26 Things We Didn’t Get at Our Baby Shower But Ended Up Buying

By Rebekah

By Rebekah

I’m a working mom with a supportive husband and two kids under 3.
What did I buy for myself and my newborn baby in the first three months after giving birth? I’ve gone through my Amazon history and am sharing it all.

This article may contain affiliate links, and we may earn a small commission when you click on a purchase link. There’s no extra cost to you, and we sincerely appreciate your support! You can read our full disclaimer policy here.

Baby shower gifts can be really fun – who doesn’t love a diaper cake and personalized newborn outfits?!

I’m two kids in and was fortunate to have amazing baby showers hosted by my sister-in-law for both. She also gave me virtually everything I needed since she had three children and was ready to pass it all on.

So, what then did I buy for myself and my newborn baby in the first three months after giving birth? I’ve gone through my Amazon history and am sharing it all. Plus, I’ll share whether I think it was worth buying or not. There are ideas in here for every budget ($5-$500).

Disclaimer: I don’t think you should expect to get everything you need or want at a baby shower. This list is strictly for moms-to-be who are interested in another mom’s experience and those who are searching for awesome baby gifts for first-time parents.

Without further ado, here are the 26 things we didn’t get at our baby shower that we ended up buying in our first 3 months as new parents.

26 things we didn't get at our baby shower but ended up buying

1. Nursing Camis and Nursing Bra

5 out of 5 stars

Nursing a newborn is a full-time job, and there’s just no point in wearing anything that makes it difficult. It wasn’t but three days after having our daughter that I found myself purchasing some.

These Caramel Cantina nursing camis are great for during pregnancy and after. 

nursing cami

They stretch around the midsection, and they also have the nursing clips for easy access. It’s always nice to find maternity clothes that also make it easy to nurse, because you get more use out of the item. I found these to run pretty long – you might consider ordering one size down.

This flowy cami with a floral pattern was a good one for going out in public, and it also hides your baby weight. 

flowy nursing cami with floral pattern

My sister sent me one as a gift, and I loved it so much I bought a second one. Another nice thing about this nursing-friendly top is you can continue to wear it even after you’re done breastfeeding.

These SUIEK nursing tops were my favorite of the bunch for everyday, around the house use. They’re comfortable, and they flow away from your midsection, a feature you really appreciate after having a baby!

Nursing tops

I also wanted to pump as much as I could to start storing up a milk supply. I worked (and still work) from home, so I wasn’t too concerned about not being able to nurse during the work day. Still, I wanted some backup milk. If you drink alcohol, need to get your hair done, or go out of town at all, you need some milk stashed up. (That, or formula, but I thought if I’m blessed enough to be able to produce a lot of milk, I may as well pump!)

After pumping once, I realized I needed a nursing bra for the equipment to fit comfortably. I also used this one from Medela daily once I started working – it allowed me to work at my desk and pump hands-free. At first, it looks and feels really weird, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

Medela nursing bra

Sidenote: Electric (plug in the wall) pumps are SO MUCH BETTER than battery-powered breast pumps. While less convenient, I got over double the milk each time I pumped. Never went back.

So, if you’re looking for baby shower gifts for mom not baby, nursing camis and pumping bras are where it’s at!

2. Milk Storage Equipment

5 out of 5 stars

I pumped every single day – sometimes twice a day – for quite a long time, so I was constantly ordering more milk storage bags. I tried both the Medela and the Lansinoh and both were great. 

The Medela was a little bit more expensive ($14.99 for 100), so I repurchased the Lansinoh several times ($13.88 for 100), but I’d recommend both.

Lansinoh milk storage bags

I know this isn’t a glamorous baby shower gift idea, but it’s inexpensive and could make for a sweet nursing-themed gift basket. Picture it: Lansinoh storage bags, a bottle warmer, breast pump sanitizer, and sterilizing bags for bottles and pump parts all wrapped up in a basket with a bow! The cost for this idea comes out to around $60. 

