If you have a badass baby you’re welcoming into this rough world, you might want some ideas on what to shower that little delinquent with. I’ve got a four year old and an 11 month old and I’ve gone to a few baby showers. Here are some of my favorite badass baby shower gifts and mama must haves (and a few ideas on what you don’t need any more of):
Who Wants this Old Crap?
I do! First and foremost, hand mama down some of your favorites. Some may think this is tacky, but I find it incredibly thoughtful and eco-friendly to give mom a big bag full of your babies’ pre-loved clothes, books and toys. Baby things get used for such a short time, they usually have a lot of life left in them- don’t trash them, recycle please! And mamas, when you can, buy used or swap with local parents. We have some great Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade groups in our area (that’s how we got started with TLT actually!)- check out your area for some. You’ll find a list of my favorite Ventura County Facebook B/S/T groups at the bottom of this post.
Sweet Swaddles, Sunshine
We swaddled our children- it was the best way to soothe them when they were new and to give them security for the rare times they slept on their own as small babies (we co-slept with both of our babes). If you haven’t read it yet, you’ve GOT to read Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on The Block– his 5 S’s will save your life! But those babies are slippery and swaddling can be hard. I was never good at rolling a fatty. So, I had two favorites when it came to swaddling: The easy way is with a sleep sack and I prefer the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle ($27-$31 available online and at all major baby stores). It’s a simple design and those little Houdinis can’t break out of the strong velcro easily. PLUS, it can be wrapped with their arms out when they get bigger and no longer need to be swaddled in the straight jacket style.
My second pick is the very versatile but pricey (think like $50 for a 4 pack- ouch!) Aiden & Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets. At 47″x47″, these muslin blankets are the largest you’ll find outside of making your own so they allow you some room to actually roll that baby up, plus they double as a great coverup for nursing baby out and about if you’re feeling modest (don’t bother with a fancy nursing cover- too much work and my babies never liked to be hidden #freetheboobies). I tried the Aiden & Anais Easy Swaddles (their version of a Swaddle Sack) and their thin muslin tore every time- don’t waste your money.
Rock A Bye Baby
Without a doubt, what every new parent needs is a Rock N Play Sleeper– these little tacos are the perfect sleeping spot for your new little one. They are super portable, they rock (some even rock themselves!), and they provide a nice snug spot for your baby to stay put. They range in price from under $30 to almost $100 and the choice is yours on what features you want to pay for, but I am cheap and I would probably stick with the cheapest option. Though self rocking does sound like a good idea- let me know if you like that one if you try it! You can usually find these used for like $5, but be sure to take them completely apart and clean them for any mold using these easy instructions
Guard your coochie
Having a baby hurts like a mother (what does that expression mean, anyway?!). If you have a vaginal birth, your vag will ache and if you have a C-section, please take your pain meds liberally because that shit is no joke! So help the new mama be prepared for coming home from the hospital with a few necessities.
First off, pads. Take your pick, but I’d suggest something made for overnights (you’ll bleed more than you expect) with some heft that you can throw in the freezer to make padsicles. Natural mommy cloth reusable pads would be a super nice gift, but I don’t know if I’d invest in them for this purpose, as mom will need to change them often. Here’s a reasonable organic cotton disposable option.
And to go with those pads, a good perineum spray. I loved Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray, but you could totally make your own using a recipe like this. These sprays are also good for soaking your padsicles. Spray it every time you use the bathroom to soothe stinging.
And mom will definitely need some good old granny panties to hold all that sexiness in!
Those little boob barnacles can be hell on sensitive nipples so be sure to nurture those special bits, too with some nipple butter these awesome cooling gel soothies from medela or some fresh, cool aloe vera. And always keep those puppies dry with my favorite nursing pads, bamboobies. I also really liked this Lansinoh Therapearl 3-in-1 Breast Soother- it can be heated to help your milk let down when pumping or frozen to soothe your sore nipples (though you do get into heating & cooling plastics territory, so you be the judge!)
Pump it up
You have to have a good breast pump postpartum and for me, I prefer the Medela Pumps. I had an Ameda Purely Yours pump with my first child and a Medela Pump in Style with my second and I found the Medela to be stronger and more effective. The Ameda has the advantage of being a closed loop system so no milk ever enters the tubes, whereas milk can backup into the Medela and you have to open up the machine periodically to make sure it’s not molding because of this. For this reason, if you have to get a used pump, I would only get an Ameda. But be sure to check with your insurance because insurance companies in the US now have to provide a pump to new mothers (even medi-cal!). And if you’re on WIC, you can usually get a hospital grade rental from them too!
