As a first time mom you need everything. It’s not like your wedding registry where you already live with your significant other and actually do have silverware, pots, pans & towels and your registry is just a mish mosh of random crap you don’t actually need. With first time parenthood, you really do need a snot sucker, diapers, nipple cream and all of that other fun stuff nobody wants to buy. I know people like to be super thoughtful and knit booties or get you that oh so adorable outfit in size 0-3 months, and without sounding like a complete brat, these just aren’t the best gifts to give a new mom. The best gift, and the gift she will appreciate the most, is the practical gift. As a first time mom, and probably a second & third time mom, shopping for cute baby clothes is fun and exciting, so chances are, she already has a few cute outfits. I personally am drawn to certain styles and I feel so rude when I am given clothes that I absolutely hate and know I will probably never put on my daughter. I swear my husband rolls his eyes whenever we have a pregnant friend and he asks what to get them and my answer is always DIAPERS! It’s not the fun gift to give, but I assure you, it is the best. If you are itching to give an outfit, or fuzzy booties, or a Tiffany rattle that will sit in a box for eternity, that’s fine, but add in at least one item off of the mom’s registry. Because while that Tiffany rattle is beautiful and so thoughtful, the new mom is still going to have to go out and get butt paste & thermometers.
Another note to add. If the new mom registers for a certain brand, get that one and not the one you like better. I assure you she has done tons of research and has deemed that one the best for her new baby.
Here are my favorite go-to items to give someone at a baby shower (given they are on the registry which they usually are because I’ve given said friend my go to list!). I feel like at the end of the day, your baby needs to be diapered and cleaned (and fed of course) and these items will be essentials she will use all the time. If you do know the mom doesn’t plan on breast feeding at all, I would probably alter my gift list. Below my go-to list is a second option for mom’s who plan to just pump or go straight into formula feeding.
1. Honest diapers – in my opinion, the best diapers around. My sweet Harlow got a rash from every single brand out there, except Honest. I tend to buy a size 2 as most people will gift newborn or size 1. Tip – If you plan on buying a lot of Honest products, you can either buy them as a bundle from the Honest website, or buy them from Buy Buy Baby and use a 20% off coupon per item (except the actual diapers).
2. Honest wipes – these wipes are so thick, it is amazing. I have become an Honest snob and I swear up and down on these wipes.
3. Honest diaper cream and healing balm – the diaper rash cream is a necessity. The first rash is oh so sad. The healing balm works for everything. I even use it when I can’t find the diaper cream, use it on cuts & scrapes and pretty much anything I can think of. It is an ongoing joke in my house that when in doubt, put the Honest healing balm on.
4. Honest organic breath easy rub – I hate to say it, but the Vicks vapor rub for babies has chemicals I would never dare put on my baby. The Honest organic breath easy rub is great to have on hand for the first cold.
5. Honest shampoo + body wash – Harlow got a rash from every other bath wash except Honest and Noodle & Boo. This Honest two in one combo smells great & lasts forever. Tip – if you have a Costco near you, they sell a jumbo size two pack for about $14 compared to the $10 small, single bottle at baby stores.
6. Honest face + body lotion – Great lotion without a strong scent. Perfect for after bath massages. The Noodle & Boo lotion smells amazing, so that is a good option too.
7. Aden & Anais bath towel – These are awesome. I had also bought a 3 pack of bath towels from Target for Harlow as back ups, and the material is awful. The Aden and Anais are way better.
8. Wash cloths – The basic Babies R us wash cloths worked well for us as did a generic 10 pack from Amazon. We originally used the Aden and Anais and they were actually far too thick for a tiny little newborn. Tip – these thin wash cloths also helped during the teething phase. We would get them wet and stick them in the freezer so she could suck on them when her teeth hurt.
9. 4Moms Spout Cover (bath thermometer) – this thing is genius. The temperature that I thought felt right for a babies bath and the actual temperature were worlds apart. This is a no brainer – turn on the water, hit the on button and voila. It beeps red when it is too hot and tells you the temperature, beeps blue when it is too cold & includes the temperature and is green when it is just right. 4Moms nailed it with this one.
