1. Gifts from the heart
Handmade blankets, hats, booties and cardigans made especially for their baby top the list of favourite presents mums receive at their baby showers. This is largely because mums feel they were made with love.
Presents with memories attached to them, such as clothes mums wore themselves as babies, or toys they played with as children, are also popular. So is anything their own mums had held on to from their childhood.
The fact that someone has taken the time to collect together items with histories attached makes them even more special. These presents are also seen as gifts from the heart.
Heirlooms, such as crocheted baby clothes made by great-grandmothers, are also highly desirable. Even more so if they’ve been passed down from other relatives. For some mums, receiving these long-lost baby treasures is a way of connecting with relatives they’ve never actually known.
2. Gift vouchers
Gift vouchers for well-known baby shops or supermarkets are sought-after practical presents. This is especially true for mums who already have children. A lump sum to spend on nappies, wipes and other essentials as and when mums need them is considered to be one of the best presents.
Gift vouchers to redeem at the local photographer’s studio are another popular choice. The photos taken during their baby’s first month are a reminder of those who bought the gift and their baby at that stage.
3. Treats for mum
A paid-for weekend away, or babymoon, with their partner or a gift certificate for a night out together after baby is born are top shower gifts. Even more so if the mum-to-be and dad-to-be have seen less of each other than they would like during the past few months.
For others, a little personal indulgence, such as a pre-paid massage or pedicure, goes a long way. So do pregnancy pillows, which can make the last few weeks of pregnancy far more comfortable and then morph into functional feeding pillows once your baby has arrived.
Some mums were so thrilled with their baby-shower pillows that they went out and bought them for pregnant friends!
Practical presents such as a professional house clean before the baby arrives are also popular. For pregnant mums who already have children and the baby equipment they need, this one-off gift can be a life-saver. And first-time mums who find they’re dragging themselves around in the last stages of pregnancy also appreciate the extra help. Some mums say the house-cleaning shower gift gave them a real boost.
4. Bedding and baby blankets
Baby blankets and other bedding also score highly with mums who’d had baby showers. For some a hand-knitted baby blanket from a close relative is special, particularly if it continues a family tradition of baby blanket-making.
For one mum, her most precious shower gift was a fleece blanket with different types of silk ribbons and tags around the edges. As a child she’d had a blanket with satin trim, which she loved. Her five-year-old daughter had also loved silky things since she was a baby, including men’s silk boxer shorts! She was also a fan of the fleece blanket.
If they are on the mum-to-be’s nursery list, baby blankets and bedding can provide guests an opportunity to give a personalised present. They can just buy the present and get it monogrammed or, if they know it, have the baby’s name embroidered on it.
A month’s worth of a cloth nappy laundry service rates highly as a baby shower present. Plastic tubs full of clothes, bottles and nappies are also useful. Once they’ve been emptied, the tubs can come in handy to store baby kit or memorabilia.
A nappy cake, practical and pretty, can form the centrepiece of a baby shower. A nappy cake is a supply of nappies built into a cake shape, often three-tiered, and decorated with ribbons and soft toys.
Nappy-themed showers are popular too. If you’re lucky, you may even find you have enough nappies and wipes to last your baby for months.
6. Books for mum and baby
One way to do this is to register at your local bookstore and let guests choose baby-related books. Instead of outfits your baby will outgrow in no time, you receive books as gifts, from Winnie-the-Pooh to parenting books to paediatric medical guides.
Or you can ask each guest to bring his or her favourite book for babies or children. One mum recounts how her daughter was given more than 100 books before she was born. The little girl loves reading them and they store the few duplicates in the changing bag and the car.
7. Back-up nappy changing bag
An emergency nappy-changing bag that can be left in the car or pushchair rates highly with many mums. It certainly helps to reduce stress levels when you’re out and about, and think you may have forgotten something vital.
Some mums feel smaller is better and prefer a pared-down changing bag containing just five things they should never leave home without. One mum was so happy with her mini changing bag that she now buys one as a gift for any friend having a shower.
8. Home-cooked meals for a month
At the shower, guests are invited to write their names in a calendar in the weeks after the baby is due. (To play it really safe, start it a few weeks after the due date.)
In their assigned week, each person brings a meal or two they’ve prepared for the parents to eat or freeze. This means the baby’s parents are spared the chore of cooking for a few weeks, while still being able to eat freshly made, nutritious meals.
It’s also a good way for close friends and family to visit quietly after your baby is born.
9. Things you couldn’t do without
Gifts that inexperienced mums couldn’t do without are also on the list of top baby shower presents. These include emergency baby toiletries and medical supplies. Contents may include infant pain reliever, a thermometer, baby nail clippers, nail files, bath emollient, petroleum jelly and nappy rash cream.
One mum given this present was told to put it in the bathroom cabinet and wait. Before long she was using it, relieved that she didn’t need to race to the shops every time there was an emergency.
10. Baby clothes in larger sizes
Baby clothes in bigger sizes, for example, up to 12 months, are also a hit with mums. One mother-in-law used baby clothes in ascending sizes as decorations at the shower she arranged for her daughter-in-law. That was the baby’s wardrobe sorted out for the first year!