I love shopping for babies. Actually, I love shopping for unique gifts for babies. Buying a box of diapers doesn’t really do anything for me.  When I gave these adorable baby shower gifts I believed I was being really thoughtful about the mom. I assumed she would truly love the gift I selected; especially because I thought I was buying her a gift that she would never splurge on herself.

I thought wrong! I got “schooled” recently when I was talking with a few first-time moms.

One mom told me all she and her husband wanted was the practical stuff because they didn’t have anything. “I don’t think it’s bad for a baby to wear the same clothes over and over,” she said. “My baby doesn’t need a wardrobe bigger than mine! But what I did need was diapers. And wet wipes. And a car seat. And a high chair. And crib sheets. You know, the practical stuff. But my baby shower guests decided to buy us stuff that we’ll never use. We got several bracelets…for the baby. And frilly burp cloths and silk socks. The list goes on and on.”

Other first-time moms agreed.  “If you already have a kid, then the one-of-a-kind gifts are great because you already have the basic stuff,” she said. “But for the first kid, I really needed the basics. I know a lot of the basics are more expensive, so I was happy when the people from my office all chipped in on a car seat for us. I’d really appreciated that rather that getting 15 small items that we don’t really need.”

If you’re buying a baby shower gift for a first-time mom, here are our suggestions.

25 Must-Have Practical Gifts For A Baby Shower For The First Time Mom

  1. Diapers. I know they’re boring, but we all know they’re necessary. Want to put a cool twist on it? Give them a diaper subscription to keep them in diapers for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.
  2. Wet wipes. What in the world did we do before wet wipes were invented? Like diapers, you can give the first-time mom a subscription to receive wet wipes so you don’t need to buy a carton of them to give her at the baby shower.
  3. Diaper rash ointment. Keep that sweet baby bottom comfortable. If your Mom-to-Be relies on organic products, she’ll appreciate this ointment.
  4. Car seat. Unless you live in New York City, you pretty much need a car seat. Be sure to buy a car seat that’s for a newborn. Check this guide by the NHTSA.
  5. Baby carrier. Either the wearable type or the traditional baby carrier that the baby sits in and the parent carries it by the handle.
  6. Baby stroller. It’s arguable whether a stroller is a “must have” but if Mom wants to walk the baby, the stroller is a must-have. A stroller is also nice to have when she wants to go to the mall, farmer’s market, etc but she could use a wearable baby carrier for these destinations. 
  7. Infant seat. Dad gets the Barcalounger and baby gets his/her own chair too. Some are better for active bouncing while others are better for sleeping/resting.
  8. Crib. Baby needs a bed!
  9. Crib mattress. Crib mattresses are made specifically to fit cribs. A snug fit is essential for baby’s safety.
  10. Crib sheets. A few sets are welcome so Mom doesn’t have to wash sheets daily.
  11. Waterproof mattress protector. To protect the mattress from baby’s accidents.
  12. Cabinet latches. Certainly not needed the day baby comes home, but it won’t be long before baby is mobile and the dangers in the cabinets range from something heavy falling on the baby to baby getting into cleaning supplies that could poison him or items she could choke on.
  13. Outlet covers. Safety first!
  14. Baby gate (if they have stairs). Once baby is mobile, let’s not risk a tumble down the stairs.
  15. High chair. When selecting a high chair, consider how much space the family has to store the chair or if a portable high chair or a hook-on chair would serve the family best.
  16. Infant feeding spoon. Here’s a “must have” that can also be unique. Whatever you select, be sure it’s dishwasher safe (no silver spoons please!)
  17. Waterproof changing pad. The changing table isn’t a “must-have” but the waterproof changing pad is. It can be set on a bed, a couch, the floor to change the baby’s diaper.
  18. Baby bath towels. They’re softer than your towel for the baby’s sensitive skin.
  19. Infant tub. For the baby’s safety an infant tub is a must. Plus, it helps the new parents feel more confident bathing the newborn.
  20. Bath seat. In just a few short months, when the baby is sitting up, they’ll transition from the baby tub to the bath tub. The bath seat will keep them upright so they don’t slip under the water. (Even still, a baby should never be left in a bathtub unattended.)
  21. Baby bath wash and shampoo. Made especially for baby’s gentle skin. 
  22. Baby comb and brush set. An adult’s brush is much too harsh for a baby. A gentle baby brush is made specifically for little ones.
  23. Nail scissors/nail clippers. Baby clippers used to be miniature versions of adult nail clippers. But not any more. We like these baby clippers that won’t cut baby’s skin and protect the sensitive nail bed. 
  24. Nursing bras. First-time moms need a lot of items for the baby. But they also need a few things for themselves. Nursing bras are at the top of that list of must-haves. 
  25. Nursing pads. New moms benefit from nursing pads that absorb breast milk that commonly leaks. There are also Hydrogel pads that help soothe and heal sore nipples. Giving the mom-to-be a supply of both. The first is practical. And the second is deeply appreciated.