baby

LEIGH CAMPBELL: Now I have a child myself, here’s the gifts I’d give at a baby shower.

Before I became a mum I gave the most ridiculous gifts at baby showers. I mean, I thought they were genius and useful at the time, but now that I have my own little one I know that newborns don’t wear denim, or shoes, and that tiny adorable outfits with lots of buttons that do up at the back are literally never going to be worn.

They say experience brings wisdom, so now I have first-hand experience in what’s useful and what’s just pretty to look at, here’s a shortlist of what I’ll be giving at all future baby showers.

A sturdy playmat.

I started off with one small, pretty play mat, because my newborn was a blob and couldn't crawl or roll anywhere. Though as he got bigger and more mobile, I upgraded to bigger mats that were are waterproof so he could move around, enjoy nappy free time and that washed well and easily.

I now have a collection of four or five on rotation that I also use under the highchair to catch thrown/fallen food, in the boot of the car for impromptu park dates, to take to playdates for easy pack up - the list of uses is endless. My favourite brands are Rudie Nudie and Jnr.Life

A nappy bin.

Not the most glamourous of gifts, but certainly very useful. I was given one of these at my own baby shower and before that I had no idea they existed. 

More than just a bin, they contain a special cartridge that seals each nappy in its own plastic bag, locking in the delightful smell with it. It's probably not the best for the environment, but sometimes you have to pick your battles when it comes to having a newborn. Tommee Tippee, Ubbi and Angelcare all make great ones.

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A Bonds gift voucher.

I know a gift voucher feels like you've put in less effort than buying actual clothing, but trust me, it will be so well received. Before my baby was born I bought (and was gifted) so many cute outfits in size 0000, yet a few weeks into being a mother I jumped onto the Bonds website and ordered a truckload of onesies with a zip. 

Newborns are swaddled a lot for the first few months anyway, and an all-in-one for easy nappy changes at 2am becomes a literal lifesaver. Even press-studs are too much hard work in the early days. A voucher means the new parents can pick designs they like in the right size for their bub. 

A group gifted ‘big ticket’ item.

Coordinating a group to chuck in some cash for one of the bigger essentials is a great idea. My girlfriends did that for me and very generously gave us the Babyzen YoYo pram. 

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It saved us a lot of money, and money stresses are on the mind of a lot of soon-to-be-parents, so it's great to be able to alleviate a bit of that. If you go that route perhaps check first what's on the parent’s list, or grab a gift voucher for one of the big baby stores so they can splurge on a cot, pram or bouncer themselves.

Something to hold all the toys.

I swore I’d have minimal toys, all of them wooden and educational. Then I had a child. Turns out kids love noisy plastic contraptions! And over the first 12 months of the baby's life, they’ll accumulate toys as gifts, too. This means you need somewhere to put them.

I was given a fabulous quilted fabric storage tub from a brand called Lovingly Signed when my son was born (with his name embroidered on it) which lives in the corner of either his room or the living room. At the end of each day, all the toys are chucked back in there for a quick and easy tidy up. 

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An Uber Eats voucher.

Clever mum friends told me to request this if people ever insisted on a gift, and I am so glad I did. Because people are amazing, the new parents will probably have lots of home-cooked meals dropped over, which is incredible, but if (like me) they have a teeny tiny freezer it might be hard to fit everything in. 

An Uber Eats (or any meal delivery service) voucher is genius because it means the tired parents can order food whenever they like, no defrosting or cleanup required. I never understood it until I was in the newborn bubble myself but sometimes it gets to 3pm and you realise you haven't eaten yet. Times like that are when a gift like this is so appreciated.

Other honourable mentions go to:

The famous teething toy, Sophie. I was given six at my baby shower and thought I'd have to re-gift them, but it turns out they get manky or lost quite frequently. 

Books are always a fantastic idea, as parents often tire of the same stories so it's just as much for mum or dad as it is for the little one. Make sure you leave a little note inside the cover to add a personal touch. 

Newborn nappies will never go to waste, no matter how organised the new parents are. Babies go through so. Many. Nappies.

What is the most handy or helpful gift you were given? Tell us in the comments! 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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