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Parents-to-be take most of the guess work out of shopping for their baby showers. They read all the books and do all the research and head to the nearest baby store to set up registries with all the things they think they’ll need once the baby arrives. But seasoned parents? They’ll get real honest real fast with you about all the junk they wish they’d never even registered for. Things that wound up sitting in the corner of their nursery collecting dust for most of that first year. And they’ll also be quick to tell you what really and truly worked for them. The things they swore by. The things that saved them in all their sleep-deprived, haven’t-showered-in-days glory.
That’s why parents who’ve been around the block a few times like to go a little rogue when it comes to baby showers, buying off-registry whenever they can to give gifts that they truly KNOW will make life easier with a newborn. Allow us to share a few of those tried-and-true favorites with you …
1. ZoLi BUZZ Nail Trimmer
There’s literally nothing more terrifying than going after your newborn’s tender digits with a sharp object. But these trimmers take the terror out of it for newbies — and trust me, you will thank your lucky stars that you have them on hand when it comes time.
2. SoundBub White Noise Machine
Give the gift of noise? YES! This white noise machine will help babies get used to falling asleep with background noise — which in turn will mean more sleep for Mom and Dad. WIN-WIN.
3. Munchkin BRICA GoBoost Travel Booster Seat
This super compact travel booster seat is awesome for parents on the go (which, basically, is all of us) and even has a handy storage compartment for wipes. SCORE!
4. Sleepea Swaddles
I know what you’re thinking: Sleepsacks have been around for a while now, they aren’t exactly something new. But they belong on this list ’cause they are truly an awesome option for parents who want to avoid putting blankets on their snoozing newborn but still want them to sleep soundly and snuggly. This brand-new version was developed by Dr. Harvey Karp (of the Happiest Baby on the Block!), with an integrated mesh fabric for max breathability and a smart design that allows for an impressive 5-second swaddle.
5. Lalabu Soothe Shirts
Speaking of keeping babies nice and snuggled … these specially-designed soothe shirts for dads are a great alternative to strappy or fabric-heavy slings or wraps that take forever and a day to put on. (They have versions for moms, too!)
6. Little Remedies Gripe Water
It ain’t sexy, but this little bottle of gripe water is a must-have; and any new parent will be happy to have it in stock when they wind up with a super gassy newborn. (TRUST.)
7. iBaby Care M7 Digital Video Baby Monitor
It may be pricy, but a quality, high-tech baby monitor like this one is well-worth the extra cash. Plus, you can go in on it with a few friends and give it as a joint gift. Mom and Dad will thank you later.
8. La Luna Smart Interactive Baby Soother
This genius machine soothes babies back to sleep with the sound of their own parent’s voice so they can keep sleeping in the other room. UM — YES, PLEASE! Where do we sign up?
9. TempTraq 24HR Wearable Smart Thermometer
This wearable thermometer comes in sticker form and saves new parents the stress of poking and prodding their sick baby with the old-fashioned way. You can monitor it through a compatible app to check in and see how your kiddo is doing. (Talk about living in the future.)
10. UpSpring Milkscreen Breast Milk Alcohol Detectors
Girl’s Night Out shouldn’t have to be a downer just because Mom’s breastfeeding. These strips could save her precious breast milk from the old “pump and dump” method many moms often resort to.
11. Puncia 12V Smart Milk Bottle Warmer for the Car
I mean really, how convenient is this?! Not having to worry about how to heat up a bottle when they’re away from home will make any new parent’s life way easier.
12. Baby Brezza Baby Food Processor
So many parents are opting to make their own baby food these days — not just for its health perks, but also for budget reasons. This baby food maker is an excellent version that cooks AND blends in one step. SCHWINGGG!
13. Sonoline B Fetal Doppler Monitor
Okay, so this may seem a little out-there at first glance, but it’s a pretty choice gift for the totally EXTRA parents-to-be in your life. (I mean, how fun to pretend they’re Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for a bit with their own at-home ultrasound monitor, no?)
14. Project Nursery Parent and Baby SmartBand
This brilliant smartband can keep track of breastfeeding and sleeping schedules for mom and baby, which will make Mom feel way more together and less frazzled in those first few months. It’s like a nanny on your wrist!
15. SNOO Smart Sleeper
This “smart” bassinet is like no other. Developed by Dr. Harvey Karp, the SNOO has tons of cool features that are totally futuristic — like a button that plays three types of white noise and a built-in swaddle that attaches to the bed. It also has a gentle rocking setting that recreates a womb-like sway and helps babies drift off to sleep quickly.
16. Munch Mitts Silicone Teething Mitten
When it’s time to teeth, seasoned moms know that babies jam just about everything into their mouths — especially their hands. This teething mitt is a stimulating and sanitary answer to an age-hold problem.
17. Pockit Lightweight Stroller
The super compact Pockit stroller weighs in at just 10 lbs., folds up to fit into most airplane overhead compartments, and can hold up to 55 lbs.! It’s a great alternative to lugging around a bulkier stroller, even if it is a bit pricier than an umbrella stroller.
18. Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor
Welcome to the future: This small sock houses a tiny heart rate monitor inside, so you can slip it on and off your baby’s foot to keep track of any sudden changes in oxygen levels or heart rate. You can keep tabs via the Owlet’s easy-to-use app, which will also alert you if there’s anything to be aware of. (Talk about peace of mind.)
19. Rags to Raches One-Piece Baby Rompers
These super comfy, stretchy one-pieces from Rags to Raches don’t have zippers, snaps, or buttons, which make for quick and stress-free changes. (Hmm … do they come in adult sizes? Asking for a friend.)
20. Little Spoon
This super-affordable service delivers organic baby food right to your front door every other week. (AH-mazing.) Sign your friends up for a couple of months to try it out — it’s basically like Blue Apron for babies, except all Mom and Dad have to do is heat it up!
21. BabyDam Bathtub Divider
Bathtime is officially saved. Just put this handy divider in the tub and hop in behind your kid to avoid bending over and causing some major pains in your back (and butt!).
22. Little Nomad Roam-Free Play Mats
These comfy and easy-to-clean foam mats are perfect for parents who don’t want their living room to look like Chuck E. Cheese. I mean, just look how pretty they are …
Available at Little Nomad, $119+ (depending on floor size)
23. Kiinde Breast Milk Storage Twist starter kit
The Kiinde Twist lets you save and store every last drop of breast milk efficiently and economically, which makes it a must-have for breastfeeding moms who are on the move. The storage pouches are compatible with pumps from all major brands, and twist-lock on so you can pump directly into them for leak-free, transfer-free pumping. GENIUS!
24. 4moms Self-Installing Car Seat
No, you’re not seeing things and yes, prayers have been answered. This car seat adjusts itself in any make and model of car using 20 sensors and an app. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE!