When I was planning the release of my wiggly belly inmate, I made list upon list of different things we would need. From what would be in the hospital bag (which ended up being the entire back of our SUV), to what strategies would help me through the birth, to what we’d need for baby once she was here. Now that I’ve gone through those first two years, I have a better grasp of what would have been useful to receive for those first months. As someone who tends to err on the more natural side of life in general, and parenting in particular, these suggestions for baby shower gifts are probably most appreciated by new green living mamas who may want to avoid toxins, save on wastes, and opt for more natural products.
Baby Shower Gifts for Green Living Mamas
Little cloths – In preparation for my babe, I grabbed a pack of small cloths. I wish I had bought more, as we’ve always seemed to be low in our supply. Here’s what they have been useful for: Baby bath washcloths, warm and gentle reusable bum wipes (you might want to differentiate these from the ones you use for faces), messy facecloths after meals or medicine, sticky hand wipes (pre-wet and put in zip-lock bag for on-the-go wiping), cool forehead cloths for fevers, and any other time you need a quick little wipe.
Non-toxic Baby Shampoo & Soap – Baby shampoos and soaps go quickly in our home, not because we bathe our little incredibly often (we don’t), but because she’s been exercising her independence and self-care measures by scrubbing her self up with soap for a while now. Because I know that most marketed soaps include far too many toxins in their ingredients (yep, even the “gentle” baby soaps), I can’t feel good about using them on my babe or gifting them to another little one. You can find some great non-toxic and natural baby soaps at healthfood stores and specialty shops, and you can check the EWG website to see where many different soaps land on the scale of toxicity.
Camilia – Around our house, these little tubes of homeopathic teething medicine from Boiron have been in high regard. Someone turned us onto these dandy little squirts that have been hugely successful at easing teething symptoms (painful gums, restlessness, irritability, and diarrhea) throughout various points of our little bean’s first 2.5 years. Intended for babies and toddlers ages 1 to 30 months, Camilia is made with sterile water and contains no sugar, no colouring and no preservatives, so my green living self feels a lot better about giving her this medicine when she’s fussy, rather than either holding out until she’s clearly in need, or giving the harder pharmaceuticals when they’re not necessary. I have raved about these little sanity savers over the last two and a half years, and will continue to do so to anyone who will listen.
I recently found out about two other Boiron homeopathic children’s medicines I was unaware of: Cocyntal and Quietude. Cocyntal is supposed to help with colic in babies 1 month to 6 months old, by relieving cramps, spasms, abdominal pain and intestinal gas. I would definitely include this in a baby shower gift with the Camilia, just in case – I can only imagine how hard it is to have a colicky baby. The other homeopathic children’s medicine that I was excited to find out about is Quietude. My little one tends to have trouble sleeplessness, irritability, restlessness, and even the occasional nightmare sometimes, and Quietude is intended for helping to relieve these symptoms associated with nervousness in children 6 months to 11 years old. I’ve since tried it with my little and it did seem to help her calm down, settle down, and get some much needed sleep on a tough day.
Board Books – There is no such thing as too early to enjoy reading with your little one. Even in-utero there are benefits, so why would that change once they are laying next to us? Board books are essential for reading with babies, as reading often equates to eating the books (babies explore with their mouths as their main method for learning about their world). Books with contrast (black and white, patterns) are easiest for the very little babies to focus on, but there’s always something to be said for books that mom and dad can enjoy while they read, too. Here are our favourites that were some of the firsts we enjoyed together, and are still being brought out for story time.
Snot Suckers – Sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? Welcome to motherhood. While I could rarely get these things working properly (maybe I just didn’t try the right kind), they have been a favourite of many of the mamas I know. When your little one has mucus stuck up in their nasal passages and they’re too young to blow it out, mom can get right in there and help give some relief and make breathing easier with one of these handy contraptions that let you suction out the snot. It’s not pretty, but it’s darn satisfying when you can. Throw this in with some of the other items on this list and voila. A baby show gift that really sucks. (But in a good way.)
