What NOT to Give New Parents
Attending a baby shower can be a bit of daunting prospect. There are so many different products marketed specifically for babies. There are whole stores devoted to them! So how’s a person to know what to grab and what to pass on? A safe bet is probably going to be anything from the registry, but we all know that there are still plenty of gift-givers who like the spontaneity and surprise of picking a gift themselves. And as a now mom of 2, I can attest to the fact that several of the things I had on my first baby registry were things I thought I needed and then never actually ended up using. If you’re wondering what I did use and love, you check out those posts here and here. But this post is about what not to give, so let’s get started.
Hand Print Mold
The funny thing about when I got mine, is that I actually bought it myself (face palm) How cute is the idea of forever having a memento showcasing just how tiny those little hands were? But, in practicality, trying to hold a baby while sticking their hand into plaster, and simultaneously trying to keep their hand flat for a good impression while keep them from just grabbing a handful of the mold, well . . . it’s like trying to wrestle a tiny octopus. By the end of it all, both the baby and I were crying. So unless the mom-to-be you’re gifting this to is a mortal enemy, just skip it.
I had so much fun decorating my daughters’ nurseries. Home decor is genuinely something I enjoy. I painstakingly planned every inch of their rooms. From the wall colors to the artwork to the placement of the furniture. I had a plan. What was not in the plan? Receiving any kind of decor that was not thought of, researched, or planned by me. And it’s definitely not something I would have appreciated. I already had everything all planned out and picked out, so I would not have been happy trying to work someone else’s ideas into my plan. And imagine if whatever was given was not at all my style! Just no. Unless that adorable piece of artwork or that cute lamp is on the registry, move on!
This goes with along with the “Say No to Nursery Decor” rule, but I wanted to reiterate that this includes those silver, engravable picture frames, the “Baby’s Sonogram” frames, even those collage frames that have holes for each month of baby’s first year. Unless it’s on the registry, you don’t know if these things are at all the mom-to-be’s style. So just don’t do it.
Yes, that little ruffly dress is adorable. And the little suspenders on that 3-piece suit? So. Stinkin. Cute! But let’s be real here . . . the chances of actually putting a baby in that outfit? Slim to none. My girls each wore a fancy dress one time. To their baptisms. I didn’t even get them that dolled up for Christmas. Because every parent knows that babies are So. Damn. Messy. Blowouts and spit up and drool, oh my! Trying to change a baby out of a 3-tiered ruffle dress after a poop-splosion (shudder) . . . I don’t even want to think about it. And then trying to clean said poop covered dress (which turns out to be dry-clean only) . . . Forget about it!
Oh, baby books. Emma’s 4 and I still haven’t finished hers. Baby books always sound like a good idea, in theory, but who really has the time? You’re sleep deprived, probably haven’t showered in a day or two, and are changing your 13th diaper of the morning. When exactly are you supposed to have time to fill in this book? Then you end up feeling guilty that you have it and never got around to it. So now not only are you exhausted, but you feel bad too. Let’s not do that to a mom, OK? She’s got enough on her plate.
The first problem here is potential skin sensitives. Until baby is born, you have no idea what baby will or will not have a reaction too. How would you feel if that super expensive baby lotion you bought gave the baby hives and ended up going right in the trash? Save your money and let Mom & Dad figure out what can and cannot touch baby’s skin. The second issue, is that babies don’t get baths every day. And when they do get a bath, you only use a tiny amount of product because they have tiny bodies. I kid you not, I’m still on the same bottle of baby shampoo/body wash that I started with when Charlie was a newborn . . . and she’s 15-months-old now! I’ve also got a closet full of more bottles or wash and lotion that will probably have to find a new home because she’ll be 12 before I’ve used it all (and honestly, some of it is leftover from Emma’s babyhood). Spend your money elsewhere.
“Baby’s First” items
As cute as that adorable Baby’s First Christmas ornament is, what happens if someone else had the same idea? Who’s ornament really was “first”? And what if Mom wanted to be the one to pick out her child’s first ornament? Think a “Baby’s First ______” outfit is safe? Try again! All babies grow at different speeds. For Emma’s first Christmas, she was a gigantic 9-month-old already well into 12-month clothing territory. But Charlie? She was also 9-months-old but still wearing 6-month sizes. None of it is a safe bet, so just skip it.
Step away from the teddy bears! Is that stuffed bunny adorable? Yes. Is it going to be baby’s best friend for all time (i.e. The Velveteen Rabbit)? Probably not. What it is going to to be is clutter. Somehow stuffed toys seem to multiply overnight and all of a sudden you’ve got a room full of dust magnets that baby doesn’t care about. That’s why they’re the bane of any parent’s existence. So please, please, don’t do it!
Towels and washcloths
Bringing it back to the whole “baby’s don’t take a bath every day” thing . . . there will be absolutely no need for a dozen hooded baby bath towels or washcloths. And really, who washes their towels after every use anyway? This mama ain’t got time for that much laundry. One or two will do fine. So if it’s on the registry, but someone has already purchased it, just move on. In this case, more is not better. And while we’re at it, skip the baby bathrobes too. While admittedly adorable, who’s going to wrestle a newborn into a robe just to wrestle them into their clothes a couple minutes later. No one, that’s who.
Do you have any more tips for things NOT to give new parents? What gifts did you
receive that you could have done without?