What are practical baby shower gifts?
If you’re attending your first baby shower, it can be difficult to understand what would be a useful gift for a new mom.
Before I had my daughter, I went to my first baby shower. I got a pair of Ugg baby shoes as the baby shower gift.
I thought it was such a great gift idea because it was useful, comfortable and cute…
I couldn’t have been more wrong!
As a new mom, I now realize this was one of the most impractical baby shower gifts I could have gotten.
Most babies don’t start walking well until they’re 14 or 15 months old and have grown out of the baby shoe size.
When you look at most baby shoes, you’ll see they’re not even meant for outdoor use! They’re just decorative.
Don’t make my mistake!
Now that I’m a mom, I know which gifts are cute (but serve no other purpose) and which gifts will actually be used!
Here’s a list of 27 practical baby shower gifts any mom will get lots of use out of.
27 Practical Baby Shower Gifts
1. Diapers and Wipes
Diapers and wipes are practical gifts every baby needs. We got diapers and wipes as baby shower gifts and we were so grateful!
The only issues with diapers and wipes…
Some babies will have a sensitivity to certain diapers or wipes.
To account for this issue, I recommend going with:
- Water Wipes: They’re 99.9% pure water and 0.1% fruit extract. They’re the purest wipes available.
- Diapers made from hypoallergenic and sustainable materials like these Honest Company Diapers or these Pampers Pure Diapers
Even if this new mom is interested in proceeding with cloth diapers for environmental reasons, she’ll probably still appreciate having disposables available because they’re easier to manage, especially in the early weeks when she’s still healing.
2. Muslin Blankets
3. Clip-On Toy
Now, I recommend it frequently.
I actually ended up purchasing an additional 2 of these. I put one on her stroller, car seat, and activity mat.
The Firefly is her favorite.
4. Larger Size Baby Clothes
Baby clothes are usually the popular gifts at baby showers. I think roughly 60% of the gifts I got at my baby shower were short-sleeve onesies!
While baby clothes are practical, the onesies I got were often newborn size, 0-3 months or 0-6 months.
If you want to get baby clothes, get the larger sizes e.g. 6-12 months or even 12-18 months.
Babies grow so fast! They’ll get more wear out of the larger clothing. The new parents will probably have plenty of newborn size clothes from other guests.
Be mindful of what age the baby will need long sleeve (e.g. Fall, Winter) vs. short sleeve (e.g. Spring, Summer).
For pants, I recommend getting the footed pants.
If you get footless pants, parents have to take the time to deal with socks.
When you’re changing a diaper, you have to take off both the socks AND pants and then change the diaper! When the diaper’s changed, you have to put the pants and socks back on. These are extra steps that are entirely avoidable!
Also, baby socks are small and can get easily lost, especially when you’re dealing with a flailing baby that’s throwing everything she can see off the change table!
There’s definitely a need for baby socks when they’re 10-12 months and learning how to walk, but in the initial days, having the footed pants makes life so much easier!
Another good clothing idea for baby showers are pajamas.
With all the sleeping and napping babies do, the little one will spend a lot of time in pajamas within the first year.
Zipper pajamas are convenient for getting the baby quickly in and out of their clothes.
BUT 2-way zipper pajamas are even better because you don’t have to zip from the top down to do diaper changes.
You can just zip from the bottom up. These pajamas also have built in mittens to prevent face scratching AND footies with grip for when your little one learns to walk.
This is something I regret not getting because this would have been particularly handy at night or when it’s slightly chilly in the baby’s room.
One thing – it’s a bit on the expensive side, which is why it’s perfect as a baby shower gift! You might feel like it’s a splurge purchasing it for yourself, but you’re super grateful when you get it as a gift!
5. Activity Cube
This activity cube is a gift the little one will love!
My baby spent a lot of time with this cube. She loved pressing the buttons, seeing the flashing lights and dancing with the songs and animal sounds.
There’s also the activity of spinning the blocks and moving the gears. There’s a variety of motor skill development!
I also found this cube great for encouraging her to sit up. It’s for ages 6 months-3 years so kids can get a lot of use out of it
6. Teether and Clip-On
Teething is the process for when a baby’s teeth comes out. It can be painful and long. Teething generally occurs between 6-24 months, although my daughter started teething at 2 months.
