw in a book or two. I don't do the most famous ones they are likely to already have, like Goodnight Moon, but get something like Harold and the Purple Crayon or the Little Bear books.
posted by gudrun at 9:36 AM on August 24, 2015

If they have a car seat, a dust cover (is that what it's called in English? It's removable and washable!) for that car seat would be good. Car seats get filthy!

Maybe some certificates for a mommy & me gymnastics course / baby massage / baby yoga / baby swimming etc.
posted by Omnomnom at 9:52 AM on August 24, 2015

If it's not already on their registry (and already bought), a Sophie giraffe toy is one of those too-expensive-to-buy-for-yourself gifts that as far as I have seen, every baby loves. Won't eat up your whole budget, but could be a nice add on.
posted by Mchelly at 10:04 AM on August 24, 2015

Gift certificate to a cloth diapering store as mentioned. I used cloth with my first and it was an easy system but the costs of covers and inserts can add up. Also love the diaper sprayer suggestion.
posted by biggreenplant at 10:21 AM on August 24, 2015

Clothes in a bigger size if you know the sex of the baby. Special keepsake like a cup that can be engraved or a box to keep their first lost teeth in.
posted by momochan at 10:31 AM on August 24, 2015

I'm a big fan of a savings bond. :)
posted by heathrowga at 10:45 AM on August 24, 2015

The Keekaroo changing pad is spendy (was $80 when I bought it but looks to be around $100 now), but was hands-down the best thing that we got at our baby shower. I put it on the registry because I couldn't bear to spend that sort of money when a $20 changing pad would work, but it's honestly worth every penny. The number of times my kid has pooped or peed on it and I can just wipe it off and carry on... awesome. So superior to cloth-based changing pads that need frequently-changed covers, and after a year and half it still looks spiffy-new.
posted by iminurmefi at 10:58 AM on August 24, 2015 [3 favorites]

Honestly, the best gift is $50-$100 for Amazon (especially if they have Prime) because there are a lot of little things you end up needing during the first couple of months, and it is absolutely magical to have those things delivered to your doorstep in 2 days. I used my Amazon giftcards to buy a bunch of completely uninteresting stuff that I'm sure the gift-giver would be mentally disappointed by (a second diaper pail liner? so boring), but I was SO HAPPY to be able to just order necessities without worrying about spending any money.

If you really want to get a physical gift, it's probably hard at this point to figure out a "big ticket" baby item that they need/want if their registry is already picked over. A lot of people don't register for certain things like swings (which I find indispensable) because they simply don't have the floorspace in their home for such a thing. Or, things that are indispensable to one person are useless to another; for example, the travel pack-n-play previously suggested would have gone unused by our family. Yet another reason why the Amazon gift card is such a great gift! But, if you really want a physical item, my favorite items to get and give were/are:

* My Pal Scout. I used it immediately for the bedtime music feature, my son has loved the singalong music since he was about 6 months old, and now that he's almost 2 he loves the interactive questions it asks. It learns the kid's name and incorporates it into questions and songs, and lets you switch out songs via the USB cable so that it stays fresh, unlike some similar products with unchanging songs that are crazymaking after a week, let alone 2 years.
* Trumpette socks (girls, boys examples). They are extremely cute and are excellent quality; many baby socks are terrible about falling off of baby's feet, but these were by far the nicest quality socks we had. I wouldn't have spent this much on socks for myself, but they are an excellent gift.
* Clothing in 6 month, 9 month, and 12 month sizes. Zippered pajamas in those sizes, especially.
* Board books. You can never have too many books; we have 3 huge baskets full of board books and they all get read ALL THE TIME. Dr. Seuss, Sandra Boynton, and the Brown Bear and Eric Carle books are all great. You can usually find board versions of many of your own childhood favorites. A couple of nicely bound storybooks for when they are a bit older are also a nice gift.
posted by gatorae at 11:49 AM on August 24, 2015

The Keekaroo is awesome and I LOVE ours but yeah, it's gotten more pricey since I bought it too!

Not knowing you and your friends, this might not work, but I would have really, really loved to have a good friend show up a few times in the first two months with a bunch of food that was easy to eat and then proceed to clean my house - just a simple bathroom cleaning and vacuum would have been amazing. YMMV, but that would seriously have been The Best. Also, if she would have stayed to talk to me that would've been better!

If your friend likes to read, and has an e-reader, a gift card to their e-book supplier of choice would be great too. A lot of nursing mamas spend hours on their phones and ereaders while the baby is sleeping/nursing.
posted by john_snow at 11:58 AM on August 24, 2015

Meal delivery service certificates? The first few weeks will be busy and it'll be nice to have some pre-/ready-cooked meals at home. Going out is often too much for new parents.
posted by stillmoving at 12:20 PM on August 24, 2015

Nthing Zutano booties, Aden + Anaias blankets, and Sophie giraffe teether.

