One of the features of bringing your new baby home is how to introduce the new brother or sister to your older child. If you have a son or daughter who is at nursery or school and can understand what is happening, it is easier to explain to them directly. Smaller children, who haven’t developed a lot of speech yet, will find it more difficult to understand why they have to share their mummy and daddy.
If you are lucky, relatives and friends will remember to bring a little gift for your older child as well as new baby gifts, but if not, don’t be embarrassed to ask someone close to you to bring a small something for the older child. Having their own present at the same time as their new baby sister or brother will make it easier for them to accept the attention and gifts that are being given to the new baby.
Exchanging gifts between the new baby and the older child can also be helpful – before the baby is born your older child could buy a small gift to give to the new baby when it arrives, and you could also have a gift from the baby ready for its older sister or brother when you return from hospital.
There are no doubt lots of parents who, maybe years later when clearing out the attic, come across a small, tatty envelope or bag and find it contains the original hospital bracelet from the birth of their son or daughter. Somewhere else will probably be some hair from the first haircut and the first shoe. That’s when it suddenly seems that it would have been a good idea to have sorted out a better system in the first place.
When you are in the throes of looking after a new baby, it seems impossible that you could ever forget how small those little arms or legs are, and the idea of finding the time to sort out somewhere to store things for the future can be laughable.
This is where friends may be able to help out – instead of the usual gift of clothes or toiletries for the new baby, branching out to a different sort of idea like a container the new parents can keep small items in could become a much treasured gift.
It is so much easier for a mum or dad to pop the bracelet or other small thing they want to keep into a box that has been provided specially for them, rather than having to remember to find a container, taking the risk that in the meantime, the item may be lost.
Sometimes it seems that all the guidance and warnings given to mums to be and new mums are about feeling weepy, depressed and inadequate as they learn how to be a mother. Advice is given on being sure to share your feelings with other people to get advice and support.
Of course this advice is really important and it is given so that new parents are warned of the possible pitfalls and downsides to having a baby. But it is a shame if new parents or mums-to-be are so strongly warned that they start to feel that there is no upside to having a baby.
Most mothers can remember that wonderful ‘just had my pregnancy confirmed’ moment, when it feels like the whole world should be celebrating with you. This feeling of excitement and happiness should be still with you after the baby has been born.
Of course new mums and dads need to be aware of the problems that may occur, but don’t forget the reason for all that is happening is the new baby, who for all the difficulties like lack of sleep and disruption, will bring wonderful feelings of love and satisfaction as well.
When your colleague at work left to go on maternity leave, you will probably have had a leaving ‘do’ and given something for her and the new baby. With any luck, she will have made sure that you know once the baby has arrived and that they are both doing well.
Once the first few weeks are over, when most new mums and dads need time to adjust and to sort their routine out, it might be good to arrange a visit. After the first excitement is over, most new mums will find themselves alone with the baby. Their partner will probably have to return to work, other relatives will also quite possibly work, and their life will be very different from what they have been used to at work with you.
This is a good time to buy the newborn baby gift – now that you know if it is a boy or a girl and it will mean a lot to the new mum to know that you are haven’t forgotten her. It will be good for her to hear the latest gossip and keep in touch with the news, while you meet the new arrival. Your new baby gift will mean a lot at this time as most of the new gifts will have been given at the time of the birth.
There are so many gifts you can give to a new mum and dad and their baby. How about one that not only is a lovely present but is also good for the planet into which the baby has just been introduced?
Organic cotton bedding and clothes are really good for a baby as cotton is a natural product and its fibres are tough enough to survive all the washing and wearing. Cotton is a natural fabric, and organic cotton has the advantage that it can be softer than ordinary cotton as it goes through less processing so this means the fibres keep more of the original softness.
It is reassuring for the mum and dad to know that at no stage, whether while growing in the field or in the processing stage, have any risky or unpleasant chemicals been used, so they know that the material which is going to be next to the baby’s delicate, new skin is gentle and safe.
It is also good to know that organic businesses tend to provide better working conditions for their employees, so the new baby gift you are choosing will be helping to create a fairer and better world. What a great start in life for a new baby.
No matter how competent and successful a woman has been at work, it is not unusual for her to have a complete crisis of confidence at the point of walking through the front door of her home with a few-days-old baby. Your partner will probably be feeling even worse, having not had even the few days in hospital with other mothers and hospital staff around.
Try not to panic and remember - all the other new parents you met at ante-natal classes and in the hospital will be feeling exactly the same. And don’t forget – you probably had the same effect on your parents when you were born, and both you and they survived.
There are some things you can do to help yourself feel better.
If you can, try to collect contact details of people you get on well with while you are at the ante-natal classes or in hospital, then you can have a personal “hotline” to ring when feeling out of your depth, or just for a confidence boosting chat.
Share the baby with your partner – he is as much a part of parenthood as you, and as you share the tasks, it will be so much easier to learn together, rather than on your own.
Grandmothers can be wonderful people at this stage, but it may be a good idea to postpone their help until you partner is back at work and you are looking after your baby on your own – this could be when you really appreciate having her around.
Enjoy the gifts you will be sure to receive for your new baby and think of each one of them as an expression of the confidence your friends and relatives have in you, and which you will find developing in yourself.
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.