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

“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

“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


“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

“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


“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

“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

“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


“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