Getting a teething toy to ease the pain can be a lifesaver for new moms.
The most well-known teething toy is Sophie the Giraffe. It’s made of natural hevea rubber and food grade paints.
It’s light and easy for little ones to grip. The ears and ossicones were my little one’s favorite parts to chew to sooth her gums.
I should mention – we got it when she was 3 months old and she didn’t use it until she was 6-7 months. If the little one doesn’t take to it initially, he or she might later on.
If you have a clip-on, you can attach the teether to the baby’s shirt so it doesn’t fall on the ground.
This ball might seem like a random baby shower gift, but it’s a favorite in many households.
I first heard about this toy from a mom who was raving about it because even her daughter (who is a small baby and has tiny fingers) can play with it.
The oball is soft, light and bendable (it caves in when stepped on so it doesn’t hurt). The large holes make it easy for babies to grip.
This is the first toy she was able to hold and play with. Now we play catch with it so it’s still usable today!
8. Touch and Feel Books
We got the Baby Touch and Feel Animals book as a baby shower gift. My daughter is now 2 and she still loves these books! I’m actually trying to slowly take the books away so she can focus on other books.
What I love about these books is that she can play with it on her own. She likes flipping the pages and touching the different textures e.g. puppy’s fur.
It’s also durable and she can’t chew the pages as easily as other books.
There aren’t many words or textures and instead one focus point so it’s easy for babies to follow!
When I used to put out 5-10 different board books for her to choose from (some of them also have touch and feel features), she always went for this one!
9. Informative Books
We also got this Usborne Book Collection as a baby shower gift. The books are about dinosaurs, animal homes, the zoo, night time, the garden, and the farm.
I love reading these with her! There’s so much good information for her to know. The illustrations are beautiful. She loves touching the holes and moving the flaps.
The one thing about these books – they’re quite advanced for babies. My kid was interested in the interactiveness of the book, but didn’t quite absorb the vocabulary until later on.
This is a bit of a splurge as a baby shower gift, but it’s EXTREMELY practical. The new parents in your life will love it!
Using this ergonomic carrier, new moms can comfortably carry their baby while being hands-free so they can get stuff done around the house!
I’m not a doctor. After reading about hip dysplasia and the importance of using a baby carrier that has a supported seated position, this carrier became my #1 choice. Of course, you should always do your own research on the topic before making a decision.
What I like particularly about this carrier is that it can be used with a newborn right away at 7 lbs (no additional infant insert required) up until the baby is 45 lbs. It can be adapted for all carry positions including facing the baby inwards and outwards, carrying on the hip or back.
You can even breastfeed your baby in it. Sometimes I found the carrier easier to use than a stroller when I was out of the house. For example, when I was going to a restaurant with tight spacing or on a plane.
11. Diaper pail
We’re still using it. My daughter just turned 2 and it still traps in the odor. The odor hasn’t been absorbed like what I’ve heard can happen with the plastic pails.
The #1 reason why we love it: There are no special expensive refill bags like the Diaper Genie; we just use regular garbage bags so it’s a huge cost saver! One thing – if you do have a leak in your bag, I highly recommend cleaning the pail immediately because otherwise you might get rust.
I also like that you can open it using just one hand. With its tall and thin frame, it’s a space saver and is large enough to hold at least a week’s worth of diapers.
There is a child safety lock feature, which is useful when the little one starts fiddling with it.
As it has a classic steel design, we might just keep it after our diaper days are over and use it as a regular trash can in the house.
12. Mommy Hook
I found out about the mommy hook from a fellow mama. It was her favorite gift at her baby shower.
I saw it on her stroller in action and was intrigued!
The hook was attached to the handlebar of the stroller. She had her purse and grocery bags hanging on the hook because her diaper bag took up the whole stroller storage area.
She was telling me that you can also hang it on your shopping cart with your diaper bag. When your little one starts throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, you can have her toys and gadgets nearby.
Bibs are a practical gift to get new parents. It’s useful to not just catch food, but also paint and art tools your kid will use for crafts around the house!
There are 2 bibs I like for different ages.
For 6-12 months, I loved these silicone bibs because they’re easy to put on and wipe down. The pocket does a great job of catching food. I like these ones particularly because they’re larger and softer than other silicone bibs I’ve seen.
