10 Unique Gifts Your Fave Mom-to-Be is Missing at the Baby Shower

Turns out that the month of August has the highest rate of births (at least in the United States)… so guess what Leos, you populate the zodiac most.

As friends, cousins, and colleagues all start to grow their families, I’ve been front row in the baby bump celebrations (and genuinely like it). PS- have you seen the awesome Baby List Baby Registry? If you’re expecting, it’s the coolest.

So aside from the necessary breast pump, bath-time gear, and diaper pails, what are the FUN and unique gifts to give your favorite Mama-to-be?

Books!

Start stocking the library. But you know someone else is going to buy classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Grab these must-reads that both Mom and Baby will enjoy reading:

Sandra Boynton Volume I and Volume II, I cannot praise her enough. She is my ultimate favorite for children’s books with her rich vocabulary and catchy rhymes. Buying the box sets means savings too, such a bargain hunter are you!

Give the new parents a first glimpse into parenthood with Boss Baby. “From the moment the baby arrived, it was obvious that he was the boss. He put Mom and Dad on a round-the-clock schedule with no time off.” For more, check out my Top Books for Baby

Seuss it Up

Oh, The Places You’ll Go is popular for graduation, but these awesome variations are great for Baby! Oh Baby the Places You’ll Go, a Book to be Read In-Utero is an adapted version of the original story… and studies show that reading to your baby while they’re still on the inside counts!

For the traveling parents, gift Oh the Places I’ve Been! Or gift all three for ultimate cuteness versions for ultimate cuteness.

One for the Dad-to-Be

Be Prepared is, by far, the best introduction to Fatherhood in written form. It’s realistic and comical (Chapter 4 is entitled: Bidding Farewell to the Boob… as in don’t even think about touching them), and teaches Dad how to be resourceful like constructing an emergency diaper out of a towel, a sock, and duct tape .

Fashion Friendly

Kickee Pants are the softest onesies that ever existed in the world of onesies (side note: they actually started making stuff in adult sizes). The softness lasts after multiple washes and it’s ok if you cuddle with them before putting on baby. A must!

Primary is a new opportunity to give baby simple and affordable every day wearable stuff. I’m a particular fan of their bodysuit set and the baby pants.

Playtime is the best time…

As you’ve heard before, play is baby’s work. So what they’re playing with matters. Rattles and teething rings are super. But besides the classics like Sophie, stack the playroom with these unique finds:

Blocks have multiple uses and play advantages. If you’ve got a bilingual baby, Uncle Goose makes Foreign Language blocks in 21 different languages. The Mom-to-Be will be head over heels for this one.

Buying lovies are usually popular. I see at least two lovey gifts at each shower, don’t you?!  I really like Kathe Kurse Dolls, which are soft and washable (like a lovey), but as baby grows older they can be used during pretend play too.

Happy Showering to the highly populated August babies — and all the babies before and after too!

ONE tip, and Triple the Benefits… Boost your kid’s language skills

Maybe you’ve already heard my soapbox speech about pointing, .

Pointing is surprisingly a super important skill for communication, and can predict your kiddo’s vocabulary size later on. So…. no pressure kid… but let’s get the pointing business on the road.

One way to reinforce pointing is by modeling, and pointing to really specific things.

Let’s chat part-whole relationships…

It’s a basic concept in language and cognitive development, usually acquired around age 2. For example, does babe know that the wheel is part of the whole car; or that the tail (part) belongs to the dog (whole).

Copy that?

So this week… you can double-up on your speech and language development to-do list, by pointing to parts of a whole thing.

Action Step: When you’re reading a book this week, point to the fish’s mouth in Pout Pout Fish, or the caterpillar’s antennae in The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Why? Well because you’re teaching this basic cognitive concept that parts make up a whole, using lots of new and rich vocabulary (have you said antennae yet?!) and teaching baby to point with the index finger, which can predict language skills later. Triple bonus.

What Dad Really Wants this Father’s Day

Full disclosure here: my own father has never changed a diaper in his entire life. After kids and grandkids of his own, he’s quick to do handoff in the “I think this one needs a new diaper” sort of thing.

But the next generation of dads is different…

Modern dads are incredible. So many of them are doing everything moms do. The H (husband) for example, was a pro swaddler (I mean seriously pro- a burrito roll that Chipotle could be enchanted with), poop handler, booger sucker, breastfeeding cheerleader, master soother, and bath-time champion, that impressed generations of women in my, old-school, immigrant family.

He’s pretty much the best.

And so many modern dads are taking it all on too. It’s a new era of professional women that juggle work and family, and dads are stepping up to carry some of the weight.

So with Father’s Day nearly here, they deserve something awesome.

