Ever been invited to a baby shower and wondered what on earth you could take as a present?
The baby shower is a very important event in a new mother's life. She won't realise it yet but this will probably be the last time she gets to see all her friends in one place without wearing a baby puke badge. Having spent the first trimester being as sick as a pig, a baby shower is ideally held during the second trimester when the mother is blooming. The third trimester will leave her feeling like an unsightly beached whale and very much not in the mood for partying.
So, what to buy. You want to make your gift practical as well as memorable and you also want it to have that cute ooh, aah, how cute factor. That is, unless you are already a mother yourself by which time you realise that all you want is practical. Most attendees of a baby shower will buy baby wear in neutral colours and this baby will be equipped with more clothes than he could possibly wear if he changed them every feed time.
If you want to go for something really different, try a collection of classic books such as Beatrix Potter or Disney. Obviously, the little cherub will not be sitting reading these books the moment he hatches but it will be a collection that will be treasured for years to come and even with the possibility of being handed down.
A bathroom kit, containing things such as soft baby hairbrush, nail clippers, ointments and creams is practical and useful and will last longer than baby wear, showing more thought.
Silver goods are traditionally thought of as christening gifts but can be appreciated at a baby shower just the same. Silver photo frames are very popular and you just know that there will be a million photos taken before the first month is out.
Teddy bears are something that everyone buys for their babies. Although not practical, they will still be wanted, mostly by the mother. Go for something different, something that can be treasured and worth keeping, like a Steiff bear or similar.
Baby wear is an option but the best thing here would be to consult with the mother and maybe even encourage her to construct a list. It can be easier if she knows the sex of her baby so you can purchase either pink or blue items of baby wear or buy something that is for the older baby. These will come in useful when the novelty of other people buying baby items has worn off but bear in mind the season you will be buying for.
It's also a good idea to think of the mother to be when buying things for a baby shower too. She will most definitely appreciate some personal gifts that will make her feel more human again. A pedicure kit for when she can reach her toes again would be a welcome gift. A magazine subscription for those moments when she's sitting feeding baby or even practical items like parenting books or videos would be useful for later on.
One thing that is guaranteed to signify a successful baby shower present is not the baby wear, not the teddies and not the powder puff. If my experience is anything to go by, what is needed is a voucher for a hair salon for the mum to be. Whilst pregnant she will have more hair than Lady Godiva and after it'll be as sparse as tumbleweed in a desert. A trip to the hair salon will have mum feeling human once again.
Expert buyer Catherine Harvey looks at the alternatives to baby wear as baby shower presents.