A Tisket A Tasket

Help my friend Erin put together a baby shower basket!

Like many of the childless who lurk among us, Erin needs a gift for a friend’s baby shower but has no idea what differentiates a nice baby shower gift from an AWESOME baby shower gift. Especially because, like so many first time parents, her friend forgot all her guests were NOT millionaires and filled her registry with things like $400 car seats. Or maybe Erin just forgot the first rule of baby showers, which is “Don’t wait til the last minute to buy something off a registry or you’ll end up being the person who brings the guest-of-honor 10 boxes of breast pads.” (True story. I was the guest-of-honor. 10 boxes of breast pads, all individually wrapped.)

So Erin needs our help. What sort of things did you get at your shower that maybe you didn’t actually register for but ended up being some of your favorites? Here are a few of my suggestions, feel free to add yours in the comments:

Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether. And every mom reading this just went “duh”. I was so reluctant to spend $20 on a stupid teething toy it took me MONTHS to break down and get a Sophie. Little Evan STILL loves it so much I’m going to have to buy another one for Caroline or there will be an epic battle.

Belly Button Book (Boynton on Board). So the baby might not be super interested in books for the first couple of months but once they are you need books that don’t drive you freaking crazy. Sandra Boynton books are perfect – short, cute, and pretty indestructible.

Pacifier clip from Hugs & Kisses Designs.  Not every kid is going to take a paci so this can be kind of a crap shoot, but it also works on those toys you’ve shoved into the baby’s stroller in a desperate attempt to keep them entertained while you run through Old Navy tossing random sized clothing into the basket so you’ll finally own something not covered in milk stains. Not that I’ve ever done that. But I can assure you it goes much faster when you’re not stopping every 30 seconds to pick those stupid interlocking rings up off the floor.

Koala Bear 4-Pack Receiving Blankets. I was going to put “four million burp cloths” on this list but decided receiving blankets made for a better presentation. I got a TON of these for my shower and thought “Really, who needs this many blankets?” But they are so USEFUL. They can be blankets, play mats, burp cloths, nursing covers, towels, and sun shades. I picked these because they’re gender neutral and cute but still really inexpensive. Feel free to buy the fancy, expensive kind but don’t be insulted if you catch the new mom using it to wipe baby puke off her jeans.

Ok folks, what would you suggest for Erin’s baby shower gift?

*The first two links are attached to my Amazon Associates account, so if you click through them to purchase I get approximately 4 cents commission. One of these days someone might actually do that, because so far I have made exactly zero cents. I don’t know why I even bother anymore.*

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40 Responses to “A Tisket A Tasket”

  1. Skipper says:

    I’m doing this this weekend too! I’m putting together my patented “get the baby to sleep” shower pack. You need:
    * One baby sound machine (doesn’t matter what brand, but make sure it has a raindrops, waterfall or white noise setting, not just a heartbeat)
    * A three pack of size newborn swaddles (not swaddling blankets, but the sleeping bag kind with velcro-I like the SwaddleMe)
    * A two pack of Avent brand size newborn pacifiers.

    Once they have their senses soothed with noise, sucking and wrapping, babies go right to sleep (well, my two did- I know each one is different, but I’ve seen this combo work!)

    • bebehblog says:

      We LOVE our swaddles – love love love love – and now own at least 6 or 7 in various sizes. But I was hesitant to include it because I know a lot of parents who swear their children hated to be swaddled, no matter what The Happiest Baby on the Block says. But I LOVE the idea of a white noise machine.

    • cakeburnette says:

      I had one of each. Baby #1 would scream his head off until he managed to work some appendage free. Baby #2 wanted to be swaddled well past being too big to be swaddled in anything but a twin-sized blanket. 8]

  2. Other Erin says:

    Thanks Suzanne and readers!

  3. Swistle says:

    Oh, I want SO BADLY to contribute to this!! I’m considering LYING just so I can participate! We didn’t have a shower or a registry, so everything was a surprise, AND it was 12 years ago so my memory is fuzzy—but I’m SURE we got some stuff that was a surprising success.

    Oh! Oh oh oh, I DO have one!! Someone gave us a mini-blankie. And I was like, “Oh, cute!” and I was really happy because I’d seen them but they were like FIVE DOLLARS and I didn’t see how they could charge that much for a blankie 1/6th the size of a regular one. But our newborn lovvvvvvvvvvvvvved it, and we bought him four more so he’d have plenty of spares because it had to go with us EVERYWHERE—but it was nice and small and easy to wash, unlike a stuffed animal or a big blanket.

