Yep, it's that time in your life. The past couple summers your calendar has been booked solid with weddings. Now a year or two later, the baby announcements are rolling through Facebook. You are faced with a whole new social affair: The Baby Shower, and you're not quite sure how to prepare for it.
Are you wondering, "What the heck do I buy for the baby shower?" Being the good friend that you are, you want to get the Mom-to-Be something that will be useful, not a waste of money and something she'll truly appreciate. But lacking the first hand mom experience, you have no idea what to get!
Instead of buying more baby clothes, even though they are so cute, (and chances are the newborn will wear the outfit once -- maybe), why not invest in the gift of help? Giving a gift certificate for services the new parents can cash in on once their baby is home can relieve so much stress. This is especially true for new parents who don't live close by to relatives or support. Here is a list of five truly helpful baby shower gifts you can give your expectant friend:
1) Food. New parents always need prepared meals. You could give your friend a gift certificate to a meal delivery service, or outline a simple menu of dishes you'll bring over after the baby is born. Be sure to check in and see if they have any allergies or food preferences first.
2) A clean house. Collaborate with other friends to gift the new parents the services of a professional house cleaner (they'll love you for it). When parents are adjusting to life with a new baby, even simple household tasks can add up and seem daunting.
3) Sleep. The services of a postpartum doula are really thoughtful. The new parents will appreciate being able to take a nap, or a shower, knowing their baby is being cared for. Not only that, but the postpartum doula can assist by teaching newborn care skills, baby soothing techniques, and can even help with light housework. Some postpartum doulas even do overnights, so the parents are able to rest.
4) Grocery delivery service. If this is available in your area, it can be the difference between a full or empty fridge for your new parent friends. Purchase a $50 gift certificate -- this will help them get started with a grocery delivery service to make their lives so much easier.
5) Baby and children books. If you prefer to buy a physical gift, rather than a service, babies can always benefit from a robust library. Whether you choose a soft activity book, a thick cardboard book, or a classic children's book, your parent friends will be thrilled to expand their library.
Seriously, a clean house, some sleep and already prepared food, you can't go wrong there. Your friend will be touched by your thoughtfulness and your gift will have an impact beyond the baby shower.
Having a close friend welcome a baby will be a huge adjustment to your friendship. Understanding there's no "normal" anymore and knowing that your friend won't be able to join in on previous activities like going out to dinner or drinks for a good long while will help you navigate the newness in your friend's life. Even though your friendship will most likely change, what makes you friends doesn't have to. By gifting her the gift of service, she'll know she can always count on you to be there.