There have been different rituals throughout history to welcome a new baby to the world. Baby showers are a relatively new concept, as they became popular post WWII, during the baby boom. In addition to celebrating baby, they also help to ease the financial burden on the parents.
Babies bring so much joy and happiness to our lives. They are a blessing not only to their parents, but also to the entire family, and close friends as well. When baby comes along, they’ll need all the essentials: nourishment, clothing, shelter and most importantly, love! And don’t forget the few thousand baby items found on the market today! Walking the aisles of any baby super store can get quite confusing, and lots of questions come to mind, such as what will baby really need, what do I give at the baby shower, and how much should I spend? Here are some of our favorite tips for shower etiquette, and gift giving ideas:
Create a gift basket. This is a great way to give a more personal gift filled with things off the baby’s registry. Choose a common theme, such as kitchen, bath or safety products to group together. Arrange them all in a laundry basket, baby bath tub or reusable storage basket and wrap it all together with clear cellophane. You’ll know no one will be giving a gift quite like yours, since you designed it yourself! Our favorite gift baskets that are pre-made and affordable are HERE.
Leave the big gifts for close family. No need to stress out when you see all the high-priced items on the baby registry. Generally speaking, those gifts are usually purchased by the mother-to-be’s family. Big ticket items include cribs, strollers, car seats, high chairs and swings. If you know the expecting parents don’t have close family, or that they aren’t buying those things, then go for it! That doesn’t mean you have to shell out for it alone, leading us to the next tip,
Contribute to a group gift. Pooling resources with your sisters, friends or coworkers allows you to give a fantastic gift at an affordable price. Be sure to confirm how much each person will be giving, and look for a gift in that price range. Or, use the money to DIY a custom gift basket!
Not sure how much to spend? Proper etiquette for acquaintances or coworkers is between $30-$50. Of course this only a guide, and should not supersede your budget.
Homemade gifts make beautiful keepsakes. If you’re crafty, consider making something special for baby. Crochet or knit blankets and baby clothes are popular shower gifts, as are diaper cakes. Photo albums, shadow boxes and scrapbooks can be customized with sections for developmental milestones. Car seat cooling packs will prevent burns and keep car seats cool during the hot summer months. If you have basic sewing skills, check out an easy patterns here. Craftsy also offers some GREAT free classes to help you create special gifts!
Hold off on unsolicited advice. Expecting moms get advice from every person that crosses their path, starting from the moment they know they’re pregnant. Family, friends, and the little old lady at the grocery store all seem to know what’s best for baby. It gets old, fast! And while we’re thinking about it, keep those horror stories to yourself, too. There’s nothing worse than frightening mom with scary birth stories, or about your dreadfully long three-day labor.
Give a baby book in lieu of a card. Add to baby’s library by skipping a greeting card and writing your sentiments on the inside cover of a book instead. Pick your favorite children’s book (or two!) and include it with your gift. This has become a popular request from new moms, and it couldn’t be a more perfect idea! Greeting cards get thrown away, but books can be cherished for years to come. Some of our favorite places for popular and affordable books are HERE and HERE.
Buy bigger sizes of those adorable outfits. It’s easy to think short term and buy clothing in sizes newborn, 0-3, and 3-6, because they’re so cute! In reality, babies outgrow these sizes in the blink of an eye. Babies born on the bigger side may only get a week or less out of newborn sizes! Having a variety of sizes can help new parents tremendously for the first two years of baby’s life. A great way to save money and stock up on larger clothing sizes is to check the clearance racks towards the end of a season, and find sizes that baby will fit into next year. You’ll be able to find some great discounts on awesome quality baby clothes HERE and HERE!
Judgmental comments should be left at the door. There are so many impolite comments that mothers-to-be typically hear: You’re only six months? Are you sure you’re not having twins? Wow, you’re as big as a house! They’re all as insensitive as they are downright rude. Even if it’s meant in good fun, you could really hurt a woman’s feelings. Instead, try an uplifting compliment, like how pretty her hair looks, or how lovely her pregnancy glow is. A little love goes a long way.
A booklet of IOU coupons is an extremely thoughtful gift for a mom-to-be. It’s also a great gift idea if your budget is tight, and you really want to contribute a useful present. You may offer to babysit while mom and dad go out for a date, spend time with baby while mom takes a nap and showers, or take older siblings to the park to give their parents a break. You could even offer to do things not directly associated with the baby, such as making meals or doing some light cleaning or laundry. Be creative and really dress up your book with supplies from Michael’s!
There you have it, a comprehensive guide to baby shower do’s and don’ts, as well as several awesome gift ideas. Do you have any original gifts that you love to give at a baby shower, or some sage advice about etiquette? Let us know in the comments below! Happy showers!