  4. Swistle says:

    Okay, so those blankies are discontinued AND the company has gone out of business, so THAT’S a bust.

    Here’s what I’d buy someone as a shower gift now: this playgym was hands-down the best one we used, and we used a couple of those cloth ones with arches, too (NO GOOD: hard to wash when the baby inevitably spits up or has a diaper emergency). And you can change the toys, which is CRUCIAL.

  5. becca says:

    um dude, thanks, like a gazillion for including my paci clip in this list. you? are amazingly awesome! i never got a sophie. and i don’t think we’ll be doing it this time ’round either. but don’t take my word on it, ok?

    • bebehblog says:

      If I was a good blogger, I would have emailed you and asked permission to totally steal your picture. But I’m glad you are happy about it! I’m actually hoping this child likes the paci so I can buy them from you in every color.

  6. Amanda says:

    And I was going to say burp clothes. Really they are awesome and now that my child 4 they are being used as dust cloths. I loved the hands to go instant foaming hand sanitizer too, it actually smells good for once.

  7. My suggestion, while practical and boring, would be to include some plain(ish)bibs, socks and burpcloths as filler in the basket. When everything else is printed/matchy it is nice to have white or grey socks. Or a solid color bid. My hands down favorite bibs are from Ikea. Soild white with colored trim, come in a 5 pack for super cheap.

  8. Molly says:

    We loved our bottle/pacifier basket for the dishwasher. Cheap, useful, and perfect for when you just don’t want to wash the bluffer for the millionth time.

    For bottles, we LOVE the glass Coddlelife bottles! They come with a great silicone cover and they don’t have to be sterilized every five minutes. You just have to wash them. Plus, they are lighter than traditional glass bottles and less air gets in.

  9. Abby says:

    I made a gift basket for a friend once, and included all of the not-so-fun to buy stuff that you really end up needing after baby gets here. Aquaphor, Burt’s Bees diaper cream, receiving blankets (instead of burp cloths!), diapers, etc. OH! And the best ever gift that I LOVED loved loved…the Boon feeding spoon. From Target. It holds the baby food inside and you just squeeze it out onto the spoon part. Loved it, and I buy it for every baby shower I go to now, even though they won’t use it for 6 months or so.

  10. merin says:

    I think some of the best things we got were toys that I would never have bought myself, like the Munchkin mozart magic cube and this little handheld baby einstein (I think) mozart caterpillar thing, which ran out of batteries even before Cora was born because EVERY kid that came over with a parent to check out the nursery played with it. It is our go-to car toy as well.

    PS Cora still loves Sophie too-now she hangs out with the Little People in the farm or Noah’s Ark!

  11. Joanna says:

    Ok- here’s my list.

    The Medela Microwave steam bags. Totally not glamorous but I used those things ALL the time- bottle nipples, pump parts, pacis, etc. The quickest, easiest way to sterilize stuff.

    I also recently made my girlfriend a nursing basket to keep by her while she’s nursing and one of the things I did was get a really cute (AND CHEAP) zip up pouch and put things like travel hand lotion, chapstick, tissues, etc. Little things that you suddenly need while you’re nursing and stuck on the couch for the next 40 minutes.

  12. Nicole says:

    If she’s even the least bit crafty, a diaper cake with disposables *or* cloth is always a great shower gift! I never got one, but I made one for my cousin, and it was super-easy and very pretty. How-to videos abound on YouTube.

  13. Kimberly says:

    I <3 all of the things above! I forgot how much I love the Madela steam bags. I need to dig those out of the cupboard! I would add sheet savers, the Graco nasal clear, those round linky things, and everything take & toss (spoons, snack cups, disposable bibs, placemats, etc).

  14. love this list! very cute, mama! i agree 100% about the paci clips – poppy never took a bink but we used those clips ALL THE TIME as a toy leash on outings in the carseat & stroller. also loving joanna’s idea of the nursing basket – i spent an insane amount of hours trapped under poppy for that exact reason when she was an infant (ah hell, i still do find myself trapped under her from time to time and she’s a big swarthy toddler, ha!) ;D

    here’s a handful of my favorite newborn items:

    * silky/minky mini-blankets. also known as “lovies” – you can often find them with a little animal face plushie on one corner. they are super cute & snuggly and babies love them for car rides & soothing down for a nap. poppy still grabs her old snugglies, says “awww” and rubs them on her face. adorbs.

    * felt pads for changing areas & cribs – these are inexpensive and AMAZING. we got some for our baby shower and used them every day for months! simple white felt pads that you lay under your baby during changing time or even nap time – if baby pees while getting changed (which they will do pretty much every time as newborns!) or leaks through their jammies, the felt soaks up the liquid. this saved us the hassle of dealing with changing sheets & running extra laundry MANY times. plus if baby poopsplodes it’s much better to have it stain a cheap felt pad than the gorgeous pottery barn kids sheet set that you spent a small fortune on. just sayin’.

