Baby shower gift for my boyfriend's sister? What does every first time mom want, but doesn't know it yet?
January 21, 2008 6:15 AM   Subscribe

Baby shower gift for my boyfriend's sister? What does every first time mom want, but doesn't know it yet?

I need to buy a baby shower gift for my boyfriend's sister, catch is I am little late on my shopping and its only one week away so internet ordering is basically out. I visited a friend who had the baby bjorn bouncer and they seemed to think it was incredible. Also, she plans to use cloth diapers - any thoughts on that - gift certificate? I am in the Boston area if that helps. Finally, she is looking for all natural baby shampoo/soap? I am totally clueless on the baby front so all you mom's and dad's out there who know whats good and whats not share your wisdom. I'd like to go practical and then add in something with a little extra flair and fun.

posted by Carialle to Shopping (24 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
For baby shower gifts, I like to buy the Everything for Baby's Ass collection. Even if the parents get duplicates, there are never enough diaper accessories. Get a small diaper bag and stuff it with cloth diapers, cloth diaper covers, diaper doublers, cloth wipes, diaper rash cream, powder, and a mesh laundry bag.

As for organic baby care items, Kidbean has tons; I've heard good things about BabEcology too, though I've never used it.
posted by headspace at 6:29 AM on January 21, 2008

1. baby monitor
2. pack'n'play portable playpen
3. gift basket containing thermometer/clippers/various cremes, etc.
All of these are under $50.
But if you want to go upscale, try the Peapod shop on Newbury street in Boston...
posted by Dizzy at 6:33 AM on January 21, 2008

A boppy. Seriously, it was the best baby gift we ever received.
posted by COD at 6:42 AM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

Some of the more unique and most useful baby gifts I would have liked to have received (we had to find and buy them all ourselves, because we received way too many cutesie outfits our son wore once):

Rubis baby nail scissors (best thing EVER, but they're backordered -- maybe email and ask when they'll be in? They're worth the wait)

Miracle Blanket (really helpful for swaddling, which can help calm a baby a lot)

Zip-front sleepers (the easiest to get on and off in my opinion)
posted by justonegirl at 6:53 AM on January 21, 2008

The Boppy is great if she's planning to breast-feed.

This booster chair is better than any high chair, and it'll be useful for years.
posted by designbot at 7:00 AM on January 21, 2008

If she is using cloth diapers, a diaper service gift certificate. My sisters paid for diaper services for my first child and it was great: nothing better than the delivery of clean diapers and removal of the soiled ones.
posted by francesca too at 7:05 AM on January 21, 2008

According to my best friend who is a new mum, the things she wants more than anything else are a holiday and some help. Perhaps a certificate for babysitting or some other care service?
posted by divabat at 7:17 AM on January 21, 2008

Was there a registry- is there anything left on it? Even if everything has been purchased but you have the registry list you could take it to a baby's r us and get guidance as to what was missed?

You could also go the practical route and get 2 boxes of diapers, formula (if not breast feeding), many soft hand towels (until the cord falls of you can't use wipes), extra button down onesies (@ night time it is almost a new outfit a feeding - diapers don't fit newborns well).

Put it all in a basket and she will be very thankful after the baby comes (don't forget the gift receipt just in case they are using a different diaper of formula).
posted by doorsfan at 7:39 AM on January 21, 2008

Response by poster: No, she does not have a registry - its not her sort of thing, although I can definitely see its usefulness. I am not 100% sure she knows exactly what she wants/needs. So, it looks like I go to Babies R Us and get useful things and put them in a basket. Mostly I am clueless as to what is useful - she has onesies apparently and can't get the diaper service in her area unfortunately or that would be perfect. So, boppy (she is breast feeding and doing natural child birth to boot), soft hand towels, zip front sleepers, bibs........
posted by Carialle at 7:46 AM on January 21, 2008

The most useful things we got (our daughter is 2 months old):
Halo Sleep sacks (you're not supposed to use blankets with babies in the crib)
Pre-folded cloth diapers to use as burp rags. A lot of them.
Moby Wrap baby carrier
Boppy Rock in Comfort Travel Swing
posted by schnee at 7:51 AM on January 21, 2008

Mostly the things I didn't know I needed were breastpump-related, which is a bit difficult (and odd) to buy as a shower gift. The exceptions would be the miracle blanket (seconding above). Swaddling is the bees knees and babies quickly learn to escape the wrapped blankets, so the miracle blanket kicks serious ass!

