Baby shower gifts are, in my opinion, one of those FUN things to shop for. Although walking into the baby section of a store can be a little overwhelming, how can you not get a little melt-y looking at all the sweet, little clothes, the soft blankets, and the precious toys? And the purpose of a baby shower is so special, too. A community of people together to celebrate a new life coming into the world and generously seeking to support the expectant parents in the upcoming transition.
But, the stuff in the baby section of the local department store might not be all that useful. I have attended baby showers, helped throw baby showers, and even been a recipient of a baby shower. And after having several of my own children, I like to think I’ve started to “hone in” on what are intentional, practical, and useful baby shower gift ideas.
While baby clothes are SO DANG CUTE, there are so many other useful, helpful gifts you can give at a baby shower that the Mama will truly appreciate. I want to draw your attention to them in case one of them resonates with you.
But most importantly – gifts are always BEST when they are given in a relationship. So regardless of how much you spend on a gift, it truly is the intangible connection you are extending toward the Mama that counts.
Underneath each entry in this list, I’ve included the approximate cost of the gift. So you can find something that works for your budget.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
NON-CLOTHING BABY SHOWER GIFT IDEAS:
Money toward Doula Fees
Any amount: $10-$100
Doulas are so valuable to the birthing parents. A birth doula is someone who is trained to provide continuous emotional support to the Mama throughout the process of birth. A postpartum doula does a similar role, but it is usually spread out over several weeks following the birth, and will often include a lot of practical support for the new parents.
Birth is an incredibly intense and vulnerable time in a woman’s life. The doula serves as someone who helps to encourage, support, and advocate for the Mama. I encourage all women to consider a doula. Whether the birth will be a planned c-section or a home birth or anything in between. Doulas can help be a sounding board, someone who is primarily concerned about the Mama’s emotional well being, and also a constant companion through labour and birth.
According to The Effect of Doulas on Maternal and Birth Outcomes: A Scoping Review from the National Library of Medicine, birth doula care “was significantly correlated with positive delivery outcomes including reduced cesarean and premature deliveries. Doula support, specifically in low-income women, was shown to improve breastfeeding success, with quicker lactogenesis and continued breastfeeding weeks after childbirth. The emotional support provided by doulas was seen to reduce anxiety and stress during the labor period and reduce the length of labor. Women with a doula during childbirth helped raise their confidence and autonomy throughout labor.”
Doulas are usually not cheap, and many parents feel they can’t afford a doula. Perhaps if more people gave baby shower gifts toward doula fees, we would see expectant parents also prioritize the cost of a doula in their birth. I’ve written more about how doulas can be a key part of helping prepare for a good birth here in this blog post.
Birthing Class Fees
Any amount: ($10-$100)
A good birthing class is so empowering and beneficial for expectant parents. Birth is a big undertaking, and there are things expectant parents can do to increase the odds of an uncomplicated, straightforward birth. I highly recommend utilizing Spinning Babies website and their education materials. One option is to take a Spinning Babies certified class. Another is to hire a Spinning Babies Certified instructor to do a private class. And a third option is to purchase the Spinning Babies online parent course or birth class.
Birth Photographer/Videographer Fees (OR Maternity/Newborn Photos)
Any Amount: $10-$100+
Birth is such an intense time, and it is monumental. While not everyone will be interested in having photos taken, many people will want to be able to look back on the experience with the help of images. Sometimes doulas will also double as photographers, so sometimes putting money toward a doula will also give the options of photography. But there are people who specialize in birth photography also. I have very few photos of my labors and births, and what I do have were just taken by my husband or a support person on their phone. I would love to have some well-crafted images from my next birth to remember the process. A baby shower gift of money to put toward photos will ensure the new parents have images of some precious memories to look back on.
Meal Subscription Post Baby
Can be part of the cost or all of it: $10-$150
If you can find a discount code, I think options like HelloFresh are a reasonable cost for the food received. And it is definitely a blessing after having a baby to not have to do much thinking about meals! Particularly if the dad isn’t a super experienced cook… Having something with step by step directions makes a lot of sense and ensures that the whole family is surviving on more than snacks and toast! Providing ways to practically support the family after a birth is a great baby shower gift idea.
Freezer Meals (or the promise of them) as a baby shower gift idea
Any Amount: $10-$100
If you have the ability and time to make some meals in advance for the expectant parents (and they have freezer space!), having some casseroles, crock pot meals, or soups stocked in the freezer is a great way to bless the new parents. Do take into account dietary needs. Ask about allergies, intolerances, or just health philosophies. (One thing to remember: almost every single diet out there agrees that vegetables are beneficial!!!) But if you can cook to accommodate for that, a home-made, tasty, frozen meal is a huge blessing for exhausted, recovering parents!
