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57 best baby shower gifts for expectant parents in 2021

These picks are practical and pretty.
Three family members hugging at a baby shower
Natalie Maro / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

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If you're creating your first baby registry or looking for baby shower gifts, you might be shocked by just how much there is to choose from.

Strollers. Car seats. Bassinets. Cribs. High chairs. Changing tables. Diaper pails. A mountain of stuff for a tiny, new person.

And if you're like us, each decision will require a ton of research. Fortunately, our TODAY team is chock full of new and expecting parents. So we decided to put our hours of investigation and rigorous testing (er, parenting) together to make it easy.

According to our in-house baby experts (ahem, moms and dads), some of the fanciest baby gear really does help. But if that thousand-dollar stroller or the crib that rocks them to sleep is giving you sticker shock, we have budget options alongside some of the pricier items.

Whether you're celebrating remotely or gathering with friends and family, here are some of our favorite baby registry items according to our editors:

Baby Shower Toys

1. Skip Hop Farmstand Grow and Play Activity Gym

The Skip Hop gym has sensory activities that grow with baby, and a tummy time pillow to help with early development.

2. Sophie the Giraffe

No baby can resist this chewy, squeaky toy.

3. West Elm x pbk Felted Pom-Pom Mobile

A few years ago, Jean Chatzky gave Dylan Dreyer a pom-pom mobile like this, and we're still in love.

4. Malarkey Kids Buddy Bib

This bib is a drool catcher, sensory toy and pacifier all in one.

5. Malarkey Kids Chew Cube

This chewable cube is easy to grasp, with a high contrast rattle inside.

6. Jellycat Bashful Bunny

When buying stuffed animals, look for versions with embroidered eyes, not buttons that could become choking hazards.

7. Cloud Wooden Teether with Rainbow Beads

This wooden teether is made from maple wood, which happens to be naturally resistant to bacteria.

8. Tiny Love Meadow Days Soothe 'N' Groove Mobile

This colorful, musical mobile keeps baby entertained in the crib.

9. Chewbeads Tribeca Teething Necklace

This silicone necklace goes on mom, for baby to chew when she's close.

Strollers and Carriers

1. Babyzen YOYO² Stroller

This stroller comes highly recommended and works for infants and toddlers up to 40 pounds.

"It's perfect for apartment living and we used it for travel and it fits in the overhead compartment," said TODAY Video Producer Adam Kaufman.

2. UPPAbaby VISTA V2 Stroller

The Vista is a popular choice for city-dwellers who are looking for something compact that can work for a newborn.

3. BabyTrend Snap-N-Go Baby EX Universal Car Seat Carrier

For the early months before many strollers are safe for baby, this is the simplest choice: Just snap a car seat into this base and go.

4. Ergobaby 360 All-Position Baby Carrier

The Ergo is a great all-purpose carrier that allows the baby to face either direction and positions weight on the hips, which is more comfortable for moms.

5. Solly Baby Wrap

"Baby wraps are awesome and they were definitely ideal when my babies were newborns — but several are so thick. Not this one," says TODAY Digital Managing Editor Amy Eley.

6. Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

This affordable carrier is one of Amazon's most requested registry items.

Bassinets and Cribs

1. SNOO Smart Sleeper

Yes, it's expensive. But the SNOO has been the talk of baby circles since it was created by Dr. Harvey Karp of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" fame. The smart bassinet is meant to mimic the sound and feeling of the womb. If the baby wakes, the SNOO rocks a little more.

Dylan Dreyer's son Calvin loved his SNOO, too. Eley said it was "worth every penny." You can also rent a SNOO from Happiest Baby.

2. Tadpoles Moses Basket and Bedding Set

Dana Haller, NBC's Senior Executive Producer for Strategic Content, loved this affordable Moses basket for her newborn. "Make sure to buy extra fitted covers," she added.

3. Ikea Sniglar Crib

Ikea's crib gets top rankings from safety experts and fits with simple, modern decor.

4. Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Convertible Crib

The Babyletto 3-in-1 turns into a toddler bed and is certified to have low emissions.

5. Burt's Bees Baby Fitted Crib Sheet

Don't bother with a crib set with bumpers and quilts — soft bedding is a hazard for babies. But get plenty of fitted crib sheets. Parents will change them often.

6. Aden by Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets

These are the gold standard for swaddle blankets, and come in handy for shading a stroller, too.

7. Miracle Blanket

Think of this as a swaddle blanket for dummies.

