Thursday, 10 January 2013

Give it to me Baby

A long time ago* in a far-away land, a beautiful young(ish) mother and father-to-be filled out their baby registry.  I can tell you now - they didn't know what they were doing.  They were first time parents and fairly completely clueless about what they'd need for their two impending bundles of joy.

The problem with baby showers and registries is that you don't know your baby yet and as novice parents you really don't know what you are going to need.  And you aren't going to know whether or not your child will hate the really expensive bouncer that their grandparents purchase them off of the registry.**

2012 marked a pregnant pause in arrested development amongst my 30 something peers - it was the year of mass conception.  What does this mean to me?  Other than finally having a place to ship the masses of  baby gear that Molly and Jack have outgrown?  It means that it's not Duck Season, it's not Rabbit Season - It's Baby Shower Season!

Below is my practical guide to navigate baby gift registries and beyond: I hope you find it helpful when registering or purchasing:

The Big Ticket Items:

Going together with a few people for these items really help the expecting parent(s) save some dough and will get used:
  • Stroller
  • Rocking Chair
  • Crib
  • Bassinett
  • Car Seat
  • High Chair
  • Baby carrier/bjorn***
  • Change table

The Practical Items: These are items that you truly can't have enough of!
  • Wash cloths
  • Hooded Towels
  • Bibs
  • Socks
  • Extra Large Receiving blankets****
  • Umbrella Strollers (or beater strollers - cheap ones that you can beat the crap out of that fold down to the size of a brolly)
  • Digital thermometer
  • One piece sleepers in various sizes with zippers*****
Image Courtesy of Amazing Diaper Cakes

Un-registered gifting: These have been some of my favourites that i've seen or been gifted myself:
  • Gift certificate for a pre or post-natal massage
  • A baby photographer booking
  • Gift card to have pictures printed
  • Wall mount wet/dry vac*****
  • Art work for the nursery
  • Diaper Cake (for those who are going the disposable route)
  • Personalized Blankets (initials or name if known)
  • Anything hand knit
  • Really cute unusual onesies and outfits that force parent's interests onto their offspring
  • Gift cards to Once Upon a Child, Baby Gap, Babies R US or anywhere that parents can get those last minute items they didn't know they needed
  • Gift basket including anti-bacterial hand sanitizers, soaps and wipes
  • Good quality children stories, that parents like too.*******

What were the most useful items on you've received or seen as shower gifts?

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*About 22 months ago.
**Ahem - Molly.
***Or carriers if the mother to be is packing multiples.
****For some reason most of these only come in newborn sized, you need the extra large ones to keep your baby burritos fresh, and swaddled.
*****Do you know how hard it is to line up matching buttons on a sleeper at 4am? 
******You'll understand when they start eating throwing solid food.
*******If I have to hear Sister Bear tell on Brother Bear one more time, that little snot is going to get a beating.  Wow, threatening children's literary characters, a new low - even for me.


  1. This is helpful for when we do our registry! When you say "baby carriers" for multiples, what do you mean? I was looking at the Weego Twin, but have read some flack on how it covers their faces. Also, the double strollers are just MONSTROUS. How did you lug the twins around in the early days?

    1. The early days were tough...our babies were even too small for traditional twin carriers until they were almost 2 months old. Twin carriers are great, but I'd opt for ones that allow for each parent to take the child too. I'd recommend trying some twin sales to get something cheap, because eventually you'll want to carry them apart.

    2. Unfortunately, my husband has made it clear that he does not want part of baby-wearing like I do. I have read that sometimes only one twin will like to be worn, but I'm trying to figure out walks and shopping. We looked at one of the front/back double strollers as opposed to the side by side and even when it was compressed, I swear it will fill our trunk. I think I'm going to have to just wait and see what works for us! Thanks for the help!

    3. The double strollers are big! We have a tandem one, side by side is too big to get in grocery store doors and wasn't as convenient for us. Our tandem does fill the trunk of our car, and we didn't want to have to buy a new car. I use it for longer walks solo or when I'm local - not using the trunk of the car. Once a baby can hold up their head(s) are a bit bigger I recommend getting two foldable cheap strollers (umbrellas are good if you're short, but you may need something with adjustable handles if you're taller) that you and your husband can use. I personally have done babywearing and pushed a stroller at the same time in emergency situations, but don't recommend it.

