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A little help from the savvy moms out there

I’m about to find out how many women are out there reading this blog. I’ll be attending, (possibly throwing), a baby shower for a good friend of mine in the near future. I don’t have any children of my own, and despite working in day care centers for years, I have no idea what the parent of an infant child really needs.

I’ve been to a zillion baby showers, and up until now, I’ve always bought cute little baby outfits and terry cloth robes. But a few days ago I was talking with a group of mothers who told me they ended up spending hundreds of dollars in stores despite having multiple baby showers. One of the biggest complaints — that they received baby outfits their baby would never fit into. My nephew for example only wore size 0-3 months for about three days. Another mom complained because her first baby was a little boy. She announced the sex before the shower and everyone brought something blue. Her next baby was a little girl, so she went out and bought all new clothes for her. She says in retrospect she wishes she had told everyone to buy clothes in “non-gender” specific colors so that the new baby could have just worn hand-me-downs.

So I’m all for buying cute little baby things, but in the end that doesn’t seem very practical. Instead I’m currently scouting for practical gifts the mother & father-to-be might actually use for more than one day.

I can’t seem to come up with a list that doesn’t make me look frugal. If I buy items like diapers or baby soaps and powders, I’m afraid I’ll come off looking like a cheapskate. I could go in on a group gift with a couple of other girls, but even then I’m not sure what type of infant gifts are more fluff than necessary.

If you had a baby shower what gift did you appreciate the most? What would you give a first-time mother? If you post a comment I will be ever so grateful. I do hope to give the new parents-to-be something practical.

Tiredbuthappy

Saturday 1st of April 2006

Oh, man, do I ever have some opinions about this topic. Here are a few suggestions.

1. Encourage the parents-to-be to register, preferrably at Babies R Us which is a national chain and where non-local family members can shop online. Make sure they register for multiple things at each price point so work friends can spend only a little while grandparents can buy big-ticket items.

2. If they don't register, or even if they do, a gift certificate (again, Babies R Us is a good bet) will be ever-so-appreciated. When they get everything on their registry except that ONE thing they can't live without, they'll be glad to have the gift certificate.

3. Gift certificates to online bookstores are also good. Mama's going to need breastfeeding books or parenting books or whatever. They'll get six copies of Good Night Moon, but they won't get any copies of their own favorite books from childhood which they will really want to have for their baby. Or you could go out and get a couple of your favorite children's books, especially the lesser known ones. That is really meaningful and will last longer than clothes.

4. Money! If you don't feel akward about it, give baby a bond or a brand new ING account or a 529 account or something. (probably bond or ING is best because of 529 minimum deposits). Even $25 will be appreciated. One of my poker buddies gave my son $20 in Sacajawea dollars. I've got them squirreled away for him.