Bored Housewives Network

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ask a Bored Housewife: How to Find a Reasonably Fabulous Baby Gift

Dear Bored Housewives,

I am apparently entering that phase of life that comes before 'aged' but after 'childhood' called 'everyone is having babies'. My boyfriend's best friend is expecting a little girl with his fiancée, their first child. Mom is 24 and Dad is 28 and they are both very, very excited (and so are we!).

We have already decided on the requisite knitted baby gifts to be made (assorted bibs with creative and funny patterns if we can find them) but we would like to include some other interesting gift for these new parents to be at their upcoming baby shower. I'd like something to offset the homemade knitted bits, and I'm wondering what was the best or most unusual or most useful baby gift you received? Or gave? Or wish you had received?

We are loving the student life right now but are hoping to invest in the little bundle as much as our budget will allow, which sadly means no space-age carseats but could include a reasonably fabulous item.

Thank you all very kindly.

I Had Better Get Used to This

Hmm... very good question. It's made me realize how little I remember about what I used or needed most with a newborn!


  • At 6:02 AM, Blogger landismom said…

    Well, in the most unusual category, when I was pregnant with my daughter, my dh and I moved across the country. My co-workers from the job I left in CA all banded together to throw us a shower, but they didn't want to get us 'stuff' since we were moving. They took up a collection, and gave us about $350 in "Jeffrey dollars," which is what Babies 'R Us gave out before they used gift cards (no, I'm not that old--this happened in 1999!). Unfortunately, they only came in $10 increments. Somehow, I did manage to hold onto them during our move, and they were enormously useful too.

    On the more useful & less unusual side, an adorable piggy bank.

  • At 1:49 PM, Blogger Joanne said…

    Hmmm. My son is only nine months old and I can't remember what we used when he was first home. Maybe books? I liked the Happiest Baby on the Block and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I had a swaddling blanket I really liked and used for a long time, the Amazing Miracle Blanket. And socks, we wear a lot of socks and onesies. Also, has some cute, funny onesies.

  • At 3:31 PM, Blogger Cataclysm said…

    Useful - My stepmother gave me like 20 receiving blankets and I used every one of them for everything (sometimes had to do a wash because while we had lots of sleepers and clothes, we went through the r-blankets like crazy).

    Also, we had like 10 baby hats and used all of them on our little baldie! And maybe its canadian hospitals but they give you a tied gauze tube to put on the babies head just after their born so the sooner we ditched it for a nice stretchy cotton one, the happier we all were.

    Like Joanne mentioned, Happiest Baby on the Block was by far the most useful book!

    And most useful item for the parent - a stereo for Rian's room so I could listen to groovy tunes at all hours of the night. Makes the midnight hours seem less grim.

    Fun-est - I bought a somewhat ugly mobile of sheep or cows in multicoloured hats for over Rian's change area and he LOVED it! He used to laugh when he saw 'his friends' and that was cute!

    There's not enough cyber-space here to list all the things I bought that weren't useful but suffice to say, if something looks tricky to get on, then it probably is... whats up with buttons on the back?? Man, I couldn't even get a non-snap 'traditional' onesie on him until he was sitting up on his own.

    Oh, and just thought of it - photo frames make wonderful pressies!! When R was 5 months, I looked around the house and realised that you wouldn't know we had a baby if you were just looking around at our walls! Then I had to buy some frames in a hurry!

    Good luck!

  • At 7:55 PM, Blogger Molly said…

    The absolute best shower gift we recieved was a Moby Wrap. It is a wrap style carrier that kept our baby happy and us sane for the first months (and even now).

    Hug and Hold and Cuddley Wrap are very similar to the Moby if you are in Canada.

  • At 8:22 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Music! There's so much absolutely terrible shrill caterwauling out there that tries to pass as music for children, and it can be hard to isolate the handful of good CDs that exist. I may be projecting a bit too much, but if you can hook your friends up with some tunes they can enjoy as a family, they'll love you even more than I bet they already do.