    * baby socks in various sizes in brands/styles that actually stay on – yes, they exist! you just can’t buy the cheapest version in the store because those are the ones that lose their elasticity after two minutes and fall right off baby’s tiny feet. trumpette socks are awesome and cute, as are the really fuzzy ones that look like hostess snowballs.

    * perhaps my favorite of all – gift cards to grocery stores, cafes & eateries! in those early weeks/months cash may be tight for new parents as unexpected costs arise (doctor co-pays and emergency newborn supplies and purchasing all must-have items you didn’t get as gifts REALLY adds up quick!) so having gift cards on hand for simple things is like friggin’ GOLD when you’ve just had a baby. i recieved a starbucks gift card from someone who obviously knows what’s good in life, and i was THRILLED to hit up the dirve-thru with my newborn & devour an iced passion tea lemonade. free tastes better. always.

    happy shopping! cheers!


    • jennie says:

      I completely agree with gift cards for anything for Momma! Coffee, mani, pedi, or coupons for babysitting while mommy takes a shower or NAP!

  15. ryan says:

    I’m a Nursing Basket Giver because I’m totally breastfeeding obsessed and want everyone I know to be successful at it.
    Basket w/ handles (target usually has something suitable I’m their dollar aisle)
    Cheap hand pump
    Organic, washable nursing pads
    Nipple cream
    Mothers Milk tea
    Nursing cover
    Baby washcloths (make great breast pads in a pinch)
    Burp cloths
    Water bottle
    Pretty notebook with input/output logs

  16. The thing I think I used more than anything else was this http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3190407. It’s the JJ Cole diapers and wipes caddy. It comes with a nice changing pad and I used it to keep all the things you need on hand for a new baby next to me at all times (like nursing accessories, pacifiers, and cleaning up supplies in addition to a few diapers and a small pack of wipes). It was wonderfully convenient and makes a nice “basket” for a gift basket.

  17. Robyn says:

    Personally, since babies are so different, and parents are also so different, i would get a gift card, if i didn’t like anything on the registery. i know it sounds boring, but once the baby comes, they will think of a ton of things they need and probably won’t have extra money to spend. or, get some clothes in bigger sizes, to get them through till either Christmas of the kid’s first birthday. we got tons of newborn stuff, but had to buy a bunch of 6 mos stuff because we needed it before Christmas came.

    • bebehblog says:

      You know what’s funny? I was actually going to suggest NEWBORN sized stuff (as opposed to 0-3 month sized stuff) because almost no one remembers to buy things that small. We had exactly 1 pair of pj’s for each kid in newborn size. Little Evan wore his almost every day for two months because he gained weight pretty slowly. Luckily Caroline almost fits into the 0-3 month stuff already without swimming in it. Maybe a trip to OshKosh or a Carter’s outlet could include a couple pairs of newborn pj’s and a couple of 6-9 month outfits.

      • Brigid Keely says:

        Niko had so much newborn stuff that some of it, he hardly wore. In fact one outfit he never wore and it’s still got the tags on it. I wouldn’t give NB sized clothing unless the baby was premature/very small– most of the 0-3 sized clothing we had for him was designed to be kind of sack-like and big so fit from newborn on.

  18. Jacki says:

    My favorite baby shower gift, by far, was a gift certificate for a one hour massage :)

    Since receiving that gift, I always love to get something “just for Mom”

    Usually I buy a nice lined basket that can be reused and fill it with lots of “pamper me” goodies (but not useless kinds of goodies. Only ones that are AWESOME!!) :)

  19. Brigid Keely says:

    Some of our favorite stuff has included waterproof bibs from Target (they look like normal bibs, have velcro closures, but have a waterproof liner between two layers of jersey-ish fabric); extra long jersey-knit double layered blankets that swaddled REALLY WELL (just roll the kid up, tuck the bottom flap under him, his weight keeps him swaddled); BOOKS (anything with trains; “I am a Bunny” is a HUGE hit right now; “bear snores on”; not super useful for a newborn, but great down the line); larger sized clothing. One of my favorite gifts was from an old friend of mine who’s in the Navy. It was a boat-themed onesie/hat/blanket/etc set she put together from stuff from Target. Durable cute clothing, personal because it referred to her. It was “wrapped” in a basket with a polka-dot fabric liner that happens to coordinate with his room decor, and which we have ALWAYS found a use for (holding pacifiers, holding socks, holding books, whatever).

