The Friday Question: What Are Your Favorite Baby Shower Gifts?

homemade baby food basketOut of all those colorful booties, soft blankets, and various contraptions, what baby gift was the most thoughtful or useful?  What gifts do you now give expectant families?

Among our favorite presents was a bag full of carefully selected, gently used baby garments.  Many people may shirk at receiving or giving hand-me-downs, but my sister-in-law knew that I ardently love recycled goods and bought me a huge bunch of clothes for the same price that she would have paid for one new outfit.   Another favorite gift was a copy of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree that was presented along with an young apple tree.  (It died later, but it’s the thought that counts!)  We were also gifted with items to borrow which included two slings and an Ergo carrier.  Being able to just use these items temporarily worked out perfectly!

My husband and I are still especially appreciative for the gifts of support we received.  Friends volunteered to baby sit for our eldest son, prepared meals and refinished our table for us. Those acts of service were incredibly helpful and low cost.

What gifts do I give?  While I truly believe that our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet is a great shower gift, it’s pretty presumptuous for me to foist it upon others without giving them some other goodies.  Baby baskets are always good bets and the one in the picture features tools for making homemade baby food.  I also love buying practical stuff that will be used many times like cloth diapers, crib sheets or eco-friendly baby toiletries.

Please share your gift ideas with the rest of us!


  1. We asked for and have received peoples favorite children’s books as gifts for our son. We have got the gamut from Dr. Seuss to the Hungry Caterpillar to Kippling. People put appreciable thought in to the gifts and give something of themselves.

    Other ideas I like are a wetbag (for cloth diapers, or just the messes little people make, then swimsuits when they are older), really nice washcloths, and hand made sweaters.

    For a first birthday on of the best presents my son received was a big container of animal crackers.

  2. I love to give homemade cloth diapers (contour kind – very simple to make with a serger) and a few covers… even if people are not planning on using cloth, it’s a good nudge in the “green” direction and the diapers can be used as burp cloths, etc. if they really aren’t in to cloth diapering (though, how you could not, I just don’t know). 😉

    One word of warning, I “gave” someone who I thought was a very good friend some sentimental things from our 1st son without being very, very specific as to the nature of the “gift” (as in, this is the moses basket we used for our son, we’d like for you to use it but expect it back when you’re done) and we didn’t get them back 🙁 Usually that type of sharing is fine, just be sure to be gently specific about the loan if it’s something you need back.

  3. Fave gift to give: I have a friend who has a small business making handwoven goods. So I always give expectant parents a handwoven, cotton baby blanket. They’re amazingly soft and incredibly durable. I got my own handloom for Christmas so I’ll probably make my own in the future.

    Fave gift received: The nice thing about having a friend who handweaves baby blankets (other than not having to think about gifts for baby showers) is that I got one too 🙂

  4. We just had our first (of 3!) showers. The amount of stuff collected was pretty astounding. And, while it is useful, and many of the things are SO cute, I love the idea of getting gently used hand me downs (we did get a huge amount of our baby stuff this way – just not at the shower). My favorite gifts from this shower were the books – to second Leigh’s nomination. I can always borrow or purchase clothes or gear, but the thought put into the books and the inscriptions written in the covers are simply priceless. My other favorite gifts? Family heirlooms that my grandmother used with my father and his siblings, which were then passed down to my cousins, and have now been given to my family. And of course, I’ll be passing them along to my siblings or cousins when the time comes.

  5. I too asked for people to give their favorite children’s books at one of my showers. I love the range of books I got–some I started reading to the baby right away, some he is just now ready for at 3, and some will be kept aside till he’s 6 or so.

    My best-received gift that I have given was a “First Night Home” kit that included (gently used) PJs for baby, a new organic cotton nursing bra and nursing pads for Mom (the two things I most wished I had my first night home when I was leaking everywhere!), and a bedtime storybook.

    One thing I noticed at my own shower was that only one person (a mom herself) included in the bag some things for me: a tube of Lansinoh and a small box of chocolate truffles. Since then I’ve always tried to include something just for mom in my shower presents.

