I’m in a dark place at the moment. That dark place is called 6 months behind in provisional tax and I decided I needed a creative break from spreadsheets and, as Camilla calls it, my ‘horrienessie’. God I love Afrikaans. That’s a ‘nest of horrors’, FYI. I’ve been keen to write this post for ages as things keep popping into my head making me think ooh, you need to put this on your baby-shower inspo list. So here it is, finally, my list of 20 Best Baby Shower Gifts, in no particular order. Note, I’ve intentionally tried to give you ideas of things that are a little different to the normal pinks and blues, aahs and oohs. I also understand that some of these are high in value and the idea is that they’d be a collective gift from a few people. Some, on the contrary, are relatively low in value but high in practicality and will be well received by any new parent. I received a lot of what’s on this list, and others I’ve given to friends with the experience I’ve gained over the past 6 months: these are things I think any mom and dad would be thrilled to receive. Not all are for baby, and some are for a little later on in their life which is also great because one tends to get dumped with all things newborn at showers and it’s actually so nice to receive things with a longer shelf-life. I’ve intentionally not included clothes in this mix because I’m working on a separate post in that domain; too many goodies to mention here. I know that presents are such a subjective thing, but this is what I’ve loved and recommend. Please do share with any friends or mamas to be who you feel would get value out of this list…
1. Baby Medicine Box
My sister-in-law gave me a little first-aid kit and baby medicine box that she’d put together and this is the gift that keeps on giving! Unfortunately your baby will end up with a blocked nose, a fever, a rash, whatever, and it’s so nice to have a little kit o’ tricks at hand. I travel with mine and the peace of mind is everything. These are some ideas of products to include, a few of which I’ve discovered over time:
- Blooms Pharmacy nipple cream and teething mixtures. Blooms is a Cape Town based pharmacy and their in-pharmacy formulations have received a cult following, mine included. Their nip cream is the best in the business and I’ve very recently discovered they formulate for teething too (they do a syrup and also an ointment to rub onto baby’s gums).
- Flo-Baby nose-spray. Easiest to administer in my opinion and I’ve tried a few.
- Calpol and baby Nurofen
- Antihistamine cream
- Gripe Water or Telament Drops, something for colic and tummy pain
- Nasal aspirator (to suck out mucus, Nose Frida is a good one).
- A digital thermometer (just remember to test your baby’s normal temperature to know what their ‘base temperate’ is. According to my paed digital thermometers tend to run quite hot/sensitive and you need to know what your baby’s base temp is before you freak out and think they’ve got a fever)
- Syringe; I’ve found the pacifier ones SO much easier to administer than a regular syringe
- Cotton-wool, gauze, plasters, burn spray, scissors, the usual
- Sample-size bum cream and baby moisturiser
- Baby insect repellent
- Baby sun-screen
2. Gift Tags/Stickers from Baby
Since our little guy was born we’ve had a load of tiny birthdays to attend and I’ve found myself signing off cards from Carter. If you know the baby’s name, personalised tags or stickers like these from Macaroon would make for a super baby shower pressie.
3. Baby Bullet
I was gobsmacked to have received one of these at our shower and it’s been such an incredible gift now that our weaning journey has begun. Before receiving this I thought, okay, but your regular Nutribullet will do the trick, no? And, in theory I guess yes, but what the regular one doesn’t come with is all the attachments which I absolutely love. Honestly, whoever designed this system needs a high-five because it’s all so slick, so considered, so smart. The Baby Bullet‘s silicon freezing moulds create frozen pods that fit neatly into the little smiley decanters, which also have a nifty dating system so you know how long it’s been in the fridge. Our babe is too young for this next bit, but their are also some sippy-cups for a little later down the line when he’ll be able to sip on his own tiny smoothies. Bless!
4. IKEA Antilop feeding chair
It might be a few months before this bad-boy gets put to work, but believe me it’ll become your bestie when solids enter the routine. Sturdy, stable, wipeable, simple, affordable. What more does one need? Ours is the exactly same height as our dining room table which I love as the plan is to make meals a family affair and I think it’s important that we all eat together. Checker’s has the exact same version for just R350 if you don’t want the IKEA version. You can get the IKEA Antilop from Kids Living, here.
