Baby showers. You play a few games, have a bit of cake, and end up with a cupboard full of onesies, blankies and bibs. The next minute? You've got a newborn, no food, no sleep, and no time.
Here are 7 practical baby shower gifts that will help mum and dad power through until the newborn fog lifts. Guaranteed no re-gifting.
1. Pre-cooked meals
It's near impossible to cook with a baby glued to you 16 hours each day, and too easy to end up living off crackers and whatever you can eat one-handed. It's also really important to eat healthily in those early days, especially for breastfeeding mums establishing their supply.
Frozen meals last for months, but only take minutes to heat. There is no shortage of meal delivery services, like Dinner Ladies or Hello Fresh, or you can even whip up a batch of meals yourself. Mum and dad will both thank you for this one.
2. A cleaner
When I had 'two under 2', my auntie organised a cleaner for three weeks. It was the best give I've ever received. Ever. Sure, a clean house will get messy again, but it's such a load off to have a fresh bathroom and clean sheets to crash in. Domestic services Australia-wide and offer everything from mopping the floor to ironing clothes!
3. Spa voucher
Help mum feel human again with a couple of hours of pampering. Some new mums can feel uncomfortable at the idea of a massage soon after having a baby, so leave it open for her to choose whether she goes for a massage, hair, nails or a facial. If she's not comfortable leaving the house just yet, there are plenty of mobile spas that can come to her.
4. IOU vouchers
Create a DIY book of coupons. Things like helping with the laundry, vacuuming the house, babysitting or even taking the baby out for a walk in the pram so mum can catch some shuteye. Sometimes you just need someone else to hold the baby so you can shower. Those small graces can mean so much.
5. Restaurant voucher
One the biggest struggles after having a baby is staying connected with your partner. It's not unusual for small things to turn into big things when sleep deprivation kicks in, and many couples find themselves in auto-pilot just getting through the days. A restaurant voucher buys mum and dad a couple of hours to recharge and reconnect. Couple it with an offer to babysit, and you've got the perfect gift.
6. A list of things to do in the first year
I did this for a colleague before she had her first baby, and she still talks about it two years on! I pulled together a list of things to do and places to go in her first year with a baby. It included things like local baby-friendly cafes, mums-and-bubs exercise classes, baby bounce sessions, toy libraries and even a list of local drive-thru coffee shops so she could still get her coffee while driving with a sleeping baby.
7. Subscription TV
You spend a lot of time feeding in those early days. Keep mum entertained during those feeding frenzies with a subscription to Netflix or Stan, so she can binge on TV series' and have a little 'me time'.