Moms Share The Best Pre-Baby Gift They Received

Babies bring a lot into your life. Joy. Stress. Laughter. Tears. Logistically speaking, however, the most significant thing they bring with them is stuff. Lots and lots of gifted stuff. At first you think, "OMG, I will not be able to raise this child without this and at least five more metric tons of stuff." Most of it, you will discover, is not essential. Still, every now and then a product shines through, or something so thoughtful you cherish it always. I asked moms to share the best gift they received before their baby was born — sentimental, practical, or whatever — and they came up with some great ideas for the next time you go to (or are having) a shower.

Whenever someone I know has a baby, I go through the same schpeil. I congratulate them, I welcome them to Parent Club (the first rule of Parent Club is you always talk about parent club), I assure them that they are in for some really fun times and that I'm there if they're ever having not fun times (since those times can be plentiful), and then I offer an unsolicited list of about five products that have proven themselves game changers: a baby wearing wrap, a diaper rash ointment that I order from an apothecary in the Midwest, a rocker, a nursing pillow (whether or not they plan on nursing; it's also great for taking naps with as an adult), and the stroller I have.

With few exceptions, most of those things are gifts I had been given (because my friends and family are awesome), and they were game changers. Other gifts I received, such as the hand-woven cotton blankets my mother's friend gave each of my children, while not necessary, were so lovely and thoughtful that they came to be important totems of their infancy. What will be seen as "necessary" or meaningful will vary from family to family, but these are the items the moms I talked to thought were the cream of the crop:


Photo courtesy of Julie Sie

"We got a Ralph Lauren dress that [my daughter] wore from 9 months to 22 months! It washed like a dream, was adorable, and just gradually morphed from a dress to a shirt. It still looks like new; [my youngest] just started wearing it recently."


"My brother's childhood best friend got us name stools for each of our kids [a step-stool with puzzle pieces that spell out the child's name]. I think it's the perfect gift. You can pose kids with it when they're little and as they grow, because it's a puzzle, they practice fine motor skills, talk about colors and learn how to spell their own name. It's wooden and really has superior quality."


My mom had everyone at my showers decorate a piece of fabric (I had no idea) then had it made into a quilt, and dropped it off the week before I had my baby. All the people I love, with sweet messages and pictures for baby.


Photo courtesy of Cindy Dickinson

"Of course it was great getting some of my big ticket items, but my favorites were a beautiful handmade knitted blanket that my best friend made (she had started working on it as soon as I found out I was pregnant!) and a gorgeous handmade knitted sweater and hat set from a close family friend. I could tell that both things were made with so much love, and it made them that much more special."


"The rocker! It was the one item I hadn't put on my registry (I figured I didn't need a rocker and a bouncer) but someone got me one anyway. Turned out to be the only thing she liked! She slept in it for three months and still prefers it for hanging out with me while I do chores."


In lieu of cards, everyone that came to my baby shower brought a children's book and wrote a little note in it instead. So I ended up with a great library of books for my kids and the personal notes are so wonderful to revisit from time to time.


Photo courtesy of Jane Kim Soltys

"I'll be honest, I can't remember if I bought the for myself or if it was a shower gift, but muslin blankets. Ultimate comfort object for my younger daughter."

Julie F.

"Best gift came just after [my daughter] was born*. It was a case of wine from my husband's two (female) colleagues, now that I could drink again. But they made the cutest sort-of bingo card to go along with it. Each time [my baby] hit a milestone listed on the sheet (her birth being one of them), it meant I could open another bottle."

[Writer's note: technically that's cheating, Julie. You're a cheater. But this gift idea is so fabulous that I had to include it.]


"My sister is a bit of a couponer, and she started a diaper stash for me when I told her I was pregnant. She basically gifted us a year's worth of diapers! Super thoughtful and practical!"


A laundry basket filled with nappies, muslin wraps, washcloths, favorite nappy cream, baby soap, and herbal tea!


Photo courtesy of Laurie Michnal Peck

"A Wonder Woman onesie with cape and My First Book of Girl Power."

[Writer's note: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! It's a tiny bebbeh Wonder Woman! Stahp!]


"Functionally: the Podster. That was the only way I could get my kiddo to sleep for the first month, we can stick him in it on the table while we have meals or people over, and I love that it's called an 'infant lounger.' Sentimentally: the Personalized Creations keepsake kit to make impressions of his hand and foot. Definitely do the hand while the kid is sleeping though, otherwise it's a struggle."


The Windi that is made by Nose Frida. They were a savior during my daughters colic time.

[Writer's note: Guys, as a parent and in my line of work, I am very much surrounded by all things baby. I had never heard of this. But the advertisement assures me that, despite how weird it sounds, it's a real product.]


Photo courtesy of Jamie Kenney

"Probably my oldest friend's mother had been collecting baby girl clothes for about a decade, assuming one of her seven children would give her a granddaughter. When they all had boys or were no longer having children she decided to pass those items on to me. It was extremely generous and touching. She passed away about a year later, miss her."


"We received a Rock N Play which turned out to be a godsend. [My son] did not take to the bassinet I was so excited to purchase when I first found out I was pregnant. But that Rock N Play saved the day! He slept beautifully as it rocked him to sleep each night. I recommend it to everyone expecting."


"It was actually a gift for me! My husband gave me a locket, and it's probably my favorite possession. It wasn't a push present or anything, but he knew I always wanted one. I put a picture of him and our daughter in as soon as possible. It was so thoughtful and sweet."