5. Netcells Stem-cell Storage Contribution
I maintain that this is possibly the greatest gift one could ever receive: life, health, healing etc. If you want to know what Netcells and stem-cell storage is all about, you can read my original blog post here where I detail what it is and why we opted to have Carter’s stem-cells and cord-blood frozen and stored. Stem-cell science and advancement is occuring at a rapid pace and who knows where the field will be in 5, 15 years? What you hope for is that you’ll never ever need to tap into this insurance policy, but if you do, then it’s at your disposal not only for the baby whose cells have been stored, but for siblings too. Netcells have a registry option and you can contribute to this incredible gift to take the financial load off the parents.
6. Wombat & Lamb Sheepskin Liner
We’ve used our Wombat & Lamb sheepskin liner every day since Carter was born and it’s such a great gift for any new parents. Sheepskin is an amazing natural temperature regulator (keeps cool when hot and vice versa) and is also so, so soft and amazing for baby/toddler to lie/sit/play on. We used ours in Carter’s bassinet when he was very little and have now migrated it to stroller. The handy detachable head-piece makes it perfect for the car-seat too.
7. Charley’s Boxes Weaning Box + Weaning Sense
If you don’t know Charley’s Boxes, they’re a Johannesburg-based brand that do the most amazing themed boxes for baby. They have newborn and other milestone boxes, but I loved our Charley’s Boxes Weaning Box because, as I mentioned earlier, it was so nice to receive something that would be put to use a little later down the line. This weaning box includes nifty heat-sensing spoons (they change colour if they’re too hot), freezing pots, easy-scoop bowls, roll & go bib, first sippy cup and teether, all from Tommee Tippee. A nice addition to this pressie is the Weaning Sense book written by Kath Megaw and Meg Faure, you can order it online from Meg here.
8. Oh Baby Co. Voucher
Another gift idea to be redeemed a little down the line, Oh Baby Co. has the most wonderful selection of fresh, preservative-free baby foods, available to order online if you’re based in Johannesburg or Cape Town, with Pretoria launching soon. An Oh Baby Co. voucher is a great gift idea that takes the hassle out of food prep. They’ve also got a nifty Starting Solids 2-Week pack which comes with a full weaning plan, developed in conjunction with pediatric dietician Kath Megaw.
9. Toweling Nappy & Face-cloth Box
I know this’ll probably sound like a bit of an odd one, but believe me it’s the gift that keeps on giving and also won’t break the bank! As a new parent you cannot have enough burp/wipe cloths and those old-school towelling nappies are ideal for the job. I use them for everything from covering the changing mat (you’ll spend a lifetime washing changing mat covers in the beginning if you don’t cover ‘em with something else, at least initially), to cloths for burping and wiping, I’ve even used a couple to create wedges under things etc. I think a beautiful box filled with towelling nappies and face-cloths is a really lovely, functional gift to receive. MRPHome have some really nice boxes to package the towelling nappies and facecloths in.
10. Personalised Pendant for Mum
There’s something really special about a bespoke piece of jewellery to mark the birth of your babe. I’m busy working with Exclusivity By Design to create a little gold disc with Carter’s name on it, something simple but special. If you know said baby’s name ahead of the shower, this is another really special gift idea.
11. Baby Carrier
If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’m a massive advocate of baby-wearing and it’s been one of my absolute favourite parts of motherhood. Baby-wearing has a bunch o’ benefits for parent and baby and wraps and carriers can be an absolute game-changer in the early days during witching hour and fussy times. I loved my Solly Baby soft wrap and my Pure Linen Slings ring sling in the early days, I found the soft fabric and malleability of the design perfect for a small baby that you want to feel really snug and close. As Carter’s gotten older and heavier I find myself using my Ubuntu Baba stage one carrier more and more. I’ve also got an Ergobaby Omni 360 which I think is going to become really useful soon as it allows front-facing, rear-facing, back-pack and hip carry.
12. Baby Journal
If you’re sentimental like I am then this is a real crowd-pleaser. The most beautiful one I’ve seen is The Book of You from Artifact Uprising in the U.S. It is on the pricey side and you’ll pay duties on it, but it’s just breathtaking to look at and also allows for adding pages which I love. Locally two that I’ve seen that are also really gorgeous are from Jax and Ava and Mayalief Mooigoed. Mayalief Mooigoed do an Afrikaans one, Die Verhaal Van Jou, which I love, and they also do the most amazing Story of You poster. Does anyone know if there are any Zulu or Xhosa ones available in South Africa?
