A popular choice for baby gifts is the purchase of baby bedding. There is a wide array of blankets, sheets, swaddling blankets and quilts available for newborns and babies and you are guaranteed to receive a great selection from friends and family.
However you need to be aware of the safety issues surrounding baby bedding and make sure that you use only that bedding which is appropriate to the age of your baby. There is much evidence to suggest that cot death or SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can be attributed to the baby overheating or suffocating in some cases. For this reason you need to select bedding very carefully in the first twelve months.
Baby quilts are not recommended and should be saved for later in your baby’s development. Don’t worry about offending friends and relatives. There will be plenty of time to use them in the future. In the meantime you can use them as play mats for example.
Swaddling blankets are great to make a baby feel secure when transporting them from the car to the house or when breastfeeding. Cellular blankets are a good choice also as they are lightweight but offer warmth.
To avoid the dangers of suffocation, sleeping bags are becoming increasing popular. They stop the baby wriggling down underneath bedding and also stop the baby kicking off the blankets and getting cold.
A wonderfully fun way to get everyone together to celebrate a baby’s imminent arrival and enjoy the giving of baby gifts with friends and family is to have a baby shower. This US tradition is hitting the UK now but you may feel unsure of where to start if you do want to plan one for a mum-to-be.
Often baby showers have a theme to make them more fun. Some ideas are the traditional nursery theme but another idea is a round the clock shower where each guest has a time of day that they need to buy baby gifts for. For example, if you get 8am you may choose to get some baby clothes.
Another idea is to make the baby shower a mother shower and rather than showering the baby with gifts, shower the mum-to-be with presents instead. You may choose gifts to pamper and relax her such as scented candles, a trip to the local spa or creams and lotions.
Besides gift giving what else happens at a baby shower? This tends to depend on the theme but most showers include a mixture of food and games to keep everyone entertained. Choose your food dependent on the time of day that the baby shower is being held. For afternoon or early evening then finger foods and cakes are very popular. Bear in mind the mum-to-be when choosing food – make sure there are plenty of things on the spread that she can tolerate or has a particular craving for.
Match the games to the guests. If you’re inviting blokes then ‘girly’ games just won’t do. Popular choices are nappy changing competitions and races to drink milk out of a baby bottle!
When choosing the theme for a nursery you need to think about the lifespan of the theme that you choose. If for example you have chosen a nursery rhyme theme, consider whether your baby will be happy with the décor when it grows into a three or four year old toddler. Think about whether it will be an issue for you to redo the room decoration every couple of years or so.
If the lifespan of the themes is important for you then select décor that is less babyish. For example you could use an alphabet theme or jungle or farmyard animals to keep it not only gender neutral but a theme that will last a good few years into the toddler stage. If you know the gender then there are certain boy themes that will grow with the baby. For example you may choose classic cartoon characters, superheroes, a jungle or forest. More girly ideas are flowers, gardens, tea parties and fairies.
There are different ways you can introduce a theme to a room. The bedding is one way of introducing a theme. Another cheap way is using borders and transfers. These can be easily removed and updated at a later date. Another idea is to use prints and pictures which again can be updated at a later date.
Let friends and family know about the theme in the room. This may inspire them in their search for baby gifts.
When you have a baby you are guaranteed to get inundated with gifts for the baby. Friends, family and work colleagues will find the forthcoming arrival of a baby an exciting and joyful time and everyone will want to get involved. You are likely to get a mass of baby clothes, cuddly toys and knick knacks as visitors arrive in droves to view the new arrival.
Once the initial furore and fuss has died down, you will need to settle down to the business of thanking everyone for their presents. Don’t be tempted to let this slip. People put a lot of thought, time and consideration into buying gifts and these presents can help you out at a time when you are being hit by some major expenses.
There are lots of cards available on the market that can be used to thank people. They come in baby themes but can at times be quite an expensive proposition, especially if you have a wide friendship network and big extended family. It can be cheaper and more personal to design your own themed card. Perhaps you can print up a picture of your new baby on the card or get a card handicraft pack to design your own.
Keep your message personal and you will delight all your friends and family.
Baby showers are a great way of getting friends and family together to celebrate the forthcoming arrival of a new baby and to exchange baby gifts. In the UK it’s a fairly new phenomenon so following from our previous article on baby shower etiquette here are some more guidelines on how to throw the perfect shower.
If you’re planning a baby shower you may be wondering who should be invited. If it’s a surprise baby shower then it’s a good idea to get someone close to the mum to help you draw up the invite list. You could either split the shower into a work baby shower with colleagues and a family shower or keep it simple with one big shower. What you will need to be mindful of are friends who have had fertility issues or have had a recent loss. If you leave them out, no matter how well intentioned, they will feel excluded. The best approach is to invite them personally and be mindful at all times of their situation.
Traditionally baby showers were the domain of women but these days men can also be invited and there are ‘couples’ showers starting to appear.
Send out invites to your guests and if you’re planning a surprise baby shower make sure everyone knows that it’s a secret.