When she was 1, I switched to this bib with sleeves. It’s light, waterproof and has velcro tabs. It was perfect for us at 1 year when she started being able to move her silicone bib out of the way and getting the food all over her clothes!
14. Suction feeding mat
Babies will get to the stage of throwing things on the ground. When this happens, the new mom in your life will want a suction feeding mat!
This one is made of silicone so even if the little one is able to remove the suction cups and throw it, it won’t damage floors or furniture. It’s easy to clean and dishwasher safe. It even includes spoons!
I’ve fed my baby with regular stainless steel and plastic utensils. Silicone utensils are durable, but soft so they don’t hurt my baby’s gums or teeth when she occasionally bites down on them when she’s teething. As they have a nonslip grip, my baby can even learn to feed herself!
15. Transition cup
We heard from a nurse that we SHOULDN’T give our daughter a traditional sippy cup because it might result in tooth decay and speech issues. She said babies need to learn how to use regular cups.
We gave our baby water through a regular cup. Naturally, the water spilled everywhere!
We heard from a fellow mom about this trainer cup. It’s exactly like a regular cup except there are minimal spills!
The baby drinks from the rim like any regular cup. It’s only when you tilt the cup and apply pressure to the inside rim that liquid comes out. The little one can whip it around or throw it on the ground – maybe a few drops will come out, but that’s it!
16. Snack storage
Snack catchers are very handy because it allows little ones to feed themselves with limited spilling of food.
You can put it in cup holders in the stroller and car seat.
This particular snack catcher is great because the stainless steel helps keep the food warm or cool.
17. Bouncer chair
A bouncer chair comes in handy when the new parents want to put their baby down to use the bathroom or cook food!
I honestly don’t know how I would have been able to brush my teeth or take a shower without a bouncer chair!
This Fisher-Price chair is good value for its lifespan. It’s average price for bouncer chairs and you can use it immediately up until the baby is 40 lbs. This one is both a rocker and a stationary chair (immovable with a kickstand).
I like how the toys hang low enough for a baby to touch and that the toy bar is easily removable for naps.
There is a vibration feature, but our baby didn’t like that feature so we never used it. The chair is also portable.
Like bouncer chairs, exersaucers are highly useful because it gives new parents a break while keeping the baby engaged and stimulated.
My baby loved this Baby Einstein Activity Jumper! There are over 12 activities including musical ones. The seat swivels so little ones can independently move to different activity stations.
Babies can also jump in this – building their leg muscles.
This is a great place for new moms to put their baby in when they need to get a few things done around the house!
I’ve often heard it referred to as the circle of neglect because you can leave your baby in it for hours! I personally only put my baby in it for 15 minutes/day as I’ve heard overuse can hinder their development.
19. Portable Toy
This Baby Einstein Musical Toy is going to be a hit whenever little ones need a bit of distraction.
This was my must have toy in the diaper bag when we were in the car and out of the house.
Babies love this toy because there’s a large button they can press to switch between the 7 songs.
My baby used to love watching the lights flashing to the beats. I actually really like listening to the classical tunes – it’s calming!
20. Gift Cards
Gift cards are sometimes thought of as impersonal, but they’re the baby shower gifts many new moms appreciate the most!
It gives them the opportunity to buy whatever they want or need at that store.
The bigger the store, the more variety. That’s why Amazon gift cards are the best! She can spend it on anything from diapers to food to self-care products!
If she has an Amazon Prime membership, she can also get 20% off diapers and baby food with more than 5 subscriptions.
This is in addition to all of the benefits Amazon Prime offers like free 2 day shipping and free access to movies, TV shows, music and books.
21. Instant Pot
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the
I got the Instant Pot on Mother’s Day when my little one was around 5 months.
22. Instant Pot Accessories
If the new mom already has an Instant Pot, Instant Pot accessories are another great baby shower gift! Here are some of my favorites:
Extra cooking pot: There’s the original stainless steel version and more recently, a non-stick version for sauces, soups, chili, rice cooking, slow cooking etc. I love how the non-stick makes for easier clean-up!
The extra cooking pot comes in handy if your Instant Pot is in the dishwasher or you’re cooking a different recipe and don’t have time to clean between recipes. Just make sure you check in advance if she has a 3 quart, 6 quart or 8 quart.
