Indespensible Baby Gear: The Best Five Baby Shower Gifts Ever

photo courtesy Danilo Rizzuti
photo courtesy Danilo Rizzuti


Once you've wrestled with a crib mattress to change the sheets in the middle of the night, half asleep and baby crying, you'll fully understand the pricelessness of this item.

First you put all your pretty sheets on the mattress, just like you normally would. Then you take out your ultimate crib sheet. The bottom side is waterproof; the top side is a comfortable white traditional sheet. Around the sides of the sheet are a series of elastics with snaps, that you use to secure the sheet around the slats of the crib.

In the middle of the night, when your child wakes up from whatever wet accident they created, you simply unsnap the snaps, pull the soiled ultimate crib sheet off, and put your angel back to bed. Voila!

These things work so well that when my nephew went through a patch of leaking through his diaper, my sister-in-law bought a second one and layered them one on top of the other, just in case an accident happened twice in one night.

She gave one to me when I had my first baby, and I've given one at every baby shower I've been to since.


Three kids so far, and not a single infant showsuit EVER. How did I manage it?

By using the Bundle-Me. Mine was a lovely faux-suede-lined-with-sherpa version that lined their baby carrier (that we lovingly called their bucket). Put the baby in, zip the sherpa around her, and voila! baby is snug as a bug in a rug. No snowsuit required.

Not only is wrestling wiggly baby into a snowsuit overrated, but there are lots of places that you take them where they can't stay in the snowsuit and getting them undressed is almost impossible (grocery store immediately comes to mind). But you can unzip the Bundle-Me and they are cool as a cucumber right where they are (no waking up a sleeping baby!) until it's time to zip up again.

Because not all climates require the snowproof sherpa weight, Bundle-Me has come up with a light weight version called the Bundle-Me Lite. Better for spring and fall weather, as well as warmer-winter climates, the "Lite" is also a great addition to your baby bucket. Between these two items, plus an "Arctic" version for the coldest of climes, your baby will not even need a coat for their first year!


I've put these together because they address the same developmental age - when your baby can hold their head up, but isn't ready to sit up for a long time or move around quite yet.

This age doesn't last for more than a few months, and so lots of folks don't want to spend money on these items.  But this age is full of frustration, and these two items will allieviate that for both you and baby.  I think they are indespensible.

When your baby holds their head up and wants to see everything that is going on, but doesn't have the strength to sit alone for any length of time, the Bouncy Seat is their (and your!) best friend.  Not only are they designed to put Baby in a position to see everything, they often are battery powered and offer some baby-soothing options too... bouncing, vibrating, music, depending on the model you choose.

As a note, I started feeding all of my children solids when they were four months old.  The high chair was still too big for them, and when they tried to sit in it they inevitably slid down.  The bouncy seat became their first high chair - comfy and safe for them, and easy to put up on the table for me.  And if you buy a version that folds like I did, you can take it with you everywhere you go.  Loved it.

The Exersaucer satisfies Baby's need to be vertical as well as to bounce, spin and explore new toys, all in a safe environment so you can get something done!  My kids used theirs for a lot longer than some other babies, and it was an everyday item in my house for months with each of them.  I absolutely got my money's worth - and I never met a baby who didn't like the Exersaucer.  A solidly useful item in my book.


I would guess that this is the most controversial item on my list.

A lot of folks feel that this is a waste of money, and of the time spent restocking it. But I say where are you going to put that carton of diapers you bought at the big box store? On the floor? - nope, baby will fall off the table while you're on the floor fumbling with those last diapers in the bottom of that plastic sleeve. On the changing table? - nope, no room for that. Where then?

In the diaper stacker, of course. You can splurge on one that matches your baby's crib set, or go frugal with a basic model in pink or blue. You can find models that tie to a crib rail, sit on the top of your changing table, or clip to the side.  For one of my kids I used a basket that fit the space I had. In every case the holder is SO MUCH nicer than the box they came in. And you're worth it!

5. Boppy Pillow

I almost didn't include this because it seems so obvious. But let me tell you about it's uses beyond that of just a nursing pillow:

We used it on our laps to give bottles. We used it to help us hold the baby for any length of time. It was a great assistant to having a hand free to play all those wonderful tickle games and finger-holding sessions. And it was the only thing that made it possible for my 90 year old grandmother to hold her great-grandbabies.

As the baby got older, it was perfect for napping on the couch, bed and floor. The gentle cradling also eased the transition from bassinet to crib. It was their favorite way to get tummy time - the prop up it gave them allowed them to play with toys and books on the floor in front of them, and definitely extended the time they were willing to spend in that position.

When Baby was finally big enough to sit up on their own it made the perfect supporting seat for them. Each of them used it to watch TV and read their books well into their second year.

In fact, I would say we had Boppy Pillows in play on a daily basis for the first two years of each of my children's lives. I had three at my house, and kept another two at my mother's. I honestly don't know what we would have used to replace them - they were that indespensible.


I know, I know... you'll never be the kind of parent that uses the television as a babysitter.  You will be enriching their lives 24/7 until they are old enough to go to college.

Sometime between birth and dorm life, you will realize that along the way you'll have to shower, use the telephone and pay a few bills.  And then you'll reach for the Baby Einstein Videos.

Let's put it this way: they're not called "Baby Crack" for nothing - and they are educational to boot.  Go for it!

Want to Know What NOT to Buy?

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