the best. really.

What’s the Best Baby-Shower Gift?

Everything the little one — and mom — will need for that first year. Photo: Courtesy of retailers

So your best friend had a baby. And you’re completely clueless about the whole enterprise. What do you bring to the shower? Do you go with something cute or useful? (Probably useful.) But what’s the most useful? We decided to find out, asking an array of the world’s foremost baby experts (mostly new moms themselves, but also shop owners, medical professionals, and doulas): What’s the best baby-shower gift? Below, the very helpful responses. (And if you want to start a registry on Amazon, where most of our items are available, it’s a cinch.)

Books and DVDs

The Happiest Baby on the Block

“Our very kind neighbors lent us this DVD that taught us how to get her to stop screaming bloody murder in the first few weeks. I can’t tell you the difference it made.” —Emily Ross, assistant provost at School of Visual Arts, mother of a 15-month-old

Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old by Suzy Giordano

“I always gift the book Twelve Hours’ Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old. We have twins, and the best gift my husband and I could get is two babies that sleep through the night by the time I went back to work. It was a very easy, practical, and gentle way of sleep training a baby (or two).” —Julia Sloan, senior vice-president, Nars Cosmetics, mother of 4-year-old twins and a 20-month old

Clothing

Zutano Unisex-Baby Newborn Cozie Fleece Booties

“Baby socks are notorious for not staying on. These booties will stay on, come in a variety of colors, and for older, more mobile children they have ones with grips on the soles so kids don’t slip on slippery floors.” —Dr. Frances Benedict, pediatric emergency medical doctor, Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Night Night Baby Sleeper in Organic Cotton

This sounds so silly but onesies that zip as opposed to snap are so helpful. Trying to button up on a squirmy babe is tough, especially after a middle-of-the-night diaper change, so we have a lot of these Hanna Andersson jammies. They are the best.” —Madeleine Fawcett, publicist, mother of 7-month-old

Freshly Picked Soft Leather Moccasins

“Baby moccasins that will not fall off your kid’s feet and be lost to the sidewalk forever — these are durable, well-designed, and adorable.” —Melissa Tortorella, owner, Pink Olive

Pacifiers and teethers

Wubbanub Pacifier

“My shout-out goes to the Wubbanub. It saved us. When our girl was still on the younger side, she’d drop the regular pacifier from her mouth and need us to come put it back in — or even hold it in place, and my sister introduced us to the Wubbanub. In those early days, we could wedge the animal part between things to keep the pacifier accessible for her even if it fell out of her mouth, and when she was a little older, she could grab it more easily herself to put it back in. Life-changing.”—Katie Krieger, engineer, mother of an 18-month-old

Nuby Silicone Teethe-eez Teether

“My daughter loves this teether. It’s the perfect size for her to hold, soothes her gums when she’s teething, plus the nubs clean milk and food residue from gums and teeth.” —Chelsa Crowley, founder, Stowaway Cosmetics, mother of a 9-month-old

Comotomo Silicone Baby Teether

“These teethers are awesome, and very pretty, I might add. Baby loves the bright colors and the ring makes it easy for younger babies to manipulate.”—Gretchen Radzik, art teacher at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old

Madeline’s Box Leather Braided Pacifier Clip

“These pacifier strings are fantastic because pacifiers are hideous but pacifier clips are even worse — but very necessary. These make them attractive.” —Cara Sullivan, floral designer, mother of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old

LexyPexy Teether Toy

“These LexyPexy organic New York City eco-chic teethers are sustainable maple wood, naturally anti-bacterial, nontoxic, non-allergenic, non-splintering — and handmade with love.” —Melissa Tortorella, owner, Pink Olive

Feeding

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder

“I feel like my life completely revolves around food. It’s really unbelievable how many hours of my current life are spent planning, purchasing, prepping, feeding, and cleaning up food. So anything that helps in that department is vital to me. My daughter has a rare food allergy that limited the snacks that I could take on the go. These little mesh feeders enabled me to give her fresh fruit and veggies without worrying about her choking. They’re also great to put ice in for teething.” —Amanda Olsen, real estate agent, mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old

Green Sprouts Silicone Placemat

“I take this little green mat everywhere: Restaurants, friends’ houses, and I even use it at home. It helps me avoid the kids’ food being on dirty germ-filled tables, plus cleanup is easy: You just move the mess from table to sink. Once kids are a little older, it’s great for playing with play-doh, too.” —Amanda Olsen

Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle

“These are so great. They’re a green product, and older babies can learn to hold these bottles more easily than others.” —Gretchen Radzik, art teacher at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old

Milkies Freeze Organizer

“For storing milk, this frozen contraption helps keep the freezer organized and makes sure your use your oldest milk first.”—Alicia Birr, naturopathic doctor, mother of a 4-month-old

BabyBjörn Soft Bib

“These bibs are the best. My husband thought they were weird because they are kind of stiff. But that’s a good thing! When you see how much food collects in the bottom of those bibs, you will understand the logic of choosing that particular material type. Also, you can just clean them with soap and a sponge. Anything that you don’t have to launder is great, bibs especially. They get very soiled and stained. And, honestly, the last thing you want to do is stain-treat a baby bib. I guess you don’t really have to but I always hated putting my daughter in a clean bib with stains on it.” —Elizabeth Verrelli, event planner, mother of a 2-year-old

Chairs

Bumbo Floor Seat

“This chair thing looks so weird but it’s truly a godsend. It sets babies up to eventually sit on their own and it’s the perfect thing to throw them in while cooking or sending emails.” —Madeleine Fawcett, publicist, mother of a 7-month-old

Inglesina Fast Table Chair

“This high chair is perfect for small-space living, or visiting somewhere without a seat for your kid. It easily connects to a table or counter and you can toss the cloth part in the washing machine.” —Amanda Olsen, real estate agent, mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old

Infantino Play and Away Cart Cover

“I took this grocery-cart cover with me everywhere we went. It was great to prevent germs in the grocery store or on high chairs in restaurants, and even better, my daughter loved playing with it.” —Andrea Roberts, teacher, mother of a 5-year-old

Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair

“The convertible Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair provides modern seating for an infant but also can turn into a chair that suits a teenager (it can hold up to 300 pounds). ” —Dave Jacobs, owner, Mini Jake

Cribs and bassinets

Arms Reach Bedside Bassinet

“I received a secondhand Arm’s Reach co-sleeper as a gift. The co-sleeper is great since I had a C-section. Using the co-sleeper with the drop-down side means I don’t have to lift the baby up so much in the night. It also looks, and I’m assuming feels, more like a crib so I hope our crib transition is easier.” —Rebecca Schultz, product designer, mother of a 23-month-old and a 6-week-old

Oeuf Bassinet System
Oeuf Fawn Conversion Kit

“Eco-friendly and adaptable, this crib and bassinet set will take you from newborn through baby years and, with the addition of a toddler conversion kit, can take you all the way through to your child’s first big kid bed.” —Dave Jacobs, owner, Mini Jake

Grooming

Piyo Piyo Baby Nail Scissors

“I still love these, even for a 3-year-old. Makes nail cutting much less scary and difficult along the soft keratin of baby nails.”—Amanda Olsen, real estate agent, mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old

Pigeon Baby Cleaning Tweezers

“These nose-cleaning tweezers are THE BEST. They sneak right into those tiny nose holes and pull out the hardest-to-reach boogers so your little one can breathe.” —Phoebe Newman, foreign service officer, mother of a 3-year-old and a 9-month-old

Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush

“The baby loves this toothbrush during the teething years, and it gets them ready for the toddler adventure of learning to brush.” —Gretchen Radzik, art teacher at Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old