Especially if you are a first time mom, the process of making sure you have everything your newborn will need prior to their arrival can be stressful. Chances are, if you are planning a virtual baby shower (or one is being planned for you), you have been encouraged not to buy anything for the baby yet- you want to avoid doubles and the stress of returns!
But if your due date is fast approaching, you might start to worry about what will happen if you don’t get everything you need at the shower, and you will have to scramble to buy the essentials before your baby is born.
We get where you are coming from! And the truth is, you probably won’t get EVERYTHING you need. So how can plan ahead without stepping on anybody’s toes?
Here is a list of things you can expect to have to buy for yourself, because you likely won’t receive them at your baby shower.
Things You Didn’t Put on Your Wishlist
This might seem like a given, but it’s worth saying. If you didn’t put it on the wish-list chances are you shouldn’t expect to receive it. Of course, the statement has its limitations. We’re not saying that you won’t get anything that wasn’t on your list. When it comes to baby clothes in particular, family and friends love to go wild and get what they adore when they are out in the shops. That being said, if you’re going to need something that seems pretty obvious, like a crib mattress, and you didn’t ask for one, you’re probably not going to find one in a gift bag. When it comes to these essentials, people look towards your wish-list to understand what you need based on what you might already have, and certain parenting decisions you are making (i.e. co- sleeping vs. bassinet vs. Moses Basket)- this is especially true when it comes to virtual party guests who do not have children. They are relying on you to tell them what YOUR newborn needs. So if it’s not on the list, it’s probably safe to pick up before the big event.
Big Ticket Items
This is going to vary from group to group, and is controversial amongst mothers everywhere. Some received only the big-ticket items from their wish list thanks to friends and family pooling their money together, while others didn’t receive any of them. That being said, most agree that you can expect one or two, and probably not more. Follow your gut when it comes to these items- you know your guests. If you had a lot of big ticket items on your wish list and you suspect you won’t get many of them as gifts, these are investments worth spacing out over time. A car seat would also be a good item to purchase ahead, since you need to have it properly installed before you go to the hospital, and you literally can’t leave the hospital without it. If your shower is planned close to your due date, you do not want to run the risk of not having one when you go into labour.
Baby Grooming Supplies
Just like you, your baby will need their hair brushed and their nails clipped. The truth is, though, a brush and nail clippers are going to be low on the priority list of your guests- they just aren’t as glamorous as a sparkly bow or a stuffed dinosaur. They are also quite inexpensive, which is usually not the criteria your guests will be looking for when choosing a good gift- even budget-conscious shoppers will choose an outfit or item that feels more substantial and “complete”. The Safety First Vanity Set is ideal and really budget friendly.
Baby Medical Supplies
Your newborn is going to need a good thermometer- trust us. You want to know when your baby is sick and as a new parent you are going to worry about that a lot. This might not even be something you thought to put on the registry but it is an absolute essential, both for your baby’s health and your peace of mind. Do some research and purchase this thermometer ahead of time. Even if it did make it onto your wish-list, chances are your guests are going to classify this the same way as the grooming supplies and it will probably be overlooked. A Nasal aspirator and remedies such as gripe water could also fall under this umbrella.
For whatever reason, any essentials related to breastfeeding seem to be avoided as shower gifts, potentially due to the personal nature of the decision to breast or bottle feed. You’ll probably end up with a breastfeeding pillow we like the Ergobaby nursing pillow as it gives just the right amount of support, and you might even luck out and have a thoughtful friend send you a breast pump. But when it comes to nursing bras, nipple creams, milk storage bags and nursing pads, you’ll probably want to pick some up for yourself.
Essentials for Mum
The baby shower is meant to spoil- you guessed it- the baby. Which means that any of the essentials needed for postpartum recovery are probably not going to be given as gifts. If you have friends who put together a postpartum care kit for you, you are really lucky. But chances are, gifts will be focused on the baby and that’s okay. Whether this is new underwear, pads, soothing sprays or loose clothing, just make sure you do some essentials shopping for yourself as well, because you’re not going to be up for that extra trip to the store when the baby arrives. You will want to start your postpartum care right away, so make sure this is all ready for when when you get home from the hospital, or even packed in your hospital bag.
You are going to get tons of baby clothes at your shower, probably covering the whole first year worth of sizes- except for preemie. While none of us want to think about the possibility that our babies could be premature since we want them to be as healthy as possible, you should consider buying a couple of preemie sized outfits and I will tell you why. Nobody expects to have a preemie, and when they come, you will not have time to run out an get an outfit. Not only do you want to feel like you’re bringing your baby home in something special (after all, it’s a really big moment!) you want your baby to be warm and clothed right away. It’s actually unsafe for newborns to be dressed in clothes that are too big, so you wouldn’t just be able to “make it work” with newborn sizing. The last thing you want is to have somebody scrambling around in the first few hours of your child’s life trying to find preemie sized clothing (because let me tell you, it’s actually pretty hard to get ahold of) when they should be with you, enjoying your new bundle of joy. So buy a couple outfits (enough for at least one day worth of changes) and if you don’t need them you can always return them, or even hold onto them in case a friend needs them down the road.
Every baby shower is different, and what “essential” means to you is a highly personal decision. While you can’t predict exactly what your guests are going to buy, you can get a sense of what is less common, and when it comes to a newborn baby- it’s better to be prepared. It’s okay to trust your instincts and do some shopping before your baby shower because surely there will still be some things you need. At the end of the day, trust your gut, and do what you need to do in order to feel prepared for the arrival of your new baby.