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A baby shower is an opportunity to shower a mum-to-be (and dad-to-be) with cute and practical gifts, says Kerry Hayes.
Your baby shower is one of the first official celebrations of your baby’s coming into the world. It’s an opportunity for family and friends to fill baby’s closet, bathroom, nappy bag and feeding collection with all the wonderful and practical things that he or she will need in the first few months, making Mum’s life that much easier as you welcome your bundle of joy into the world. It also helps with those last months where moving around becomes more difficult and you tire easily, removing the need for a final shopping spree to have everything ready for the big day.
Here are our top five ideas for great baby shower gifts.
Babies probably require a change of clothes more often in a day than mum does on one of those “I don’t know what to wear” days, due to milk posseting and, later down the line, as they’re adventurously learning to eat solid foods. A few comfy outfits and babygros, complemented with baby towels and bibs, are great to help with the heaps of washing that tend to pile up. Try to get them a couple of sizes bigger, as most gifters will get the cute newborn things.
Nappy bag essentials
For a new mum, getting a nappy bag filled with all the things she needs for baby is like gold, giving her a headstart in knowing everything that baby will need. Include nappy rash cream, wipes, biodegradable nappy disposal bags, hand sanitiser, pacifiers, sunscreen, a foldable nappy changing mat, a feeding wrap for when mum feeds baby out in public, a few newborn diapers, a small bottle of bottle steriliser, and a posset towel.
We chatted to some mums about what their best baby shower gifts were, and most came back saying toiletries. So aside from what goes in the nappy bag, you can include skin lotion that is soft on baby’s skin, baby soap, shampoo and extra wipes (and did we mention wipes?).
Some of the more expensive items can be collective gifts – these are especially appreciated since there are so many expensive items that new parents have to buy. A baby stroller, travel cot, fun playmat, highchair, bottle-sterilising kit, bottle set, breast pump and storage bottles, baby feeding pillow, and upgradable car seat with Isofix anchor.
For mum (and dad)
It’s easy to forget Mum when wrapped up in the excitement of buying little things for her little one, so a nice gift is something that makes Mum feel special. A little bath set with pregnancy-safe oils, hand lotion and body butter is a great gift; or go edible and spoil Mum with her favourite chocolates. A new-mum hamper is also nice – include teabags that help with breastmilk production, breast pads, an eye mask for those tired, sleepless eyes, and you could even put together a little playlist of calming music on a USB stick to help mum relax when baby finally goes to sleep.
And don’t forget the dads! More and more dads are joining in the baby shower festivities, to be a part of all the exciting milestones in their baby’s lives, even from pre-birth. A thoughtful gift for dad will go a long way in showing him that he is important too.
When it comes to choosing a gift for a baby shower, think cute as well as practical. We all love opening the gift bag that has those tiny baby booties and newborn outfit in it, but parents-to-be will also appreciate the more practical gifts that make baby’s care that much easier.
Fun Facts: The baby shower evolution
- In Ancient India, baby showers were called seemantham, and were held in the 6th or 8th month of pregnancy. The mother was showered with dried fruit, sweets and other gifts to help baby grow. It was a musical event that was said to help baby’s ears start functioning from the womb.
- During the Renaissance period, childbirth was an almost mystical event and mums would be surrounded with references to the annunciation to encourage and celebrate her.
- The Victorian era is the predecessor to the modern-day baby shower. A woman would keep her pregnancy secret for as long as possible and wouldn’t appear in public because of cultural definitions of proper behaviour.
- WWII saw the baby shower of the modern era where, with the economic burdens of that time, the event served a practical function to provide the mum-to-be with material goods that lessened the financial burden of looking after her child or children.