what to buy an expecting mom and a baby

Hi friends!  I thought I’d write a post on what to buy an expecting mom and a baby based on my experience.  Since baby William is almost two months old, I’ve gotten a feel for what I’ve used and what I haven’t, and I thought it may be helpful to share.  Obviously this is my personal opinion, but I hope you find it helpful next time you’re shopping for a baby shower present or a gift for a new mom and baby.

what to buy an expecting mom and baby

Gifts for Baby

  • Anything from the registry:  Us ladies make registries for a reason! If you do choose to stray, heed my advice below.  Either way, attach a gift receipt. It makes it a lot easier on moms during a time in their life when nothing feels easy.
  • Board books: I love setting these up in the baby’s crib or on his play mat for him to look at and be visually stimulated.  Babies get bored easily, so I change them often.
  • Cloth books: These are good when babies start moving more and wanting to touch. Anything with various texture will be most appealing.
  • Any books: Clearly I’m a teacher and think you can never have too many books! But itz true and books never go out of style or get old.
  • Rompers: All babies, boys or girls, look adorable in rompers. I received tons of onesies, but wanted something that resembled more of an outfit when I started taking William out. Rompers were perfect because they’re easy to get on and off, and they have easy access for frequent diaper changes (make sure that area does have easy access with snaps or zippers!). Also, I recommend sizes 0-3 months or 3-6 months because William only wore newborn sleepers and onesies at first.
  • Sleepers: If you’re going to buy clothes, buy sleepers (or rompers, depending on the season).  Sleepers that snap or zip are the easiest, especially for those middle of the night diaper changes. Buttons are cute, but a real pain and not very practical. I prefer cotton as I think itz the softest and most comfortable for babies new skin.
  • Activity Gym: (Check registry to see if they have a specific one they want!)  Babies can lay on these right away, and eventually have tummy time on them, as well (with supervision, of course).
  • Toys: Toys that don’t require batteries, that is.  Toys that are colorful and have contrasting patterns are best for newborns.  Some brands that I’ve grown to love are Whoozit, Lamaze, Taggies, and Sassy. I’m sure there are several others; those are just the one I’ve become familiar with over the last two months.
  • Sophie GiraffeItz a classic and itz adorable. Yes, itz a bit overpriced for what it is, but every baby must have one.
  • Wubbanub Pacifier: Not a necessity; I just think they’re super cute. I don’t let William sleep with his, but I do use it while he’s in his carseat as it stays in his mouth better as there’s a little weight on it with the stuffed animal.
  • Diapers and Wipes: I know itz not the cutest gift, but let’s be real – every baby needs a plethora of these and you can never have too many. For diapers, I would go with Huggies or Pampers as those are the only brands I’ve tried. For wipes, I would go with WaterWipes as you can use them right when you get home from the hospital as they’re completely chemical-free.
  • Monogrammed / Personalized Gifts: I personally love all of these, but obviously it would depend on if the couple is sharing the baby’s name prior to birth. Items we received that I love are a stool, mini-chair, towel, backpack, and duffle bag.  I received a tervis tumbler cup that read, “Itz William’s Momma” which I absolutely LOVE. Another fun unique gift I received was a personalized piggy bank, and the card had $5 of quarters taped inside to start him off.
  • Anything Homemade: Itz always special when someone you love puts their time into making something for the baby.

William Jack

Gifts for Expecting Moms

New moms don’t need much (besides lots of love and support!) in terms of materialistic items, so these are some breastfeeding essentials. Most of them I learned about only after I started nursing and needed to start pumping. Check with the expecting mother to see if she’s planning on breastfeeding, and definitely attach a gift receipt in case breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned or she doesn’t end up needing one of the items.

  • Milk Storage Bags: I used the Medela ones at first which were great because they were smaller in size when I wasn’t producing quite as much. Once my milk really came in (and I became a true cow), I’ve been using the Lansinoh bags. They’re larger in size and less expensive.
  • Quick Clean Sterilizing Bags: These are for the breastpump parts and bottles. I have the Medela brand, but there are others available.
  • Hands-Free Pumping Bra: Since I had to pump so much at the beginning, this was a must as pumping is not very fun. At least this holds the suctions in place and gives you access to your hands. I have the Medela brand and like it.

So, yes, itz all related to breastfeeding and pumping, but itz something I didn’t anticipate needing right away, so my mom had to go out and buy them for me. If you give them as a gift with a gift receipt, the new mom can always return them if they’re not needed.

william linz

Don’t be offended by my next list.  Any gift is very much appreciated, so I don’t want anyone to think I’m being ungrateful for something we received. However, I’m looking at it from more of a practicality standpoint and what we really needed prior to baby William’s arrival.  If you gave us one of the items on the next list, thank you. Itz the thought that counts, and your love and generosity is appreciated.

The following items are on the list due to the excess amount of them that we received. If they are listed on the registry, by all means purchase it.

