Everyone who's ever been to a baby shower knows that the obligatory open-presents-in-front-of-everyone thing can be a little awkward. There she sits, the mother-to-be, smiling her way through the whole routine, trying her very best to gush her way through the opening of Aunt Betty's crocheted-at-the-ends face washers and the nipple protectors her mother-in-law gave her.
While it's lovely to get gifts, let's be honest; nobody wants crap ones. Your pregnant friend is tired. She secretly wants to undo her pants and take a nap on the very couch she is pretending to like your present on, so do the kind woman a favour and make her day with a gift she's actually going to love.
Here are 6 thoughtful baby shower gift ideas. (That don't suck.)
1. Professional Photography Session
This is a great idea for a group present, as professional photography can be a little pricey. Many mothers regret not having more pictures taken of this special time in their lives—either the late stages of their pregnancy or those first few weeks with their newborn. Gifting your friend with a photography session is an awesome and unique present, creating beautiful and lasting memories of the new baby and their family. Many photographers offer gift vouchers, or you could pre-purchase the session and a selection of photo prints as an entire package to gift her with. Some photographers, like Kate Veronica Photography even have baby shower gift registries on their websites. Find a photographer in your city you like and get your girlfriends together to gift her with a meaningful present she'll cherish for years.
2. Book Basket
Bedtime stories are an iconic part of every childhood. Create the beginning of a meaningful home library with a basket of some of these gorgeous children's books:
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
Magic Beach, by Alison Lester
Ruby Red Shoes, by Kate Knapp
Kissed by the Moon, by Alison Lester
Where is the Green Sheep?, by Mem Fox
Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr Seuss
Animalia, by Graeme Base
Are We There Yet?, by Alison Lester
Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne
Once There Were Giants, by Martin Waddell
Writing a little message on the inside of each book's cover is also a lovely way to personalize your gift.
3. Bumbo Seat
These seats are so popular they've now made their way into Kmart and Target. They are incredibly practical and a must-have in every baby's home. They come in an awesome selection of colours, too, like Prince George Blue. I love the mint green!
4. Sophie the Giraffe
I am yet to meet a baby who does not love Sophie the Giraffe. Sophie is to babies as flames are to moths. Sophie is a teething toy (but really a toy in her own right) made from 100% natural rubber, natural food paint and is phthalate-free with no vinyl (no PVC). Plus, she comes all the way from the France, so she's, like, totally exotic and certainly sophisticated. Sophie can be found at most baby shops, or online at places like Toys R Us, Kids Corner, and eBay.
5. Professional Cleaning Package
Look, it's no cute stuffed animal packaged up in a sweet little bow, but this is one gift which will actually be used. If there is anything a new mother wants, it's someone to come mop her dirty floors. Consider looking up cleaning agencies in your city (many do one-off cleans) and purchase either one cleaning visit for her, or go in with some girlfriends and buy 3 or 4 sessions. She will love you forever.
6. Photo Book Gift Voucher
Photo books are a wonderful way to preserve memories. We all know most women turn into mama-razzis when they have a child, and this is a meaningful way to encourage her to turn all those snaps into something special she can keep for years and years to come. Most online printing companies offer gift vouchers, and good ones worth checking out are Snapfish, Momento, and Albumworks.
As a general rule:
Try to steer clear of 'personal taste' presents like room decorations, clothes, or linen. Everyone's got their own personal style, and the way Pinterest is infiltrating our sane minds, you don't want to give crib sheets with animals on it when they're going for a cloud theme in their tirelessly thought-about baby nursery. Finally, always, always remember this: those battery-operated toys? The ones with the jingles and the music and the voices? Never introduce them into a household of someone you care about. NEVER. Unless, of course, you don't particularly fancy the mother you are showering, then by all means, musical toys for the win.
Image credit: Top Smashing