    • Brigid Keely says:

      Oh! I also forgot to say– “taggies” stuff. There’s tiny blankets with looped ribbon tags, and cloth very soft balls (with a jingle inside) with looped ribbon tags. The toys are fun to look at, fun to touch, and easy to hold. And babies have this THING about tags/loops of ribbon. I think there’s cloth taggies books as well.

  20. michgal18 says:

    http://www.sweetknee.com. Awesome all natural soap, diaper rash oil, oatmeal bath. They have a mini sampler and a full sampler pack of all their products. Oh–also THE BEST nose cleaner EVER–nosefrida the snotsucker. I swear. The best. Ever. Just google it. It’s cheap and sooooo wonderful.

  21. Laura says:

    Love the list — I think I’m actually going to share it with a friend. Of course, everyone has their own needs and wants, but one thing we found *super* useful for our baby was a Woombie (thewoombie.com). It’s a swaddle that is even better than the wrap/velcro swaddles out there. I highly, highly recommend it. Something else that might be good is a movie/DVD or two — I watched SO MANY when I was first nursing (and then pumping) for Shelby. New moms have a lot of “dead” time on their hands while feeding their baby, so something to help entertain them (besides the baby, of course) is nice.

  22. Mayra says:

    great list!

    blankets are a must, I just received too many. lol

    I loved a Soundspa Lullaby machine my parents gave me; best miracle-worker for sleeping ever!!

  23. jennie says:

    I usually get a laundry basket (as a funny cause Lord knows babies make things dirty) and fill it with essentials for baby AND Momma. I LOVE the ideas posted about nursing baskets.
    Some things I’ve included before: “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess. MY FAV CHILDREN’s book! The new wisp toothbrushes, because let’s face it, you scramble to get out the door just to get 3 minutes from your final destination and realize” oh crap! I haven’t brushed in 3 days!” A giftcard for starbucks or a bag of gourmet coffee grounds. Aquaphor! I use it for EVERYTHING! Travel packs of wipes, lotion, chapstick (basically diaper bag essentials).

  24. Nikki says:

    Diapers!!! We received a closet full of diapers of different sizes as shower gifts. They aren’t that exciting to open at the shower but it can save a lot of money for cash strapped parents of a new baby. Our daughter is 4 months old and so far we have only purchased 1 or 2 newborn packs. I’m hoping she moves up to size 3 before our size 2 supply runs out!

  25. Cole says:

    A Wubbanub! I looooove my puppy one! And some sort of baby carrier – a Moby or a ring sling – they were the ONLY thing that kept me calm when I was teeny tiny.

  26. MerHart says:

    I second Jennie – When my first was in the NICU, a single friend gave me a GORGEOUS zippered make-up size bag (from http://thepleatedpoppy.com/ ) and filled it tinted Burts Bees balm, mascara, a compact, mini deodorant, Wisps, Olay Face Cloths, an entire package of hair ties, a travel brush, a mini-mag light, a buttload of Germ X wipes (individually wrapped magnificence. You can use them on skin AND surfaces), an emergency pacifier, an rattly key chain, and 2 gift cards – one for Jamba Juice and one for Target. When I brought him home, she also gave me 2 dozen plain white washcloths in a pretty basket – I still use them for EVERYTHING. I go the same thing now — I just give people a basket full of washcloths, put the pretty bag of goodies on top, and tie it up with a bow.

  27. raincheckmom says:

    I could never have enough baby washcloths. I know it sounds boring, but they were just the right size from infant on up. Easy to get into small nooks and crannies and I needed a fresh one every bath time came around. I used them as long as the kids needed help in the tub, and once they could handle it themselves they were still the right size for their little hands.

  28. Megan says:

    I love Sophie and the Belly Button Book! I also like the idea of doing something for the new Mom. My cousin gave me a pretty stretchy bracelet that I used to keep track of which side I should nurse on next, and for me, that was a life saver. Plus, it made me feel like I had something pretty on even if the rest of my outfit consisted of a nursing tank and a baby carrier.

  29. Jennifer W says:

    Ok…so I love the Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse. I put my daughter in the crib drowsy and turn this on and she falls alseep within 3 minutes. Then the seahorse automatically shuts down after 5 minutes. I also love Aiden and Anais blankets. They get softer and softer with each wash. Lastly, since my daughter was 2 months old the Baby Einstein Take A long Tunes has been her FAVORITE toy. I got it as a shower gift (wasn’t registered for it) from a girlfriend who said her son loved it. It really does keep my daughter fascinated.

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