Extra Sealing Rings
If you’ve made both savory dinners and sweet desserts in the Instant Pot, you know how the smell and flavor can stay on the sealing ring and possibly transfer to your other recipe! I love curry dishes, but I hate it when you make cheesecake with an unintended hint of curry.
While you can wash it out and wait for it to dry, it’s infinitely easier to just get extra sealing rings and switch them out. You can designate one ring for savory dishes and the other ring for sweet dishes.
Instant Pot Accessories Bundle
As an Instant Pot fan, this Instant Pot accessories bundle is exciting! I’ve gotten pieces of this bundle as separate gifts. It probably would have been cheaper to get this bundle instead!
This bundle works for 5, 6 and 8 quart models and includes:
- 60 flower parchment papers
- 2 steamer baskets
- 1 steamer rack
- 1 non-stick springform pan
- 1 egg rack
- 1 egg bites mold
- 1 kitchen tongs
- 1 dish plate clip
- 2 oven mitts
- 3 magnetic cheat sheets
23. Vacuuming Help
House cleaning is often at the bottom of the priority list for new moms. If your gift can give them a little bit of help in this area, they’ll definitely appreciate it.
Here are 2 tools I could not live without in my vacuuming routine. They’ve made vacuuming more efficient and effective.
1. Robot Vacuum
I used to HATE vacuuming. When I found out about the robot vacuum, it was a game changer in our house!
The idea of a robot doing the vacuuming for you – it seems too good to be true. I can tell you – it works! I’ve used it on carpets, tiles and hardwood. It also knows to avoid stairs.
However, sometimes it misses spots and cleans the same areas multiple times. It also occasionally gets stuck on something and you have to reposition it.
It also doesn’t always pick up all of the cat hair.
2. Cordless Vacuum
If you don’t have pets, this robot vacuum will probably be perfect. If you do have pets, you might be better off with a cordless vacuum.
I have one of these as well. It’s quite high in price, but it’s made my life so much easier. Now I can just pick up the vacuum and quickly clean up places the robot vacuum won’t clean well like the:
- Areas our cats frequently sleep and lounge in
- Food crumbs my daughter throws under the kitchen table and on chairs
Between these 2 products, my relationship with vacuuming has completely changed. I now almost enjoy vacuuming.
24. Audible Membership
New moms want to stimulate their mind, not have “mommy brain”, and keep up with their book reading.
This makes the Audible membership a great baby shower gift!
It can be difficult for new moms to sit down and read a book because they’re busy taking care of the baby. With the Audible membership, they can listen to audio books while changing diapers and other baby-related tasks.
An Audible membership includes 3 free titles per month and 30% off any additional books. She’ll own these books forever. If she already has an Audible membership, you can add to her credits so she doesn’t have to pay for a few months of membership.
25. Digital Storage
A digital storage might seem like an odd baby shower gift, but it’s very practical.
New moms will have a tonne of pictures and videos of their little one. While there’s unlimited storage available in the cloud (e.g. Google Docs), they might not feel comfortable solely doing so because of potential security or data loss issues. At some point, they might start hunting around for an external hard drive.
Gifting a new parent an external hard drive saves them the hassle and cost of getting one later on down the road. It might not be the most sentimental gift, but it’ll be greatly appreciated!
26. Keurig and K-Cups
While a new breastfeeding mom might not want to have caffeinated beverages, she might still want to have a cup of decaf coffee or herbal tea first thing in the morning.
27. Wireless Earbuds
If the new mom has an Apple phone, she’ll love AirPods! It’s quite a splurge! The new mom in your life will be so grateful for it!
New moms are constantly on their phone looking up baby-related challenges online, talking to family and friends, listening to podcasts etc.
Having earbuds is a must because you never want to wake a sleeping baby.
However, earbud cords can be a nuisance to work around when you’re feeding a child, folding laundry etc.
AirPods make it easy to do many functions on your phone by just tapping your earbuds.
You can make phone calls, listen to music, and even ask Siri questions. There’s no wait time for pairing. One charge gets you several hours of use! They’re comfortable and stay put even if you’re chasing your kid around the house!
What Baby Shower Gifts are NOT Practical
Here’s a list of gifts that are less practical.
