Top 10 Most Useful Baby Shower Gifts

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A good friend of mine is going to have her first baby soon, and will start looking for items for the baby registry. What sounds like a fun task is actually quite daunting. She’s a practical person, like I am, so my advice is to register for things that are useful. I did a lot of research for my registry by reading a lot of reviews, lists, and asked a lot of parent-friends for advice.  Here are the top 10 items I found most useful (besides the obvious needs such as stroller, crib, car seat, diapers, etc.) during my first stint as a mom.

1.  Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether

Aria loves her Sophie

My baby loves her Sophie

I first learned about this giraffe even before I was pregnant. I was at a cafe in San Diego having breakfast with friends who have a baby. There was another baby at the cafe who had this adorable toy with the sweetest face. My friend asked about it and we learned about this amazing non-toxic teething toy from France named Sophie. I remembered the toy when I was creating my registry, and I’m so glad I did. It was my baby’s favorite toy for several months and there is a fantastic story about how it came about.

 

 

2. Miracle Blanket -Baby Swaddling Blanket

Miracle Blanket worked for us!

Miracle Blanket worked for us!

At the hospital, they show you how to swaddle the baby with the baby blankets provided.  The nurses are amazing at it and can do it in record speed.  I watched, I learned, and I thought I got it…until I got home.  I tried but it kept coming undone.  I tried other swaddlers (ones with velcro, zippers), but they just left my baby in tears because she struggled to escape.  Then I used the Miracle Blanket.  Once it was on, my little Houdini could not and did not want to escape.  It was the only swaddler that kept her calm so we could carry on with the sleep that we truly needed.

 

 

3. DEX Products Sound Sleeper

Since we live in an apartment, it’s pretty noisy.  In L.A., it’s not unusual (but pretty annoying) to hear helicopters and ambulances at night.  Many people swear by Sleep Sheep, which we own as well (and prefer using for travel), but I like this sound sleeper machine because there are more options for sounds and it can stay on as well as have a timer.  Several friends have told us they just use a sound machine app for their phone or tablet, but I prefer to still have use of my device, and instead have a dedicated machine for the baby.

4. Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer

Rainforest Bouncer with the toy bar removed

Rainforest Bouncer with the toy bar removed

This is a very versatile thing.  I used it for countless photos (including baby’s Halloween photo on the left) with the toy part removed.  My baby loves the lights and the animated animals.  At home, we call it “Jungle Friends,” and she lights up when we mention it.  Like most toys that play music, it will get stuck in your head.  It’s actually a cute tune that isn’t terribly annoying.

 

 

 

5. Fisher-Price Cradle ‘N Swing

Hanging out in the swing

Hanging out in the swing

This swing saved my arms.  Since my baby liked to be held all the time (what baby doesn’t?), the insert in this swing created a cozy, snuggly atmosphere.  My routine at the time was:  breastfeed, put baby in swing, then pump until the song ends, which is about 20 minutes.  As a new mom, there’s only so much I could do to keep my sanity, especially since I was home alone with the baby, so this swing became my best friend.

 

 

 

6. Fisher-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Deluxe Gym

Playing at 6 weeks old

Playing at 6 weeks old

Playing at 9 months old

Playing at 9 months old

At 10 months old, my baby still loves this gym!  I was thrilled when she first started playing with it at 6 weeks old by responding to the lights and batting at the toys.  It’s a treat to see the different ways she can play with it now – sitting up, and climbing up on the cross bars (with my supervision of course).  The toys can be moved to different fabric rings or played with individually.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Infantino Mouse or Duck Jittery Pal Toy

We have the Duck one and hang it on the baby’s car seat / stroller.  When you pull it down, it jitters up and makes a sound.  My daughter loves eating the feet, too.  You can also hang it on other things, such as the gym mat or car seat.  We received this as a gift, but if we had to purchase one, I definitely would.  It really helps with long car rides.

 

 

 

8. Trumpette Mary Jane Shoe Socks


I get nothing but compliments every time my daughter wears these.  Most people say, “Where can I get some for myself?” My daughter hates wearing shoes, and barely likes wearing socks.  So this is a compromise, at least for when we go out in public, so she can look a tad more presentable.
Also available in bright colors:Trumpette Mary Jane Brights Box Set (6 Pairs of Socks) (0 – 12 Months, Brights).
For boys, there are these: Angelina 6 Pairs French Terry Cotton Baby Socks with Non-Skid Bottoms.

 

9.Gerber Unisex-Baby Newborn Unisex 26 Piece Essentials Gift Set, Yellow, 0-6 Months

my daughter in the blue Gerber unisex onesie

my daughter in the blue Gerber unisex onesie

It’s fun to “ooh” and “aah” over super adorable outfits, but when you have a newborn, practicality is key.  Most of the time, the baby is wrapped up in a blanket and indoors.    Add all the pooping, feeding, and spitting up, and that makes for a lot of outfit changing.  Of all the brands of bodysuits, Gerber Onesies are the most practical.  They are easy to take on and off the baby, are made of comfortable, pliable cotton, and are easy to snap.  My mom bought me this set, and I’m so glad she did.  Not only did everything color coordinate and mix and match well, but because it’s unisex, I can save them in case I want to have another baby.

 

 

 

 

 

10. aden + anais Muslin Burpy Bib

using the adan + anais burp cloth

using the adan + anais burp cloth

“Get me the good burp cloth,” is what my husband said every time it was his turn to feed the baby.  He was referring to these burp cloths, by adan + anais.  They have the most coverage out of all our burp cloths, which is essential when your baby suffers from GERD.  When you have a baby that spit up as much as ours did, you either cover yourself up or make sure you have enough clean shirts to change into.  These burp cloths also double as bibs.  They are super absorbent, so they can be used over again.  A must for every registry!