Having or hosting a baby shower this spring? A baby shower is meant to help new families with the expense of gathering the equipment they’ll need for the new addition. It’s also a chance to celebrate the arrival of the new baby! Often, new families will have everything they need, or very strong opinions about what they want! You can always resort to a gift certificate, but you might want to consider some of the ideas below.
1. Something hand-made
Wow! That sounds like a tall order. But remember, baby things are small and quick to make, if you have any skills as a knitter or sewer. And they are SO loved by new parents who proudly say “my aunt made it!” Try to work with washable, non-allergenic (not wool) fibres. Think about gender-neutral colours, even if the family already know the sex of their baby. Much more fashionable!
2. Something old
A hand-me-down! This could be baby clothes that you saved from your own kids’ (or your own!) babyhood. But it could also be a well-loved toy or a book. A grandpa I know got out the old wooden blocks his kids had played with and sanded them down and oiled them (with non-toxic oil) and gave them to his grandbaby-to-be. They were beautiful, and ready for a new generation to enjoy.
3. Something beautiful
The family might already have everything they really need. You could give the new baby a small picture for their bedroom. A mobile for their ceiling. A framed photo—maybe of the parents as children. A beautiful piece of culturally-relevant fabric for a curtain or a hanging—something that will become an heirloom and possibly connect kids to their roots.
4. Something educational
Babies love board-books. To fulfill the recommendation that parents read 1,000 books to a child before they go to kindergarten, they need access to a lot of material! Give one of your favourites, from your childhood or that of your own children. Or give a new book—there are so many! My favourite board books for babies are by Sandra Boynton.
5. Something for fun
One of the best things about babies is they have cool toys—that grown-ups like to play with too! A favourite: the Skwish, invented by Tom Flemons, a BC engineer. The Skwish is great for new babies, older babies and for toddlers.
6. Something local
Local crafts-people make beautiful baby gifts! For starters, check out Parade Organics, Whistle & Flute and Jax & Lennon.
7. Something useful
Babies don’t need much! It’s the parents who need tools to make it easier for them to care for this little person 24/7. The need for physical contact is one of the hardest to satisfy. My favourite practical gift for new parents is a baby carrier, a soft stretchy wrap, like a CuddlyWrap or a BelugaBaby Wrap. The parents quickly learn to use it, it fits everybody and it is cozy and comfy to wear around the house.
8. A consortium
That’s just a fancy word for a bunch of people working together. Perhaps several friends and relations could get together to buy the new family a big-ticket item they might not be able to afford. A really nice stroller-car-seat set. Or a beautiful crib. Or a trip back east to see the great-grandmother. Much more memorable than another footed pajama!
It could be some casseroles or muffins, to put in the freezer for after the baby comes, when time to shop and cook will be hard to find. It could be a gift card for meal delivery. Or it could be the offer to organize a Meal Train, to rope friends and relations in to share the load of providing meals to the new family in the first weeks after baby arrives.
10. Postpartum support
This is the most important thing. Parents often plan so carefully for the birth, and for the nursery, but they can’t know how stressful the first weeks with baby can be. Provide support with a home-made gift certificate for post-baby laundry services, maybe, or kitchen clean-up. Or pay for some visits from a Postpartum Doula who has expertise in the fourth trimester, in baby care and lactation. Find a postpartum doula near you through DoulaMatch.