    Some suggestions:

    Elizabeth Mitchell is like an indie/folk rock god for children. We have both her CDs. You can listen to sample tracks on her site (my favourites are "Freight Train" and "Ladybug Picnic"), then order one or both CDs from

    Snowy and Chinook is a book and CD set that is absolutely lovely. It's put out by a small press, and all the bands are totally indie. This CD is part of our pre-bedtime ritual. Sam starts to yawn within five minutes of putting the disc on!

    Our latest favourite is Jack Johnson and Friends' collection of songs from the movie Curious George. I did not have high expectations of this one (it was a gift), but I loveloveLOVE it. You can listen to sample tracks on Amazon here.

    These are just a few suggestions, but I have many, many more if you're interested.

  • At 1:07 AM, Blogger ... said…

    Yep, I second the CD idea. It's even better if you burn a CD - choosing certain songs. One great album for kids and adults is the Rheostatics "Harmelodia". When my daughter was wee she loved a wide variety of music. She reallly loved Paul Simon's "Graceland" and Paul McCartney's "Mull of Kintyre". Yes, she was born a boomer. But what's nicer than a homemade cd - and you can even make some cool CD sleeve art. Nice.

    Oh, and facecloths. Man, I went through those.

  • At 5:53 AM, Blogger Captain Underpants said…

    Oh wow, thank you so much for all your replies to my question! These are all great ideas.

    Music is really important to all of us and I bet our friends will especially appreciate the time and care it takes to put together a few good CD's that everyone can enjoy...thanks for the suggestions, doppelganger, I'd love to hear more.

    Maybe we could put together a little set of CD's, a wake-up disc, a sleepy disc, a dancing disc...and put together a kit of useful items. Wasn't it in High Fidelity where making a mix tape for someone is the most special thing you can do for someone? Or something? That's what I got out of it, anyways.

    So please do keep the suggestions coming, if you've got them! And thanks again.

  • At 10:25 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    I second the Amazing Miracle Blanket, and fun onesies are always a good gift.

  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Joanne said…

    Man, I still don't have enough facecloths, that's a great recommendation.

  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    True dat. Before Sam was born, I got 30 or 40 washcloths as gifts, which I thought was a crazy amount. We go through them all in a week.

  • At 6:27 PM, Blogger Melissa said…

    i'm hopping on this comments bandwagon kind of late - but just wanted to say that my sister is a personal chef and she often gets people who have banded together & bought her services for a few days or a few meals. i think this is such a great idea considering that nobody has the energy to cook in those chaotic first few weeks after the baby arrives and it's so important to eat well & maintain your energy. if you're a good cook you could also just make home-made "good for one home-cooked meal" certificates and then just cook them a delicious meal yourself. i did this for a friend who had a traumatic birth, i would deliver meals to them a few times a week and they seemed to really apprecaite it. after my baby was born i recall the best gift that anybody got me was:

    1. my sister coming over a day or 2 after my baby was born and taking care of the baby for me for long enough for me to soak in the bath and relax for an hour or so.

    2. people stopping by with food - i LOVED that!

    wondering - what the heck did you guys use all those face cloths for?? wiping up puke?

  • At 9:15 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Oh my dear lord in heaven, you're right, Melissa. FOOD. Food in any form is an amazing gift, especially in the first couple of weeks. And if you stick around to wash the dishes afterward, your friends will kiss you. Possibly inappropriately.

    Melissa, to answer your question, Sam's had colds and god knows what else all winter, so I'm perpetually wiping fresh and/or dried boogers off his face. Hence all the washcloths.

  • At 6:18 AM, Blogger Joanne said…

    I guess mine spits up a lot so I like to have facecloths for that. Also I like to use them for his bath, and I usually use two because I don't want to wipe his face with the same cloth that I've just wiped his ... well, not his face. Also, once he started eating, at around six months, I liked to wipe his face and head after to get the food out of his hair and eyebrows. So that can be like six to eight a day, and I probably had like six total so it was a lot of laundry!

  • At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For my first child, I loved the size 2 splash suit. Initially, it just got put to the side,of course. As he grew, the clothes we got as presents diminished and we got on the pass-around clothes wagon. So, by the time he would fit in and need a splash suit, it was a wonderful find. A brand new outfit, that I woldn't have bought. I thought such wonderful thoughts of the giver 2 years later.
    If the mon will go back to work, the book 'Owl Babies' is beautiful.


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