Dear Mothers-to-be Everywhere,
When you go to register for baby things, resist the siren calls of the clothing aisles. For verily, adorable pint-sized clothing doth buy itself. Particularly if you are having a girl, the cuteness of wee ruffles and bows will insure that you will be inundated with the stuff, and if you are so fortunate as to have a thrifty mother-in-law, scores of cherished hand-me-downs from when their father was a boy will now be yours.
Instead, get thee to the kitchenware counter, and order a full set of unbreakable (or at least ultra sturdy) "china" plates and bowls For yea, there are no gift showers to congratulate a mother on surviving the terrible twos and moving on to the more terrible threes and so you must think ahead. True, you are giving birth to a newborn, incapable of anything more athletic than clutching a finger, stretching when sleepy, and roaring their disapproval when unfed/diapered/slept, but remember the cardinal rule: children grow up.
The sweetly sleeping babe of today is the beaming, spaghetti-faced, plate-throwing toddler of tomorrow. Plan accordingly.
Let your new "china" be a full set, not merely a child's plate or two, for a child is as capable of grabbing your plate as their own. Let it be a dignified pattern that you will be proud to serve guests on, because who has room to store two full sets of china in their kitchen cabinets? Also, you will be looking at this "china" for the next 18 years or until your youngest child becomes a responsible human being, whichever comes first, so let it be a pattern that you like, or at least let it be sufficiently neutral (I recommend solid white) that you will not notice it.
As for specifics, melamine is my personal preference, being actually unbreakable (or at least two years of dedicated experimentation by my toddlers would make it appear so), however it is not recommended that you microwave it. I am confident that I have microwaved food on it on more than one occasion, and have lived to tell the tale. However, I cannot in good conscience recommend you do likewise, lest you suffer ill effects and sue me out of existence.
Should you reject melamine, there is Corelle, which is at least chip-resistant, although my experience is that they survive fall after fall without a word of protest, and then one day simple shatter on the kitchen floor. Perhaps the more eco-conscious mother would prefer wooden bowls and plates, although a lifetime of washing dishes by hand does seem more than a little daunting.
But, as mentioned above, children do grow up, and dish-washing is a lovely chore for little hands, as long as those dishes are, as previously mentioned, unbreakable.
In other news, 'Stache, we are down a cereal bowl. Also an equivalent amount of mac and cheese.