If they didn't get a carrier, I really like the Ergo - I can carry my infant or my toddler in it, on my front, back, or hip. So adaptable!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 12:51 PM on August 24, 2015

Honestly, it sounds like the baby stuff is covered if all the big stuff has been snapped up. I would absolutely switch to doing something for the parents:
- Gift certificate to a restaurant (with an offer to babysit would be incredibly appreciated!)
- Spa / massage appointment
- Gift card to Amazon, Target, Babies R Us or similar (like gatorae said, having a baby is EXPENSIVE and it is so nice to be able to get diapers, formula, whatever without having to spend the money)
- Photography session (may be a bit outside your range, but a great gift!)
- Savings bond (not sexy, but so appreciated)
- Prepaid keepsake maker (like bronzed baby shoes, height measuring chart for when they're big enough, baby hand/foot print ornament kit etc.)

I would stay away from buying larger clothes. My twins were preemies and my son was huge, and in both cases the larger clothes were no longer seasonally appropriate.
posted by widdershins at 1:02 PM on August 24, 2015

I think Amazon gift certificates are hands down the most useful thing to give to someone who already seems to have what they need.

That said, if you want to go the clothes-in-larger-sizes route, consider something "formal" from Janie and Jack, so that they have something lovely to put the baby in for Christmas photos, for instance, or first birthday photos. A Janie and Jack gift certificate is a good route too.
posted by vignettist at 1:26 PM on August 24, 2015

Seconding Zutano booties and Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. I'd add to the list of must-haves: Bumkins Bibs (washable, wipable, generously sized, fit scrunched down in a diaper bag), children's place stretchie pajamas (search the site for "stretchie" for more colors and sizes--they zip up and so are superior to all other one piece baby pajamas, and they are both lightweight and stretchy enough to grow a bit with baby), and, maybe, if they didn't already get a high chair, the ikea antilop, which is the best high chair ever. I give all my friends some variation of the above for baby showers, usually with a copy of Sandra Boynton's Night-night Little Pookie, which is just a super charming book.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:27 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

They sound like they have tons of stuff. How about a great selection of lullabyes, a few children's classic books, or a gift certificate for food delivery or house cleaning services.
posted by theora55 at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2015

Marpac Dohm sound machine if they don't have that already.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:04 PM on August 24, 2015

If you buy larger clothes, go for lightweight all-season pieces that can be layered. T shirts or dresses! Larger clothes were a huge help, but a lot of season specific pieces never got worn - our kid is 11mo and in 18-24mo sizes, so the season calculation was off.

Winter Water Factory is cute and well made, and a little bit of a splurge ;)
posted by jrobin276 at 3:21 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nthing Amazon gift card for $100, or perhaps burp cloths plus $75 gift card to Amazon? I'm an expectant mom and from what I've read, there's always unexpected purchases post-baby-arrival that occur. This would come in most useful in such cases, assuming of course they're not urgent - although even that could be surmounted if they have Amazon Prime. Things like sound machines and swaddle blankets are slightly tricky, because babies may or may not like them.

How about a gift certificate for a house cleaning? Things related to giving mommy or the parents some relief from day-to-day chores would likely be enormously appreciated.
posted by Everydayville at 4:49 PM on August 24, 2015

Lots of great ideas, but I can't resist adding two more:
1) Sleep sacks (halo or Aden + Anais brand). It's the standard thing to use instead of crib blankets up to 2 yrs old, so anything bigger than newborn size will get used eventually
2) depending on the climate where you are, a heavy duty quilted stroller insert for winter is AMAZING. Google "7 am stroller blanket" to see what I mean.
posted by dotparker at 5:28 PM on August 24, 2015

I recommend getting them a Citrus Lane membership - it's a subscription box of toys and other baby items that comes monthly that your friends probably wouldn't buy for themselves. We've had a subscription for almost a year and my daughter (now 2) has really, really liked everything in it (it's typically eco-friendly things, which is nice). And bonus, sometimes there's something in there for mom, too (I just got a nice nail polish). It's really nice because it grows with the kid -- the toys are always age appropriate, sometimes there's snack food, kitchen stuff (like a bowl, bib, or plate), clothes, usually there's a book, etc...
posted by echo0720 at 6:10 PM on August 24, 2015

This is just the best! Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I'm just going to go with $100 gift certificate to Amazon with the suggestion that they look at the Keekaroo if they haven't heard of it and don't already have one.
posted by robstercraw at 7:54 AM on August 25, 2015

« Older Why can't I just be happy for her?   |   Help me figure out what I want to do with the rest... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.