For natural shampoo/soap, I like California Baby brand, it smells great too. You can probably get a gift basket of California Baby delivered to you within a week through amazon.
posted by Joh at 8:28 AM on January 21, 2008

I always gave the "Babyproofing" gift basket and it came to be an expected gift for anyone who invited me to a shower because it was so appreciated. A basket full of:

- outlet protectors
- pull down shades for the car
- An assortment of drawer and cabinet locks
- doorknob covers
- toilet lid lock
- DVD player protective shield
- bathtime temperature duck
- baby mirror for the car
- tub faucet cover
- etc.

I always included the gift receipt in the basket so they could exchange or return anything not needed.

Strangely, the dads REALLY loved this gift because it gave them a project to work on before the baby arrived. They won't need all of these things RIGHT away, of course, but these are the things that no one ever gives a new parent.
posted by jeanmari at 8:44 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

baby bjorn or moby wrap

A box of baby socks- one of the best gifts i ever received


a nice diaper bag

seconding zip front sleepers
posted by ohdeanna at 8:47 AM on January 21, 2008

You could go a different route and get gifts for HER - pampering items like fancy bath salts and lotions, a nice bottle of wine (maybe, depending on her lifestyle), a good book or certificate to a book store, maybe some nice herbal teas or something. Some aromatherapy candles or whatever. Think relaxing and soothing, because life with a newborn is usually anything but.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:07 AM on January 21, 2008

Rock-a-Bye Bear. Bunch of us at work bought a co-worker one. He said it worked too good, so I guess it shouldn't be used all the time. But he said it works great.
posted by JABof72 at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: I know a lot of moms including myself who much preferred the horribly names but awesome "My Breast Friend" as opposed to the boppy.
If she is into natural stuff I'd avoid Babies R Us. It's a lot of plastic generic ickiness. An independent store is likely to have much nicer stuff.
If she is cloth diapering - she's probably settled on a system already - find out what it is and get her extra covers and extra diapers. She can't possibly imagine at this stage how much a baby poos and pees.
The Miracle Blanket can be a life saver. Highly recommended.
I give every new mom a huge stack of washcloths. Babies are messy.
The babyproofing stuff is great. Great to have around pre-need.
posted by Wolfie at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2008

How about this stuff I wish someone had gotten ME when I had my babies:

1. A beautiful basket filled with an assortment of bottled waters and a box of Emergen-
C and a box of kleenex
2. A gift certificate for a massage before and after the birth of the baby
3. A battery-operated Black & Decker screwdriver
4. A 'AA' size rechargeable battery charger, and extra batteries
5. A promise that she will have a baby shower for each baby born
6. Non-disposable swim diapers in different sizes (these are absolute necessities--the disposable ones are very expensive)
7. Photo storage boxes
8. Foot cream and fresh socks for mom. Wrap them up in a basket.
9. Baby massage oil and organic cotton towels.
10. Make her some homemade laundry soap (Amish recipe I've been using for years):
On a cheese grater, grate a bar of Fels-Naptha soap into a big pot (like a canning pot). Add to it three gallons of hot/warm water (in the summer you can let it sit in the sun and heat water that way). Mix it up with your hand or a big wooden spoon. Let sit for half an hour. Add one cup of Borax. Stir with a whisk. Let sit overnight. Stick your hand into it and stir it (it will be like a glutenous mass but it will become liquidy once you stir it). Add essential oils, lavendar is nice. Bottle it up (don't forget the Mr. Yuck stickers) and tell her you made her some laundry soap. The commercial laundry soap for babies is totally expensive and this recipe makes over three gallons for less than a dollar. Use a cup or two for hard water wash, or only one cup per soft water wash. Give her the recipe I just gave you, and grate a year's worth of bar soap for her to make her life easier...

