Mommy's Bookworm A long time ago (22 months) in a far-away land, a beautiful young(ish) mother and father-to-be filled out their baby registry. I can tell you now: they didn’t know what they were doing. They were first-time parents and completely clueless about what they’d need for their two impending bundles of joy.

The problem with baby showers and registries is that you don’t know your baby yet and as novice parents you really don’t know what you are going to need. And you aren’t going to know whether or not your child will hate the really expensive bouncer that their grandparents purchase them off of the registry.

Below is my practical guide to navigate baby gift registries and beyond: I hope you find it helpful when registering or purchasing:

Un-registered gifting

Your friends may be using an alternative cash registry like Simple Registry, or they might not have a registry at all — these have been some of my favourites that I’ve seen or been gifted myself:

  • Gift certificate for a pre or post-natal massage
  • A baby photographer booking
  • Gift card to have pictures printed
  • Wall mount wet/dry vac
  • Art work for the nursery
  • Diaper Cake (for those who are going the disposable route)
  • Personalized Blankets (initials or name if known)
  • Anything hand knit
  • Really cute unusual onesies and outfits
  • Gift cards to baby specialty shops or anywhere that parents can get those last minute items they didn’t know they needed
  • Gift basket — you can go crazy here! Stock it with snacks, baby wipes, etc.
  • Good quality children’s books

The Big Ticket Items

Going in together with a few people for these items really help the expecting parent(s) save some dough and will get used:


From left to right: Contours Lite Stroller ($65), Chicco Cortina Together Double Stroller ($299), The First Years Jet Stroller ($39.99), The First Years Ignite Stroller ($57).

Rocking Chair

Coaster Traditional Rocking Chair ($188.79), Baxton Studio Letterio White Cradle Chair ($99.84), Stork Craft Hoop Glider and Ottoman Set ($129), Greendale Home Fashions Standard Rocking Chair ($47.40).


Nursery 101 Sidney Convertible Crib ($135.99), Athena Daphne Convertible Crib and Changer ($299), Dream On Me 3 in 1 Aden Convertible Mini Crib ($139.88), Contours Classique 3-in-1 Wood Bassinet ($160.99)

High Chair

Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair, Purple ($198.98), Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat ($22), Boon Flair Pedestal Highchair with Pneumatic Lift ($229), Graco TableFit Highchair ($99.99)

Car Seat

Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 Car Seat ($99.99), Britax Roundabout 55 Convertible Car Seat ($139.99)

Baby carrier/wrap

Boba Wrap Classic Baby Carrier ($34.50), Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Baby Carrier ($47.95), ERGObaby Organic Baby Carrier ($104.52), Boba Classic Baby Carrier ($90)

The Practical Items

These are items that you truly can’t have enough of!

Washcloths and hooded towels

Jumping Beans® Olivia Owl Hooded Bath Towel ($21.75), Neat Solutions 12 Pack Solid Bright Washcloth Set ($8.49), Spasilk 10 Pack Soft Terry Washcloth ($9.58), Circo® Baby Knit Stripe Hooded Towel ($12.95)

Bibs, socks, and blankets

aden + anais Muslin Feeding Bibs ($19.95), Bumkins Waterproof SuperBib ($6.99), 4-Pack Colorful Socks ($3.99), Luvable Friends 4 Count Flannel Receiving Blanket Set ($8.99)

What were the most useful items on you’ve given OR received as baby gifts?

Comments on A ton of gift ideas for your expecting friends

  1. Be careful when you buy larger sized clothes for babies. Something 6-9 months that looks great today will be totally out of season when the kid is 6-9 months. We received some thoughtful larger clothes that are long-sleeved and long-legged, which will fit come July. Now Seattle never gets very hot so we might be able to pull it off, but you never know.

    • I’ve actually included a note on my registry that states what season it will be for each size clothing
      E.g 0-3 months = July-Oct (summer/autumn clothes please)
      3-6 months = Oct-Jan (winter clothes please)

      Hopefully we should get stuff in the right size/season combination then

      • Be careful with this though as your baby may not grow as you may expect. I know a baby that was in 6 month clothing at 12 months and my big boy was in 2T and 3T at 12 months.

