Ronni writes: "I'm going to a baby shower and the Mom-to-be has not registered. I'd like to give something practical in the $50 price range - any suggestions?"
Sure. First off, let me say that you're on the mark by giving something practical. Even though they won't necessarily get the "oohs" and "aahs" at showers, the basics are what new parents really need. How about a diaper pail? Our top-rated model retails for around $40. (Learn more about the available diaper pail options, and see our Ratings, available to subscribers. Throw in liners--the bags that will contain the soiled diapers--and a package of newborn or size 1 diapers, and you're all set.
Another shower gift you can be proud to give is a baby bathtub. We like The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn-to-Toddler Tub ($17, www.thefirstyears.com). It has a hammock-like sling and padded contoured backrest to make bathtime easier and cushier for babies. Throw in a hooded terry towel, baby washcloths, bath toy, and baby bath wash (which doubles as shampoo), and it's a done deal.
Finally, something Moms-to-be may not know they need are sleep sacks/wearable blankets. They're a substitute for loose blankets in the crib, which we advise against using (remember--"bare is best"). Most sleepsacks run about $20 and come in a swaddler version for newborns. You could get a swaddler and regular sleepsack in different colors. Top brands include Halo (www.halosleep.com), Prince Lionheart (www.princelionheart.com), and Kiddopotamus (www.kiddopotamus.com).
Any of these three options should be a winner. At the check-out, though, remember to ask for a gift receipt before your transaction starts so the Mom-to-be can exchange your gifts in case she gets duplicates.