Essential Baby Shower Gift Guide

I was very blessed during my first pregnancy as I received a lot of practical gifts and ‘experienced-mom’ to ‘first-time-mom’ advice (it was needed, as I was completely clueless) and so, when my sister found out she was pregnant with her first little girl, I was determined to give her as many practical gifts and advice as possible. Shortly before her recent baby shower, however, I found myself in a baby clothing store (while out on a supposed grocery shopping trip), with a huge basket full of the cutest little baby clothes. I simply could not help myself – it was all just so adorable! And it was all so impractical!

I am a mom and I know what moms with newborns need and it definitely is not that enchanting little tutu (as cute as it seems). Becoming a mom for the first time and trying to figure out what exactly this new baby will need is overwhelming, to say the least, and it is up to moms to give gifts and advice based on their own experiences, gifts which we know this new mom will need and use. I have therefore put together a list of ideal baby shower gifts:

Must-Have Essential Baby Shower Gifts

  • Digital Fever Thermometer – not being able to read your baby’s temperature is scary!
  • Baby movement monitor
  • Toiletries – be practical here and buy unscented, organic products. Not all baby skin types are the same and some react very badly to the perfumed (‘but they smell so nice’) baby products on the market. Also stay away from baby powder unless you want the new mom to use it to ‘freshen up’ her unwashed hair
  • Medical necessities – products for a blocked nose, fever etc
  • Towels and face cloths
  • Blankets, swaddles and ideally a sleeping bag
  • Muslin cloths – these make amazing swaddles, light blankets, burp cloth etc
  • Burp cloths and bibs
  • Grooming kit – containing nail clippers, hair brush etc
  • Diapers – buy a variety of types and sizes so that the mom-to-be can try them all before deciding on a brand she prefers (she might even prefer modern cloth nappies)
  • Wet wipes
  • Practical clothing such as socks, baby grows and clothing in bigger sizes and consider the baby’s age during winter, summer, spring and autumn

Cute Baby Shower Gifts

  • Milestone Cards – these are great for capturing those special moments
  • Something handmade and from the heart – the best gifts are those knitted or crocheted blankets, jerseys, booties and cuddly toys
  • Cute babygrows – because babygrows are always practical and often come with the loveliest sayings
  • Books for mom and child

Practical Baby Shower Gifts

  • Bottle and food warmer
  • Steriliser
  • Safety products for baby proofing – for example, plug covers, safety gates etc
  • Feeding utensils such as bowls, spoons, food freezer trays, sippy cups etc
  • Baby food recipe book
  • Diaper bag
  • Bottles & pacifiers – again, be practical and buy one bottle brand at a time so that the mom-to-be can decide which bottle works best for her baby
  • Breastfeeding essentials such a nipple cream and breast pads
  • Breastfeeding pillow and shawl
  • Disposable change mats
  • Disposable bibs
  • Nappy Sacks

Nice-To-Have Baby Shower Gifts

  • Feeding chair / high chair
  • Baby rocker
  • Mobile camp cot
  • Baby bath
  • Play mat
  • Mobile
  • Toys
  • Teething toys

 

Bean’s Moustache Bash

My Bean turned one a while ago and to celebrate this milestone (he has lived an entire year!) and because I love getting together with family and friends, we decided to throw a party!

Party Venue

We decided on Smile Cafe, a child friendly restaurant in Fourways, Johannesburg, with a large outdoor play area and a baby changing station. Their service is excellent and their food is yum!

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Party Food

We ordered pizza and salad platters as well as kiddie snacks and party packs in advance. We also had buckets of wine and beer on the tables for the adults and juice and water for the kids.

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Party Decor

The party theme was Little Man’s Moustache Bash, because there is nothing cuter than a toddler in suspenders, a bow tie and a little moustache! Smile Cafe arranged all the decor (with my guidance) as well as themed party packs and cupcakes.

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Party Cake

My beautiful sister baked the delicious carrot cake.

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Party Photographer

Lately, I insist on having a professional photographer on site for special occasions. I always get so involved in the actual party that I forget to take photos and I am always disappointed afterward when we have hardly any photos to look back on. Alke-Merique Photography is well -priced, professional and, best of all, they take great photos! They also brought a backdrop as well as props for a photo booth to match our party theme.

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A special thanks to all involved! We had a wonderfully fun afternoon.

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Ingenious Gift Ideas for Infants & Toddlers

My Bean is turning 1 soon (too soon) and I have been racking my brain over the last couple of weeks as to what to get him as a gift. Being his parents, I want us to get him something special and unique and not simply another ‘run of the mill’ gift from a shop. I have therefore done some research on educational gifts which are unique and different. Being a work from home mom myself, I also want to support fellow momtrepreneurs and all the gift ideas listed below are thus made / managed by fellow South African mommies.

If you are a mom, grandmother, aunt or anyone special in a little one’s life, have a look at this list – not only will you find a unique gift idea, you will find a present which will provide a special little being joy for months to come:

Quiet Book by Chuchi Baby Swag

Momtrepreneur, Sarah, specialises in custom made baby bags, nursery room linens, cloth nappies, quilts, quiet books, sensory toddler cubes and play mats. She designs and makes all of her products herself based on the customer’s specific theme and requirements. It’s easy to see that every piece is made with a lot of love and attention to detail. Her prices are fair and her service is excellent.

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Pictures from the Chuchi Baby Swag Facebook page.

