As tempting as it may be to shower a new mother with fancy gifts... cute little onesies and hair bows, little tiny socks and booties, and fancy gifts from a baby registry... how many of these things will she REALLY value when the baby actually arrives? How quickly will the baby outgrow them, and does more STUFF really mean as much?
Whether this is someone's first baby, or their 10th.... a Baby Shower, "Sprinkle", or Mother Blessing ceremony... in our Western culture, we tend to celebrate an impending birth by showering the new parents with gifts. Quite often, these gifts come from a baby registry (of items that the parents may or may not know that they need) - or they might just be something that the friends and family think are cute. But - are these gifts PRACTICAL?
It should come as no surprise that what exhausted new parents REALLY appreciate is SERVICES, not STUFF! So, here are just a few ideas of practical gifts that will make you the hero of the baby shower!! These gifts aren't just handy - they really help to ease the transition into new/expanded family.
Prenatal Classes – Childbirth classes, Parenting classes, Breast/chestfeeding classes, Baby care classes, Infant sleep classes, etc.... there is no shortage of options, including in-person and online. Education is invaluable!
Birth Doula Services – A birth doula provides prenatal education, physical & emotional support during pregnancy and birth, and many often provide postpartum care as well. Of course, you would want to ensure that the doula is someone that the birthing person has chosen themselves (birth is a very intimate time, and not sometime that you just want a random stranger in the room!). Many doulas offer payment plans and/or gift certificates, so that several people can pitch in to pay for the doula's services.
Postpartum Doula Services – Postpartum doulas provide assistance with breastfeeding, caring for the baby, caring for the mother (massage, belly wrapping, nutrition, etc), helping out with light housework, meal preparation, sleep support, and more.
Lactation Support – (If breast/chestfeeding is desired) - Even experienced mothers often struggle with nursing during the first few weeks. The support of an IBCLC can help to decrease pain, ease feedings for baby, decrease anxiety, and increase the chances of future success. Many consultants offer both in-person and virtual support!
Body Work – Birth can really take a toll on the body - so getting body work to help with healing and recovery can be WONDERFUL!! This includes chiropractic care, craniosacral therapy, massage, Reiki/energy work, and more.
Meal Trains – Bringing the new family a hot meal can be a huge lifesaver! The last thing that tired parents want to do is cook - so this can really save them a lot of time and energy. There are also several websites where you can set up a “registry” for new parents, and their friends and family can sign up for specific days/times to visit and bring a hot meal. (I love MealTrain.com and Take Them a Meal)
Freezer Meals – Pre-made freezer meals that can be tossed in the oven or slow cooker are wonderful! They are easy to prepare, and can be reheated at any time.
Gift Cards for grocery & meal delivery services – Many grocery stores are now offering grocery delivery and/or curbside pickup! There are also private shopping services (such as Shipt) that will do the shopping for you. Meal delivery services (such as Doordash) can be another great option for providing a new family with meals, if you don’t like to cook. Gift cards for local coffee shops (with a drive thru!) are great too, for those times when the baby falls asleep in the car and you don’t want to get them out of their car seat quite yet….
Above all, a gift that is truly personalized and heartfelt means so much more than anything you might buy from Walmart or Amazon! Letting the family know that they have your love and support can make all the difference in the world.