As a bonus, getting really nutrient dense foods with lots of protein and “warming spices” are traditional for early postpartum.
House Cleaning Services
Hiring a cleaner to come in and clean for new parents is going to depend on the couple. Some families would LOVE to have someone come and help out, others would be very uncomfortable with it. However, having a professional come and do something might be more comfortable than having a friend come over. But getting to enjoy a clean bathroom and clean kitchen without having to do the work (and loose the sleep!) to make it happen postpartum is absolutely delightful. This can be a really practical and helpful baby shower gift.
Nursing Supplies OR bottle feeding supplies
Obviously this depends on the mother and what her plans are. I think many women do want to breastfeed, but many, many, many women struggle with it because breastfeeding can be very HARD. It’s a time-demanding, energy-demanding, sometimes painful process. I personally think anything that can be done to support the mother with her breastfeeding journey is also supporting and blessing the baby. Happy boobs = happy Mama = happy Baby!
I love gifting Mamas with one or more of these breastfeeding comfort supplies:
- a super comfortable sleep bra
- reusable breast pads
- nipple cream
- a haakaa (a way to collect and store milk while the baby is nursing on the other side – great way to build a small freezer stash)
- a breastfeeding pillow
- Comfortable every day nursing bras like this Momcozy one and this Medela one
If the family plans to bottle feed, then asking them if they need some supplies might be super helpful. I haven’t personally bottle fed any of my babies, so I’m not well aware of what is needed. But I’m sure there is a long list of needs!
Money toward big ticket baby items
Most parents will want to buy some bigger-ticket items. I think it is perfectly OK to have a minimal amount of stuff for the baby to start with. And then see what you’ll need when you realize you need it. But many parents do prefer to be more outfitted.
Money toward a crib, a stroller, an infant sleep hammock (I have LOVED using these with my kids!), a pack-and-play system, a carseat, a baby carrier/wrap, etc are definitely useful, helpful, and practical baby shower gift ideas.
Generally, toys aren’t super necessary for brand new babies. But it won’t be long before the baby begins to be interested in things around it. A simple, wooden mobile or baby gym, wooden cars, wooden rattle, or silicon/wooden teethers will likely get some use in the near future. As a bonus, they look beautiful on the shelf, scattered on the floor, or coming out of storage for future kids.
Favorite Parenting Resource Books
If you are a seasoned parent and there is a parenting book that particularly helped you in some way, I totally think it is acceptable to gift a copy of the book to the parents. It’s nice to include a note that reassures you don’t have expectations they will parent exactly like you or something. Each parent needs to find their own philosophy and rhythm. But most parents do feel like they run across situations they have NO IDEA how to handle… sleep issues, feeding issues, eventually temper tantrums and behavioral issues, and it can be very helpful to have a resource to check out.
I have loved Love and Logic Magic for the Little Years, Loving Our Kids on Purpose, Of Course I Love You Now Go To Your Room (possibly only available in Australia/New Zealand), and Raising Passionate Jesus Followers. I have picked and chosen when I want to adopt from these books in my own parenting philosophy, and it has worked well for me.
One caveat, though: don’t use book gifts as a means for trying to change someone’s mind! For example, if you know your friends are planning to co-sleep and parent with an attachment parenting style, BabyWise is probably not the best gift for them! Be sensitive and respectful in your book selection.
Reading material – board books, Baby Bug Magazine, Parenting Magazine for Parents
Reading to babies is one of the BEST things for the baby! Help parents have some materials to read to them by picking out some reading materials. I personally love Sandra Boynton’s board books, or Lift-the-Flap Books by Cottage Door Press (very sturdy!). Alternatively, there are “baby magazines” that you can subscribe to. My Mom always gives a subscription to BabyBug for baby showers. I have loved having these sweet little magazines show up in the mail for my own kiddos throughout their first year.
Diapers and Wipes
Diapers are a necessity of newborn life for the vast majority of people. They will need diapers and wipes, so it is a GREAT baby shower gift idea! I suggest including gift receipts (taping them to the diaper package). This way, if the parents get a whole bunch of diapers in one size, they can return them and exchange them for different sizes when they need them.