There’s nothing wrong with these gifts. In fact, some people might love these gifts.
They’re just in general less practical because they’re less versatile, usable or appeal to a specific type of person rather than the general population.
- Baby onesies with sayings: Here’s an example of what I mean by a baby onesie with a saying. While some sayings are cute or funny, parents will get more wear out of a onesie without a saying. A plain onesie can be dressed with more outfits and is also less memorable.
- Christmas, Halloween, Easter or other Holiday outfits: Along the same lines, you’re limiting the wearable time frame if you give holiday themed outfits like this one. Given how fast babies grow, the little one will probably just be able to wear that outfit for 1-2 months max. It won’t be usable the following year.
- Cloth bibs: This baby shower gift could go either way. Some people use cloth bibs to catch drool and spit up so they don’t have to change their baby’s shirt when this happens. I never used these as I often had the muslin cloth with me to wipe up drool and spit up. The muslin cloth is far more versatile than a cloth bib. When she had solids, she used a silicone bib because it’s much easier to wash than a cloth bib.
- Dry clean only baby clothes: Babies poop and pee in their clothes all the time. While you might find a beautiful formal outfit that’s dry clean only, you’re adding “going to the dry cleaners” to a new parent’s already long list of duties. It’ll definitely make them think twice before putting their kid in that outfit. Dry cleaning is also expensive and unnecessary with all the perfectly good non-dry clean outfits babies have in their closet.
- Baby dolls: There is this thought that all kids, especially girls, want to or should play with dolls. Some people don’t want their kids to aim to be princesses because it doesn’t help them in real life. They also don’t want their girls to strive to become a certain body type because they see it on a Barbie. I know there is the counterargument that playing with dolls can instill a sense of nurturing and pretend play, but you could accomplish the same thing using a stuffed animal.
- Nursery wall art: Even though there are so many cute nursery wall art designs, it’s better to stay away from these as baby shower gifts unless you 100% know this is what the parents want and they haven’t already gotten it.
- Baby shampoo or soap: Some parents prefer organic baby shampoo or might want to use water instead of shampoo or soap. If you don’t know what the parents want, I wouldn’t make any assumptions and get these as baby shower gifts.
Final Thoughts on Practical Baby Shower Gifts
If you’re interested in reading about more baby shower gift ideas, check out this article on baby essentials in the first 3 months.
I also have a post on what babies need at 6 months that might also be of interest.
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Recap of Practical Baby Shower Gifts
Here’s a recap of all of the baby shower gifts:
- Diapers and Wipes: Water Wipes, Honest Company Diapers, Pampers Pure Diapers
- Large muslin blankets: Aden and Anais large muslin blankets
- Clip-on toy: Firefly
- Larger size baby clothing: 2-way zipper pajamas, footed pants, long sleeve and short sleeve onesies
- Activity cube: VTech Activity Cube
- Teether: Sophie the Giraffe with clip-on
- Ball: Oball toy ball
- Touch and Feel books: Baby Touch and Feel Animals book
- Colorful and engaging books: Usborne Peep Inside Collection: 6 Books Box Set
- Carrier: 360 Ergobaby Carrier
- Diaper pail: Ubbi Diaper Pail
- Mommy Hook: mommy hook
- Bib: Silicatch bibs, bib with sleeves
- Suction feeding mat
- Transition cup: Munchkin Trainer cup
- Snack storage: Munchkin Snack catcher
- Bouncer Chair: Fisher-Price chair
- Exersaucer/jumper: Baby Einstein Activity Jumper
- Portable Toy: Baby Einstein Musical Toy
- Gift Cards: Amazon gift card
- Instant Pot Accessories: Original stainless steel pot, non-stick pot, extra sealing rings, Instant Pot accessories bundle
- Vacuuming help: iRobot Roomba, Dyson hand held cordless vacuum
- Audible membership
- Digital Storage: External hard drive
- Wireless Earbuds: AirPods
Related Practical Baby Shower Gift Idea Articles:
- Best Gifts for New Moms
- Breastfeeding Must Haves
- Baby Essentials for the First Three Months
- Essential Items for a 6 Month Old
- Baby Freebies
- Diaper Bag Essentials
- Postpartum Essentials: Things new moms NEED after giving birth
- First Trimester Essentials for Moms
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