Buying a present for a friend's baby shower when you've never had a baby is crazy hard.
You don't know where to shop, what they need, what they have, what they like, what sex baby they're having, which nursery style they're choosing, what research they've done, what's safe for baby and whether your gift will be useful or clutter.
And, it's so bloody public! The enthusiastic receiving of the wrapped gift, the open display of affection, the reveal (watched eagerly by a crowd of grown women sucking lolly dummies with baby food down their pressed t-shirts from the "Baby food guessing game").
In fact, the attention on your gift can itself be a baby shower "party game" via a vehicle called Baby Shower Bingo .This marvellous idea dreamt up by some sadistic Queen Bee makes the guests concentrate fully on the present opening! Each friend, relative and embarrassed work colleague is given a bingo card with the names of everything on the registry list. As mum-to-be opens each gift, it's marked off the bingo card!
No more can your supervisor slip a $3 Big W bib nicely wrapped in supermarket tissue paper and a $2 Congrats! card under the watermelon basket filled with a baby made out of a rockmelon.
Uh, uh. Each item will be assessed quickly, and discussed at length in a secret language spoken only by other mothers - a form of "motherease" that was not anticipated by Charles Darwin in his studies of the origins of language.
"Oh, I had that, it's just that I had the donkey version."
"What tog is it? Hmmm, I'd take that bag and get the lower tog."
"Can the legs go in the M-position?"
Nightmare! First step is to ask IF they have a baby shower registry list. This will at least make it easy to at least see what types of items they are attracted to, and save utter embarrassment.
However, if this is their first baby, they might be stabbing in the dark themselves. International brands with high advertising budgets may feature prominently, lured by the bewildered parent dollar that is one of the most pliable spending assets in the world today.
Perhaps you need to take the advice, and suggest your friend does, of a mother of four. Why, thankyou.
She would suggest that the list contain mostly practical items, a few social-climbing brands and zero clothing.
So my list, for what it's worth (thousands of dollars in savings, actually) goes like this - with different spending amounts, and how each will improve status within the group:
The conversation starter:
This is a real conversation starter and will keep other mothers amused for hours. Disposable vs washable. Introducing a new mother to reusable nappies is actually a gift worth up to $8000 in savings AND stops at least a few disposable nappies going into landfill where they will sit for 200-500 years. If it's too "holier than thou" and political, then add a box of Thankyou disposable nappies too for $33.
The smug What's Best for Baby and The Planet present:
$89 rrp A newborn baby carrier. I'm suggesting her the Hug-a-Bub watercolour grey because it's the best known brand of newborn wrap carrier, the soft Organic Cotton wrap style fits everyone, it's also Fair Trade, which you can announce loudly to the crowd as the present is opened (mentioning that the theme for 2018 is Gender Equity), and Every Hug-a-Bub Plants a Tree (cha-ching, sound of cymbal being hit). Best of all, it's presented in a lovely box and will be incredibly useful (especially in the first week when they realise their baby doesn't want to be put down - ever). Being $89, it's a good price baby shower gift as a joint present with a friend (and that also shares out that unwanted attention).
The physically big present with great packaging:
$69.95 Milkbar Nursing Pillow
Model Kristy Hinze and many other celebrities and parents-in-the-know have this brand of nursing pillow. It's portable and has a washable zip off cover. But, best of all, it's been updated in 2018 and now comes in a big heavily branded box with loads of one-upmanship appeal.
The surprise and delight workmates chipping in present:
The We've been eating vegetarian chilli this week and I need a cheap present that will pass muster gift:
$15 K-Mart Easy Drain bath and fill it with homemade bikkies or frozen meals.
$19.95 Baby mirror - a brilliant idea that lets you see your baby when the car seat is facing away from the driver. Parents LOVE seeing and checking on their precious babies, and mum and dad will use this again and again. Wrap it in tin-foil and silver ribbon.
$19.99 or a little more. Boon grass countertop draining board for bottles. Whether breast or bottlefeeding, or using to drain wine glasses, this is the most fun and brilliant gift and is very cute and will delight. It's like lego for adults and comes with fun accessories for baby bottles.
Finally, I want her to think I'm her best friend present.
$99 Cozigo pram cover - this is the Rolls Royce of pram covers and a very practical product for the hostess who travels the mostess. It won Gold at the Mother and Baby Awards last year too (smug moment to pop into chats over the "smear the nutella over the nappy" competition table).
$79.95 L'il Fraser Collection cot sheet sets. These are highly stylish and come in beautiful packaging. They scream good taste, and are ideal for instagram show off shots captioned "Jonty's nursery is coming along...not sure if beech goes with Hal's new paintwork LOL"
$229.95 Manduca Limited Edition BellyButton Wild Crosses baby carrier. This is the highest rated baby carrier on Product Review of any baby carrier on the market, and a great choice if you can spare the money. 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and made in Europe, this is the BMW of baby carriers and a huge fan base in Europe (and Australia) to go with it. It can't be sold into the U.S. for patent reasons, so it's lesser known to Hollywood celebrities. It will be super comfortable for them, and is adjustable to fit most people. It's also fine for newborn to 20kg (toddler). If they want to face their baby "out" later, they can wear it on the hip so baby can still turn to their parent and see their smiles.
Good luck with the baby shower, and don't forget to try the "How the baby was made re-enaction game" with your manager! It uses a bath plunger between the legs, just for your information, and Cooking with Jilly's blogpost describing the rules says it's so funny "You will wet your pants."
Good God women......