Receiving Blankets – There are so many uses for these lighter, smaller blankets. They come in handy to lay baby down on the floor or the ground, used as a nursing cover, shoulder protection when you’re holding a baby who may spit up on you, or a rag to clean up the spit up off baby, yourself, or wherever else it ended up. You could use it as a car seat cover when out and about with a sleeping baby, wrap baby up, or use it to save your seat at a cafe. They’re just so useful. Extra points if you can find some made from bamboo or organic cotton.
Diapers – Babies go through a lot of diapers, especially at the beginning, when the average is about 10 diapers a day. That’s a lot of time spent dealing with doo doo, but also a lot of dollars spent to keep it all under control. If you’d like to help out with the cost of this necessity, you should first find out of the parents plan on using disposables or cloth. If disposable, any amount of any size from 1 and up should be helpful, and you can find brands that are more green living friendly (some even compostable). If cloth diapering, perhaps you could pitch some money towards their purchase, or you could pay for a month or so of a local diaper service. Then they would could try cloth diapering first without worrying about adjusting with the extra washing or the immediate investment.
Reusable Nursing Pads – I underestimated how much milk I would produce for having such small milk-makers, and was in awe at the way my milk would spontaneously shoot out over my surroundings while my little was trying to latch. Not only then, but the milk would leak out at other times when my shirt was secured in place, wetting my bra and leaving telling marks soaking through. Hooray for nursing pads!
Frozen Meals/Restaurant Gift Cards – Do I really need to explain why this is a good baby shower gift idea? Take a load off of the new and likely exhausted parents and treat them to a meal they don’t have to think about, shop for, make, or clean up. Even if the family isn’t quite ready for eating out at a restaurant, gift cards can be used for delivery or take out at many places. Make sure you know what their tastes and dietary needs are if you plan on making something, or before sending a vegetarian to an all-steak restaurant.
Wrap or Carrier – Okay, this one is a bit more expensive, so it may be a larger gift for someone you’re closer to, or a fantastic group gift, but it is such a blessing to receive. The carrier I used and loved those first two years (and honestly, I still take it on long hikes to pack my 2.5 year old when she gets tired) was a lifesaver. It helped me get so much more done in peace, let my baby sleep more and longer, kept her close to build that bond, gave me the opportunity to shop hand-free, and let us go to many more places that we wouldn’t have been able to go together otherwise (like hiking in the Colombian mountains). Baby wearing for the win!
Diaper Genie – I know, this seems off the green living track, but hear me out. We decided we didn’t really need one of these diaper disposals because we were cloth diapering and for some reason it felt wasteful and not in line with my green living goals (in reality, it’s basically just an air-tight, filtered garbage bin). Who needs that? Anyone who will be using wipes or disposable diapers, even if the diapers are just for at night, that’s who. Until we finally received a diaper genie nearly two years into parenting, we scrunched our noses and complained about the smell that would come on if the garbage wasn’t emptied as soon as anything went in (and unless you’re using cloth wipes and cloth diapers 100% of the time, something’s going in). This is definitely something I wish we would have had right from the get-go.
Do you have some more ideas? What would you add to this list of new baby must-haves? Have you given or received anything in particular as a baby shower gift that was especially thoughtful? Share in the comments below, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and let me know. If you found this post useful, and you’re into this whole positive parenting, early learning, family adventure, natural and green living thing I’ve got going with this blog, I’d love it if you join the list of awesome folks who are receiving a quick weekly update about what’s new around here.
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Boiron (remember that awesome teething medicine I told you about?). I could not be more thrilled to be an ambassador for this brand of homeopathic medications, as I’ve been benefiting from their products for years, and love that they offer a more natural alternative to many of the medicines on the market. It fits perfectly with my green living lifestyle. Stay tuned for more to come about my experience with Boiron products, and check out the hashtag #BoironFamily to see what other bloggers in this campaign have to say, too.