The Perfect Out-of-Left-Field Baby Gift

Give what I give new parents: disposable underpads for that baby to pee on.

Happy baby sitting on a disposable diaper changing underpad.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Thinkstock.

Your college roommate or co-worker or client just had a baby! Congratulations to them. Congratulations to you too, for sending them the perfect baby gift. How did you know what the perfect baby gift was? Because I told you my secret, the baby gift I’ve given to everyone I know who’s had a baby for the past 13 years, since my first child was born.

When we brought that baby home from the hospital, we immediately discovered the thing no one tells you about changing diapers: Babies love to pee. Specifically, they love peeing at the exact moment you take their diaper off. It’s as if the gift of a gentle breeze ’bout their privates so delights them that they wish to offer a gift in return, the only gift in their power to give: pee. So I’d set our daughter on the changing table and take off her diaper, and while I reached for a fresh diaper, she, grinning like a maniac, would spray pee everywhere. On the table; on the once-clean towel I placed underneath her and would now need to add to our enormous laundry pile; on me, her loving father. What I needed were those blue absorbent paper thingies the hospital supplied by the score. But I’m not a hospital! How could I purchase them? What are they even called?

NorthShore Economy Chux, Small (Pack of 70)

$15.99, Amazon


Well, they’re called “chux,” and you can purchase them from an incontinence-supply company on the internet.

And they’re the perfect baby gift, because every new parent feels overwhelmed by a hundred unsolvable problems. Some seem enormous: I don’t know how long I can nurse; the baby never seems warm enough; I will never sleep again. Others are smaller but contribute to the misery that is those first postpartum months: The other kids are jealous; the rhythmic wheeze of the breast pump has replaced music in our home. Our laundry basket is full of reeking, urine-soaked towels is one of those unsolvable problems, and out of the blue, your surprising gift solves it—a glorious moment for a family in the trenches.

But Dan, you might ask, that’s a good baby gift, but how can I be sure it is the best baby gift? Well, I just searched my Gmail for the phrase best baby gift and found a half-dozen testimonials:

• “This is not only a great gift, but good for the whole family: the baby who leaks his diaper, the toddler who may or may not be potty trained in the next year, and my husband.”—Co-worker, 2011

• “Those pee pads you got us are basically the only reason I am not a New York Post headline right now. Most thoughtful gift ever.”—College friend, 2013

• “That is a perfect present.”—Colleague, 2014

• “So useful!”—Former co-worker, 2018

• “The baby gift bar has been effortlessly and irrevocably raised.”—Colleague, 2018

So my gift to you: this gift. It has no downside, other than that ads for incontinence supplies will follow you around the internet for weeks. Send these chux to the babies in your life, along with a note that reads PEE ON THESE. Baby will do so, and parent will be grateful to you forever.

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