Babies are always something to celebrate, but if your bank account is running low or you have a ton of friends all having bundles of joy at the same time, buying gifts can really put a dent in your wallet. Since most baby registries boast high-ticket items like strollers, cribs, and high chairs, your excitement can easily turn into the baby blues.
But before you get too upset, remember that while registries and wish lists are nice to have, what new parents really want is your time and company. There’s no rule that says you have to shower a mom-to-be with the priciest items. In fact, some of the items new parents need most might not even appear on their registry. After all, no one signs up for diapers and baby wipes. If you’d prefer to avoid a store-bought gift altogether for a friend’s baby shower, don’t be afraid to create a thoughtful gift from the heart.
1. First Aid Kit
Most new parents know that they need a car seat and a crib, but do they know they need a nasal aspirator and a baby thermometer? Some of the smaller items are often forgotten since they aren’t as exciting, but you can help fill in the cracks by heading to the drugstore.
Look for other essential items such as gas drops, bottle cleaners, and diaper rash creams to help round out your first aid gift basket. The dollar store should also have an assortment of small wicker baskets to make your presentation pop.
2. Changing Table Essentials
What new mom can’t use more diapers? If a box of diapers doesn’t seem festive enough for you, you can make a diaper “cake” by rolling them together and constructing layers. Check out instructions on AlphaMom. It’s a $20 gift that looks like it cost way more.
If you want to think beyond diapers, items like baby wipes, baby powder, and diaper rash ointment can all be purchased for less than $3 each at a dollar store or discount retailer. For a twist on presentation, put the items on a large tray that can double as breakfast-in-bed platter for mommy.
3. Service Gift
Baby shower gifts don’t always have to be about baby gear. Sometimes, the best gift is something that relieves the stress new parents encounter. Offering service-based gifts isn’t only free, it’s extremely thoughtful. Whether you offer to clean the house, take the baby for date night, or do a few loads of laundry, the expecting mom will be more than grateful to take you up on your offer. Create a coupon book with all the different services you’d like to offer, and the new mom can “redeem” the favors when she’s in need.
4. Feeding Station Basket
Any new parent has experienced more than enough sleepless nights trying to feed and soothe a newborn baby. Since they are going to be spending most of those nights sitting or laying down, why not make up a feeding station basket?
Fill an easily-carried handled basket with all the things a mom or dad needs when comforting and feeding a baby, including a bottle of water, some satisfying snacks, a new book or a book on tape, or nursing pads. By doing this, you can save a sleepless mom from having to struggle out of a rocking chair to grab a snack. Small things like this can make a big difference to a new parent.
5. Nursery Décor
If you’ve had a sneak peek in the nursery and know the theme and color scheme, you can use your seemingly meager resources to embellish it. Whether it’s painted wooden letters that spell the baby’s name, or a growth chart made from ribbons and bows, you can usually find home décor items for cheap at craft and dollar stores. Sure, it might take a few hours to create, but you can save a ton of money and give a gift that lasts, even after the diapers have run out and the crib has been put away for a bigger bed.