What Do You Take to a Baby Shower?

Once uncommon in the UK, baby showers are gaining popularity fast. If you’ve been invited to your first shower and you want to find a present that will stand out from the pastel-hued competition, read our handy overview for some fantastic gift ideas.

A New Feature of the Calendar

Not too long ago, everyone in Britain knew the exact protocol for a baby shower: watch it on TV. Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, that time you accidentally watched Father of the Bride Part II… Baby showers were just another peculiarity of American culture, and many of us liked it that way. There’s no chance of making a faux pas when you’re observing from behind a screen.

What do you take to a baby shower. A child's cot with a knitted garment.

But those North American traditions have a pesky habit of finding their way across the Atlantic and settling down in the UK. It happened with Halloween and Black Friday, it’s happening with prom night – and there’s every chance that your next experience of a baby shower will be as a participant. If you’re a first-timer you’ll want some tips to make sure you get it right.

And the main thing you need to know is...

Yes, It’s About the Gifts

The trend with some celebrations is to kick back against commercialisation and enforce a strict no-presents policy. This one, not so much. The clue’s in the name: at a baby shower the mother gets showered – with advice and support, sure, but with more substantial offerings too. Unless the mum-to-be is adamant that this shower’s going to be the exception, you can assume that presents will be central to proceedings.

What do you take to a baby shower. Lettered tiles displaying a slogan.

So what do you take to a baby shower if you don’t want your gift to get lost in the pile of new blankets and onesies?

Don’t Fake It, Make It

All it takes to make a gift special is to show a bit of thought and a bit of feeling. And nothing demonstrates both quite like a gift that’s hand-made. If you’re good with your hands, take the DIY approach and you could get the mum-to-be welling up with gratitude (those raging hormones will help you out here). You’ll save money too.

What do you take to a baby shower. A knitted jumper on a chair.

Do you know one end of a knitting needle from the other? Warm, springy and oh so snuggle-worthy, when you need something swaddled there’s nothing quite like wool. Taking the time to knit the new baby a little garment or accessory should earn you a rich bounty of oohs and ahhs from your shower-mates.

If the expectant parents have arty, craft-y tastes, a patchwork baby quilt could be perfect. Time to find a use for those fabric odds and ends you’ve collected over the years! Eclectic is part of the charm, so you shouldn’t have to worry about clashing styles or colours unless the contrasts are really stark.

What do you take to a baby shower. Spools of thread stacked up.

For a special heart-warming touch, why not contact all the guests in advance and ask them to contribute their own piece of fabric? They can talk about their choice on the day. Creative collaborations like this make a shower more meaningful than your standard mimosa-fest. The new mum will feel surrounded by a caring sisterhood who’ll be by her side for the adventure to come.

Swim Against the Tide (of Pink and Blue)

In amongst the baby clothes, toys and jumbo packs of disposable nappies, there’s room for a little reminder that the expectant mum’s new life doesn’t need to be completely taken over by parenting duties.

A new pair of chic-but-comfortable shoes or a selection of lipsticks will show a welcome bit of lateral thinking at this most baby-centric of events – a nod to the fact that being a mummy needn’t mean waving goodbye to yummy.

What do you take to a baby shower. Exercising woman giving victory sign.

What was most important to the mum-to-be outside of family life? Think about presents that encourage her to keep up with her wider interests and hobbies after the birth – a nursing sports bra, for example, if she’s the active type. Sometimes a favourite activity that seems out of bounds for a new parent can be made accessible with just a bit of imagination – even if that just means giving her a book of alcohol-free cocktail recipes!

Capture the Fleeting Moments of Magic…

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest milestones. The mum-to-be is about to start a new chapter and in some ways is leaving who she used to be behind. It’s fulfilling, exciting, spiritual and a tad scary. So think about a present that acknowledges the giant step she’s taking.

One classic is a first-year memory book. The proud new parents will experience a lifetime’s worth of cute, funny, magical moments in those crucial 12 months. From the birth itself to all the enchanting firsts that lie in wait, a memory book lets them collect the most adorable photos of the little one’s development.

What do you take to a baby shower. Printed photo of family next to window.

And some photos are so exquisite that you just can’t bear to tuck them away between the pages of a book. Luckily, big strides forward in customised photo printing mean that you can turn the real heart-stoppers into canvas prints at accessible prices. Slip a gift voucher into your card, and tell the parents to save some space on their wall – they’ll be able to hang up that perfect baby portrait and give it the megawattage it truly deserves.

…or a Glimpse of the Heavens

Another breath-taking idea is a star map. The most life-changing moment of all, the birth itself, will take place under a unique alignment of stars – and a star map lets you capture that exact alignment as an exquisite piece of wall art. Once you know the date, place and time of the birth you can enter those details into the online configurator. The starry firmament will be calculated before your eyes using real astronomical data.

What do you take to a baby shower. Print showing constellations next to a sofa.

If the baby shower is before the birth, as most are, a card with a mock-up of the star map will be a beautiful place-holder until you know the when-and-where of the birth for sure. These maps really are gorgeous, and quite moving – choose the right colour and you’ve got a perfect centrepiece for the nursery.

And Finally…

However well-off a couple are, however generous their friends and family, there’s one thing they’re simply not going to have enough of once their new baby arrives: sleep.

What do you take to a baby shower. Sleepy woman on a chair.​​

This basic human need will soon become a full-blown obsession for the mum-to-be. So think of presents that can help in this department: a sleep mask, light-excluding blinds, or just a selection of calming herbal teas.

If your gift can help her grab just a couple more minutes here and there, it could be a dark-horse contender for her present of the year!

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