First of all: why hold a baby shower?
A baby shower, also known as a baby party, is not only plenty of fun (especially for the attendees who are allowed to drink alcohol) but also makes plenty of sense (getting ready to welcome your first baby is a pricey business). There’s only one thing you really need to ask:
What on earth should I give the mom-to-be?
Now that I’m a mom of two, I would recommend that you let others make the mistake of giving pretty pink cashmere onesies buttoned at the back (!!!) and instead invest your cash in presents that will make the mom-to-be’s new life easier, even if she won’t be able to realize it just yet. More about that soon, but first:
Shortly before my son was due to enter the world, my friends surprised me by treating me to my very own baby shower. My party involved Prosecco, a diaper cake, loads of presents, cupcakes (most of which were gobbled down by yours truly – #nyumyumyumyum) and NO games.
I was and, indeed, still am particularly pleased about the lack of games, even though I’m well aware that diaper-changing practice sessions and pacifier treasure hunts are part and parcel of such parties, particularly in the U.S. If you do want to play some baby shower games, you can find plenty of inspiration here.
Practical baby shower gifts
Now let’s get back to the task at hand: presents. The original aim of baby showers was to provide moms with things that they will need once their little ones have arrived. Nowadays it’s pretty difficult to figure out what new parents really need (diapers) and what they don’t need (an automatic travel sterilizer), especially before their babies come into the world (or if you don’t already have children yourself).
This is why I recently gave my pregnant friend what I call the “helping you to help yourself” basket – a basket full of things that she, in my experience, is bound to need.
Here are 15 ideas that you can mix and match as you wish:
- Dry shampoo – A real help because washing her hair will immediately become a well-timed luxury for the new mom.
- Bib with sleeves ? – A real help because babies and toddlers don’t just view food as something to eat, but also the ideal material for performance art. Trust me, there’s no tougher stain than that of puréed carrot on a cashmere onesie (see point 4 too!).
- Milk powder dispenser ? – A real help because it means that you can spontaneously go out and stay out for longer without having to worry about a powdery mess all over your changing bag.
- Stain remover – A real help when it comes to stains. And a newborn baby means plenty of stains: all the time, all over the place and in all kinds of colors, shapes and consistencies.
- Non-slip bathmat ? – A real help in the case of slippery children. In case you didn’t already know, bathing a child is a pretty slippery business.
- Handheld vacuum cleaner – A real help when it comes to crumbs, dried-up Play-Doh or cornflakes tipped all over the floor. Okay, a handheld vacuum may sound like a pretty nerdy gift but trust me, it’s a perfect helping hand that just keeps on giving.
- Buggy hook ? – A real help whenever and wherever you go. There’s NEVER enough space in a child’s buggy, which is why you need to hang whatever you can from its handle. A better gift than a buggy hook: two buggy hooks!
- Nightlight ? – A real help when breastfeeding, rocking baby to sleep or enjoying night-time cuddles. Important: the light should be warm and very dim. Try to find a nightlight with adjustable brightness and without a fixed cable. A cute on in the shape of a Brontosaurus is available here on our webshop.
- Picnic blanket – A real help to keep mom and baby away from itchy grass and its creepy-crawly residents. Mom and baby are sure to spend plenty of time out in the great outdoors. When buying a picnic blanket, be sure to choose one that has a waterproof surface and can be folded (so that it can be put in the buggy when not in use).
- Diaper voucher – A real help if you want to prevent every new mom’s worst nightmare: an empty diaper drawer! You can’t even begin to imagine just how many diapers a kid actually needs (especially if it decides to wear them for four whole years like my son…). The moral of the story: a diaper cake is a great idea but a voucher is even better.
- Rain poncho – A real help when the rain just won’t stop! Simply chuck it in the buggy and grab it in case of a rain emergency. If you’re feeling generous, why not add some rubber boots to your gift box too?!
- 12. Swaddle blanket aka “giant blankie” – A real help whenever and wherever you go. Ideal for swaddling, keeping baby warm, as a sunshade or blackout blind for a buggy, for more discreet breastfeeding, as a changing mat and so much more! My absolute favorites are the swaddle blankets from Modern Burlap, which measure 120cm x 120cm and are available in cool monochrome designs.
- Baby first aid kit – A real help the moment panic strikes, i.e. baby’s first fever. I received a hand-sewn emergency kit from a good friend of mine (a mother of two) and absolutely adored it. It contained essentials such as homeopathic teething pills, disinfectant, Band-Aids, fever suppositories, a snotsucker and, as a tongue-in-cheek addition, her cell phone number with the strict order to call her whenever I needed to. Such a kit is an ideal gift for experienced moms to give to new parents.
- Milk frother – A real help for avoiding burnt pots and pots (especially in the middle of the night). After around 12 months, moms face a period of transition as they phase out breastfeeding and formula milk and start to give their child cow’s milk. In order to do so, however, they need to get it to room temperature and as anyone who has ever tried to warm up milk in a pan will tell you, you can’t leave it alone for even a second!The problem is that no parent has the time (or, indeed, the desire) to stand in front of a pan of milk for three loooong minutes. The solution: a milk frother that warms up milk at the press of the button and requires no adult supervision whatsoever. To be honest, I love mine so much that I even took it on vacation with me.
- Reusable shopping bag ? – A real help when your hands are full. A reusable shopping bag, especially one that can be folded up nice and small, is a huge help when you’re shopping or out and about. In fact, it’s an absolute must for whenever you have to transport an extra unexpected something. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s an easy way to pack all of your baby shower gifts!
Some women think that baby parties are overrated and totally unnecessary. I’m not one of them. I think that baby showers are a wonderful reason to meet up with your best friends and enjoy some carefree fun in clothes featuring no milk stains whatsoever for one last time. In fact, all I have left to say is: party on!
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