If there is anything more stressful and hectic than pregnancy, it would be buying everything your baby might need. Stocking up on the best organic baby food well in advance would be a shrewd decision. If this is your first pregnancy, believe me, it will be a mess. I remember vividly every panic attack I had when I heard the words pacifier, pump, moses crib, sterilizer, etc.
I had absolutely zero idea what they meant or looked like, and what made it worse was all the pregnant women around me who seemed to know every product ever manufactured. What could have been bought in a couple of weeks took months and months of phone calls, texting and Facebook statuses to know the essentials. Complicating things further was the fact that the gifts you purchase for a baby shower can be completely different from a baby’s birthday gift. Who knew?
I ended up buying hundreds of pink things; then the baby arrived and I realized I did it all wrong. Most of the stuff was unnecessary (mainly trends amongst moms-to-be) and every week I would find myself in an emergency where I needed something extra. A friend of time told me about a robot vacuum and that it might be good to add it to my collection of much-needed baby items as it would help with cleaning but alas, I did not listen.
So without further ado, I decided that no mom should go through my ordeals, so I will share from my personal experience how well these products worked for me and why you should add them to your baby shower gift list instead of buying, as most of them are overpriced.
Baby bouncer, swing and doorway jumper
These three items are life savers if your baby likes to be constantly cradled or on the move. The bouncer is much cheaper than the swing; both have the same function, however, if it is a gift, why not go big and ask for the electric swing instead of relying on the baby’s kicks for a bounce.
If you get the bouncer, make sure it is padded and age-suitable so it will not harm the baby’s back. The doorway jumper will come in handy when the baby is too old for the bouncer.
An over-priced yet essential item for your baby’s safety. You will use it multiple times per day for at least two years. Don’t go cheap with this one.
You will find yourself in situations (winter and frozen breast milk) where you need to heat the bottle as fast as possible as the baby is screaming. This device works much better than running hot tap water on the bottle or putting it in a bowl with hot water, as it maintains the hot temperature.
It is not a necessary item, but if you are getting gifts, pick this one and you will use it for years.
Baby audio or video monitor
Parents love the video monitor, I used the audio one, but I would have loved to have the option of looking into my baby’s room instead of running every time I heard a whimper. Many parents have said it comes in handy when you have a nanny and you need to constantly monitor her.
This bag was one of the biggest surprises I had while baby shopping. It is hilariously expensive. You would think it is just a big bag so you can buy any cheap non-baby one, but a diaper bag is filled with partitions for bottles and diapers, so you better get it as a gift because it is over-priced.
Make sure you buy the digital ear or forehead thermometer before the baby arrives. It is a perfect gift as it is quite expensive. You need a good quality one as babies always have fevers and accuracy makes a world of difference in the treatment plan. If you don’t want the hassle of the ear thermometer then fevermates can take your baby’s temperature by simply placing a sticker on their forehead. Definitely something worth looking into.
This kit can be bought as separate items from the pharmacy, it would be much cheaper, yet I noticed good quality nail clippers and hairbrush function better. I only recommend this as a gift because if you buy each item (toothbrush, hairbrush, nail clipper, nail file, scissors, etc.) separately, it is usually 50% cheaper.
This is a must-have. Babies love it. They can roll around and practice crawling on a padded mat that is colorful and joyful. It is affordable as well.
Crib mosquito net
If you live in a country where flies and mosquitos are an issue, make sure you protect your baby from the rather painful bites with this net. It comes in different sizes and shapes and there are even ones for strollers.
When the baby starts moving, parents start panicking. The baby walker is quite controversial, as some say it weakens babies’ legs, however many use it and it is an excellent way of keeping your baby safe in a confined area, giving him the freedom to move while practicing walking. Parents’ supervision is needed because accidents may happen with walkers.
You might think it is too early for this kit as you are still pregnant, but time flies and all of a sudden your baby is crawling and bumping his head everywhere.
