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.
Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do to boost your baby’s health and development but many mums are faced with misinformation on the subject that can put them off. Here are more myths explained to help you make a better informed choice:
MYTH No 4: I mustn’t have enough milk because the baby is eating too often.
FACT: It is a fact that on average babies need to eat between eight and fourteen times per day in the first few weeks. If the baby’s stools are soft and the baby’s urine is pale or clear then you can be assured the baby is getting enough milk.
MYTH No 5: If I take a break from nursing I will produce more milk
FACT: Actually it is the reverse – the more you breastfeed, the more milk you will produce. Breaking your routine will actually reduce your milk supply. You should nurse a minimum of one to ten times per day to make sure your supply is good.
MYTH No 6: I have small breasts so I’ll never produce enough milk
FACT: The size of breast is irrelevant as milk is produced by glands that all women have.
MYTH 7: The shape of your breast will be ruined by breastfeeding
FACT: Again this is not true. The changes are made as soon as a woman becomes pregnant. Even if she doesn’t breastfeed there will be significant changes that will be permanent.
There are plenty of books and DVDs out there that can help you make a decision and will give practical tips on the types of products you need to support you. You can add breastfeeding products to your baby gifts wishlist to spread the cost across friends and family.
One of the major decisions that you will make around the birth of your baby is whether to breastfeed or not. The positive effects of breastfeeding are well documented with it boosting the baby’s immunity against a huge number of illnesses and conditions. However despite there being a huge push to encourage mums to breastfeed there are still many myths around the subject that can put mums off breastfeeding. Here are some of the most common:
MYTH No 1: Babies can be allergic to breast milk
FACT: There have been no cases found where a human baby was allergic to their own mother’s milk.
MYTH No 2: You shouldn’t breastfeed your baby every time he or she fusses otherwise they will use you as a pacifier
FACT: Babies naturally suckle at frequent times. It is an instinctive human survival impulse.
MYTH No 3: It is common that a woman doesn’t produce enough milk
FACT: This is not true. Most women have more than enough milk and it is more common to produce too much. Babies that gain weight too slowly or actually lose weight are often suffering from not being able to get the milk from the mother. This is often due to the baby not latching on properly. There are plenty of people available such as midwives and breastfeeding councilors who can help in this situation.
To support a mum-to-be with breastfeeding you can look at baby gifts that will help her. There are plenty of breastfeeding books and DVDs available along with practical products such as breast pads and creams. A lovely idea is to find muslin shawls which not only look stylish but can help mum to shield herself from being observed when breastfeeding in public.
A combination of gloomy January days and the gloomy news of the credit crunch may have spurred you on to take a winter break abroad to escape to some sunshine. If you have a baby as part of your preparation and planning you need to consider the effects of the sun on your baby’s skin and go suitably prepared. A baby’s skin is exceptionally delicate and is therefore at a greater risk from sun damage than adult skin is. You need to find a sun cream that is designed to protect baby skin and is practical to apply.
You’ll also need to give some thought to the protection provided by your pushchair or pram. There are plenty of accessories available for pushchairs that can help to protect your baby from the sun. Parasols and shades that can be fitted to the hood or the pram are a must if you are travelling to a warm climate. Shades will also help to minimise overheating in babies which will cause upset and crying.
The baby’s eyes also need protection from the sun. The sun glaring into the face of the baby will cause upset, so think about some baby sunglasses. Unlike adult sunglasses they are elasticated to fit around the baby’s head and can be adjusted to size. However your baby may not appreciate wearing sunglasses so if this is the case opt for the traditional shades for the pram.
If you are looking for baby as a friend or family member then a gift basket including the entire sun protection essentials is an unusual and practical present.
One of the biggest worries for new parents with a newborn is how will they encourage the baby to sleep throughout the night. Babies shouldn’t be allowed to cry under the age of six months and after that you should only leave the baby for ten minutes.
However when settling a baby into a routine, you have to expect some tears. To start with, place the baby in the cot on their side making sure they can’t see you. They won’t remain in this position as you’ll move them onto their back once sleeping. In the meantime you will stay in the room to ensure they come to no harm. Check the time and give them fifteen minutes to settle.
At this point they are likely to cry. If they do, soothe them by placing a hand on their shoulder, stroke their back or gently pat their bottom.
If they carry on crying pick them up and cuddle them, making sure you don’t rock them to sleep. It’s when babies wake to find you not there after falling asleep in your arms that they get upset.
Once the baby is calm, repeat the process again until the baby settles. Once the baby is asleep roll the baby onto their back. You can also introduce soothing music to the routine as this will start to signal it’s time to sleep. If family and friends are asking for ideas for baby gifts a baby relaxation CD or a mobile that plays soothing music would be a good idea.