Expecting a baby is an exciting time. The parents have so many things to prepare for before their baby arrives and if it’s the first baby chances are there is a long shopping list of items they need! Having a baby is a costly affair, that’s what is great about a baby shower! Baby showers usually involve getting gifts for the baby. There are people who buy great gifts and those who don’t really know what to buy and end up buying very impractical gifts. I have had two baby showers and have received a wide variety of items for both the baby and myself. I have received both fantastic gifts and ones that have never been used! This is why I thought I would offer some tips to those of you who have no idea what to buy for the expecting parent’s.
Number 1: Toiletries
Toiletries are a great addition to a gift. I was working full time when I was pregnant with my first child. The amazing team I worked with threw me a surprise baby shower and each staff member contributed an item of toiletries for my baby. They gave me a huge basket full of creams, shampoo’s, powders and so on. All these items lasted long into my son’s 2nd year. This was such an amazing gift because being a first time parent then you don’t realize the cost of baby toiletries. The monthly shopping bill quickly goes up which meant not needing to buy certain items was a great savings for us as a new family.
This is especially helpful if you choose not to return to work and will be living off one salary, as it was in our case.
There is a wide range of baby toiletries to buy from. I found “Elizabeth Anne’s” to be both gentle and nourishing on both my children. Everyone has their own preferences however if you stick to gentle, non-fragranced products you can’t go wrong.
Suggested items to buy could be: head to toe body, aqueous cream, baby powder, vaseline, bum cream (“Bennetts” is a great brand), aqueous baby bath drops, gentle soap, baby oil, baby wipes (non-fragranced and alcohol free), nappy bags, cotton wool and ear buds.
Easy to use toiletry bottles are a good buy, for example bottles with push dispensers. You could also buy small bottles for the baby bag.
Number 2: Maternity Items
As much as anyone loves buying cute gifts for the baby, the mommy also needs certain items after the birth. There is such a long list of necessities on the expecting parent’s shopping list, buying a few or even one of these items helps.
After birth necessities are maternity pads which cater for that heavy flow. Breast pads are also needed if the mom will be breast feeding. Depending on the mom’s milk flow, but some woman can go through minimum of 2-3 boxes of breast pads a month. For the breast feeding mom’s that first week and even two of breast feeding is harsh on your nipples; especially for the first time mum. Nipple cream is essential to healing and caring for the nipples.
A tummy band is a more expensive gift but I am sure any mom would be so grateful to receive one. There are a variety of brands to choose from but all basically assist in tightening and slimming stomach area of the mom down after giving birth. I have used them after both of my births and they made a big difference to bringing me back down to my pre-pregnancy weight and shape.
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Jungle juice is wonderful for breast a feeding mom that is tasty refreshment, assisting the milk production as well. The ingredients on an on-going basis can be quite costly so why not get your expecting mum a supply? The ingredients include: apple juice, blackcurrant re-hydrate, berry elixir, rescue remedy and water. The recipe is easily found if you Google it.
Suggested items to buy: Maternity pads, breast pads, a tummy band, post-natal vitamins, jungle juice ingredients, and nipple cream (Lansinoh lanolin cream is an amazing product).
Number 3: Medicines
It may sound strange to the non-parent to buy a medicinal gift, but trust me these items are much needed and often quite pricey. A gift with one of these included is a great savings for the expecting parent. Remember expecting parents have a lot to buy and often these items are last on their list of priorities but as soon as baby arrives I can guarantee they running to the pharmacy to get what they need right then.
For example, baby’s often have stuffy noses when they are born and using a saline nose spray helps alleviate this. After the poor baby has a scheduled inoculation injection of which some can cause a mild fever, panado comes in handy to help soothe the baby. Some baby’s and even parents struggle to wind the baby, colic drops assist both baby and parent. Arnica oil is also helpful to ease bumps and bruises, such as putting some where the baby had an injection or if they bumped themselves.
One very important and much needed item is a thermometer. As a parent I use a thermometer frequently as it’s a sure way to tell if your child may have an infection. A digital thermometer is a great purchase as it can be placed up the baby’s bum for a more accurate reading.
Suggested items to buy: Digital thermometer, nappy rash cream (“sudocrem” works wonders), saline nose spray, colic drops (“Telament” works fantastically), paediatric panado syrup (paracetamol syrup), gripe water, sun block, reuterina drops and arnica oil.
Number 4: Grooming Kits
Something that is always needed is a grooming kit. Grooming kits include items such as a comb, hair brush, tooth brush, nail clippers, scissors and nail files. All grooming kits differ but I find the most important items to be the brush, comb and nail clippers. A tooth brush you could get separately and they too sometimes come in sets of the different tooth brushes for different ages.
When you are buying a grooming kit, be sure to get a quality product. I have received one before and the nail clippers were made in such a way that I found them unusable.
Number 5: Clothes
I think the most common baby shower gift is baby clothes. The only problem is that people often buy incorrect sizes. Many times I have received clothes and they are too small and they are never used.
If you want to buy some clothes rather buy bigger sizes so that you are sure they can be used. Also consider the season. Often people buy items that are not suitable to the season and once again the items never get used.
If you don’t mind the gift being exchanged for a different size or item, leave on the tags for the parent to decide what is suitable.
Photo credit: Children's Nearly New Sale on Flickr via Photopin.com CC 2.0
Number 6: Toys
If you want to buy a toy then do some research on what is developmentally appropriate and great value for money. There are many cheap options out there but then these often get broken very quickly or not used because they aren’t really suitable either.
A common trend is for people to buy cuddly toys for the baby and in the end the parents are left with tons of cuddly toys! Cuddly toys are lovely, but not educational or functional. You can find educational kind of soft toys – rather choose these.
When it comes to musical toys, remember the parents are the ones that will have to listen to it day and night. Try to avoid excessively noisy toys.
Suggested items to buy: Baby rattle, sensory cloth/toy, mobile for the cot, educational animal (Fisher Price toys) and books.
Number 7: Blankets
Babies always need blankets, and many of them. They often get dirty quickly so parents need a good number of them to ensure they always have a clean one. Both cotton receiving blankets and fleece blankets are a great choice. There is always a wondrous variety of colors and styles to choose from.
Number 8: Feeding
In terms of feeding there are a number of items you could buy, namely: bottles, plastic bowls, spoons, cups, sippy cups and so on. Even though some of these items are not for the new born baby, they are still a great practical gift for any parent and they will get good use out of them.
In terms of feeding, bibs are also a good purchase as babies that start eating are extremely messy meaning the parents are going to need a lot of those bibs! Not only for eating, babies often spit up milk so wearing a bib protect their clothes from getting messy and wet.
Number 9: Nappies
Some people really appreciate receiving nappies as a gift and others don’t. If you want to buy nappies I suggest finding out the brand the parents intend to use. I would also suggest buying size 3 nappies over new born or size 1 as the baby usually grows very fast in the beginning and they tend to wear size 3 nappies for the longest time. This ensures you don’t waste your money buying something that the parents might have in excess.
Number 10: Gift Vouchers
Buying gifts can be tricky and if you are still unsure even with the suggestions above, or maybe you don’t know the person that well to know what they would want. Gift vouchers can be very helpful to parents. This allows them to buy what is still on their shopping list or even to help them purchase an expensive item they really want.
Try not to limit the gift voucher to a particular shop, rather give them a voucher they are able to use at a variety of stores.