Ten Fun And Fabulous Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Ten fun and unique gift ideas for the expectant mom, these are proven favorite baby shower gifts!

So, you're invited to a baby shower, but have no idea where to start. What does the mother-to-be need? What does she already have? What can you buy that will be useful and unique, show you really care, but not break your budget? Some baby stores offer registries, where the mother-to-be can record her wishlist and you can verify what she already has. Check to see if she has registered ahead of time, which may save you a lot of time and energy. If not, or if you don't see anything that appeals to you on the list, here is a list of ten fabulous baby shower gifts which have been proven again and again as mothers' favorites!

1. A Baby Monitor. Baby monitors allow the parents to leave baby in one room, and move throughout the house with the assurance that they will hear their little one if he or she wakes up. When you shop for a monitor, consider these factors: Does she live in a large or two-story house? If so, try a dual receiver model so she can leave one receiver upstairs and one downstairs. Does she live in an apartment or condo complex? If so, look at the 900mhz models, which provide extra privacy. Does she walk outdoors or live in a noisy environment? Some models have visual bars that show the baby's sounds in a graphic display. One caution: Don't automatically go for the cheapest model, as these may have poor reception and/or pick up and transmit conversations (e.g., to cordless phones nearby). A good monitor will probably cost about $30.

2. A Baby Bathtub Set. While you can still bathe a baby in the sink, it's far easier (and safer) to use a baby bathtub specially designed for this purpose. Many of these have foam bottoms, contoured shapes, and even extra head support. The Century Cuddle Tub even has an infant sling and footrest, which holds baby's head up out of the water, giving Mom a free hand to wash baby with, and converts to an toddler tub as baby grows. In addition, you can include a little hooded bathtowel and washcloth, tied with a pretty bow, for a complete and extremely thoughtful gift. A brand-new mom might not know what features to look for in a baby bathtub, and this will take that headache away for her! This is one that is guaranteed to be used almost every day, and your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. You can even throw in a bar of Caress soap (recommended by pediatricians to prevent eczema) as a bonus. You should be able to get a tub for about $15, with a towel and washcloth, the whole set would be about $30.

3. Baby Needs Gift Basket. A beautiful wicker basket filled with all the little necessities she'll need for baby, is a wonderful gift idea. The wicker basket will function as a diaper holder later, so she can put fresh diapers and wipes in it and tuck it in the corner of the family room. Inside, you can include baby fingernail clippers, a rectal thermometer, a package of soft cloth diapers for burp rags, newborn sized baby diapers, newborn baby wipes, a bottle of lotion for sensitive skin (Keri or Eucerin), a bar of Caress Soap for baby's sensitive skin, a pacifier, baby brush and comb, etc. Have fun shopping, she'll love the thoughtfulness and your time and effort. A nice basket filled with goodies will cost $25 and up, depending on the contents you decide to include!

4. Baby Gym. There are many of these out there, but take a look at the Fisher Price Musical Sounds and Lights Gym. This is a plastic bar with toys attached, as baby bats at the toys, the lights flash and music plays, encouraging early activity and interaction. As baby grows, the gym adjusts upward so baby can sit in front of it and play as well. This is available in most baby and toy stores for about $35.

5. A Womb Bear. Take a look at the Prince Lionheart Slumber Bear, which is a soft plush bear that makes noises like a mother's womb when turned on. This is placed by the baby's head, especially in the first few weeks home, and it lulls him to sleep in minutes. Remember that in those first few weeks, sleep is precious to any new parent and a Womb Bear can ease the transition pain! These are typically used until baby can roll over, about 2-3 months. A thoughtful gift that Mom might hesitate to buy herself, this will run about $25.

6. A Nursing Pillow. If you know the mother-to-be plans on breastfeeding, this is a fabulous gift. There are several brands, including NOJO, Boppy and My Brest Friend. These are large flat pillows that wrap around the new mother's waist, so baby is supported at just the right height for breastfeeding without requiring both of Mom's hands to hold her! These take some of the struggles out of learning to breastfeed, and will be greatly appreciated by the new mother! Nursing Pillows range from $20-40, depending on the brand.

7. The Portable Pediatrician for Parents. This is an incredible book for new parents, written by Dr. Laura Nathanson (a pediatrician). This book is filled with incredibly helpful information, including developmental information (ages newborn to 5 years), common childhood diseases, health and illness information, etc. It is written in an easy-to-read style, with humor and insights. It will help the new parent put issues into perspective, and gives some guidance - from a pediatrician's point of view - of when to call the doctor. About $20 in most bookstores or online.

8. Frozen Dinners. Even if the new mom wants to cook, chances are she'll be tired and her opportunities to spend quality time in the kitchen will be limited. Your gift of two or three frozen dinners will be incredibly well appreciated. Lasagna and most casseroles are wonderful for this, and can be prepared ahead of time in disposable tin pans so you don't have to worry about the pan. Be sure to cover these with foil, and write the contents name (e.g., Mary's Spinach Lasagna) cooking instructions on the top of the foil so it's easy to deal with. You might even offer to drop these off a week after the baby arrives, when the fresh food that friends may have brought by is gone! Costs: Depends on ingredients, typically under $6each.

9. Set of Hardcover Books. One of the nicest and longest lasting gifts you can give is a set of some of your favorite children's books. Look for your favorites, or ones that your friends with small children recommend. Board book format is always great, allowing baby to hold the book without ripping the pages or damaging the cover. If you're not sure where to start, check out these favorites which all come in board book format and are perfect for nighttime reading: Good Night Moon (Margaret Wise Brown), Time for Bed (Mem Fox), The Mitten (Jan Brett), It Looked Like Spilt Milk (Charles Shaw), and Moo Moo Peekaboo (Jane Dyer). Board books are about $5, available in any bookstore or online.

10. A Gift for Mom. Sometimes in all of the excitement to buy baby presents, we forget about Mom. One of the sweetest gifts you can give is a personal gift for the mother-to-be. A soft lounging outfit with front buttons for after the baby, a silky nightgown, even some warm slippers for the hospital will tell her you're thinking of her. Try a pregnant-woman's gift basket, including some skin lotion (Udder Cream is an inexpensive lotion that helps with stretching skin) and nice smelling bath gelee or a coupon for a pedicure at a local salon. These gifts aren't for baby, they're to help the mother-to-be feel good about herself - now, or after the baby. The cost, of course, will vary depending on your gift!

No matter what you decide to buy, the most important thing is that you show you care. A thoughtful gift will be long remembered, no matter the cost or wrapping. Have fun shopping!

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