Great baby shower gifts expectant parents actually need

Baby showers are wonderful celebrations of new life. However, it can become a little tedious watching expecting moms open the same gifts for hours on end at baby showers, and those moms probably get a little bored, too.

Break up that boredom with one of these unique baby shower gift that new parents will actually want — and use.


• Diaper cakes. Diaper cakes make for amazing DIY decor items for baby showers and can be used as table centerpieces or props. They are put together with items that parents actually need such as diapers, bottles, small hand toys, infant toiletries, socks, onesies, towels and washcloths. Diaper cakes are great because they can be designed to match virtually any color or theme and can be made as small or large as you like.

• Mommy and me classes. Mommy and me classes are a great way to promote bonding between mother — or father — and child. Mommy and me classes are offered in a variety of concentrations including yoga, music, gymnastics and running. Many places have classes that include children as young as six weeks and offer an inexpensive trial membership or free "look" class. Moms and dads love this type of gift, because it's usually one of the last on their list, if it's on the list at all — not to mention that it's a fun way for parents to spend time with their little one.

• Household services. Exhausted new parents will tell you that they typically spend most of their time diapering and feeding their little bundle of joy.

Cooking and cleaning tasks are typically among the first to be ignored at home, especially when it's difficult to sit down for longer than five minutes without falling asleep.

Gift certificates for cooking or household cleaning services are a great baby shower gift because they help relieve some of the stress overworked new parents inevitably feel.

I have also known moms to save these until they return to full-time work to help with their transition during those first few weeks back.

• Portrait packages. We all "ooh" and "ahh" over photos of a sweet baby curled up sleeping in a basket; however, many parents don't purchase portrait sessions simply because they can't afford them. The strain on the family budget of purchasing diapers and formula — if bottle feeding or supplementing — can severely limit discretionary purchases. Purchase a voucher for a portrait session and package and help provide the parents with beautiful memories of their little one. Parents can also choose to save these for a special event such as baby's first holiday or first birthday.

• Memory kits. Many stores such as Michaels, Target, and Babies "R" Us sell inexpensive craft kits that parents can use to make wonderful keepsakes of their child. Purchase a kit to imprint the baby's hand or foot onto a decorative stone or purchase a baby-themed scrapbooking kit for the parents to document baby's first year in a memory album. These are great gifts to include as part of a gift basket or bag of goodies.

• Handmade items. If the new parents are lucky enough to have someone crafty in their circle of family and friends, hopefully they will receive a beautiful handmade quilt or memory bear. Handmade items are some of the best items to give and receive at a baby shower because they are typically made by someone or with something that has sentimental value to the new parents.

• Baby food-making supplies. I have found that more and more parents are jumping on the trend of making their own baby food. While it can be a bit time consuming when you consider cook time, there are also tremendous benefits, as well.

A lot of parents find that it saves money since they can make the food out of fruits and vegetables that they would typically buy anyhow, instead of purchasing pre-packaged baby foods. Not to mention that homemade baby food tends to be much more fresh and rich in nutrients.

If you think the new parents will appreciate this type of gift, purchase a set that includes a small baby food processor and some type of container system.

• Restaurant gift cards. As a parent, your child will become the center of your world. And while this is great for the child, it is not always great for your relationship. Every now and then, it's nice for parents to leave the little one at home and enjoy a few hours out of the house.

Giving new parents a gift card to a local restaurant will encourage them to spend some time together away from the diapers and bottles. And if you are feeling extra generous, offer to babysit for free.


• Getaway. If you are willing — and able — to splurge a bit, take the date night idea even further and purchase a weekend or week-long getaway for the new parents. You will provide new parents with the opportunity to eat with two hands and sleep for longer than two hours at a time — and they will be very grateful for it.

Just be sure that you are familiar with the parents' schedule and find out the cancellation policy for the excursion before you book, just to be safe.

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at