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This is a lovely time for nearly-to-be grandparents, whether again or for the first time. You have a special place with the new baby and the new parents and can offer practical help and assistance in buying new baby items.
Do remember the first rule of being a grandparent – check first, don’t assume. The new parents will have their own ideas about what they want and how they plan to do things. There is nothing quite so wonderful as a grandparent who is there when needed and provides moral support and sympathy, as well as cups of tea and the odd small present for the baby or new parents and this is the role you want to be in.
It is traditional for the grandparents to help with buying some of the larger items such as a pram or cot for the new baby, so get together with the parents to be and find out from them if they would like you to do this, and what sort of gift they would like.
There is nothing to stop you adding on the odd extra item as time goes on, such as bootees, or other small gift for the new baby. You may need to tread carefully as you negotiate your relationship with the new family, but the rewards can be great.
If you are looking for a present for a new mum and dad, perhaps a work colleague or friend, and you are not sure what sort of gift to get, especially if you are on a budget, one idea is to put together a basket of items that they will find really useful when the new baby arrives. Items such as baby soap, towels, and a soft baby flannel will make bath time easier and you could add to this some small things such as a bib or two and some bootees.
These small items won’t break the bank, but will be very useful to and much appreciated by the new parents, who will have them to use as soon as they are needed.
Another idea is to ask your friend or colleague what they would like – most expectant parents will have their own list of other items that they need to buy and they will be pleased to have some of these things ticked off the list for them.
You can make up a pretty basket or parcel with a few of these small gifts for the new baby so that you have an attractive gift to give to the new parents and their baby.
Double the pleasure and double the work, an instant family, that’s just a couple of phrases that come to mind when you hear about twins. Two of everything is needed – there will be no waiting for clothes to be outgrown or toys being tired of as both babies will be doing everything at the same time. If you are buying gifts for parents who have or are expecting twins you will have to buy two of everything.
You can choose from specially produced gifts that are made up for twins – a basket of toys and clothes with everything doubled up – or in the case of triplets, everything in triplicate.
Your gift will be appreciated by the new parents who will probably be struggling to make sure that they have enough of everything. There is a great deal to be bought for any baby and when you have to provide for more than one, it can be quite an effort.
So your carefully chosen gift for twins will be very pleasing to the new parents who will know from this the thought you have given to the new baby gift you have chosen.
Another gift that will be much appreciated with twins is the gift of time – if you can offer to do some of the everyday tasks for the new parents, such as shopping or cleaning, you will free up some of their time and energy so they will get more enjoyment from their new babies
Most mums would agree that they are thrilled for their new baby to receive loads of attention and new baby gifts. Congratulations and showing off the new baby are part of this time and mums and babies deserve every bit of it.
It might be enjoyable for the new mum as well as all this, to have some time just for herself as well, as this is a time of great change and a transformation of life for her, so a gift that encourages her to spend some time to herself, such as a pampering bath set, could be just the thing. New mums would love relaxing in a bath full of fragranced bubbles.
Then, once mum is feeling relaxed and mellow, it could be the baby’s turn for some bath or baby oil pampering with some special baby wash and skin balm. This could lead to a relaxing evening and with luck, maybe even a quieter night as mum and baby relax into sleep. A soothing session such as this every so often may make all the difference in those first few months when there is so much to learn for both mum and baby.
At some time, the one to one period with your baby will end and you will have to share them with someone else. If you find that you are a bit anxious about this, it is no wonder that your baby may not be too happy about it either. It’s not unusual for clingy behaviour to start at around nine months when your baby reaches the stage of understanding that there are different people around who are not all familiar people to them.
It can be quite difficult not to be a bit impatient with a baby who won’t go to someone else, even for a short while, when enticing them with baby gifts and toys does not seem to work. However, patience is what is needed, so that you can give your baby the reassurance they need, that it is only for a few minutes, that you still love them and that you will soon be back.
As your baby has the experience of being away from you and then coming back, they gradually learn through repetition what is happening. Eventually they will know from the outset that you will be returning and they don’t need to worry about it.
It’s not always easy to get to this stage and all babies vary, with some taking much longer than others to get there, but if you can stay patient and optimistic, you will get there in the end.