(Just be sure the mom-to-be plans to breastfeed first.)

3. Boba Wrap

2 out of 5 stars

I wanted a comfortable baby wrap so I could cook dinner, do chores around the house, or go grocery shopping without killing my back. I bought the Boba Wrap because it looked so cozy – it was all fabric, and you tied it in a special way to strap the baby to your chest.

Long story short, I couldn’t master the unique wrapping and tying and ended up returning it. However, I know a lot of people love it, so I still wanted to mention it.

We ended up using the Babybjorn carrier religiously for its ease of use. 

Babybjorn carrier

This was given to us by my sister-in-law, and we’re super grateful for that. It’s not cheap, which is why it might be worth checking out that Boba Wrap I tested before making a decision.

Stay-at-home-mom perspective: I was gifted a Babybjorn carrier with my first, and I used it with each child. This carrier came in handy when we’d go on outings where a stroller wasn’t easily accessible. If you’re going to Disney, a carrier like this is perfect for waiting in long lines without a stroller!


4. Haakaa (Manual Breast Pump)

3 out of 5 stars

I’m realizing a lot of what I bought myself in the first month of being a new mom was related to breastfeeding. So, if you’re reading this looking for baby shower gift ideas, it might be worthwhile to find out if your mom-to-be is planning on nursing.

I learned about the Haakaa from YouTube – I don’t remember who talked about it or I’d mention them here – but it’s basically a suction you can put on your non-nursing side to capture your letdown and save as much extra milk as possible.

Haakaa

A lot of women love this tool (there are nearly 45,000 positive reviews on Amazon at the time of this writing), but I could never get it to work right for me. The suction didn’t stay properly, and I liked to nurse on my side, so if it came off, it made a mess.

That said, I’m pretty sure the other mama bear on this blog loves it. Either way, it’s worth testing, because if you can get extra milk without even trying, it’s worth it!

Stay-at-home-mom Perspective: It’s true, I LOVED my haakaa. I used it during that first nursing of the morning when my breasts were the fullest. It doesn’t stay suctioned very well by itself, but I didn’t have too much of an issue holding it/balancing it when nursing sitting up. I was able to build up a good stash of milk in the freezer from passively using my haakaa. 


I did keep it, so I’ll definitely try it again if we have another little one.

5. Nursing Pads

5 out of 5 stars

More nursing equipment – nursing pads are a must, especially if you’re a big milk producer. I was able to stop using these after a few months, but in the early days, it was a must. If not, I’d be changing my clothes all day long.

I got disposable pads as well as washable pads, and I ended up using a mix. I love the washable version, because you’re not throwing more stuff in the trash, and they cost less the more you use them. However, the disposable ones are really handy, and you don’t get the “wet” feeling you can get with the washable ones.

6. Baby headbands

4 out of 5 stars

My first child was a girl, and as a new mom, I loved dressing her up in a cute outfit with a matching bow. While I was given a lot of adorable baby clothes and accessories, I wanted more bows to match different colored outfits. This was definitely a want and not a need purchase.

I ended up buying a set of baby headbands – they’re a little thick, but I liked having different color options. Plus, it was only $10.

7. Milkscreen – Testing Breast Milk for Alcohol

2 out of 5 stars

Sometimes, you want a glass of wine. But when you’re breastfeeding, it’s not that easy! You’re nursing every 2-3 hours at first, making it impossible to know if you can have a drink and also safely breastfeed.

I bought some testing strips to help me navigate this, and quickly discovered they’re completely unnecessary. Any amount of alcohol consumption shows up in your breastmilk within minutes.

milkscreen

In sum, don’t drink if you plan on nursing. And if you do drink (responsibly), use pumped milk and avoid any safety concerns altogether.

If you still want some peace of mind, here’s a link to the ones I purchased. They do work; I just don’t think they’re necessary.