Gift certificates are always nice too.

One of the most thoughtful gifts I ever received was a recipe box full of suggestions written on recipe cards for what to do when the baby cries (it was assembled at the shower, but you can go round and get suggestions on your own from people you know or from websites and stuff). I later used the empty recipe cards in the box for journaling my especially difficult days (kept it in the laundry room).

New moms often want to have social contact when they are at home with a newborn all day and all night...if you feel comfortable calling her, she would probably love some big person conversation time once she's settled in with the baby at home.
posted by mamaraks at 10:09 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Boppy sucks. The abhorrently-named My Brest Friend is a much better design.
posted by crazycanuck at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2008

after seeing a woman nursing a child in public and covering herself up with a baby blanket, i decided to get my expecting friend a few large, washable shawls/scarves in neutral colors i knew she'd like. she loved them.
posted by thinkingwoman at 10:32 AM on January 21, 2008

Lanolin is made from sheep fat and can cause a skin rash or allergic reaction for some people. You should check her allergy status for this before gifting it.
posted by meehawl at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two things:

1. Everyone buys stuff new parents will need right away ... especially clothes. Parents end up with all sorts of outfits for newborns and have to rush to use them because, well, dem baby people grow fast. So buy some clothes for, like, a one year old. They'll appreciate it when the kid can't fit into all those cute onesies.

2. One of those baby backpacks. It'll be a few months before they'll use it, but ours worked overtime. It was the easiest way to go anywhere, do anything with your kid. They perch on your back and can see. And when they grab your ears to hold on ... well ... that's just cool.
posted by lpsguy at 11:59 AM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

As a very new mom (I'm holding my 5 day old son as I type) who went for natural childbirth, is cloth diapering and breastfeeding here are my recommendations.

Try to stay away from clothes. I have more clothes than I know what to do with. People were good about getting a wide variety of sizes, but everything is for winter. There is a ton of this stuff that will never be used because they are long sleeved, fleece, etc and he won't fit into them until summer.

Lansinoh is a godsend. It is lanolin with all of the allergens removed and is worth its weight in gold for a new breastfeeding mom. A good book on breast feeding that has illustrations would be great as well. I went to a breastfeeding class, but literally forgot everything after I had my baby in my arms.

Shelf stable, good food for her hospital bag would also be appreciated. The food is dreadful and you are starving after giving birth.

A gift certificate to Nicki's Diaper's would surely be appreciated - modern cloth diapers are amazing as well as amazingly expensive. They have online gift certificates so time isn't an issue.

She sounds fairly similar to me in tastes and preferences so here are things I am very glad I got or wish I had gotten.

Ergo baby carrier, baby emery boards, boppy, a subscription to mothering magazine , the Baby Book, and Gripe Water (its all natural and is absolutely amazing - you can get it at Whole foods in the baby section and books - books are awesome!

Things I really wish I had not gotten: plastic toys, stuffed animals, clothes, gift baskets of baby toiletries and things in open packages or without tags.

Whatever you get, leave it in the packaging and send it with a gift receipt. I received 5 dozen gerber style cloth diapers - all in opened packages. Even if I needed that many I wouldn't have any space to store them.
posted by a22lamia at 1:57 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

For the mom, how about some extra-comfy slippers or slipper socks -- or a cozy bathrobe?

And, for the "little extra flair and fun," I've seen these "Baby Be of Use" books online at McSweeney's and they seem pretty funny.
posted by trillian at 3:43 PM on January 21, 2008

I got my best friend mostly things for her, and then one little dinky toy for the baby. Babies pretty much just lay there like blobs for the first few months, so they don't really need all that much stuff. Moms can get baby clothes anywhere and for very cheap.

All or most new mothers need breast pumps, pads, diaper genies/refills, burping cloths, and papooses (cloth carrier thingies), more rest, foot massages, phone calls, and vouchers for a night out with her man without burping cloth involved.
posted by mynameismandab at 9:31 PM on January 21, 2008

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