If you know that the family is wanting to use cloth diapers, then find out if she has any cloth diapering set up needs. Cloth diapering is an initially rather large investment, particularly if you get everything brand new, so helping the parents get outfitted is very useful, but do ask the mom or someone in the know what brands/specifics she wants or needs. There are a LOT of cloth diapering brands and types out there. Most people will have done research and decided what they wanted to go with if they are planning this route.
A bonus with this system: if the parents are committed to doing cloth diapers, then you also could buy them a diaper sprayer attachment that goes on their toilet, and come over and put it on for them if you’re knowledgeable about that! Diaper sprayers can really make cloth diapering easier!
Rubber boots and/or Waterproof Overalls/Rain Gear
OK, this sort of breaks my “no clothes” criteria for this list, but it’s outwear, so that might not be exactly the same…. And it is USEFUL and promotes intentionality! If the parents live someplace rainy, having puddle jumper type gear can be absolutely invaluable. For the overalls and jacket, I’d suggest about 12-18 months or 18-24 months, since that is about the age kids start walking and they are constantly falling down or sitting down. Usually a size 5 or 6 rubber boots are going to be when a baby generally starts walking.
Getting kids outside into nature is so good for them. And it can be challenging to do that in rainy weather. If you can support and encourage parents to take their kiddos for a walk outside (even in the rain), you’re supporting and encouraging the baby’s development, the parent-child bond, and a lifestyle of health and wellness.
This is a personal preference for parents, but it can be very helpful to have some kind of a white noise machine. There are various options – this is similar to what we have used, because it doubles as a nightlight. But a travel option with a LONG battery life that does continuous noise would also be a good idea. Babies tend to sleep better with some noise but being able to control the noise amount and level can be very helpful! And if the parents want to sleep train down the road, white noise machines are a popular option.
My sister bought me two Baby Bjorn bibs when I was pregnant with my first baby. Those bibs have been worth their weight in gold in our house! I keep one in the back of the car, and the other hanging in our kitchen. Whether we were out and about or home, I always had a wipe-able, liquid-catching bib for my kiddo. It has worked brilliantly!
BONUS: Vacuum Sealable Bags
The parents will inevitably get stuff they won’t need right away. If they live in a small space, it is SO handy to have vacuum sealable bags on hand to shrink down those larger sized clothes or extra cloth things. Even if the Mama just uses them for her maternity clothes once she doesn’t need them, Vacuum Sealable bags are USEFUL.
BABY SHOWER GIFT IDEAS TO AVOID:
While they are cute and squishy, most newborns won’t be interested, and most parents won’t want them in their kids cribs. Save the expectant parents the challenge of storing, deciding what stuffed things to save for several years for their kids to eventually accept or reject, and/or the guilt of getting rid of something brand new they don’t want. Just avoid it!
IF you MUST get some kind of cute animal thing, may I suggest buying a (small, packable, breathable) lovey, and may I also suggest if you’re going to get one, get two or three of the exact same lovey! If the child happens to attach itself to that lovey and it becomes their comfort item, the parents will bless you for YEARS to come for buying them multiples when it was easily available. (Yes, I am speaking from personal experience!)
In general, baby blankets are cheap, easy to find, and most people end up getting way too many of them. Granted, they are handy, so if you really want to get a three pack of organic cotton swaddle blankets, go for it.
If getting a blanket is a MUST, though, may I encourage you to look at something a bit larger? I love the swaddle blankets from Max and Moose – not cheap, by any means, but they are nice for swaddling and for my toddler to use for her naps. They come in timeless colours and patterns, so they don’t feel trendy.
As I mentioned above, baby clothes are usually pretty easy to come by. Babies hardly ever wear out the clothes they wear before age 1 since they are growing quickly. So usually with minimal effort, parents can source clothes for their kids. (Unless you know the parents are very particular, in which case that is a reason to buy them clothes they specifically like!).
If you are just heartbroken at the idea of NOT giving clothes, may I suggest that you think a little longer-term for the family? Opt to buy clothes that are BIGGER than 1 year old size. Usually when kids become more active (ie: crawling or walking) is when their growth both slows down a bit and their clothes start to get more wear and tear. Getting some basic items (such as cotton leggings or track pants, t-shirts, a cardigan sweater, socks, tank tops for layering or wearing solo, etc) in neutral, easily-matchable colors (such as black, white, grey, blue, or solid colors – avoid prints or screen prints) will ensure that those items are highly useful for the child when they get to that age.
I love to hear from you!
What do you think? Did you receive any super helpful baby shower gifts that aren’t covered here? Or do you have a great idea that should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments below!