13. Frozen Food Haul For Parents
Never-mind gifts for baby, what about gifts for mom and dad? The first few weeks of newborndom are a tired, messy blur and cooking is the last thing any new parent wants to have to contend with. Visitors who arrived with food and didn’t stay very long were my favourite (use it, don’t use it) and the gift of some frozen meals goes a long long way in the early days. Even scheduling a Woolies or Pick n Pay online delivery is a great gift idea, and mum and dad will thank you.
14. Lollipop Smart Baby Monitor
This is one you’re going to need to find a mule for as they don’t ship to South Africa, but it’s worth asking someone to bring back from abroad for you. The Lollipop Camera is like the Apple of baby monitors and is a really beautifully designed, considered, video monitoring device. One of the mum’s I follow on Instagram was showing the music feature recently and I was super impressed! Her toddler was asleep in bed when loud fireworks (and bright, you can actually see them going off in the video through the curtains) started erupting in their suburb. She started playing classical music through the Lollipop, all activated through mom or dad’s smart-phone, and it kept her babe calm and asleep as the music drowned out the bangs of the fireworks. All of this was done remotely via phone, without having to get up and go into the room. I love the little base of the Lollipop (it’s called that because it looks like one) which is bendy and can be wrapped around almost anything to get the perfect position. Personally I feel the AngelCare system (which I have) is supremely average. I mean, in 2018 why are baby-monitors not all linked to smartphones and why aren’t they integrated with wearables that gently vibrate when baby is awake/crying. The fact that our monitor wakes up both me AND my husband is just beyond me. Surely two parents being awoken is completely unnecessary, especially in the early months when sleep is at a premium?!
15. Tommee Tippee Newborn Starter Set
I went on the advice of a couple of my friends who’d had kids before me and I’m so glad we did. Not only are the Tommee Tippee bottles nice to look at (I’m totally one of those people who makes decisions based on aesthetics and I really hate the way some bottles look, also, don’t give me all that pink and blue crap). We used the Anti-Colic Tommee Tippee system for the first few months and they worked perfectly. After a while we just removed the little purple anti-colic bit and progressed to bigger teats. I love their handles and the sippy-cups for sligthly older babes. A bottle set is a nice gift if you know the brand mom/dad would like to use, and I can highly recommend this one.
16. Blankets From Africa Aran Pram Blanket
I received a pile of blankets and swaddles for my baby-shower but one of my absolute favourites was this pram/car-seat blanket from Karoo-based company Blankets From Africa. Not only is it made from 100% Merino wool, it’s also beautiful to look at AND small, designed to cover baby in the pram or car-seat. It’s a really nifty size and we absolutely love ours!
17. Personalised Wall Banner from Phlo Studio
Another customised gift I really love is this wall banner/flag from Phlo Studio. Simple black lettering on an off-white canvas, perfect for girls, boys and any bedroom.
18. Beautiful Baby Bag
A good nappy bag is a must for any new mum! Sure, you can get a nappy bag of some description almost anywhere today, but in my experience they’re mostly really ugly and not something I’d want to be carrying. I wanted something in tan leather, plain, and I opted for this JeanKelly beauty. If you’re looking for something a little more formal, then K’lea Bags has an exquisite selection. I’ve also just ordered myself an original grey baby-bag from Ree Collective because I find the back-pack carry option SO handy! It’s also a lot more masculine so dad doesn’t mind carrying it around when he’s out and about with his babe.
19. Home Pedi and Massage for Mum
I don’t have any particular recommendation here, it’s more about the idea. After 9 months of carrying a giant baby around my back was in a piece and I was desperate for a proper back massage. I also had some crazy swelling in my feet caused by the spinal block (apparently) and just needed some relief. We found an amazing lady who travels to your home in Johannesburg (Samantha – 079 348 5528) and she came around to do some much-needed pampering in the convenience of our space, baby sleeping. A voucher or arrangement for this kind of thing will go down a treat with any new mom I’m sure.
20. Box ‘o Books
As we didn’t know our baby’s gender and I was adamant about not wanting blue or pink things, I suggested books as baby-shower gifts and I’m so glad we did this. We received the most incredible selection of books for all stages and I’m sure they’re going to keep us busy and telling stories until Carter is into Primary School. If you’re looking for books in vernacular, Ethnikids have a pretty cool collection. Our amazing nanny is teaching Carter Zulu and I’d love to amass a little collection of Zulu storybooks for him.
I hope you’ve found this post and list useful. I put a lot of love into it and would love for you to give it a share if you enjoyed it. Feel free to comment with our great baby shower gift ideas.