Baby showers are a somewhat recent phenomenon. They became popular during the baby boom of the 40’s and 50’s. The tradition remains very popular today and occurs shortly before the baby is born. Every baby is entitled to a baby shower, even if he/she isn’t the couple’s first child. The party’s theme can be anything from a simple color scheme to a full-blown western. If you’ve been invited to a baby shower or asked to host one, there’s a lot you need to know. Keep reading for gift ideas and advice.
The Perfect Gift
The infant’s gender is usually revealed by the time of the baby shower. This is something to keep in mind, but more often than not the only difference between girl and boy gifts is the color. In addition, many invitees surprise the mommy-to-be with a gift for her instead of for the baby.
Remember, the most important thing when choosing a gift is practicality. You might be tempted to buy cute decorations, but what’s really important is that your gift makes mommy’s life easier. Handmade gifts and hand-me-downs with sentimental value are always appreciated and remembered.
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Safe Gift Ideas for Boys and Girls
“Safe” gifts are those that are sure to please; tried and true items that mommy will love no matter what.
- Frozen meals – If there are other, older kids at home, frozen meals are a great way to relieve some of mom’s responsibility. She won’t have as much time to cook after the baby is born.
- Books – Children’s books are always useful and appreciated. In addition, books about parenting and pediatrics can be life savers for first time parents.
- Baby sling – An easy and safe way to carry her newborn, this convenient device lets mommy or daddy be close to the baby while moving around the house.
- Emergency diaper bag – Although she has probably picked out her everyday diaper bag, mommy-to-be will appreciate an emergency version already packed with supplies like wipes, diapers, spare outfits, toys, and a pacifier.
- Bath supplies – Make bath time with baby safe and fun with essentials like shampoo, soap, a hooded towel, a rubber ducky, and a clear shower curtain.
- Baby bedding – Extra linens will come in handy.
- Nursery items – Anything to make the dark less scary will be appreciated! Consider a night light, blanket, mobile, or lullaby CD.
- Baby monitor – This is great for first time parents because they tend to be overly worried about their baby’s safety.
- Bouncy seat/activity gym – Both are great, safe ways to entertain a baby’s developing senses while parents are doing chores or resting.
- Coupons/gift cards: A simple gift that will be cherished for its usefulness.
- Pregnancy pillow – Helps mommy sleep comfortably while pregnant.
- Outlet protectors – Helps ensure the child’s safety at home.
- Baby shoes – Not only are they cute, but they protect an infant’s sensitive feet from weather and rough surfaces.
- Portable supplies: If the couple travels a lot, consider a foldable crib or changing mat.
Unique Gift Ideas for Boys and Girls
Don’t want to give a run-of-the-mill gift? You can be both out of the box and useful with one of the following ideas. Speak with other invitees and plan a meal calendar. Each person signs up for a specific week during which she will deliver one or two freshly-cooked meals during the months immediately after the birth. This gift will prove invaluable to the stressed and busy parents. It’s also a way to friends and family to visit the newborn!
If you are related to the mommy-to-be, things you or she played with as a child may have sentimental value to her. Incorporate these items as part of your gift. Did you take a family portrait with your parents as a child? Consider a gift card to a portrait studio so the new family can have professional pictures taken during the upcoming months.
Give the new parents a “date night” including dinner reservations and babysitting services. This will allow them some precious time alone, away from the crying and dirty diapers. Schedule the date about a month after the birth.
Does mommy-to-be have a gift registry? If you want to do something unique while adhering to the registry, have an item from the list customized or monogrammed (if you do your own embroidery, click here for help on picking the right machine). If you want to surprise mommy-to-be with baby clothes, purchase various sizes. This might seem weird to a first time mom, but she will appreciate it when her baby grows and she doesn’t have to make a trip to the store.
A baby shower is a fun and informal event, but one that requires lots of planning. According to tradition, baby showers are for women only. These days, some women choose to include the father and male friends and family. It’s up to the mommy-to-be, but keep in mind that the atmosphere will be different with men around – not to mention some fathers might not want to be a part of the experience.
A close friend or family member should be the one responsible for hosting. She should do most of the legwork while making sure mommy-to-be is involved in all the important decisions. After all, this party is all about her, not the host! The first step is to pick a theme. Invitations should be sent out at least a month in advance (click here for help on who and who not to invite). Throw the party during the later part of the pregnancy, but not so late that she might go into labor during the event. Make sure mommy-to-be has a comfortable place to sit during the baby shower.
There should be food, games, and party favors, but the main event is the gift opening. Mommy-to-be should open all gifts in front of the guests. Thank you notes should be mailed out a couple weeks after the party (it’s a good idea to have a sign-in sheet near the door to keep track of attendants and to keep as a memento).
If you’re looking to throw this party on a budget, host the event in the middle of the day. That way, you’ll only have to provide finger foods, not a full meal. Have the event at someone’s house so you don’t have to rent a space.
With the above ideas and advice, you should be more than prepared for your next baby shower! Above all, remember to support the mommy-to-be. The day’s events will be exhausting considering her mental and physical state, so it’s important to relax and have fun! If you want to break tradition completely, check out these alternative baby shower ideas.