Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Baby Shower Gifts That Are Total Don’ts

Now that spring is upon us, I’m sure most sane people’s minds turn to thoughts of Bridal Showers and Wedding gifts.  But since I’m nuts, everything becomes about babies.  It occurred to me that there may be thousands of childless people out there, scouring the internet, looking for gift suggestions and never realizing just what a minefield they are about to step into.  So in the interest of saving well-intentioned Baby Shower invitees pain and suffering, I present:

A Mom of Six’s Guide to Baby Shower Gifts That Sound Good — But Aren’t.

1. Gifts which reflect a lifestyle decision.

Examples: cloth diapers, waterproof diaper covers, bottle warmers, slings, playpens, breast pumps, etc.

Why it’s trouble:  Parents, especially first time parents, can be extremely touchy about their choices and a gift, which you assumed was in every home, may just lead to a five minute monologue on formula companies’ third world business practices.  Also, they may not be able to use them — slings, for example, can be extremely hard to fit, and don’t get me started on those pumps.

2. Parenting books.  Period.

Examples:  Anything with the words “Train” “System” “Attachment” “New” “Case” “Discipline” or “Sleep” in the title.

Why it’s trouble:  I have witnessed more fights between mothers over competing child raising ideologies than I proud to admit.  Most diehard adherents have convinced themselves that the other side has embarked on a course of child-abuse, and must be set right at the first, and every subsequent opportunity.  This would include saving an unsuspecting Mother-to-be from the terrible curse that your evil proselytizing tome will bring.  And when the fight starts, all the other guests will probably be more interested in keeping the peace then defending your free speech.  Leave these sore points on the shelf.

3. Gifts that (accidentally) create work.

Examples:  Baby food makers, scrap booking kits, books of kid crafts.

Why it’s trouble:  New moms are too busy to shower.  Don’t accidentally hand them a bunch guilt over all the stuff they an’t going to get done.

4. Ironic clothing gifts.

Examples: Onesies with pictures of rock bands, questionable sayings, “Future ” whatevers, jokes at the expense of the child who is wearing it.

Why it’s trouble:  Yeah, it may have seemed cool at the kiosk at the Mall, but would you entrust a child to the guy selling them?  I rest my case.

Luckily for you dear Gift Shopper, there are a million other good options:

  1. Board books — after reading the same 6 pages over and over, Mom will thank you for the variety.
  2. Children’s Classics in hardcover — baby may be able to pass them down to his own children.
  3. Feeding plates, spoons, and sippy cups — you can never have too many of these.
  4. Clothing that makes you involuntarily emit vowel sounds its so cute – see above.  Plus, new parents tend to be broke, and have to scrimp on the fun clothes in favour of the necessities.
  5. Anything that the Mom asked for — yes, even if it contravenes those laws above.

I hope this little list saves you from the dreaded group stare, the “oohhh — well, oh, that’s different”, the cold shoulder at the punch table.  ‘Cuz anyone who says that women are the gentler sex has never been to a Gift Shower.

Happy gifting!

Happy Gifting!


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5 thoughts on “Baby Shower Gifts That Are Total Don’ts

  1. Perfect list. I still have two “scrapbook baskets” full of things I’m supposed to use to scrapbook from my baby showers. Anyone who knows me knows that I am incapable of scrapbooking.

  2. Excellent advice!

  3. Well Liz, those are warring words…

    I totally give books! Things like “Happiest Baby on the Block” are none-threatening and don’t suggest that you should either sleep with your baby or let him cry out a lung. And slings (with the receipt of course but who doesn’t have a baby carrier?) And the best unrequested gift I ever received was the Baby Bullet food maker! It’s convenient and makes delicious baby food out of anything that we eat (unlike jarred food that we can’t even identify at a baby shower) and I give it to them in any regular dishes because who needs special baby plates? LOL

    Oh, even funnier: the person who gave me the baby bullet had “funny” onesies made for the twins. “If you think I’m cute, you should see my 7 siblings!” Of course, I’m now looking for whoever will print me matching onesies with “He’s the evil one” and “She’s the evil one” . But twins are a special case: it’s only reasonable that I should be able to have a chuckle at their expense after 7 months (and counting) of NO SLEEP.

    However I also give board books and classics. One of my favorite for gifting is “Goodnight Gorilla” .

  4. One of the best baby gifts I ever got, (seventeen years ago!) was a hardcover collection of illustrated Beatrix Potter stories. My little Sam loved Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden, and once, I was able to calm him out of a tantrum by offering to treat his “tummyache” with chamomile tea, like Mrs. Rabbit did. One of my favorite memories with my Tommy was reading The Wizard of Oz together while Sam was at school. I don’t think either of the boys remember this, but those books were gifts I will never forget.

  5. Love these suggestions, Liz, and I totally agree. Your post made me think back to my own baby shower and some of the, um, unique gifts I received. Then again, before I had kids I had no idea what I needed so I was grateful for everything! 🙂

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