The best teethers for little beavers
Well, the best teethers are of course our Tough Love Teethers– duh! It’s always fun to give a toy at a baby shower- something cute that you know will be played with, but PLEASE, I beg of you, DO NOT give toys that make noise, light up or that baby just has to push a button to use. Simple toys that make baby think and manipulate are best and really, the less toys the better- children learn the most from using things in their own environments (think banging pots and pans, making mud pies- the things kids are supposed to do). Think simple when it comes to toys- Waldorf Toys, stackers (we’re working on some- stay tuned to our site!), shape sorters, blocks. Wooden toys are the perfect option here. Our teething toys make beautiful gifts and are so durable they will be sure to be passed down through multiple children. Whatever toy you choose to buy, be sure to steer clear of cheap plastic teething toys as they leach harmful toxins into the growing bodies of babies and into the environment we are passing onto them. For teething toys, we also really love the Hevea Natural Rubber Panda and Sophie the Giraffe Natural Rubber Toy.
Gotta Wash that Dirty Little Bugger
Bath products are always a popular baby shower gift (but, read below for what to avoid) and our favorite bath by far has been the PUJ Flyte– this compact little sucker fits perfectly in a kitchen sink so you don’t have to break your back giving baby a bath and folds flat for storage and travel. At $34.99, it’s a great option and we found that by the time our son outgrew it, he was ready to sit up in the tub alone, so no need for a hard plastic baby bath. Pair this with some Dr. Bronner’s Gentle Baby Castile Soap and an organic cotton washcloth and you’ve got the perfect bathing set for that adorable little hunk of naked baby to come!
You’ve Got Your Hands Full (actually, they’re free- that’s the point)
I LOVE wearing my babies- I don’t know what I’d do without it! And whenever I’m wearing my kids and multi-tasking, I get this comment, “boy, you’ve got your hands full there,” but actually, my hands are free and that’s the point. Get yourself a good, beautiful, buttery soft carrier and learn how to use it. Find yourself a baby wearing group or guru in your area so you can try multiple styles and learn how to safely wear your little love close to your heart. We’ve tried many and I use different ones for different stages of baby, but my favorite go-to is the Maya Wrap Ring Sling- it’s simple to wear (no wrapping despite the name), compact to carry and it has a pocket- yay!
Stuff Everyone Will Buy at the Baby Shower, so Avoid it if you Want to Buy Something They’ll Remember:
- Clothes– Baby clothes are oh so cute and really, really hard to resist- cuz they’re tiny and frilly and cute colors, and funny sayings and all that. So buy them if you must, but know that everyone will buy the baby clothes and everyone will hand the baby down clothes and that baby will have more clothes than time to wear them or mom will have time to wash
- Baby body products– I cannot tell you how much baby wash, baby lotion, baby powder, diaper cream, baby oil, etc, etc I got at my baby showers. Slow your rollers here- moms of today aren’t using these products in bulk any more. We are more cautious in what we put on our baby’s sweet little bodies (ahem- lawsuits Proctor & Gamble). Baby lotions aren’t recommended even by pediatricians any more and you just don’t know how sensitive baby’s skin will be, so even though you love to picture just how cute that babe will look all naked and sudsy, skip the baby bath products. Mom, however, would probably love some body products of her own to make her feel and smell good in those showerless days after baby is born.
- Stuffed Animals– Babies really shouldn’t have stuffed animals in or around their beds and a lot of stuffed animals still have parts that can come loose and choke babies. Plus, they take up a lot of room and we’ve got enough crap lying around. Please, no more stuffed animals.
- Crib Bedding– I’ve got a family member who loves to buy the crib bedding- it’s her thing and it’s special to her, so I let her with a thankful heart. But really, all your baby needs is a sheet or two. They don’t need a comforter and shouldn’t sleep with one until they’re well into their second year, what the hell do you even do with a crib bedskirt and they’re outrageously priced. Skip the $200+ pricetag and get yourself two $20 organic cotton sheets and a nice organic mattress for baby to rest on instead.
That’s it- that’s my opinions for today. I’d love to hear from you too, so comment below!
Ventura County Facebook Buy Sell Trade Groups for Kids’ Stuff (there’s a ton– feel free to comment with your favorites):
Check these out and ask to be added if you’re interested!