Sidenote: I learned pumping and dumping isn’t necessary! Alcohol doesn’t stay in your milk – it passes through just like it does your blood. The only reason to pump and dump is if your breasts are engorged and you need to to ease the pain.

8. Extra Boppy Pillow Covers

5 out of 5 stars

The boppy – or the U-shaped nursing pillow – is a must-have item for nursing moms. I was lucky enough to have one passed down to me from my sister-in-law, but I did find I needed some extra covers for it.

Boppy pillow cover

I was using it several times a day, and I needed to wash the cover pretty often. I love the covers I got – the patterns are so pretty! They’re also inexpensive.

9. HALO Sleep Sacks

10 out of 5 stars!!

You need these.

Anyone with a newborn baby needs these. (Unless you get the SNOO, which we did for our second, but that’s a different story.)

I could leave it at that, but sleep sacks are incredible for calming newborns and getting them to sleep longer. From what I’ve gathered, it mimics the tight quarters of being in the womb and also stops the little arm jerks, called the Moro reflex.

That reflex can wake babies up while they’re sleeping, but if they’re swaddled tight, they can’t jerk their arms around.

These particular sleep sacks from HALO were my favorite of them all. 

HALO sleep sack

It was so easy to get a super tight swaddle, and the fabric is high-quality. I did use those thin muslin blankets from Aden + Anais to do a swaddle.

Swaddles

However, if you need a swaddle fast, the HALO sleep sacks win hands-down. The actual swaddle is also tighter when compared to a muslin blanket. It’s also more intuitive.

My only advice is potentially getting a neutral color or pattern – I bought a pink one and then felt like I shouldn’t use it when I had my second child, a son. Maybe that’s silly, but once I started considering that, I started buying more neutral-colored items and supplies.

10. Bottle Warmer

5 out of 5 stars

Once my maternity leave was over, I started pumping during the day and giving that milk to our nanny. I needed a bottle warmer, and the one we were so graciously given by my sister-in-law stopped working.

I tried a couple actually, and my favorite ended up being the one by Dr. Brown.

It’s simple to use and warms up the milk! I will suggest using a thermometer, though (Thermapen for life – for this and for cooking!!). I kept the lid open and put a thermometer in the bottle. After a minute or two, I swirled the milk around with the thermometer until it was body temperature.

Dr Browns bottle warmer

The last thing you want when a baby is hungry and screaming is to overheat the milk and then fuss around trying to cool it down!

Also, if you have excess lipase in your milk like I did (I may do a separate post about this at some point), you can use a bottle warmer to scald the milk before you freeze it. The Thermapen comes in handy for this, too, because you can ensure the milk heats up to 180 degrees, the temperature that will inactivate the lipase.

11. Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment

5 out of 5 stars

Aquaphor ointment

Our pediatrician recommended the Aquaphor baby healing ointment when our daughter got her first diaper rash about a month in. I’ve never looked back.

It works better than any other diaper ointment I’ve tried, including Honest company and Boudreaux’s butt paste.

We’re on our third tub of this stuff since we first had our daughter – that’s almost three years – and it’s always gotten rid of and helped prevent diaper rashes. It lasts forever.

It also helped when my daughter got some eczema-like bumps on the back of her arm. It’s just awesome.

12. Baby Wipes

5 out of 5 stars

One thing’s for certain. You always need baby wipes.

I did get some diapers and wipes at my baby shower, but about a month and a half after having my daughter, I found myself in need of more (they don’t last long!).

I used the Amazon Elements brand for a long time – it’s one my favorites. They’ve rebranded recently to “Mama Bear” – how cute. 🙂

I also enjoy the Sam’s Club unscented version, and they’re very similar to the Amazon brand.

Honest Company wipes are also awesome – they’re really thick and durable. But, they’re some of the most expensive wipes out there (about 6 cents a wipe instead of 4 cents a wipe).