  2. If they plan on breastfeeding and have never done it before, I would recommend some lanolin for her sore nipples and those pads you put in your bra because she will be leaking like a fountain for a couple of months. I’m glad my stepmom got me those things because I needed them almost immediately and didn’t even know they existed to get them myself.

  3. My mom’s go to gift for baby showers is a small bottle of champagne and 2 flutes for the parents to take to the hospital so they can have it immediately after the baby is born.

    I guess someone did it for her when my brother and I were born and its something that you NEVER THINK OF getting but you’d like to have.

    • I’d be uneasy giving alcohol as a hospital present. I’m not a doctor, so take what I say with a grain of salt, but I’d imagine at least some hospitals would have a policy against alcohol on property. Alcohol might not mix well with any drugs given during labor and women who plan to breastfeed should avoid alcohol since it gets into their milk.

  4. A friend recently had a baby shower and I went up to a mom at the baby store and asked her what gift she got as a new mom that she never would have thought of but looooved having. I walked out with these little disposable mat things for public changing tables and little bags to tie up dirt diapers ect when on the go (they look like bags for dog poo to me) and my pal loved them. It makes going out much more convenient for her. I also made a cloth book for baby, since they are easier for little hands to hold and chew, plus unlike the cardboard books can be tossed in the washer when they get gross. Plus I got her laundry soap and butt cream: I knew they would be used.

  5. We had most of our major equipment (cot, capsule, carseat and pram) gifted to us by family who had just outgrown theirs.
    And I was NOT asking my friends to buy us a travel cot, thats for sure!

    So, our list (I didn’t register anywhere) was all stuff that if we got multiples, it was fine, (same if no-one got it for us at all) and it was all cheaper stuff – bibs, facecloths, towels, cot sheets, clothes for 6mo+, wipes, baby bathtime stuff etc.

    I think we got 24 facecloths, but no cot sheets. And thats ok, I’m absolutely sure we will use ALL of those facecloths, and cot sheets are not a big expense. Now we can go shopping for those extra little bits we think we might want to treat the baby to, like merino sleeping sacks…

  6. Best gift we got at our shower was a basket of infant “medical” items:
    – a good quality, instant read, digital ear thermometer (I know some of the reviews suggest not using these on infants under 6mths, however the one we got was the EXACT same one our family doctor used on our baby and he taught us to use it properly.)
    – infant tylenol
    – gripe water
    – hospital grade nasal aspirator
    – eucalyptus oil + saline drops (helps with stuffy noses)

    While we didn’t immediately use some of these items, they certainly were the items we didn’t think to but beforehand. At 2am when the baby is screaming and running a fever, we were so glad we didn’t have to go running out to the drugstore for tylenol!

  7. A few things we used/use the most:

    -Portable washing machine (group gift from my family), as apartment-dwellers who cloth diaper (though we don’t just use it for diapers)

    -Ergo carrier. 21 months old and still using this on a near-daily basis. Also, a stretchy wrap for the early months.

    -Bouncy chair (or swing). AKA you need somewhere you can put the baby down. Even if you babywear. We had a craigslist bouncy chair and a hand-me-down swing, kiddo hated the swing but loved the bouncy chair. Later, the hand-me-down exersaucer fulfilled the same need. Even if you want to hold your baby as much as posible, sometimes you need to take a shower or cook something hot.

  8. Prefold diapers and a cover in the form of fleece or wool pants. Even if they don’t get used as diapers, they can always use them as burp cloths and the pants still work as pants. Clothes that are NOT newborn size. Everybody always buys the tiny clothes, but when they outgrow them, the larger sizes you bought will always be appreciated. Breastfeeding supplies of any kind, be it nursing pads, lanolin, a pump, or a gift certificate to get some nursing clothes.

  9. No kids over here but for me my go to baby shower gift is a good quailty stuffed animal i know its not the traditonal router but its cute usally easy to pick out and the moms like them .

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