Besides noise canceling headphones (sometimes necessary if taking calls from home in our world), I’m a sucker for creating a moment.

Consider gifting Dad some books to share with the nugget at home.

For the young ones:

I Love My Daddy Because is a great concept book, has lots of great verbs, and also awesome for practicing animal sounds (a skill that I feel like Dads totally have a leg-up over Moms).

If your kiddo is vehicle obsessed like mine, Mighty Dads will be a soon favorite. Creative rhythm and rhyme, which is great for language development, and fantastic use of exciting adjectives

And for the older ones:

Tad and Dad is a cute story about how the little ones from up so fast, that we miss the things that might have been a bit aggravating before.

Because I’m Your Dad tells the story about Monster Dads and the fun and funny things Dads do that might slightly bend the rules of the house. This ones for the rule breakers. Get it now.

This Sunday, we’re planning on plenty of reading, maybe a hike and lunch out, looking through pictures, and reminiscing. Hoping this Sunday brings lots of new memories, tight cuddles, and a deserved celebration for the Modern Dad! After all, he’s pretty awesome!

Top 10 Books for Baby

We know that reading to your child is so crucial, even sometimes before birth. Introducing your baby to books early is fantastic for language development and brain growth! So wondering what books are musts for your shelf? Here are The Speechies top 10 books for your baby before age 1.

Babies Love Babies

Its a fact. Babies stare at themselves in mirrors, not because they recognize themselves, but because they are fascinated with faces. Your face especially, and other babies too! Baby Faces, by Margaret Miller is a definite must, and should be one of your baby’s absolute first books!

Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 9.14.27 PM

Playing Peek-a-boo

Your baby is constantly listening to you speak, and sometimes simple is better. Babies will begin to imitate simple sounds around 6-8 months, and Peek-a-Who by Nina Laden, can provide ample opportunity to hear and even say some of these words! Want to get baby babbling? Make this book a regular read.

A Little Extra Lovin’

Touch-and-feel books are all great for engaging your baby in a language and sensory experience while reading books. Animal Kisses, by Barney Saltzberg is definitely on my bookshelf. Simple pictures and great adjectives, make this book a hit.

It’s a Zoo Out There!

Lift-the-flap books are also spectacular for keeping your child engaged and introducing them to basic concepts (like open and close) for following simple directions. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a classic, and an absolute must-have on your shelf. The language in the book is predictable and its filled with new rich vocabulary in a simple sentence structure.

happy hippo angry duck

Poor Hippopotamus

Sandra Boynton is an all-time favorite, and all 10 of this list could easily be by her. The natural favorite is But Not the Hippopotamus. It provides enriching vocabulary with a repetitive musical tone, and your child will be looking for that hippo on every page.

It’s Ok to Be Emotional

Another Boynton must is Happy Hippo, Angry Duck. Emotions are an abstract concept for babies, but they recognize the extremes. Remember that exaggeration is one of the best methods for new word learning, and this book allows you to get emotional and make book reading a salient and fun time with your tot.

Let’s Get Physical

Learning the names of body parts is one of the first 50 vocabulary words that most children have, and that is probably due to the constant repetition that we give them. Whether its during bath-time or getting dressed, we are naming things for baby to hear. Toes, Ears, & Nose by Marion Dane Bauer is another delightful lift-the-flap book that helps provide that repetition necessary for new word learning.

A Story in Utero

Surely Dr. Seuss didn’t intend for this one, but adapter Tish Rabe created something great for moms, dads, and even siblings waiting for a new babe to arrive. Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go! A Book to be Read in Utero is a charming baby shower gift and adds to the excitement and anticipation of having a new little one. Plus, studies show that talking to your baby on the inside, actually does make them smarter!

Simple Ways of Learning

Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett provides simple illustrations and simple language that will teach your baby that words have meaning. The book only has 5 words throughout the story, but they are used in different ways to show how language is adaptable and introduces kiddos to the nuances of syntax. Its also a great book for older siblings to read to younger siblings, a definite must-have for the shelf.

Peek-a-who

More to Bear

We couldn’t give you a top 10 list without mentioning the guru of magical children’s literature: Eric Carle. We love Eric Carle for his use of simple sentence structure with predictable page turns and happy endings. Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a classic must-have for the simple illustrations to keep good attentiveness and opportunity for you as the reader to use different animals sounds and noises to keep your child engaged. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? does the same thing with a new set of vocabulary words to learn.

The most important thing is that you choose books that you like to read to your child. Take book reading to the next level, use funny voices, ask questions, engage your child in pointing to pictures, and make book sharing a special time. Remember, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” -Emile Buchwald

For more top book recommendations, check out The Speechies Resource page.