I could go without the baby wipes from Huggies, Pampers, and Water Wipes. The Pampers wipes are really thin, and all three brands make it difficult to pull the wipes out of the container. They often stick to the next one, and I know this is very specific, but when you’re holding a baby’s legs with one hand, you want to grab a wipe quickly with the other – not fight it!

I know a lot of people love the Water Wipes, but I didn’t care for them. They were really wet (too wet), and getting them to come out smoothly was a pain.

Stay-at-home-mom perspective: I also did not like the Water Wipes. I got a few in a sample pack, and I agree, they’re too wet. My go-to is the Target brand cloth-like wipes, but they do stick together sometimes. 


One thing is for sure – skip any wipes that have scents. The traditional Pampers wipes started giving my baby a bit of a rash (though they do have an unscented version).

13. Wipe Warmer

5 out of 5 stars

Babies are fussy all the time for everything under the sun, and having the wipe warmer takes one less thing out of the equation. You know your baby will never be upset from a cold wipe.

My sister-in-law gave us a wipe warmer, which we put in our nursery. However, when you have a newborn, they typically sleep in your room with you for a while.

Wipe warmer

We quickly set up a changing station in our bedroom, and I decided to splurge on a second wipe warmer. Yes, I could have easily made one work, but when you’re changing diapers all day long, you realize you need diaper stations all over the house. Well, you don’t need them, but it sure makes life a lot easier.

The exact model we bought from Munchkin isn’t available anymore, but they have a new-and-improved version that mists the top wipe to ensure it’s not dry (??!!). So cool.

14. Munchkin Light My Way Nightlight

5 out of 5 stars

I learned about this owl nightlight from YouTube mom Aaryn Williams, and it was probably one of my most-used items from newborn age to about 6 months.

Owl nightlight

When you’re waking up at all hours of the night to nurse, you need some light to see where you’re going, but you don’t want to turn on any of the overhead lights.

This little nightlight is awesome (and cute). You just press a little button and it gives a soft glow for 30 minutes. Plus, you can carry it with you. I always gift this to new moms at their baby showers, because it’s one of those things you may not think to buy, but it’s so incredibly handy when you have it.

15. Take Along Mobile

5 out of 5 stars

We started transitioning our daughter to her own crib around two months old. I know this is really early for most, but she was ready. (Our son didn’t go to his own crib for about 4-5 months.)

She did awesome in her crib, and then we hit this streak where she wouldn’t settle. I know you’re not supposed to offer up any distractions in or around the crib, but we were sleep deprived and desperate, so we bought this little mobile to go over her crib.

Mobile above crib

She’d look up at it, and her eyes would get tired, and she’d fall asleep. It was a beautiful thing. We transitioned away from that after a few months, but it really helped us around the time when you feel like you’re going to lose your mind from sleep deprivation.

16. Infant Optics Baby Monitor

5 out of 5 stars

So this subject is a little complicated, because we originally got the Nanit monitor for our first child. My mother-in-law gifted it to us (it’s something we asked for) at our baby shower, and we were so excited to use it!

The Nanit has so many cool features like sleep tracking, phone alerts, and the ability to check on your kids from your smartphone even when away from home. But here’s the catch: it requires wifi.

Nanit baby monitor

At the time, we lived in the country and had satellite internet with data caps. We realized in a few days that this wasn’t going to work. Plus, our internet would go out when it was really cloudy, and the monitor wouldn’t work at all.

We realized one morning that our internet was out (it stormed during the night) and our baby was crying – we had no clue how long she had been awake. She was fine, but that was enough for us to immediately get rid of it. 

I do think this monitor is incredible, but if you don’t have amazing internet, I wouldn’t consider it. My husband says you need 30-40 megabytes per second minimum for this monitor – more is better!

We ended up returning it and finding a monitor that didn’t rely on the internet. 

We’ve been using the Infant Optics baby monitor ever since with a wall mount and love it! It works wherever you go. Also, if you feel like the battery stops working well after a while (for us, around 8 months or so), you can just replace the battery – you don’t need to buy a whole new monitor.

