Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
By Karen Plumley
Perhaps a close friend, a sister or a cousin is having a baby and the shower is just around the corner. You want to give a great gift — one that will be remembered, one that will be useful and appreciated. That being said, there are always certain shower offerings that stand out head-and-shoulders above the rest.
In a poll on Facebook I asked several local moms to share their most memorable baby shower gifts; the response was overwhelming. Here’s a list of some of the more popular and unique gifts for a new mom and her baby.
Best store-bought items
Everyone knows an expectant mother will need to build up her supply of baby clothes, blankets and toys to be fully prepared for the new addition to her family. There will be plenty of cute dresses, onesies, rattles and jumpers, but just what items are most appreciated and used by a new mother?
According to Pelham mom Suzanne Deane, the best items are those you may not initially think about. She found that a “Boppy pillow and Baby Bjorn front carrier were indispensable items…” for her.
The Boppy pillow helps a nursing mother support the baby during feeding times, it fits around any waist size and is especially appreciated by moms who are expecting to undergo a Cesarean section.
Other mothers concurred that the Baby Bjorn front carrier was one of the most useful, store-bought items. It allows a fussy or colicky baby the opportunity to be snuggled near mom (face-out), while enjoying a little bit of bounce. It also gives mom the opportunity to carry her newborn baby hands-free while doing chores or walking off the extra baby weight.
When I was a member of a local mother’s club, the group of us would give every one of our new moms a week’s worth of homemade meals. We would deliver these meals, delicious and piping hot, right to their doors. The meals were mostly homemade, sometimes restaurant-bought, but all of them were appreciated by the families who were now one member larger.
Many experienced mothers, such as Pelham resident Lisa Langenfeld and Manchester mom Jen McBride cherished any homemade quilts and blankets they received at their showers.
If you are gifted in sewing or yarn work, homemade baby blankets are a one-of-a-kind present moms will hold on to after their babies have outgrown them. Even if you have never put together so much as a potholder or a napkin, baby blankets are not hard to make. Pick up a pattern at a local arts and crafts store and get started — you will probably finish up a simple, knitted baby blanket in just a few hours and discover a whole new hobby.
Practical, time and money-saving ideas
Those first weeks after the baby is born can be a shock to anyone. Mom and Dad are usually struggling to string two or three hours of sleep together while adjusting to the baby’s chaotic sleeping and eating schedule. Sometimes there is just no time to get out to shop for the necessities. This is when new parents appreciate a good supply of items such as diapers, toiletries and meals.
One of the best gifts I received at my first shower was a baby bathtub full of supplies such as diapers, baby powder, shampoo, wipes, cotton swabs, and an indispensable first aid kit with nail cutters and fever thermometer.
Diane Chubb of Pelham, mother of twins, knew right away that doubling her family size meant finding ways to cut costs would be of the utmost importance. This is why she truly appreciated a very special, frugally motivated gift from a friend. She said receiving “membership to the local discount club, so I could get diapers at a good price,” was one of her most thoughtful baby shower gifts.
Gifts especially for mom
Some of the best gifts come from friends who realize that moms sometimes get lost in the shuffle during a baby shower. Suddenly it seems it is no longer about mom anymore. As the expectant mother opens up gift after thoughtful gift, whether it is baby clothes, strollers, car seats or blankets, all the items have one thing in common — they are for the baby.
This is why Hampstead mom of two Sue Finnocchiaro treasured a gift she got that was not. A gift certificate for a mommy massage was a delight, and the one present she received that afternoon that truly stood out for her.
Windham mom Wendy Harris Jonson agrees that the spa gift certificate is a great idea, and one she often gives to other moms, especially when they have already been down this road before. In particular, Jonson describes that her neighbor is now about to have her fourth child.
“A bunch of us chipped in to get her a gift certificate to a local spa,” she said. Knowing that this veteran parent already has an ample supply of onesies, binkies and blankets from previous baby showers (and also knowing she probably doesn’t have much time for herself these days), the rare gift of mommy pampering will surely be enjoyed and treasured.
Karen Plumley is a freelance writer and mother of two from Pelham. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated by Parenting NH Administrator Jul 20, 2012.