If you are like me, you dread shopping for baby gifts. However, unless you have absolutely no fertile friends, nieces, cousins, sisters, etc…which I would then say you have lucked out by becoming a solo explore and researcher on the most northern point of the world, well then, you’ll have to find something to give the belly-rubbin’ gestator that proves that you are not completely  socially graceless. I’m here to let you know that there’s a way to do this without having to do the Walk of Pain into Babies-R-Us or down the baby aisle in Target. 

Here’s a list of items we  in the DD House have discovered to be perfect gifts to give AND get that are both practical and unusual and won’t be sent to Goodwill when the baby has outgrown it in two days:

thermos1) Thermos– ZGirl hasn’t adjusted to accepting a bottle that isn’t warm. I’ve tried the bottle warmers you can plug into your car’s lighter, but it never warms up what’s inside enough. What works great when I will have ZGirl away for the house for a while is to make up a couple of bottles with dry formula and then bring along a thermos full of warm water. If you are kooziegoing to buy a thermos, get a quality one, like what you find in camping equipment. Obviously this works for cool drinks for the toddler on the go.

2) Koozies – Once the bottle is warm (or cold), keep’em that way. Purchasing bonus is that koozies also hide the fact that Mommy might be throwing back a 12 oz of something other than soda.

lamp3) Lamp – You say “Duh!”? Surprisingly, the one place couples forget to put a lamp is on the changing table (if one will fit), so you may have to scope out the future nursery (or just ask). If the changing table won’t fit a  freestanding lamp, check out a clip-on lamp. That lamp over there on the night stand next to the crib? It will be utterly worthless at 2:00 a.m., when later at 6:00 a.m. the next changing exposes that there’s residual poop on the changing pad and/or up the baby’s backside. I would even go so far as to get one with a magnifying glass, which is great for sliver removals and clipping finger- and toe-nails.

dimmer4) Dimmer Switch– Now a dimmer on the wall light-panel is nice, but defeats the purpose of keeping baby in a semi-snoozing mode during a diaper change in the middle of the night. Instead you can get dimmer switches at a home improvement store that connects to table lamps (dimmers will not work on lamps that use fluorescent bulbs). Purchasing Bonus? You can send your husband on this errand. Make sure to write it down, draw a picture and set a budget first though to avoid him coming home with a cordless drill.

nightlight5) Night lights – Pretty self-explanatory but commonly overlooked.

spats6) Plastic / Wooden Kitchen Utensils – If the expectant mom is the type of person who spends any amount of time in the kitchen, get her a set of some brightly bowlscolored spatulas for chewing, or a metal set of measuring spoons for noisy clinking, or some wooden salad servers to bang on pans. Also good for kitchen play is plastic nesting bowls in fun colors for sorting play.

machine7) White Noise Machine– I don’t know what possessed me to buy a white noise machine in the first place when ZGirl was born, but by God, it’s been a lifenight saver. The one we have can either be plugged in or run on batteries, so if we were to ever stay overnight somewhere, at least it will bring some sense of familiarity to strange surroundings. Ours has been running non-stop for the past 11 months and 2 weeks. The Purchasing Bonus on getting this item is you might be able to pick up some related relaxation items at the same store (meditation tapes, scented candles, bath oils, etc.) – not that I am advising you to “just relax”, but a glass of wine always goes better with a candle-lit whirlpool bath.

As I wrote at the beginning, these are all things we have about the house that we cannot imagine going without. While a gift card will never be rejected by the recipient because it is the epitome of practical, but let’s be honest here and admit that all those “oohs” and “ahhhs” as they pass around a gift card might be a bit…erm…forced. Don’t forget to write a brief explanation in the card as well, just in case your friends start thinking it’s time for a baby-shower intervention.


  1. These are all great gifts! Hmmm, I would also think of a complete set of high quality rechargeable batteries and a charger, (generic rechargeables blew up one toy of ours, so yeah, stick with the name brand.)

    Also, frozen meals, or pre-made meals that can be redone and heated. Or I used to give people a basket full of staple foods from a nice store, like one place we have here that does meals in a bag that can be stored for a while.

    For the mom, if you are very close/related? Nice warm new robe and slippers, etc. Pyjamas, or whatever that can be easy opening for nursing, but aren’t necessarily nursing jammies/robe. Also personal care items but done up in a nice basket. Too often new moms end up ignoring their own needs. And then they get sick….

    1. Batteries! Yes, yes, more batteries!! All kinds and in the humongo packs (if you don’t get the rechargeables).

      Actually, I had another item that didn’t make it on the list: Black & Decker has a small cordless set that my husband gave me that comes with different bits and smaller drill sizes. Great for putting together the swing/bouncer or for smaller doityourselfers around the house that your husband puts at the bottom of the list because they’re so minor.

    1. Yes, board books do make great gifts, just so you all don’t think I condone illiteracy by leaving them off this list. However, I wanted to provide some ideas that wouldn’t require any strolling amongst baby items.

  2. DD, these are great ideas. I’m going to make sure to flag it to come back to, because if it isn’t bad enough that I’ve suffered through friends’ showers, now it seems that I’m in line to suffer through friends’ kids’ showers. ugh.

    My go to is almost always board books – particularly because these kids of friends? Don’t seem to be too worried about reading to babies. I don’t get it. Sometimes my books are the only ones the child to be receives. So sad.

    1. I remember that board books were the only thing I asked for from the families (in-laws). Should have been simple, right? They didn’t get her one book and right now, she LOVES them.

      These young parents who communicate via smart phones all day have no idea what a damn book is anymore.

      Wow. I’m now the crotchety old lady who lives down the street.

  3. my last baby shower- I made the diaper cake…

    bwahahahaha… yes, you may hate my “crafty” self…

    Of course- I was still pregnant so it was easier…

    Don’t know how I’d react now…

    In either case- those are all AWESOME ideas for baby shower gifts.. I love practical gifts!! 😀

  4. My favorite shower gifts (although I never really had a shower for either child so I guess it was just baby gifts) were the practical ones from moms who knew what they were talking about. The cute outfits are fun and the silly gadgets are novel…but the moms who KNOW and give thoughtful gifts – that rocks.

  5. What fantastic ideas! In the past, before I had issues, I would knit or crochet baby blankets. Haven’t much felt like doing that since my first miscarriage. I have only made one for my best friend’s first child and one for my daughter since. Actually, I have another one sitting in the closet waiting for a border to be finished. Maybe I should give that to my sister-in-law in retaliation for giving me a baby book I didn’t want and couldn’t return.

  6. My favorite shower gift, if I could ask for one, would be from someone close to my house, who offered to come hold the baby, while I took a shower. And actually did it.

  7. Gee, I always just go with flowers…

    I like your ideas! My favorite shower gift was a gift certificate for a haircut and a foot massage. It briefly made my (crazy) SIL my favorite…

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