10. Nipple Soothies Gel pads – those first few days of breastfeeding hurt like a bitch. I got these at one of my showers and thinking I wouldn’t need them, I stashed them in a cupboard because nobody told me how painful breastfeeding really is in the beginning. Well, joke was on me as I went digging for them on day two of tears whenever I had to breastfeed.
11. Lanolin nipple cream – this worked best for me. I have and used the Honest nipple cream, but it didn’t work nearly as well as the Lanolin.
12. A book – choose whatever your favorite is or if there is one on the registry. My favorite is On The Night You Were Born. I cry every time I read it.
13. If she is going to be a paci mom, I get the WubbaNub. Harlow tried a million and only liked the soothies. The WubbaNubs are darling and we have not lost one yet. For the soothies on their own, we’ve lost about 30.
Option 2 – Feeding Must Have’s
If you know the mama to be isn’t planning on breastfeeding but plans on pumping, these are some items I would pick up (but still get diapers; always get diapers)! I was given an Ameda Purely Yours and actually hated it, so I went out and bought a Medela. All of the accessories listed below are for Medela pumps.
1. All insurance companies are required to supply a breast pump to expecting mothers. See which one she is getting and get her spare parts. Having 1 or 2 spare sets saves so much time. There is nothing worse than going to pump and realizing all of your pump parts are dirty because you were too tired to clean them the night before.
2. Steam cleaning bags – When you are pumping 5 times a day like I did, you need to be efficient. Hand cleaning & sanitizing all of those pump parts after each pump session is simply not realistic. The steam cleaning bags are awesome. Just throw your parts in the bag, stick it in the microwave and a few seconds later you have clean parts. Tip – If you are pumping multiple times a day, say at work, you can put your parts in a zip lock back and keep it cold in the fridge between pumping sessions, allowing you to not even have to worry about the steam bags. When I pumped at home, I used the steam bags. And I always washed the pump parts, either by hand or the dishwasher at the end of the night.
3. Milk freezer storage bags – I started pumping really early on and freezing my milk. This was a life saver when we went on our first weekend getaway to Chicago and the grandparents watched Harlow for a few days. This was also helpful towards the end of our breastfeeding journey when I wasn’t producing as much as I needed. We just hit up our freezer stash and our little babe was still able to get breast milk until she was 11 months.
4. Pumping bra – hands free baby! You are just crazy if you are going to sit and hold the breast shields up to your boobs for 20 minute at a time. You literally wouldn’t be able to do anything while pumping. I pumped at work so the pumping bra allowed me to answer emails and when I was at home, I could still hold Harlow if I needed to.
5. Thermos for heating milk (There are some out there that you plug in to your car, but I opted for one that is insulated as we weren’t always in our car when we needed milk warmed). Harlow was a little diva and literally would not drink cold milk no matter how hungry she was. After a few too many trips through the drive through for hot water, we got one of these and never looked back.
6. Bottles & different size nipples – the Tommee Tippee worked great for us. Harlow had horrible gas and stomach issues in the beginning and these bottles did not disappoint. However, definitely get what is on the registry when it comes to bottles. Tip – just get the 9oz bottle to start with rather than getting the 5 oz as well. The baby will move up to a full bottle sooner rather than later, making the 5oz bottle completely useless.
7. Boon lawn – don’t get the grass – it is far too small for all of the parts. This helps dry all of the gadgets and gizmos that come along with bottle feeding and pumping.
8. Boon lawn drying accessory – to hang all of the bottle & pump parts. We only had one, and it was definitely not enough to hang all of the little parts. Get two or more, trust me!
9. Dishwasher basket – there are so many little parts that need to be cleaned in the dishwasher and this keeps them all together and on the top rack.
10. Bottle cleaning brush – sometimes there are remnants of milk in the bottle or the nipple after they get out of the dishwasher and this brush can get in the grooves to clean it out.
11. Formula dispenser – these are great for on the go or if someone will be watching the baby and you want to be sure the correct amount of formula is being given. As an added on the go bonus, you won’t have to lug around a huge container of formula.