Infant optics baby monitor

Note: the exact wall mount we purchased isn’t available on Amazon anymore, so I did some research and linked a comparable one.

17. Graco Click Connect Travel Stroller System

4 out of 5 stars

We were given a really sturdy infant car seat and used it for a few weeks, but we didn’t have a stroller.

I had a c-section and a subsequent infection from it, and I had a hard time walking and doing basic tasks for several months. When I would go to doctor appointments with my newborn, it was difficult to carry the heavy car seat, and my doctor would scold me for lifting too much weight so soon after surgery.

We ended up purchasing the Graco Click Connect system, mainly because of its price (travel systems can get really expensive). It’s definitely nothing fancy or special, but it’s convenient and has served us well. It’s lightweight, and you can pop the car seat right into the stroller.

Graco carseat

And surprise – the one we bought isn’t available on Amazon anymore. A comparable model from Graco is the FastAction SE Travel System – like the one we bought, the car seat clicks into the stroller, making travelling and getting in and out of the car easy.

18. Baby Backseat Mirror for the Car

1 out of 5 stars

Around the time we purchased the stroller system, I realized I needed a way to make sure my baby was OK while driving. I purchased a backseat mirror, and it was horrible! I returned it and purchased another one, which we still use, and it’s just as bad.

SO – if anyone has a good recommendation for a baby backseat mirror for the car, PLEASE comment it down below!

19. Orajel Non-Medicated Cooling Gels for Teething

5 out of 5 stars

I ordered this to help my three-month-old who seemed to be teething – she wasn’t ready to pop any teeth yet, but she was constantly drooling and sticking her hands in her mouth, frustrated and crying.

It’s been my go-to now for both kids who are experiencing teething pain.

I should mention that medicated teething gels are not recommended for safety reasons. The FDA published a consumer update informing parents of the risks of teething jewelry and numbing medications. Numbing medications specifically including benzocaine can lead to a condition called methemoglobinemia.

However, the non-medicated cooling gel from Orajel doesn’t have those harmful numbing ingredients. Instead, it provides a cooling sensation. 

Definitely talk to your pediatrician to see if they think this is OK to use with your baby, but I found it was one of the only things that provided relief for mine. 

Other options include a frozen teething ring or putting frozen fruit in a little “food feeder.” There are lots of brands but we like the Munchkin brand.

20. Soothing Teething Mitten

1 out of 5 stars

teething mitten

The teething mitten is another item I bought for my nearly three-month-old, and it didn’t work for us. She didn’t understand the purpose was to chew on it – she thought the goal was to get it off her hand.

I tried it again with my son, and he didn’t understand it either. But, some people have found success with it, so if you’re desperate for teething contraptions, it might be worth testing.

21. Dreft Newborn Laundry Detergent

5 out of 5 stars

Nothing beats the smell of Dreft.

Dreft

I know there’s a lot of information out there about laundry detergent – how some brands are controversial, it’s overpriced, what’s safe to use – and I’m definitely no expert.

However, Dreft never caused any irritation for my babies and that smell – it truly smells like a sweet newborn baby. For what it’s worth, the company says it’s specially formulated for newborns, and it’s recommended by pediatricians.

22. Cheeky Chompers Teething Bandana Bibs

5 out of 5 stars

Teething bibs have a triangular shape with a little rubber bit at the end. They catch drool and function as a teether. In short, they are incredible.

There are a lot of great brands out there, but I went with the Cheeky Chompers brand because my sister-in-law had handed one down to us, and the quality is amazing.

Teething bib

I did actually buy some cheaper ones from Nuby, but the velcro starts wearing away after a couple of washes, and the fabric starts to shrink in odd places. The Cheeky Chompers brand is definitely superior, but it is more expensive. You get what you pay for sometimes!

23. Stainless Steel Bottle

5 out of 5 stars

Like I mentioned in recommendation #3, I dealt with high lipase levels in my breastmilk. Lipase is an enzyme that helps break down the fat in your milk, and under normal circumstances, it’s perfectly normal. It helps babies digest that fat.