  2. Please do not buy a bjorn carrier or any of the " crotch danglers " They cause issues in babies hips, find one where the baby is basically in a sitting position ( like a wrap, or a ergo carrier ) - I'm not saying they ALWAYS do, but if you talked to an OT they'd tell you never to do it if you can avoid it. ~

    I found the phil and ted's double stroller to be great, as one's basically sitting on top ( not really but in regards to not being side by side or in front of ) it's like you're still pushing a single and the weight is better spaced out.

    I found change tables to be useless, but that's just me, I changed the boys anywhere and everywhere that had a flat surface. ( but that's just me, some people live by them )

    Agree with the socks, and zippered sleepers, also diapers in various sizes, not just the newborn / size 1 as they grow out of those so quickly. OR some nice cloth ones with inserts.

    I always like to make up a little " Med kit " (- Tylenol, Advil, gripe water, a few syringes, thermometer, ect. )

    1. The other thing about crotch danglers once the kids get older is that the kids will often square dad when they kick their legs :> I tried the wrap carrier when our kids were too tiny for traditional carriers that I had access to, but found the wrap too complicated to manage when dealing with two infants and returned it to the store...I don't know how you managed that wrap Jme, it was like the most complicated origami fabric ever to me! Maybe the sling ones would be good - i've heard wonderful things about them!

    2. Thanks for the info JME. I had been reading up on that and though that the Weego was not a "crotch dangler", turns out it is! It just has a bag to cover it. I have seen some pictures of women wearing both twins with a wrap, but I heard other complain of hurting their backs like that. I need to talk my husband in to baby wearing so that we can go the wrap route and I don't have to try and carry both at the same time. Wish me luck on that! Thank you for the help on the wrap & other info!

    3. Sara, I LOVED my wrap and wish my Jack still fit in it.. I am also in love with my Ergo and when I'm not wearing Jack in it, I still wear Liam sometimes ( on my back - he's 37 lbs, lol )

      some wrap come in different lengths, so it gets tricky... Lindsay Lou if you're looking for a good one, I recommend the boba ( it used to be called the sleepy wrap )

      I also forgot to mention in my first post, an amazing carseat that goes from 5lbs rear facing, to forward and 120lbs - it's the Diono Radian ( used to be sunshine kids ) they are the best car seats in the world! ( I have 3 of them )

  3. Very handy list. We had a baby on December 9th. Since then, we went out and bought a swing and a warmer snowsuit. The snowsuit is down / feather filled as I wanted the warmest possible (no car). I've realized we have lots of 0-3 onesies and sleepers, but once she hits 6 months we may have to go out and buy some more clothes. You're right about the big swaddle clothes, we only have two and we use them all the time. Gift cards are awesome, but you know what is even more versatile? Those Visa gift cards. I know using them more than once results in some form of fee, but gift cards only to Toys R Us means you can't get the item cheaper at Walmart (if on sale) with your gift cards. Also, if you plan to breast feed, stick some bras on your list (as they aren't cheap to buy). I like the Medela sleeper bras. They are cotton and the other bras with the snaps don't seem to breathe as well. And an item not on a registry that would be very handy to a new mom (breast feeding again) is a shirt from Way better than Thyme breastfeeding shirts. Oh and I use my Moby wrap, I don't find it too complicated at this point, but it took some practice. Putting it on my partner helped me figure out how to more easily put it on myself.

    And I have one more suggestion / story. If you register with Toys R Us, they often use Purolator to ship your stuff. I had a lot of issues with Purolator. They would come to my apartment, I would be at work, then they would end up shipping my parcel back to the warehouse and call me. Then I would have to pick up my parcel at some location in the city. Trekking around, carrying parcels, in Toronto in the late fall, at 8-9 months pregnant was not fun. Once they didn't even call me to tell me I had a parcel and they returned my package to sender and I never got the gift! And once they called me, left a message with the wrong tracking #, and I had to spend hours finding the tracking # before they would ship the parcel back to the city. If I could do it over again, I would have parcels shipped to my work if possible. I think you can change mailing address, so once starting mat leave I would change the address to home. I wrote a complaint letter to Toys R Us and they apologized and sent me a 50.00 gift card. Though nice to have, it still wasn't worth that hassle!