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First time parenting is rough. You have no clue what you’re doing and you really don’t know how to prepare. No matter how many books you read or what advice you hear, your baby and your experience will be different. You will learn an exponential amount about parenthood along the way and you just have to ride the waves. One of those lessons will be which baby shower gifts you will actually use.
A true testament to my new parenting skills was the day we went to do our baby registry. We went to Babies R Us when I was barely 12 weeks pregnant and started our baby shower gifts registry. We didn’t even know the gender of our baby at this point! I think I was just over the moon excited about finally sharing the news with everyone! We wanted to visualize how the baby’s room would be. Truthfully, I had no clue what to put on our registry. My husband and I walked out of the store with 14 items on our list. The majority of those items were probably impractical in a sense. We had items on there that the baby wouldn’t even be using until close to their first birthday.????♀️
When creating a baby shower gifts registry, you really want to focus on items that will get you through the newborn stage up until about six months of age. After that, you can probably choose things that you want to try with your baby as they develop and hit those milestones. As I’ve gone through the first year of my baby’s life, I have experienced what kind of things worked for us and what items I would definitely not go without should we chose to have another baby in the future. Aside from the necessary clothes, diapers, and wipes, below is a list of 13 items that made life doable for us with our baby. The list contains suggestions based on my own experiences.
Every family chooses the sleeping method that is best for their family. For my little family, we decided not to bed share. However, we wanted our baby to be near us so we decided to room share. Having a bassinet was important to have in order to make this sleeping strategy work.
The bassinet we chose was light weight and easy to move around our home if needed. It also came with a canopy that zipped up in the middle. This was very important to us because we had two cats. The canopy was sturdy and it had mesh covering that allowed us to still clearly see inside when the baby was sleeping. This also allowed the cats to see and smell the new little being that was inside.
2. Baby Swing
As joyous and sweet as it is to hold your little bundle, sometimes you need a break to just breathe a little or even run to the bathroom. Our baby swing was a life saver! It had a cozy little bucket seat and rocked side to side. Often times, it rocked our baby to sleep for us. On the other hand, our baby was also very nosy and wanted to see everything! The swing helped him to be propped up when we needed to set him down. We could also move the swing to another area so that he could see what was going on.
3. Car Seat
This one is extremely important as you need a car seat in order to leave the hospital with the baby. They are SO many choices in car seats and it can be overwhelming to choose from. We decided on a Graco brand car seat for our registry that had a click connect feature. This made it easy to click the car seat into the base that was installed in the car. This feature made getting baby in and out much smoother.
My baby was born during a cold part of the year so outings were not exactly at the top of our list. However, when I needed to go to the store or take baby to his doctor appointments, having a stroller was nice to use. We actually were fortunate enough to have been given two strollers that fit different needs. One stroller was a Snap N Go Stroller that was convenient for those quick grocery shopping trips. The other stroller, Graco Jogger Stroller, was a heavy duty stroller that made going for walks effortless. We could click the car seat right on top of the stroller and off we went!
5. Baby Bathtub
Newborns don’t need to be bathed as often as you would think. When a bath was needed, it was nice to have a little tub to place our baby in to. I had heard from others that taking a bath with the baby was easier to do. However, babies get incredibly slippery when wet and sudsy so that method was not for me. In the baby bath tub, we had more control over baby’s movements and were able to manipulate his body parts as needed when washing.
When you think of a rocking chair and a baby, you imagine sweet moments of rocking and singing lullabies to a baby who is looking intently up at you and your heart just melts. While these moments do sometimes happen, that was not the primary purpose of our rocking chair. We placed our rocking chair in the living room as this was where we spent most of our time during the day. I used our rocking chair mainly for breastfeeding, burping baby, and pumping. It was also used for me to quickly scarf food down my throat between those newborn cat naps. If you decide to get a rocking chair, make sure you get one that provides a ton of cushion because you will be using it quite often!
7. Boppy Pillow
Because I chose to breastfeed our son, a boppy pillow was something I knew we would need to have on our registry. The boppy is a horseshoe shape pillow that allows you to put it around your body and gives you some extra support while holding the baby to feed. It also came in handy for my husband to use while bottle feeding our son. Plus, as your baby gets older, you can use the boppy to prop baby up as he/she learns to sit up on their own.