When a new baby arrives you can be sure to be inundated with new baby gifts. Having a baby can be a chaotic time as you and your partner struggle to come to grips with the new bundle and the dramatic change to the demands on your time. Sending out thank you notes might well be the last thing on your mind however try to get thank you notes sent out within a week or so of receiving the gifts if you are fit and able.
Again it may be tempting to simply scribble a generic thank you on the card to everyone who has been kind enough to send you a gift. Try to make time to personalise the card in some way. Keep a note of the names of friends and family that give the baby a present and a note of what the gift was. It’s surprising how soon you become confused about who bought what. With your list in hand you can then at least make a reference to the gift that was given making the card more personal to the recipient.
Baby gifts from friends and family are invaluable at a time when you are being hit with some major expenses, so take the time to thank everyone for their thought and kindness.
Buying furniture for the baby’s nursery can soon become an expensive business so you need to choose items that are a priority for the baby and you.
The cot is one item that you shouldn’t scrimp on. It’s advisable to have the baby in your own room initially but even so, it pays to get the cot before the baby’s birth so everything is ready to go. Cots should be robust and safe. It is the one place you need to feel secure about leaving your baby unattended for short periods of time.
There are stringent regulations and standards enforced by the government these days so you’re unlikely to be able to find an unsafe cot, however you do still hear of product recalls from time to time so be vigilant nonetheless.
Portable crib or playpen
Another great addition to your baby equipment is a travel playpen or crib. These are hugely useful and allow you to keep the baby close when working in other rooms in the house as well as helping contain an adventurous crawler in later months. A travel cot is also a reasonable enough a price to be added to your baby gifts wish list so that you can spread the cost amongst friends and family.
With all the baby gifts you’re likely to receive you’ll need to think about how you are going to store it all when the baby arrives. When designing your nursery you need to keep this in mind and make sure it’s a key consideration along with getting the paint colour and the décor right. As the baby grows the number of toys will multiply, along with the collection of books, games and other baby paraphernalia that babies need.
Babies need storage space for changing equipment, nappies, blankets and bedding as well as clothing. The storage requirements increase as the baby grows and clothes get bigger and toys and books become more numerous. If you get the storage space right you can make life much less cluttered and more organised.
There will be items you can display on bookshelves and furniture surfaces. Many toys can be displayed on hooks and smaller toys can be collected in coordinated boxes and baskets.
There will be items you’d rather not display as they look messy so find boxes with lids where you can shut them away when not in use. There are also storage bags and boxes available that fit snugly under the cot.
Baby showers have become very popular in the US and as with all things that start out in the States this celebration of the baby’s imminent arrival and forum for giving baby gifts is catching on in the UK. However what is a baby shower and what are the customs and traditions behind it?
First and foremost who gets a baby shower? Originally in the States it was only the first born child that got a baby shower. However these days there is no discrimination and all babies are seen to be special enough for their own baby shower. This also extends to celebrating the arrival of adopted babies.
When is the baby shower held? This usually happens in the latter two months of pregnancy. This can mean that early arrivals actually attend their own shower, whilst some mums who are only finding out the gender at birth choose to wait until the baby arrives. Some people due to religious or other cultural beliefs wait until after the birth and for adoptive parents it’s usual to wait until everything has been finalised and the baby has arrived.
It is usually a family member who throws the baby shower on behalf of the mum-to-be. This can be from either side of the couple’s family. Baby showers are so popular in the States that a baby can have several organised by family, friends and work colleagues. In short anyone can throw a baby shower for you so sit back and let the presents roll in.
As a mum-to-be one of the major concerns can be about losing weight again once the baby arrives. It is a universal struggle that all women have after pregnancy and the papers are littered with miraculous stories of celebrities getting back to their post-pregnancy figures in six weeks flat. However, realistically it can take much longer and some women never manage to lose the extra pounds and indeed carry on putting on weight after the baby has arrived. It needn’t be like this though.
Recent studies have shown that by making some simple changes once the baby is born women can slowly and sensibly lose the pounds and prevent more weight piling on. Follow these three simple steps:
1. Take a walk every day
By introducing a thirty minute walk every day you will prevent extra weight coming on and also start to shift those pounds you gained in the previous nine months. It’s great for the baby to get outdoors every day so get the pushchair out and head for the local park. It’ll be a great break from the house.
2. Reduce your TV viewing time
Replace plonking yourself in front on the TV with other activities. You may be thinking that you’ll never have time to watch TV again as it is but apparently a massive proportion of women do find themselves sat in front of the TV when they take a break. Instead do some stretching exercises or something active around the house.
3. Cut down trans fats
Trans fats are clearly labeled on food products and you’ll find that in the main it is high fat processed foods and desserts that should be avoided. Swap sugary, high fat snacks for fruit and nuts.
There are also plenty of exercise DVDs available specifically designed for helping you get back into shape. If you have a baby gifts list then don’t be shy about adding a few items that are aimed at helping you to recover. Whether its exercise DVDs, books or items to help you relax, put them on the list.