How To Pick the Perfect Baby Shower Gift

If you read Sue’s post last week, you’re already well-informed as to what a new breast-feeding mom might really need. That doesn’t always mean that essential items like nursing bras or nipple cream make it onto a gift registry.  Some women feel uncomfortable putting more “intimate” items on a public registry and others just don’t know what they’ll really need. In other words, trying to balance your personal knowledge about useful breastfeeding products with what’s actually on a registry can be a tall order.

This is a struggle that I (and my lovely co-workers) frequently face when buying baby shower presents. Here are a few guidelines we’ve come up with to put together great baby shower gifts that moms will actually need and use. These aren’t one-size fits all instructions, but will hopefully give you some ideas to ponder the next time you get an invitation to a shower.

Step One: Think Hard about the Giftee

So you’re getting someone a present. The first step in this gift-giving process should be a long, hard think about the individual you are buying for. What kind of style do they like? What is their economic level? How would they feel if you bought them something not on their registry? The answers to all of these questions should inform your purchase. After all, you’re buying this present for them.

Step 2: Consider Your Relationship with the Giftee

Once you’ve reviewed your friend’s tastes and personality, it’s time to consider your relationship with that person. What you buy and how much you spend are often determined by how close you are with a person. Below we’ve outlined a few different friendship tiers and how you might want to approach gift-buying for each level.


If you’re a work friend, budding acquaintance, or distant relative you may want to show your support to the expecting family without necessarily spending too much money or energy. In this position, I would just buy something straight from the baby registry!

Image Via BlogHer
Image via BlogHer

Buying presents off of registries seems “too easy”….but that’s exactly the point. Gift registries are supposed to be easy for everyone involved, taking out the guesswork of buying presents. Get a card, wrap the present, and you’ve officially succeeded at buying a baby gift.

Casual Friend

You’ve known the giftee for a lengthy enough period of time that you want to throw in a personal touch to your gift. In this situation, it would still be a good idea to start with the registry. Choose one or two items off the registry, and then look for something fun to add on. Nursing necklaces, like the ones picture below, can be a fun and fashionable add on that many mother’s might not think to buy themselves.

Teethease Livy Necklaces-2

Other fun and fashionable ideas could be nursing scarves, nursing covers, or some adorable swaddle blankets. Just a little something to let your friend know you went the extra mile.

Close Friend

Now remember, just because you’re close doesn’t give you carte blanche to  buy anything you feel like all willy-nilly. Step one of buying a gift is to consider the giftee. If you know they wouldn’t like you to go off-book, put simply, don’t. Additionally, many second and third time mom’s know exactly what they need/want so it might be more considerate to follow their wishes.

That said, as a close friend you may want to use a gift registry as a set of rough guidelines instead of the absolute gospel. When people are buying things for themselves or adding items to a registry, cost is often a central concern leading many to register for items at low price points. If you think this might be the case for the mother-to-be you’re purchasing for, look at the types of products your friend is after, then buy an “upgraded” version.

What does this look like? Well, imagine your mom-to-be registered for run-of-the-mill nursing pads. Instead of buying the pads she’s registered for, you might want to “upgrade” to Bamboobies nursing pads which are easily some of the softest on the market!

Nursing pad upgrade example

I recently did this for a friend. She was registered for run-of-the-mill pads, so I ended up buying two types of washable pads we carry in-store. Were they what my friend asked for? No. Does she love them anyway? Yes.

Best Friend/Close Relative

If you’re the best friend of the mother-to-be, or a parent or grandparent, this is your time to shine…while remembering it’s still all about the future parents and unborn child. Beyond taking care of some of the high-ticket registry items, this is the perfect time to think about making a New Mom Gift Basket.

If you’re making a gift basket, the first thing you’ll want to do is pick a theme. If you’re having trouble with that, here are some themes we brainstormed at the office:

  • All About the Breasts Basket
    • Ideal Items: nipple cream, nursing bras, nursing pads
  • Newborn Basket
    • Ideal Items: burp clothes, swaddle blankets, baby carrier, pacifiers
  • Pampered Mom Basket
    • Ideal items: Lactation cookies, Birds and Bees pregnancy teas, heating pad, maternity hosiery
  • Baby Feeding Basket
    • Ideal items: bottles, bottle nipples, bottle warmer, nursing pillow

Tip: Many first time moms don’t know what they want, so buying multiple types of the same product is a great way to help her find what works for her.

Basically, any of these baskets will make you look like a hero and significantly help parents on their baby making adventure.

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