Activity Board by Nurture Nest

Nurture Nest is an online store specialising in maternity wear, baby products and educational toys. They have new and pre-loved products as well as a community section which  re-homes new and used baby goods and nursery equipment to charities and families in need. In addition, owner Kim, makes her own affordable custom activity boards: you can choose which accessories your child will like best (for example light switches, door handles, tv remotes or keys, to name a few) as well as the colour. Kim is reliable and she provides good quality products.

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Kids Book Club Subscription

I signed us up for this service a while back and simply love it. We get two age appropriate books, a backdated magazine, free downloadable activities and crafts as well as a themed carry bag every month. This subscription only costs R 160.00 a month and the service really is reliable.The positive effects of reading in children and adults have been well documented and this gift will enrich any child’s life.

Kids Book Club

Clever Activity Boxes by Skidz

Chantelle, owner of Skidz, together with other experts in early childhood development, created her range of Clever Activity Boxes when she wanted to help her own children reach their developmental milestones through play. Skidz is a home stimulation programme which has been packaged into 4 age related clever boxes. Each box contains a variety of age appropriate activities (including the toys and accessories needed for these activities) as well as a curriculum and a guide to help you create your own curriculum. This is such a fabulous gift, offering hours and hours of educational entertainment.

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Happy gifting!

 

 

Travelling with a Baby

My beautiful sister is turning 30 and to celebrate this momentous occasion, we have decided to go on a mini holiday together, (yay, our first beach holiday with Bean) and seeing as we are only going for a couple of days, we have decided to fly instead of drive. Flying of course means that we are limited in terms of luggage and so I have decided to set up a list of tips to consider when packing lightly as well as a list of essentials to pack to make travelling with a baby a little easier.

5 TIPS FOR TRAVELLING LIGHTLY:

  1. Make sure the accommodation has a camp cot and book a car seat when renting the car. This saves a lot of space.
  2. Find out whether the accommodation has a washing machine and if yes, pack lightly – you can do washing there. My son is teething at the moment and we are replacing his bib hourly so although we are on holiday, we will end up having to wash his bibs every day anyway – we might as well wash one or two of our own items as well. If there is no washing machine, find a laundromat close by, having your washing done in hotels is often very expensive.
  3. Find out which shops are located near your accommodation (google maps is amazing) and based on this, pack only what cannot be bought at your holiday destination. We will pack enough nappies for two days and we will have enough bottles, formula, food and snacks with us to last 24 hours but I plan on buying the rest when we arrive. This means that we do not have to worry about finding space to fit bulky and heavy items like a bag of nappies or a tin of formula.
  4. Find out where the nearest Hospital is. If, as in our case, it is fairly close to your accommodation, make up a small first aid kit with sample sizes of each medicine you might need instead of packing up your entire medicine cabinet. This ensures that you have something on hand if necessary and in case of an emergency you are close enough to the hospital.
  5. Buy small travel containers for your toiletries (Dischem has nice ones here) and decant what you need into these. Toiletries weigh a lot.

5 ESSENTIALS TO PACK:

1. Good quality nappy sacks.

Seeing as logistically it is very difficult to pack your entire nappy bin into your suitcase (I have thought about it, believe me), make sure you pack something portable to contain those nappy smells. For me, the Angel Care On-the-Go works the best.

2. Stick blender, storage containers and spoons.

I prefer cooking for Bean instead of buying the ready-made meal pouches / jars. So, although we are on holiday, that is exactly what I plan on doing. Instead of cooking for him separately though, I plan on cooking sensibly (so that we can all eat the same food) and just puréeing his portion. I use the Kenwood Triblade and I have packed in these Snookums storage containers. They are lightweight and practical as I can serve his food out of these as well (saves me having to pack extra bowls).

Foods like Mango, Papaya, Banana, Avocado etc do not even need to be cooked and for the times that we are out and about, Woolworths has a freshly made baby food range with realistic expiry dates called Woolies Babes Fresh which I will buy once we arrive at our destination. I have also bought some Squish fruit puree pouches.

3. Portable Feeding Chair.

Here, there are two options: a clip-on feeding chair from Chelino, or a Feeding Chair Travel Pouch, like this one from Tom & Bella.

4. Toys

Over the last couple of weeks, I have packed away some of his favourite (small and lightweight) toys so that by the time we go on holiday he is not bored with the toys he has. I also kept some toys hidden which he got for Christmas for this and I will make sure to have some packed in my hand luggage to provide entertainment while travelling. Prevent packing the entire toy box by opting for toys which can be used in more ways than one. Stacking cups for example can be built into a tower, used in the bath or when packed into each other, the baby can learn to take them out one by one and put them back. These types of toys are also often compact and lightweight.

A good idea is to plan some fun activities ahead (read here), especially for bad weather days, and to pack accordingly.

5. Microwave Steam Steriliser Bags.

I use the Dr Browns Bags, they are so convenient, re-usable (up to 20 times per bag) and value for money. They are also packed in a small, compact little cardboard box ideal for travelling. Just ensure that your accommodation has a microwave readily available.

Do not forget sun protection and a hat. The effect of the sun on our skin is no joke and seeing as babies’ skin is especially sensitive, this is very important. I have opted for a wide brimmed hat, some spray-on sun protection and a UV protected swim suit.

The most important thing to remember when going in holiday is to relax and enjoy! And don’t stress if you have forgotten to pack something – there is bound to be a shop wherever you go.

Photo Credit: http://www.canva.com