In my mind, there are two kinds of baby shower gifts: the super cute and the kind that the mother-to-be will be thanking you for years to come. The super cutes get the “oohs” and “ahhs” at the shower, but the others are what you thank somebody for over and over again, even years later. Those are the ones you make sure you pass on to all the new moms you know.
I admit I’m a sucker for Kissy Kissy outfits and anything with a monogram or one of my three sons’ names on them – Pottery Barn, I’m looking at you – but the best gifts I’ve gotten over the past two years are the ones that have made my life as a mom easier.
I got to thinking about those gifts this week after I met a neighbor who was a week away from adopting a newborn baby girl. I don’t know if she’s had a chance to have a baby shower, and I haven’t known her long enough to be invited to one anyway, but I wanted to do a little something to make her feel special about her new arrival. I’m guessing she didn’t get to enjoy quite the same buildup as spending nine months pregnant.
I tossed a handful of the “Miracle Blankets” my 5-month-old twin boys have grown out into the bottom of my stroller and knocked on her door. So, no, they weren’t even new. They were yellow and blue, with elephants and giraffes, not exactly girly colors. But I truly believe they will save her sleep. And when you’re exhausted and need a quick and easy swaddle, who cares whether the blankets are purple and pink? She nodded in agreement. She has a 4-year-old. She gets it.
Those blankets got me to thinking about what baby gifts I would pass on to new-mom friends, whether they be wrapped up for a shower, passed on as gently used, or clicked on for a rush job from Amazon. However you can get your hands on them, these are my top five:
Miracle Blankets : They came recommended by our night nurse and were a life saver for some rookie swaddlers like my husband and me. I have no doubt our twins, Johnny and Wes, slept through the night earlier than our 2-year-old son Wade because we used Miracle Blankets with the twins. They are easy to learn and don’t have Velcro going every which way. The baby’s weight is what keeps them in place. We didn’t want to go a nap, much less a night, without them.
WubbaNub: It’s genius – a pacifier attached to a little stuffed animal, which makes it easier for sleepy little hands to find in the crib and for mama to keep track of during the day. An old high school friend who became a mom late in life like I did gave me a monkey WubbaNub for Wade. Two years later the pacifier is gone but “George” the monkey (nope, we are not very original) is still his most prized possession. Don’t tell Wade but we have a back-up George at his grandmother’s house a mile away, just in case of emergency.
Sophie The Giraffe: As in the teething giraffe. There’s a reason boxes of Sophies are stacked floor-to-ceiling at baby stores. We have so many of them at our house we have to sharpee initials on them. They’re so easy for little hands to grab and have so many nooks and crannies to munch on. They’re great for stroller and car rides or just time in the bouncy seat, especially when you don’t want your little one falling asleep with a pacifier.
Zip-up onesies (It doesn’t matter what brand): Because what bleary-eyed parent can deal with snaps, especially the maze of metal in the diaper zone? For twin moms, zip-up onesies are a must. How else are you going to do everything like change diapers and outfits doubly fast? Personally I think over-the-head onesies are overrated! You can find plenty of cute ones that zip.
Fisher-Price Precious Planet 2-in-1 Projection Mobile: I had to look up the official name and to be honest, my husband was the one who picked this out for us. But it’s cool – the little projected images are eye-catching – and along with a full array of soothing sounds, it’ll keep your baby’s attention in those key moments when you need him (or her) to relax and start thinking about bedtime, or just to give you a minute or two of quiet to answer a phone call. We liked ours so much for Wade we bought a second to use for our twins.