While feting the arrival of a new baby with something indulgent can be fun, there’s no denying that a sterling silver feeding spoon is not the most functional of gifts. But the quest for a baby shower gift that marries form and function can be daunting—particularly for the child-free who may not be thinking as practically as those with experience. To make the search easier, we’ve roped in a panel of seasoned experts—real parents!—to tell us what they know and share their take on the best baby shower gifts. From the things they’ve loved receiving to the presents that made a memorable impact, this list of ideas will show your expectant friends just how much you love them (and their impending perma-plus-ones).
- Best overall: Hand-me-downs
- Best for first-time parents: Upang Bottle Sterilizer
- Best keepsake: Siebensachen Mozart Kugel Music Orb
- Best for seasoned parents: Ollie World Swaddles
- Best return-to-life essential: Babybjorn Travel Crib
- Best for those without family close by: Preprepared food
- Best group gift: A postpartum doula
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Hand-me-downs
What better way to pass it forward than by gifting gently used pieces of clothing, gear, and toys to the next parent in need. It could be as large as a crib or as generous as a well-appointed infant wardrobe. “I love hand-me-downs,” says Daphne Javitch, the holistic health and wellness coach behind Doing Well and a mother of two. “There’s nothing better than a selection of baby clothes once worn and loved by children you know. Community is crucial to parenthood, and sharing items contributes to a much-needed sense of togetherness.”
Best for First-Time Parents: Upang Bottle Sterilizer
Best Keepsake: Siebensachen Mozart Kugel Music Orb
Best for Seasoned Parents: Ollie World Swaddles
Best Return-to-Life Essential: Babybjorn Travel Crib
Best for Those Without Family Close By: Preprepared Food
“Food was hands down the most helpful gift we received from friends after our son, Raven, was born,” say Quy Nguyen and Avril Nolan, founders of the design showroom and creative consultancy Form Atelier. “Our friend [chef] Diana Yen made us nourishing dishes from the postpartum cookbook The First 40 Days and stored them in perfect portions in our freezer so that we didn’t have to think about cooking. If she hadn’t, we honestly wonder if would we have eaten at all those first few days.”
But you needn’t be a professional chef to give the gift of nourishment: “Other friends sent us Petee’s chicken pot pies, fresh pasta, jjigae, and snacks from Pop Up Grocer. We felt so spoiled and so loved,” the couple adds. Now they repeat the favor by gifting orders of seasonal frozen dishes from Ipsa Provisions: “They’re easy to cook in a heartbeat, which is basically all the time you have with a newborn.”
Best Group Gift: A Postpartum Doula
“A great baby shower gift is one that supports new parents; it’s a total culture shock to welcome a child, so the most valuable gift is safety and support,” says Javitch, who recommends pooling resources with other friends to offer postpartum care and mental health. “A postpartum doula supports new mothers as they navigate physical and emotional healing from birth to feeding, bonding, and newborn care. An experienced doula can teach you how to soothe a colicky baby or simply allow a new mama time to shower, nap, and eat a meal. Our beloved postpartum doula, Diana Antonelli, taught us so much, made the most delicious meatballs I’ve ever had, and brought a calm and confidence to our early parenting days that was vital.”
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews to know that they pass the test IRL.
Domino’s editors independently curate every product on our site, because we’re just as obsessed with a great deal and an under-the-radar discovery as you are. Items you purchase may earn us an affiliate commission.