What NOT to Buy an Expecting Mom or Baby

  • Onesies
  • Blankets
  • Bibs
  • Stuffed animals
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Anything for babies older than one year

As adorable as some hooded towels, onesies, stuffed animals, blankets, and bibs are… a baby only needs so many.  Plus, I do William’s wash very often as I don’t like to let his soiled items sit, so I could really get by with way fewer of the items than we have. Anything for babies older than one year just gets put in storage and who knows if I’ll remember to take it out when itz time. I’d rather have my essentials for a newborn first, and purchase items needed for older babies later. Plus, there’s always birthdays and holidays for that!

william newborn

photos by Stephanie Cotta Photography

What would you add to any of the lists?

22 thoughts on “what to buy an expecting mom and a baby

  1. I’d add sleep sacks. So nice to be able to do diaper changes easily in the middle of the night! They were especially good for winter babies to help keep them warm with no blankets.

  2. Great list! As someone who hasn’t had their shower yet but still needs EVERYTHING I do hope people will get me things off of my registry, b/c, well, I need those items and that’s less I have to buy. Love it! When I go to a shower if I can’t make it to the store they are registered at I always go with diapers and wipes.

  3. this is a great list, Linz. I agree with you on blankets. I ended up packing up a huge ag of them and giving them to Goodwill because I got so many. Diapers are an excellent gift!!

  4. This is an awesome list! First time commenter, but long-time reader. William is super precious and congrats! You guys are doing great!

    The only thing I would personally change is the bibs on the don’t buy list. My daughter is five months old (today!) and at first I thought the same thing as you – I was like, we have WAY too many bibs!! But then she hit two-three months old and starting teething (which = drooling like crazy). She still doesn’t have any teeth, but from what I’ve heard/read the drool sticks around for a while. And literally, if we don’t put a bib on her, her clothes get all wet. She also just loves to put her bib or her outfit in her mouth (another teething thing, I think), so we change a soaking bib a ton. We go through them as fast as diapers. But then again, maybe this is just Brielle and not all babies drool this much, LOL!

    • I 100% agree with bibs…during teething AND when they start eating solids you’re going to go through more bibs than you ever thought possible. Same goes for burp cloths. We had like 5 stashed in all rooms of the house..and it probably still wasn’t enough.

  5. I replied to someones comment but I’ll say it again..I would put bibs on the definitely DO buy list. Especially plastic ones for when they start eating solids..we have 5 and that’s plenty but I love them because they’re so easy to wash. But yes, during teething bibs are crucial!! I definitely agree with blankets..unless you’re making a special quilt or something don’t buy blankets, we got waaaay too many! I’ll have to end up giving them away which makes me feel terrible. Instead of a sleeping blanket maybe a neat picnic blanket that can be used for play time and taken on family outings!

  6. I think your list is spot on! I returned so many blankets and other little things like that because we got so many and we just didn’t need them all. I’m a huge stickler for only buying from the main gift from the registry and adding smaller items I personally like.

  7. This brought back memories of my baby shower. My sis in law set it up, I did a very very small registry, but on the invite it was like a barrage of hawaiian flowers to show the theme, and then 5 pages later was a little link to the registry. needless to say, we got nothing from it, which I was fine with anyways, but the amount of blankets we got… not cool. Most are still in our storage or I have given quite a few away to new babies (which is funny as I didn’t want them in the first place!)

  8. I agree this is a great list. I have way too many blankets and onesies! I would also add that a newborn clothes are good. People always want to buy 0-3 or 3-6 but I found I needed more newborn sizes.

  9. I know so many couples having babies, this list will come in handy, since it’s been a few years since I’ve had newborns. I’d love for you to do a post on new babies items worth buying. I would add, gift cards for the couples favorite take out restaurants, house cleaning services, and laundry service gift cards.

  10. I say this on everyones list, but it is so different depending on the area you live, when the baby is going to be born, etc… but the one piece of advice. Attach a gift receipt to the gift. We got a lot of winter clothes in 0-3 month sizes but B was born in July, so my MIL exchanged all of that for me since B was early.

    I think that most people love to (in my experience) get something from the registry and a piece of clothing, but for me personally things like stuff for breastfeeding would’ve been useless as I had supply problems and my milk never came in.

  11. Thanks for the tip on the breast milk pump bags. I didn’t know you could use them interchangeably.
    I’m creating our registry now, so this is SO helpful! 🙂

  12. These are awesome lists! People bought us so many bibs too, and she never drooled a ton, so I’ve never used them up until she started eating solids.

    I LOVED getting toys because I never knew which ones to buy! And of course, loved cute outfits and bows!

  13. Great list! Love all the books – it’s still my 2.5 yo’s favorite gift. But I’d definitely put bibs on the do buy list! Wyatt had bad reflux and we’d easily go through 30 bibs/day. But I realize most babies need far fewer!

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