You Say Useless Baby Gift, I Say Motherhood Gold by Melissa Swedoski

This weekend I’ll be attending a baby shower for my sister-in-law. I don’t know how much you know about Texas and, more specifically, East Texas, but baby showers are a thing. Decorations, favors, games, food, beverages, presents. It’s just one guy shy of being an engagement party. And generally speaking, you don’t see alcohol served. Although we had a co-ed shower for our first child, and there was plenty of boozing going on up in there. That’s a story for later.

I find myself not only remembering my baby showers, but also mulling over some of the articles and/or posts I’ve read from people about what to give expecting moms. There’s also lots of “why did someone buy me that?” posts and “things that a new mom will never need,” or “you don’t love your pregnant friend if you buy her that for a baby shower gift.” That one might have been a little bit made up by me.

So I’m turning the tables a wee bit and making a list of items that I’ve seen people call foolish but I’m damn glad I had them when my children were newborns.

  1. Diaper Genie. I know a lot of people think these are a waste of money. All I know is, being able to fold up a poopsplosion diaper, use my foot to open the pail and not have to smell that thing again was and is still worth it.
  2. Wipes warmer. This was actually a total surprise to me as a gift, since I didn’t know the thing existed. But when I saw the smile on my daughter’s face from a warm wipe as opposed to the look of shock and horror when I used a cold wipe, well, what’s a few extra cents on the electric bill?
  3. Battery operated nasal aspirator. Another thing I didn’t know existed. It plays music, it suctions your child quickly and can hold a lot. And you don’t have to worry about whatever disgusting mold is growing inside the suction bulb you’ve been using because it’s easy to clean.
  4. Diapers with personalized messages on the bottom. My husband groaned and rolled his eyes when he saw the diapers someone gave us with “Special Baby” printed across the butt, but when you didn’t realize you had run out of your regular diapers, these things will hold pee and poop just fine.
  5. High chair. I saw someone on a blog write that she didn’t have a high chair because you can feed a child anywhere, and high chairs are too much trouble to move around your house. Um, hello? My high chair has wheels, so it goes out onto our patio if I want. And maybe you want to feed a screaming, wiggling, food throwing 21-month-old on your lap, but I ain’t that crazy.
  6. Changing table. Same person who said you didn’t need #5 said you didn’t need this because you can change a baby anywhere. I have changed our girls on floors, tables, our kitchen island, on the seat of a toilet, in a stroller, and in midair while another person held her. But…if I can have a nice, level, clean space to use, why wouldn’t I?
  7. Angel Care monitor. You place it in the crib, and it monitors the baby’s breathing. If the baby stops breathing for 10 seconds, it beeps, alerting you to the fact. May seem like overkill, but it made getting sleep at night a little bit easier.
  8. Cutesy onesies. You know, the ones with funny sayings or pictures. Yes, plain old white ones will do, but it’s more fun to see your baby covered in spit-up when she’s wearing her “Level 1 Human” onesie that her gamer father bought her.
  9. Stroller. I carry my babies around as much as possible, but when it’s 99 degrees, and I’m going to be walking at a festival for hours, my child and I will be drenched in sweat if I’ve got her wrapped around me. I’m a sweat-er from way back, and both our kids inherited that. Lucky them.
  10. Boppy pillow. I didn’t just use it for feedings. When I had to take the baby to the office, I’d put it around my belly and lay her on it, where she slept as I typed. I also used it for propping them up during nap time, especially when they had colds or allergies.

There it is: Proof once again that I will accept any gift given to me and find a way to use it.

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  1. 8 Responses to “You Say Useless Baby Gift, I Say Motherhood Gold by Melissa Swedoski”

  2. Those were all very good suggestions. Personally, I’d go with a set of noise cancelling headphones for those moments that motherhood becomes a bit too much when the baby just won’t be quiet. Prosaic is also a great gift, if you can get a gift card prescription for it. And if all else fails, let us not forget the reliable bottle of Jim Beam! (Mothers must relax, too!) Hope you don’t mind the jesting. Good post!

    By Rich Rumple on Jun 25, 2013

  3. I totally agree – diaper genie is a necessity. And the cute onesies? Totally needed! And the boppy has so many useful applications – for helping older siblings hold the baby, for helping baby sit up, and I think with my second, I could only sit down if it was on the boppy for a good 3 weeks postpartum … moms, you know why…

    Great post!

    By Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha on Jun 25, 2013

  4. Here’s a funny use for the Boppy: I tore so badly from my delivery that they had to give me an epidural to stitch me up. I was SO incredibly sore down there that I ended up using a Boppy to sit on, and because I had gotten a second one as a gift, I used the second one to nurse with!

    By Cara Meyers on Jun 25, 2013

  5. As a very frequent shower attender and non-parent, I am bookmarking this one! Thanks!

    By Kate on Jun 25, 2013

  6. Who on Earth would say a stroller isn’t necessary?!? I’m guessing someone who has no kids. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

    By Elyse on Jun 25, 2013

  7. Ah, all necessary! Thanks for sharing, Melissa.

    By Michelle Liew on Jun 25, 2013

  8. Fantastic! Funny and helpful!! People love to make fun of the wipes warmer. My aunt, who never misses an opportunity to buy the latest gizmo, bought it for me and I actually loved it. Made those 2AM diaper changes go a lot smoother. Great job Melissa!

    By Norine of Science of Parenthood on Jun 27, 2013

  9. I used to use my high chair while I cleaned house. It could be easily wheeled around after me, gave my little one a birds-eye view of the proceedings, and I’d throw some finger foods on the tray so help keep her busy.

    By Teresa Mayorga on Jun 30, 2013