Gifts for the New Mom

There’s a new baby in the family. Little Jude was born to my niece in December, and his great-aunt Eve is assembling a gift basket for him and his mom. Instead of buying whatever is in the baby aisle at Target, I decided to mine the moms I know for their knowledge on baby must-haves.

“A Soothie pacifier” ($4.99 for a two-pack at CVS) was Bernice’s suggestion. “It’s what they use in the hospitals. They are BPA-free, made from latex-free silicone, and there’s something about the size of the nipple — babies all prefer it. And I always use the newborn size. When I’ve tried the pacifier size for the older babies, the kids haven’t liked it. It’s harder, and the babies have just spit it out. If I could buy a passel of them, I would.”

BPA stands for bisphenol A, a chemical used in the manufacture of plastics. Some agencies maintain it poses no risk to humans; other agencies express “some concern” about adverse effects. The Eve Kelly Agency says if there’s a doubt, throw it out.

“I have also discovered these stainless-steel tins,” Bernice continued. “They are circular, stackable tins that have a clicking system on the side, and I use them to bring Cheerios, raisins, and fruit snacks to the park. I like that I don’t have to keep buying Ziploc bags.” The Tier Tiffin Carriers come in two-, three-, and four-tier models for $12, $15, and $20 at (619-335-5351).

Erica’s choice: “Baby’s Herbal Garden Pansy Flower Shampoo by Healthy Times [$9.99 for 8 ounces at Henry’s]. I love the smell. Been using it since my ten-year-old was a baby.”

“Burt’s Bees Buttermilk bath soak [$15.99 for 9 ounces at Henry’s] smells delicious and is very moisturizing on the skin,” said Molly. “I buy it for all my baby gifts.”

“I like the new temporal thermometer,” said my nurse friend Kathleen. “You use it on the forehead, so you’re not trying to put a tool in any body part and fight the kid at the same time [Exergen temporal scanner infrared thermometer, $33.99 at Target].”

“Calendula gel [Boiron, $9.99 for 2.6 ounces at Henry’s] is at the top of my shopping list with a new baby,” said Jill. “It clears up diaper rashes, heals sore boobs, and works wonders on scrapes.”

“A must-have in our home is Triple Paste medicated ointment [$9.99 for 2 ounces at CVS],” said Nancy. “It kicks Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in the butt,” she chuckled. “No matter how bad the diaper rash is, it clears it up in a day.”

Another necessity: a Maya Wrap. “All tiny babies like the Maya Wrap [$65.95 at],” Nancy continued. “Mom or Dad can wear them, and all babies fall asleep in them. When I first looked at one, it looked like a puzzle, but they are quite simple to use and very comfortable to wear. But let’s talk leakage. Leakage is something that no one talks about,” she continued, laughing. “Nursing pads are a must-have for any new mom.”

Erin concurred on the leakage issue. “I felt like a human rotten-milk burp cloth until I was introduced to nursing pads. Lansinoh brand is the best. I leaked like crazy out of every other pad [$9.99 for 60-count at CVS].

“My baby crawled at five months and was cruising at seven months,” she continued. “Grip socks for home and Robeez baby shoes for outside are awesome. They are the only shoes that stay on his feet. He kicks off other shoes or cries because he can’t move in them as he does with bare feet. They’re a bit expensive but worth the price [$22 a pair at Macy’s].”

“With five babies over the years,” offered Katie, “I have learned a few things about baby clothing. First is that I always have my babies in a onesie underneath their clothing. The onesie’s most important function is to keep the diaper in place to avoid mishaps with leakage and wiggling the diaper off the proper placement zones. Second, I prefer to clothe my babies in sleepers with zippers for their first six months or so. The zippers are far faster than snaps to make diaper changes much quicker. Third, I like to buy darker colors because they last longer through spit-up and diaper blow-out stains.”

“A baby monitor!” offered sister Meg. “Just can’t live without a monitor in a large house. And a leash,” she laughed.

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