By Brandi M. Seals
Every time I go to a baby shower I notice the same gifts every time. It makes sense. There are only so many things that a child needs. But, if you want the person having the baby to actually keep the gift, it is a good idea to avoid those items that are often received in multiples.
Think back to the last shower you went to. Was there a gift registry created for you to shop from? Only a few years ago it was uncommon for someone to have a baby registry, now it seems like every store offers one. They are a great way to start. Find out where the expectant mother is registered then head to the store and see what they want. That way if you have trouble coming up with ideas, you will have somewhere to turn.
I know some people do not like shopping from registries because it does not feel as special or you are not able to pick out things that you think the baby would like. If you want to give something common like a baby monitor, bottles, or receiving blanket, you really should check the registry. That way you know what kind the parents want, but more importantly you know if the items have already been purchased. If you want to do something special like buy a baby book or toy for the child, there is no real need to check the registry.
If the person you are shopping for has not made a registry and has no plans to do so, there are a few things you can do so that the blanket you spent an hour picking out does not end up in the return pile with 15 other blankets. The single most important thing you can do is avoid common gifts.
Top Common Gifts
It is true the child will need blankets, but does he or she need 30 of them? I know many people find it hard to resist soft, cuddly blankets when they are gift shopping, but yours may not make the cut when the mom-to-be starts to go through all the gifts to see what they really do not need. If at all possible, avoid giving a baby blanket to a mom without a registry. Try to find something cute instead. Buy crib sheets or towels. One great gift that often gets overlooked is the hooded towel. Trust me; a wriggling infant will look adorable drying off after their bath with a doggy hooded towel. It makes for a great alternative.
Baby bottle are great in moderation, but like blankets they seem to crop up in exaggerated numbers. After my sister's baby shower, she had 32 bottles to choose from. That was way more than she needed. She took some back and got a fingernail clipping kit for the baby and some other basics.
Not all moms use pacifiers. Some think they are horrible things used by inattentive mothers. Others swear by them, saying they help the baby develop its sucking reflex. Unless you know which way the mom-to-be feels, it may be better to come up with something else.
Onesies are great. They are a basic that will be used on a daily basis. It seems like the more you have the better off you would be. That is true to a point, but what happens when all those onesies are the same size and the baby outgrows them quickly? Everyone loves to buy something the baby can use right away. They grab a pack of onesies sized 0-3 months. However, the mother and baby would be better off if they had a consistent supply of onesies throughout infancy. Instead of grabbing the 0-3 month size (which many babies only wear for a month or two) opt for the larger sizes. Grab some 3-6 months or 6-9 months. Trust me, mom will need them and she will keep them for when the time is right.
Bibs are cute. They come with different sayings and made from different textures. Some moms like plastic and practical bibs that are easy to clean, others like the cutesie ones. What they do not need, is 15 different bibs. One for each day of the week would probably be fine. If you must get a bib, try to get something distinctive that will appeal to the mom or dad. For example, buy a bib that reads 'Daddy's little girl' or one that says 'What are you looking at?'