You just got an invitation in the mail for a friend's baby shower, and now the panic sets in. What should you consider when looking for perfect baby shower gifts? Carefully look over the invitation for hints. Many invitations come with an insert that lists where the mother-to-be is registered. This makes it easy not only for you, but for the expectant mom as well. When a mom-to-be registers for baby shower gifts at a store, she specifies what she wants and how many of each item. When you check the registry at the store, it will give you a printed list of what has already been bought and what is still available for purchase. If you purchase an item, the system marks it on the registry. This avoids the mother-to-be having to return duplicate items or items she didn't need - something she won't have time to do after the baby is born. Don't be alarmed if all the lower priced items on the list are gone. Consider going in with one or two other friends to get one of the higher price items.
If there is no registry, try to find out if your friend is having a boy or girl. Knowing the gender can help you at least choose the correct color. If your friend is waiting to be surprised by the baby's sex at the birth, stay with neutral colors like green and yellow. When picking outfits for the baby choose sizes larger than newborn. More than likely, the mother-to-be will get quite a few newborn outfits and the larger size will come in handy later.
If you want to avoid clothes completely, and the mother doesn't have a registry, purchase a gift card. While not as personal as buying a gift, gift cards can certainly be used later on. Remember that no matter what you buy; baby shower gifts are always appreciated by the mother-to-be.