Chairs and Loungers

1. BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss

Sometimes you're going to need to put the baby down. This seat is cozy and portable, and allows baby to see what's happening. Kaufman swore by it in his baby's early months.

2. Boppy Original Newborn Lounger

Wouldn't you want to hang out in this thing if you could?

3. Bumbo Multi-Seat

This 3-in-1 seat is adaptable with removable pad, tray and adjustable straps.

Car Seats

1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

A car seat is the one thing you can't leave the hospital without. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a favorite of Consumer Reports and received top billing from Wirecutter, What To Expect and others who tested infant car seats.

Keepsakes and Albums

1. Personalized Keepsake Box

Dylan Dreyer loved the keepsake box given to her by a friend and keeps things like Calvin's first hospital hat tucked inside.

2. Baby Memory Book

Haller loved the baby book she got that makes it easy to keep track of milestones.

Pajamas and Clothing

1. Moon and Back by Hanna Andersson 2 Pack

Haller got Hanna Andersson pajamas as a gift and loved them so much she kept buying larger sizes. Andersson's collaboration with Amazon makes that more affordable. The opening at the feet of this style makes midnight diaper changes easier.

2. Moon and Back by Hanna Andersson Footed Pajamas

Pssst ... it's totally fine for your baby to wear pajamas 24/7. (You may have been doing the same recently.)

3. Zutano Baby Booties

These machine-washable booties keep tiny feet warm. They also use snaps, minimizing wear and tear after repeat washes.

4. Zutano Fleece Hat

The matching hat is adorable, too.

5. Trumpette 6 Pair Sock Set

These shoe-like socks come in a range of options for boys, girls and unisex styles.

6. Malarkey Kids Munch Mitt

Babies are prone to scratching themselves with their fingernails if their hands are uncovered, and they love shoving their hands in their mouths. This makes hand snacking all the better.

Diapers and Changing Gear

1. Skip Hop Vegan Leather Diaper Backpack

This chic backpack can be worn by moms or dads.

2. Skip Hop Pronto Portable Changing Mat

This portable changing pad has a container for wipes and spots to hold diapers and ointments.

3. Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Our editors have relied on this for years to cut back on diaper odors. Be sure to buy refill bags.

4. Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Newborn

Pampers Swaddlers are an editors' favorite at TODAY. You will go through lots. Stock up!

5. Pampers Sensitive Water Baby Wipes

Keep that delicate skin clean and dry.

6. Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad

The genius security strap keeps baby from rolling away, for added safety.

7. Aquaphor Baby Advanced Healing Ointment

Several editors swear by this healing ointment for diaper rash and other irritations.

Monitors and Sleep Helpers

1. iBaby Digital Baby Video Camera Monitor

This monitor let Haller watch her baby in her crib from anywhere — including the office.

2. Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine

This white noise machine was recommended to me by a top sleep expert because it uses a real fan, not static sounds, so "it never gets annoying."

3. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine

This sound machine is also a night light and toddler wake time clock — something you'll appreciate when your child is older.

4. Philips Avent Soothie

This is one of the most popular pacifiers on the market.

Bathtime and Cleaning

1. Noodle and Boo Essential Care Kit

Noodle and Boo smells delicious, like a new baby.

2. Angelcare Baby Bath Support

This bath support takes the stress out of bath time by keeping water levels comfortable without the danger of slipping.

3. Matimati Rayon From Bamboo Baby Washcloths

They're ever so gentle to wipe up the spit-up and drool.

4. Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit

Yes, even newborns need to get their sharp nails clipped (or at least filed).

5. FridaBaby NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Let's call the NoseFrida what it is: a snot sucker. It's not glamorous, but it may be just the thing for a sick baby.

Feeding

1. Bloom Frescoe High Chair

Haller loved this space-saving high chair for her apartment.

2. Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair

The Tripp Trapp is another modern option that grows with baby, working as a chair when baby can sit up with less help.

3. Medela Pump in Style With On-the-Go Tote

We don't know how stylish you'll feel with the Pump in Style, but in our experience it gets the job done as well as a hospital-grade pump.

4. Philips Avent Natural Newborn Baby Bottle Starter Set

A TODAY editor favorite. No fuss, no gas.

5. Dr. Brown's Original Bottle Newborn Feeding Set

This specific type of bottle is said to reduce colic and spit-up.

6. Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush

A clean bottle equals a happy parent and an even happier baby.

Leave It to Mom and Dad

1. Amazon.com $50 Gift Card in a Greeting Card

Amazon reports that its most wished-for baby shower gifts are those you choose yourself, a gift card and a one-year Prime membership.

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