However, for those of us with high lipase levels (there’s no apparent reason why this happens), the milk takes on a soapy smell and taste. For me, it started going off after about 30 minutes in the fridge.

Babies can still drink it – it’s perfectly safe, but if they don’t care for the taste, there’s no use.

I didn’t know my stored milk tasted like soap for months – I was pumping fresh milk for our nanny and freezing everything left over. Until… we started dipping into the multi-gallon freezer stash and my daughter was turning her nose up at it.

We finally realized what it was (high lipase) and how to fix it moving forward (scald the milk to 180 degrees before storing). We loved our pediatrician, but she was no help at all – she didn’t know much of anything about this issue. We had to research this issue until we found some answers on our own.

In the end, I donated over a gallon of frozen breastmilk to our local milk bank – they tube fed it to preemies – and I’ve been scalding milk ever since.

My preferred method was using a stainless steel bottle in our bottle warmer and gauging the temperature with our Thermapen thermometer. You need stainless steel for this – it’s not safe to heat plastic up to those temperatures.

Stainless steel bottle

All this to say – I think all moms could benefit from a stainless steel bottle. It’s durable, and it’s not plastic. I know a lot of people are trying to get away from plastic altogether, and this is a great option.

In any case, we really enjoyed it and it helped me solve my milk scalding dilemma.

24. Nuby Teether

4 out of 5 stars

When our daughter was inching up on three months old, I decided to buy another teether. I can’t fathom why I did, because we have so many different teething contraptions, but alas, I must’ve thought we needed it.

Nuby Teether

It’s just another little toy the baby can play with and chew on when their gums aren’t feeling too great. It’s also nice to have little toys like this that you can pop in your purse for car rides and church services.

25. Nested Bean Zen Sack

2 out of 5 stars

A couple days before our daughter turned three months old, I got a Facebook ad for this weighted sleep sack from a brand called Nested Bean.

Nested Bean

The little bit of weight built in is supposed to soothe the baby and help them fall asleep and stay asleep for longer. It kind of reminds me of those popular weighted blankets for adults.

I researched it a bit, and so many moms were raving that I caved and bought one.

I’m sorry to say this particular sleep sack didn’t do anything for our daughter. It’s another one of those items that so many moms love, but it just didn’t work for us. That said, every baby is different, and I’m witnessing that with my own two kids. I’d still recommend giving this a try if your baby is having trouble getting to sleep. If it doesn’t work, you can always return it if you buy from Amazon.

26. BOB Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller

5 out of 5 stars

We’ve always lived in the country – dirt roads and lots of grass – and a regular stroller is basically impossible to use on this terrain.

I wanted to take our daughter for walks, especially since we had a super energetic German Shepherd puppy, but I couldn’t make our Graco stroller work.

I had this BOB jogging stroller in our Amazon save for later for months before I finally convinced myself to purchase it.

It’s expensive.

But I’m SO glad I bought it, because we’ve gotten so much use out of it. The wheels are incredible, and we use it for more than just jogging.

BOB jogging stroller

If you plan to go to Disney World, this stroller is a game changer. If you want to go on walks, this is a super smooth ride. If we’re going on vacation or to a mall or basically anywhere, we take this stroller.

It gets tons of hype for a reason!

Note: the model we bought isn’t available anymore – I’ve linked their new version.

Conclusion

Whether you’re pregnant and planning ahead or you’re shopping for a baby shower gift, I hope this list helps you come up with some practical, must-have baby items.

This list should be a good guide of baby gifts people don’t think of. Yes, some of it is painfully practical (laundry detergent, really?!), but it’s all stuff we ended up buying for ourselves after we had our first baby.

I suppose you could call them forgotten baby shower gift ideas, but in reality, it’s all the stuff you really need that people may not think about.

Let us know in the comments: what did you have to buy for yourself after having your first?

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