I can’t believe that this is actually going to come out of my mouth, but “back in my day” Baby Showers were a very different beast to what they have become today. Traditionally a baby shower was an interactive experience, where seasoned mommies and aunties of the mommy to be got together, had some koek-en-tee and shared their knowledge and tricks for colicky babies and how to cope with teething etc. Necessities were given to the new mommy like nappies, wet wipes, bum cream and bottles. Because let’s be honest, those are really the most important things you need and the LAST things you want to find you don’t have in the middle of the night.
I’ve been to three baby showers in the last year that really have only been fun for the Mommy. While she’s unwrapping presents everyone else is at the snack table or sipping on champers outside with the smokers. Because Mommy has chosen all the gifts and put them on a registry there is no more “I got you this because I found it really helped when baby had this”. There is no more advice and story swopping because Mommy already thinks she knows what she needs and can actually tell you what your gift is used for! In today’s world of the interwebs, we have so much information at our fingertips at any time of the day that gone are the days when we actually relied on our moms, aunts and friends to answer our ridiculous questions. That is of course, if we remembered to call them!
Being a parent to a newborn has become so scientific. We have forgotten that babies, like the rest of us, are human. They are just brand new and inexperienced at living. Not every baby is going to like the R300 orthodontic teat that My Baby Magazine recommends for bottle feeding. They have their own little personalities and preferences. Tyler Boy hated the expensive dummies and teats and only took the R3 ones from PEP. So I wasted my time and very precious nappy money on a LOT of unnecessary crap we never even opened. Now please, before I get all these huffy comments about how times have changed since I had my baby, I am not saying that any of the things you’ve chosen on your “baby registry” are in any way futile. All I am saying, is just remember you are having a baby. A baby human. Who has feelings and emotions. Who above all else has four basic needs: hunger, safety, a clean bum and to be loved. If you can give assurance of these four simple things to your baby, you will be fine. I promise.
I have always had one basic philosophy for gift giving at a baby shower, go have a look at the registry. If you see something on there that as a mom you know she will use, no matter how boring it is (nipple pads) get that and then buy your own thing. My staple was always Bepanthen, Telament drops, Lansinoh Nipple Cream and a cute gender appropriate outfit for 2-3 year olds. It used to happen that I was asked why I chose these things, but no longer. Now I go for gifts that can be used all the way to adolescence. My favourite of course, is books. There’s nothing better than bedtime story cuddles with your little monster. It is the time of the day when you have their full attention, and them yours. It is when I get the most cuddles from my Tyler Bear, and when he honestly recounts the events of his day. It is during this time that he will confess a naughty deed, a funny story or of course, how his hero alter ego saved the planet from mutant aliens. It’s one of the few quiet times I have with him that we really learn about each other.
Babies are babies for a very short time, but your children are yours forever. Again, I’m not saying that these new age baby showers are bad in any way, just that it would be nice for it to go back in time a little to when it was an actual knowledge sharing session. If you can’t do that, go for the next best thing. Try to give a thoughtful gift that has longevity. That will be used over and over again, treasured for many years to come.
If we could give a first time mommy what she really needed once “best and brightest” came along, patience would be sold in bottles.