My son’s pediatrician recommended that we use newborn safe saline for him when he was still a newborn. The saline helped break up the built up mucus in his nose that he couldn’t get rid of on his own. A baby’s body goes through so many changes once they are born and not all of their little systems are working at full speed yet. His glands were a little plugged up after birth and the saline helped with drainage. (Make sure to get the okay from your child’s doctor before use.)
I can’t say enough good things about the NoseFrida! I know it looks gross and the method in which it is used seems even more disgusting. But it has been such a crucial tool for using on my son throughout his entire first year of life. I would be doing others an injustice by not mentioning how wonderful it is to have on hand to clean out those little nostrils.
10. Cloth Diapers as burp cloths/rags
Cloth diapers were not for us, but we did get some as a gift at our baby shower and we were told to use them as burp cloths. It seemed a little funky at first but it was so true! Cloth diapers are made to be absorbent and that’s what you need when you have a baby spitting up constantly. They are also pretty good size that you can fold up and use over your shoulder when burping your baby. They are soft on baby’s skin when you have to wipe them up as well. All around, they are versatile and great to have handy.
I don’t know what it is, but when our son turned two months old it was like the flood gates opened up and he was drooling everywhere! I later learned that around this age, a baby’s glands start to become functional and everything is on over drive until their little body regulates itself. Bibs on bibs on bibs were necessary to get through this phase. And then later when baby starts teething, bibs are needed for the extra drool there. Then when baby starts eating table food, you’ll want to have bibs on hand to prevent some of the mess. I don’t think you can have too many bibs with the amount of drool, spit up, and messiness that is coming in the near future!
Before we found out we were pregnant, I had learned about this device called the Owlet. It looks like a little sock that wraps around your baby’s foot. The device uses hospital technology to monitor the baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels. You can watch these levels via the app on your phone and monitor how your baby is doing while they are sleeping. The device notifies you when baby’s levels drop below a certain threshold. The goal of the device is to decrease the risk of SIDS because you’re being alerted when your baby is in potential distress and you’re responding quickly to the alarm. (This device is not supposed to be used in lieu of safe sleep practices. Always use safe sleep practices with your baby.)
I cannot tell you how much more sleep I was able to get because of using this device. It gave me piece of mind to know that my baby was safe and if anything was wrong, I would be alerted to it. We were gifted the Owlet when my son was around six weeks old so I know the difference of life with and without the Owlet. Trust me when I say that waking up every 20 minutes in a panic to check if your newborn is still breathing is not the way to live! Especially when you’re already not getting much sleep to begin with.
13. Diaper Genie
Like I previously stated, my baby was born during the cold months so taking the trash out every time he had a dirty diaper was less than appealing. Thankfully, we were gifted with a diaper genie that made throwing away dirty diapers more ideal. The diaper genie seals in the diaper, its contents, and the smell making it so you forget about it until it’s time to change the pail. You can fit quite a bit of diapers in there before having to change out the pail making our trips to the outside garbage few and far between for diaper purposes.
BONUS GIFT: The Mommy Gift!
While we are all excited to meet the sweet baby and shower him or her with gifts, I have found that giving a gift specifically for the mommy-to-be helps her feel important and special, too! After all, we wouldn’t be at a baby shower if it wasn’t for her, right? 😉
A gift I LOVE to give mamas is The Uterus’ Guide to Raising a Baby by Trina Folse. This book takes you on a journey of what it is like to raise a baby through the hormone changes, mom-brain, and the rose colored glasses. It is a light, creative, and informative read that is great for any expectant mom!
Enjoy your baby shower!
On baby shower day, everything will be so special and so sweet as your family and friends gather to shower you with love and with gifts that will help with your transition into parenthood. Baby shower gifts are worth getting excited for and there will be things you get that you’ll soon find out you can’t live without just like I did! I hope my list of baby shower gifts provides some inspiration as to what to register for or help others decide what to get expecting parents.
What was your favorite baby shower gift(s)? Let me know your thoughts below!