It is impossible to look at a baby or toddler without wondering who they look like. Is it mum or dad, or grandma or grandpa or maybe one of the aunts or uncles? It is surprising how much you can see a likeness even in a newborn baby and of course, once they are toddlers there is lots of resemblance, probably to more than one person.
Some of the similarity comes from the baby’s looks – their colouring or features really do look like one of the family, but some of it develops as the baby develops. This can happen because the way that babies learn is through copying, so that even their expressions and the way they move will become unconscious copies of the people around them.
So even if your baby does not look very like you in features, don’t worry, you will very likely find that as time goes on, they will become more and more like you in the way they appear. Their actions can take on the same quality as yours and you may end up with strangers telling you how like you your child looks, even when you don’t see it yourself.
It may seem that all new babies are the same and are too young to really have individual personalities but most parents will tell you that they could see their child’s emerging personality pretty much from day one. You will probably find the same, that each baby has their own ways of dealing with the world and you will find out what these are.
Some babies can get to the age of 3 months and their parents will tell you that they’ve never really heard the baby cry – even if a feed is late; the baby is placid and happy to just wait until it arrives. Night time feeds of course do have to be given, but the little one goes back to sleep afterwards and in the morning will be found happy in the cot, awake but quiet.
Other parents will have the opposite experience of a baby who cries as soon as they wake and can’t be left to wait for their feed.
Does this mean that one baby is ‘good’ and the other is ‘naughty’? Of course not, these are expressions of the baby’s personality, whether they are placid or more active; perhaps it may indicate whether they are more or less anxious, but small babies simply don’t have the mental ability to know what is being good or naughty and so cannot behave in either way. As they grow, you will see the personality developing from these early signs.
Once you are home with your new baby, you can indulge yourself with taking as many photographs as you want of the newest member of your family. New babies grow fast and it is hard to keep up with the changes in their life, so starting a first year’s photo album will give you the framework for recording all these changes.
New baby gifts from relatives and friends will be part of these photos, as you take pictures of your baby in their special outfits or with particular toys. Sending photos to the givers of these gifts not only says thank you to them but also shows them that you really are pleased with the gift and are using it.
You may have a keepsake box for items such as the baby’s hospital bracelet, which you could keep with the photo album as a reminder of how your baby looked and how small they were when they were born.
Photographs should also include brothers and sisters, who will love to be photographed either on their own or with their new sister or brother. If they have been given some gifts as well, then these can be included in the photos as part of the memories of this special time.
When you have a second baby, it can be really difficult to have enough energy to look after the baby and your toddler or older child. Simply feeling tired because of broken nights may make you feel that the demands your older child makes are unreasonable. But don’t forget that they are also adjusting to the changes in the family and so need your reassurance, and still have the same needs as they did the day before the new baby arrived.
The most important thing young children need is your love and attention – a few meals replaced by a sandwich won’t do much harm, but feeling that you no longer love them because of the new baby may cause problems. Even if you are exhausted, try to give your older child a smile, some words and a cuddle whenever you can. Sometimes it feels that you simply can’t take on their demands, but children can be quite affected by not being answered and feeling ignored, so give them at least an answer and if possible an explanation if you can’t do what they want at that time.
A small ‘token’ such as a special gift you gave them when the new baby arrived may help, for example a rag doll that you can suggest they cuddle at the same time as you are cuddling the baby, may help them to feel that you are both together, doing the same thing.
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It can be easy when your baby is very small to spend most of your time at home with them and to find the idea of going out socialising a bit daunting because of all the preparation that going out involves. For some mums, this period of being at home is great and they really enjoy the one-to-one with their new baby, others may prefer to get organised and go out and about.
Once you reach the time when you do want to start going out, one way is to go to a mother and baby or mother and toddler group. This has the advantage that everyone else is in the same situation as you, so you don’t need to worry if you’ve had a bad night and feel that you look awful, someone else is bound to be feeling the same. You get the advantages of conversation and shared experience.
Depending on your baby’s age and developmental stage, they may be completely unbothered by being in a group or may be apprehensive and cling to you. It doesn’t matter as long as you are able to give them the attention they need whilst you are benefiting from your conversation with other parents. Once your baby is old enough to start exploring and enjoying the contact with other babies, they will benefit from this early learning by becoming a more sociable person.
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