A couple of days ago, I was the recipient of a lovely baby shower. The church my family attends was the host. When I was asked if they could throw a shower for us, I was really surprised! It’s our 5th child, we have sooooo much we’ve saved and we have only been attending for about 2 1/2 months! Such unusual circumstances for a shower; at least that’s my thoughts on it. Surprised as I was, I said yes, because the church is so excited to have a new baby in their midst! At the shower, I found out they haven’t hosted a baby shower in about 6 or 7 years – so they are REALLY excited. Far be it from me to deny them that joy…
When I was asked for what we might need, I was kind of stumped. I just answered “consumable kinds of things” but was asked for a list of stuff. As I created my list, I thought of all the stuff we had and what new babies really need. I’ve learned to be pretty frugal over the last couple of years – especially over this last year. I’m still learning and have a lot of things to still learn. New moms sooooo over guess what they need for the first baby and end up with a lot of stuff that isn’t really necessary or that they hardly ever use. Since we had the major stuff (crib, sheets, blankets, car seat, stroller, toys, gender neutral clothes, gender specific clothes) this was the list I gave:
- Diapers up to size 2
- 4 and 8 oz drop-in bottle liners
- Baby wash, lotion, powder
- Diaper rash ointment
- White plastic child size hangers, with and without pant clips
- Diaper Genie refills
- Flat changing pads
- Advent bottle nipples, larger size, stage 1/slow
- Baby bathtub
We had bottles, but the nipples were well used after 2 babies and thus some new were needed. I’m fond of bottles w/drop in liners because you need far less bottles, the collapsible liner minimizes the air baby takes in and they are far easier to clean up. I do plan to breastfeed, but I’m not sure how long, so we do have bottles on hand. As for the Diaper Genie, I have found that using a plastic grocery bag works just fine to wrap a dirty diaper in and toss in the regular garbage, but Racer likes to use the Diaper Genie, so we have one. Since I’m the one home most often, one DG refill lasts us a pretty long time. With the changing pads, we have a washable one that I usually have on the changing table, but having a package of the disposable kind is handy for when the other is in the wash. We do use the disposable ones until they are dirty. We did get one package of socks; add that to the few we have still and that’s plenty for a newborn. I prefer pants/rompers with feet in them anyway because baby ALWAYS kicks off socks and they get lost anyway. But we do have some outfits that don’t have feet in them, thus socks are necessary. I just don’t like matching socks… We did get a few bibs and that will be plenty. I did have to toss after Gorilla was done with them – 2 babies w/milk stains was just too much for them. Some stayed good and with the new ones, we’re set. We did get diapers, wipes and a few items not on the list too. A beautiful baby photo frame was a great gift that we “needed” for the precious first picture.
I say all this for those new mom’s that might be out there looking to register or for those of you that will buy baby gifts in the future. Please be practical. I once asked a friend and seasoned mom to list her “must haves” for a new baby. Her response? “Boobs, blankets and diapers.” Minimal is best at first until you know baby’s size, how you’ll really function day-to-day and what you actually might use. Too many new mom’s get newborn and 0-3 month clothes. I will never again buy those sizes for a baby gift. If I do, it will be something like a sleep sack that is 0-6 months. But really, there isn’t much need to register for small sizes for outfits and such. And, if there is a plan to have more than one child, I highly recommend registering for gender neutral stuff. Then you have it ready for the next baby. No real need for baby towels or wash cloths – regular ones work just fine. New babies don’t take that many baths anyway. Diapers and wipes? Go for the big refill wipes box over the individual boxes. And don’t be afraid to buy the store brand. Often store brand diapers are 1/2 the cost of name brand diapers. I find that they generally work the same and at the cost and amount gone through right at first, quantity is important.
The shower had for me on Saturday was small and simple. Minimal decorations, no games (yeah! I think most are silly), a simple cake and snacks and punch. What was a blessing to me was that in our new home – away from all our family and close friends – we had people who wanted to celebrate with us! God used our new church family to provide for the basic needs of the baby, but he also provided people to help us celebrate. I missed having family and good friends there, but I know that this baby will be loved by a new church family just as out other children were loved by our “old” church family.
I’ve seen feelings get hurt over baby showers, people get bent out of shape by “having” to host one, and moms-to-be get stressed out over guest lists. Really, in the end, it is about celebrating a new life – a gift from God – and helping a family provide for the initial needs of a newborn (a sometimes overwhelming prospect).
So, for those of you planning a baby shower, registering for a baby shower, trying to be frugal while having a baby or just helping celebrate a new life, think minimal, practical and CELEBRATE!
P.S. Don’t overlook “non baby” things like gift cards to local take-out restaraunts for the first few weeks mom and baby are home or gas cards for dad’s trips to/from the hospital.