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Baby Shower Don’t: Opening Gifts

Let me start off by saying, “I love a party.” I do. Weddings? You bet I’ll be on your dance floor. A holiday soiree? Count me in. For goodness sake, I even love kids birthdays parties (that start after 11am and involve booze). So you better believe if you’re sending me an invite to your baby shower I am totally in. I want to celebrate you AND that beautiful creature you are about to bring into this world. But here is what I don’t want to do. I love you, I really do, but I do not, unfortunately, want to watch you open one more gift in front of me.

I’m not sure where this whole shower tradition began but, the truth is… it’s got to end. And not just because the whole thing gives me a knot in my stomach. Sure, your dear Aunt Jean may want to see every itty bitty yellow sock that you pull out of beautifully wrapped box and make you a ribbon hat. But the majority of us don’t want to have to whisper our conversations for the next hour or say “aw” for the 100th time. Even if everything really is that cute. Because it is! But it’s exhausting. For you too! Especially for you. I can tell you from experience. And when you get a gift that actually isn’t cute after the 25th gift opening? Let me tell you, it gets harder and harder to feign excitement. And the last thing you want to do is offend grandma. So save yourself the grief and opt out of opening gifts at your baby shower.

I know, I know, some of you will say: “Well, that’s rude not to open gifts that your guests bought you!” To that I say: “Hold up.” Gifts should be given selflessly, and the mama-to-be does not owe a pressured and showy “ooh or aah” to anyone. What she does owe is a gracious thank you, quality time spent with each guest and, of course, a lovely thank you note.

Here are 5 ways to Just Say No to traditional gift opening at your baby shower.

  1. Go Eco. Ask friends and family to bring gifts unwrapped with a gift tag or card saying who the gift is from and display them on a table for all to see.

  1. Request Direct Shipping. One of the biggest obstacles about your kind guests bringing you gifts to a party at all is getting all of those wonderful gifts home. Request for guests to ship gifts directly to you.

  1. Make it easy. Saving up for your Pinterest-worthy nursery is no easy task, so in lieu of physical gifts, include your guests on your dream nursery design by setting up a cash gift fund for guests to add to! They’ll love seeing you post photos on Facebook knowing they added to the cuteness.

  1. Be Clear. OK, OK, your cousin reeeaallly wants to do that ribbon game at your shower. Ask guests to wrap your gifts in cellophane and tie them up with a bow. It will give your guests one more reason to walk by the gift table to ooh and aah.

  1. Graze. Still feel bad about not opening gifts in front of everyone? Do it one by one. Give guests the option throughout the shower. Chances are not everyone will opt for you opening it in front of them so you’ll be able to give your loved ones who say yes to opening the gift the attention and thank you they’re looking for.

photo source.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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