Clothes are always a favorite at baby showers and for good reason. They are both necessary and adorable. However, the following are some of my favorite non-clothing, baby-related products that I’ve either given or received as baby shower gifts. Suggestions are given for those pregnant with their first child and those who already have one or more kids.
aden + anais Swaddle Blankets (Amazon Affiliate Link) – I LOVE these blankets. I received about a million receiving blankets at the showers of my first two kids. However, none of them were really big enough to effectively swaddle my newborn after the first week. These ones are big enough for about as long as you’d want to swaddle your child. Not only that, but they’re attractive and lightweight. In additional to swaddling, I used them as nursing covers, for shade, and as burp rags. They’re great in the summertime and they store easily in the diaper bag. I didn’t leave home without one for almost a year. Sure you could make something similar yourself, but in my opinion, these are well worth the cost.
The New First Three Years – This was basically my baby bible with my first child. The over-arching theme is to prevent your child from learning to cry for attention by making sure they don’t get bored and then teach them the life-long lesson that they are extremely important and well-loved, but no more important than anyone else. As an engineer and a scientist, I recommend this to anyone that has a very pragmatic, scientific approach to the world.
The Vital Touch – I didn’t read this book until my first child was past the infant stage, but I thought it was absolutely fascinating. It backed up a lot of the choices I’d made for my child anyway, but I wished I had read it when I was pregnant, so I would have had more confidence in some of the methods of parenting I’d chosen. As someone who is very interested in living as naturally and simply as possible, I’d recommend this to anyone who has a somewhat earthy, environmentally-conscious, humanitarian approach to life.
The Happiest Baby on the Block – After reading this book, I challenged my newborn to cry. I was excited to try the techniques described to soothe my child and while I was not as effective as the author, they definitely helped. Even if one can’t make their child stop crying, this book eases and prevents the hopelessness one can feel when their baby is suffering from colic or any unexplained crying.
Baby Sign Language Basics – Baby signing had such a positive effect on our family that I highly recommend it to any new parents. This book is a good place to start to learn both the motivation for signing as well as many of the most useful signs. (Click here to read more about our experience with baby signing.)
Blueberry Girl – This fairy-tale style wish with a modern twist for a little girl’s future would be a great baby shower gift for someone pregnant with a girl.
Let Me Hold You Longer – When a new parent is struggling with sleepless nights and the challenges of caring for a new person, this book is a good reminder that it won’t last forever and that we should appreciate every moment we spend with our children. It features a son, making this ideal for someone pregnant with a boy, but really it’s a great reminder for the parent of any gender. (I should point out, it does mention God briefly on the last page.)
Goodnight Moon – Okay, this may be a standard choice, but I really do feel that EVERY child needs this in their library. No, you’re not really supposed to understand the appeal, but trust me, it WILL appeal to your baby. Both of my children loved this book so much in their first year, that they basically had it memorized. I think a love of books is so important, and this one is pretty much fail-safe with kids under the age of 2.
The Going-to-Bed Book – If you’re worried that Goodnight Moon might already be a part of the baby’s collection as it is one of the most popular baby books of all time, this one by Sandra Boynton is a great alternative. It’s cute and rhyming and features cartoon animals which all babies love.
Baby Mirror (Amazon Affiliate Link) – Child safe mirrors make great first toys for babies as they love looking at themselves. Also, they are highly motivating for getting one’s head off the ground during tummy-time. None of my kids have been particularly fond of tummy time, but this usually would buy me several minutes a day.
Moby Wrap – My second child lived in this carrier for at least 3 months and continued to be in it off and on until she was almost 5 months old. She nursed in it, slept in it, and watched the world from it. I put it on when I woke up and took it off when I went to bed. I don’t know what I would have done without it. (Updated to add: If you know the size of the parent, a K’Tan is basically the same as a Moby, but a lot easier to use.)
ERGObaby Carrier – Neither of my children ever lived in the Ergobaby carrier the way they did with the Moby, but it was essential for me from about 5 months on. I still use it regularly with my 18 month old, and I put my older child in it periodically until he was at least 2 and half. (Updated to add: a Boba 4G is just as good and is my new carrier of choice.)
Siblings Without Rivalry – I felt like this book was extremely helpful and engaging. It offers guidance on dealing with conflict as well as several strategies for preventing issues in the first place. It also helps parents to be more understanding of the strain that might be present for the older child following the birth of a new sibling.
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids – There are certain frustrations that arise with two kids (mainly directed at the older child) that were not present when the older child was the one and only. This book will help mothers to remain calm and understanding with their older child and maintain the close relationship that they had before the presence of the new child. This is my favorite parenting book of all time, though I admittedly didn’t need to use many of these strategies until I had 2 kids.
Moby Wrap – Some people can get away without a carrier with their first child, but I don’t know how anyone could manage without one with their second. There was no sibling jealously between my two kids as I could do nearly everything with my older child that I could while I was 9 month pregnant once the new baby came. (Updated to add: As mentioned above, a K’Tan is basically the same as a Moby, but a lot easier to use. The only downside is that it is sized, so it will likely only fit one parent.)
On Mother’s Lap (Amazon Affiliate Link) – A really sweet children’s book that helps assure the older child that the mother will always have room on her lap for him and that her love will not diminish due to the presence of a new child.
Baby Signing Time (Amazon Affiliate Link) – Not only will this DVD help teach the new baby to communicate, but the older child will enjoy it. My 3 and a half year old memorized all the songs from Volume 1 and learned many of the signs as well. (More baby signing thoughts here.)
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