  6. I’ll throw in another vote for baby books! I’ve loved getting anything hand made as well. I got a beautiful crocheted blanket once and some adorable wooden toys.
    For my first child I also really loved getting both an ear thermometer and a rectal one so I sometimes give those as gifts along with some infant tylenol.
    I’ve also given lansinoh and nursing pads to encourage breast feeding, but I think I want to add truffles in there as well. Thanks for the idea, Larisa!

  7. It’s been a while, but I think you can never have too many receiving blankets and burp rags. I liked my receiving blankets BIG, so you could still swaddle the 6 month old. After my second baby I wanted to steal the ones from the hospital. It’s hard to find ones in a store as big as those. Also, those flannel backed rubber pads to put down in the crib were so great for avoiding middle of the night crib sheet changes. I actually have kept those and use them when one of my kids is sick. My favorite burp rags were the the old-fashioned cloth diapers, made by Gerber, came in a 12-pack, I think they were called birds-eye weave. They were lightweight so you could pack several, big enough to give good coverage and very absorbent.

  8. We received a lot of used clothes at our baby showers, which was great, because we have hardly had to buy any clothes for our daughter yet. It has been really nice to have plenty of clothes at each stage. And I love that most of them are used.

    But the one thing that I wish I had gotten (and now I will give at every baby shower I go to!) are those little onesies with the mittens on them. It is so hard to keep a newborn’s fingernails trimmed, and our daughter was constantly scratching at her face. Plus, I really liked that they kept her hands warm at night. That was one of the few pieces of clothing that we had to buy ourselves after she was born.

    I would have to disagree with Eileen and say that yes, you can have too many receiving blankets! 😉 We have a whole drawer full of them, and really don’t need that many. 🙂

  9. I LOVED getting the cloth diapers that I registered for…so I always try to buy a cloth diaper or two for my friends. It is truly a blessing to know with each cloth diaper given…money and the earth benefit!
    I like to give warm little hats too b/c you can always use those!

  10. I have three kids and had showers for the first 2. The first shower that I had with my son was fun, but I got all the typical (stuff you don’t really use, but people like to buy) baby items. IE, cutesy clothes, baby toys. My favorite thing from that shower was a handmade flannel blanket that someone had made for my son with inscriptions sewn into it. The shower I had for my daughter was also a lot of clothing and not too many practical things. My favorite thing to give is a laundry basket with the essentials like tylenol, a humidifier, and crib sheets. Those things get lots of use. I like the book idea also, but think that a re-use shower would be awesome. Most people just have their baby stuff rotting away somewhere in their house. I imagine lots of people would love to give gently used items instead of going out to buy new. However, I know that a LOT of first time moms are weird about using used things. So, it’s kind of a catch 22.

  11. My favorite gifts were baby carriers – the Ergo is great, but my slings are still my favorites. I received three beautiful handmade quilts which I know we will treasure always. I love hand me down clothes from friends and I love handing down our clothes as well. Knowing that these tiny garments will get used and loved some more is comforting since they have such a short life with quickly growing babies. Baby leg warmers make a great gift – diaper changes are easier with leg warmers instead of pants and if the mom – to – be is planning to EC, these make it even more feasible. When I’m giving a shower gift, I try to go in with a group of people to purchase a big ticket item from the registry as these can be overwhelming for the new parents to purchase, but I also loved receiving a basket full of smaller items. I think that registries have helped people so much in purchasing something that the new mom really wants or needs and has cut out a lot of unnecessary purchasing…and returning.

  12. Patemm changing pads. If I’m going out for quick trip, I just grab the patemm and it had everything I need to change my toddler’s diaper.

  13. I vote for books with beautiful illustrations.
    My niece is having a baby girl this summer and I am counting on buying her the new Disney Fairy book, ” Disney Fairies (Graphic Novel #1)” which comes out April 13th, for her baby shower present. I think that the beautiful colors and illustrations are fun for babies to look at, and it is a classic that any child can grow up with.

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