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Baby Shower Presents

There’s nothing like a new baby to bring people together; an endless train of visitors and well-wishers, friends and family, gift-givers and rubber-neckers. You go to see some, some come to you, and a few blessed souls can be convinced to come to a combined event. They come bearing endless gifts, wanting photos and cuddles and, tiringly, your time. So, I put together this list, advice for new parents facing an onslaught, and some requests to the invaders.

  1. New Parents: You know how many new parents have said to themselves: “If only we’d had more people invading our home, or made more visits to other people, in those first few weeks and months”? None. Zero. Nada. You’re adapting to a whole new world with a whole new person, whose needs are indistinguishable from their wants. It’s okay to say no.
  2. New Parents: Some visits are inevitable, especially when it comes to family. But perhaps try and combine as many of them as possible into one event to minimise stress and loss of time for crucial naps.
  3. Visitors: If you’re invited to a combined event, refusing to go because you want ‘one-on-one’ time is pretty selfish. Don’t do that unless you really can’t make it.
  4. Visitors: So, you’re in the new parents’ home, how lovely! Do you know where the kettle is? Great! Make your own tea or coffee, rather than making very tired people wait on you hand and foot! Consider bringing food, or ordering a takeaway.
  5. Visitors: Baby gifts are so lovely! However, consider asking the parents what kind of thing they need, in what size and perhaps colour options. We,for example, have a crate full of clothes that are way too big for our daughter, in luminous pink, that we wanted to avoid. We have three duplicate swing chairs, two duplicate playmats, seven mobiles, and just countless bits of plastic tat that we somehow have to store in our small flat. Please check first.
  6. Visitors: Still on the topic of gifts, consider getting mum a gift! Something to pamper herself, toiletries, vouchers for a spa, manicure or massage. Offer to take her shopping as many of her clothes won’t fit. Bring her favourite boozy treat, or some favourite food that’s been prohibited for nine months. Offer to watch the baby for a couple of hours so someone can grab a much-need nap.
  7. Visitors: Perhaps an adjunct to the topics of gifts, have you considered also bringing practical products? You can never have enough nappies, wipes, Infacol, baby bath, baby lotion, or did I mention nappies? But do check baby’s size first.
  8. Visitors: Thanks for coming! Now, please go! Seriously, chances are the new parents are being polite, but would actually like a nap now, or even some time with each other. It’s been lovely, thank you so much, but please don’t outstay your welcome.
  9. Visitors: If you’re ill, with anything infectious, please stay away. We know you’re so happy for the couple, and desperate for a cuddle. But it can wait, it really can.
  10. New Parents: It can be a bit overwhelming, the avalanche of gifts and cards and well-wishes and envelopes of cash, even to the point of being a bit embarrassing. Relax. Let it happen. Let it all flow over you. Let people be kind to you and your baby and your new family as a whole. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, let kind people be kind and say thanks. They say it takes a village to raise a child. These people are your village.

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In August our daughter emerged into the world, and if I felt bewildered by conflicting advice and emotion before, it’s doubly so now. I’m a first-time-father, living in London, trying to navigate the world of conflicting advice in admidst too little sleep, and patchwork support for dads. Hopefully, our daughter will be better prepared for this world than we are! My blog is a collection of lessons learnt, mistakes made, and the miscellany of strangeness that is fatherhood!

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