This kit guarantees a safe space for the child to roam. They usually include cabinets locks, outlet plug covers, doorknob covers, latches and corner cushions.
Electric nasal aspirator
I was never lucky with the manual nasal aspirator; my baby suffered from trapped nasal mucous. However, parents absolutely love aspirators when kids are sick, so I am assuming I was doing something wrong. I read about the electric nasal one and I think it is worth a try.
Crib bedding set
Don’t waste money on the cute bed set; it is expensive and after a while you will start considering softness over looks. You need countless bed sheets because every time the baby pees or vomits, you end up changing covers, so make sure you get them as a gift.
Moses crib or the carrycot
I seriously don’t understand the hype over the Moses crib. You only use it for two to three months max, it is horrifically expensive, takes so much space and you will have a bigger crib anyway, so the baby can start sleeping in it instead of shifting later.
The carrycot is more practical, some babies even sleep in it and it is also a very light and easy way of going out with your newborn.
Food steamer and blender
I preferred not to waste money on this item. It was 1,700 LE when I was considering buying it. I had a steamer in my kitchen and I also had a hand blender, so it felt like a waste of money especially that it is only used when the baby is eating soft food. However, if you have a gift list to fill, get it because you will save time cooking and cleaning.
Baby bathtub and changing unit
This is another item I didn’t use to save money and space. Instead, I tried to get creative, so I bought a cheap plastic baby tub that had padding inside and put it on the washing machine and bathed her, but this is something that would have made it so much easier on me.
Yet honestly, I would never waste money on this if it is not a gift and I am being spoiled because it only works for 10 months max.
Essential item for storing and freezing food and pumped breast milk.
Bottles set and bottle brush
Bottles and their brush per se are not expensive or essential for a gift list. However, if you want to buy more than six, you might as well add them for those who can’t afford to get you something expensive.
If you are planning on breastfeeding, buy a breast pump as you will find yourself needed somewhere away from the baby, so you have to make sure he has a bottle ready during his feeding time.
There are manual, electric and manual/electric ones. Preferably get the manual/electric one as manual solely is very exhausting and you deserve a break.
Every breastfeeding mom will need this while trapped somewhere public with a hungry baby.
A high chair is a very important item for feeding and playing time. You will find overly priced ones that look like space ships and you will be tempted by their cuteness, but don’t get them. The two most important things are stability of the chair’s base and comfort.
Guess what, parents of Cairo? you can still get a stroller that doesn’t look like Knight Rider’s car without being judged. The strollers trends in Egypt are ridiculous, people actually give you the death glare if you have an ugly one.
Definitely an umbrella stroller is not suitable for newborns, but as the child grows old, you need something light and practical because you will be exhausted. Just make sure it is comfortable for the back and not too cheap so the wheels aren’t rough on the floor.
When adding the car seat to the gift list, you have to specify the brand, because you will find yourself loving ones and hating others. Parents are very opinionated when it comes to car seats. It is expensive and list-worthy.
Car window shade and baby view mirror
These car accessories are very important. The shades will protect your baby from the sun while the mirror will make sure you get to see your baby during the drive, especially with newborns who have car seats facing backwards. Affordable option to put on a gift list.
Indoor play area or stairs gate
A crawling or walking baby is a disaster waiting to happen. Make sure you have a confined safe area. It is never too early for house safety items.
This pillow is magic. It is perfect for belly support when you are in the final pregnancy trimester. You can also use it as a support for the baby while breastfeeding instead of carrying. I loved it.
A lovely device to calm your baby before bedtime and entertain him a bit with all the shapes and colors on the walls.
Portable changing kit
If this item is not included as part of the diaper bag, make sure you get one for a clean diaper changing space outside the house.
This is one of the most important things for me on the list. It was not cute when my baby had a tantrum and I had to take the formula can out in the street and started scooping. It was life-changing when a friend told me there is a three-partitioned container that can store pre-measured formula for every feed.