Guest Blog: Go-To Gifts for Baby

Katie Morison is a writer, web editor, former news producer and avid Yankees fan. She and her husband are parents to an almost-2-year-old daughter and live in Queens, New York. You can read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @katieyankees.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was excited, overjoyed…and completely terrified. I think what I was most afraid of, in retrospect, was the loss of control that comes with becoming a parent. And since I’m a planner by nature, I coped with all this uncertainty and anxiety by trying to control the things I could, like the baby registry.

I spent hours researching baby items large and small. I’m ashamed to admit how much time I spent deciding between different brands of infant nail clippers or wash cloths. I was positive I’d thought of everything I could possibly need, which is why I was surprised to receive a number of shower and baby gifts I’d never even heard of. I found myself thinking, “Who is Sophie the Giraffe?” “What is this AngelDear blanket for?” Ironically enough, it’s those items that became some of my most prized possessions and they are now my go-to baby gifts for other new moms. I’m often asked by friends or coworkers who don’t have kids what they should buy as baby shower gifts, and here’s what I suggest:

Sophie the Giraffe: It seems inconceivable that I ever lived without the knowledge that this toy existed. Sure, there are lots of teething toys out there, but there’s really something special about that rubber French giraffe. All babies seem to scorn other teethers in favor of Sophie. And even if you receive more than one, it’s good to have a back-up for when your baby throws Sophie of the stroller and she’s gone forever (I speak from experience).

Halo SleepSack Swaddle: My daughter’s sleep improved immensely once we started swaddling her, but I could never quite master the technique with a blanket, especially in the middle of the night. I loved the Halo swaddle I received as a gift because it was so easy to Velcro and zip it open and closed, and it converted to a sleepsack once we were past the swaddling stage.

Aden and Anais Blankets: I never managed to successfully swaddle with them, but I still thought these muslin blankets are fantastic. They are wonderful for snuggling, come in lots of adorable patterns for girls and boys and hold up to tons of wear and tear and washing. I still use them as a lightweight stroller or car seat blanket for my toddler.

AngelDear Blankets: I received TWO of these — the yellow duck versions — as a shower gifts from close friends and been-there-done-that moms. These animal-headed blankets are super soft and cuddly and make wonderful “transitional objects” (another phrase I had never heard until I had a baby). My daughter immediately took to “Ducky” and we let her sleep with it in the crib once our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead. Now that faded yellow duck goes everywhere with us and I ended up buying two more so that we’d have multiple back-ups.

OXO Tot Bottle Brush and Stand: This isn’t the most exciting gift, but I used mine constantly for washing bottles and breast pump parts, and it was so helpful that it comes with its own stand.  It’s one of those very practical items that often gets left off a registry.

Baby Clothes for 6 Months and Up: There’s nothing more fun than shopping for teeny tiny baby clothes, so you can expect to receive a lot of newborn layette items as gifts. In fact, when my daughter was a newborn, I often found myself trying to make sure that I took a picture of her wearing each item of clothing at least once before she outgrew it! But often, after a few months, you’re on your own. That’s why I was so grateful that few wise friends and family members had given me clothes for my daughter in the 6-9 or 9-12 month size. It’s so much fun to pull out a brand new outfit for your older baby, and that’s now my strategy when it comes to buying baby clothes as gifts.

Moms-to-be do depend on their baby registries to stock up on essentials, so what I often do is buy one small item off the registry and pair it with one of my favorites. Everyone loves a surprise!

You can see more of Katie’s must-haves on her weeSpring page.

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