Great presents are not always a function of big budgets (although we have to admit, they do help!); a well thought-of present can go a long way in making a mother-to-be feel loved, cherished and like a million bucks. No matter what your budget, here's how you can pamper your pregnant buddy.
An online gift voucher for her stuff, not the baby's!
A happy mommy makes for a happy baby. So, while you may not be able to gift her undisturbed sleep at night (the one thing she needs), you could try a close second-shopping vouchers for herself. This gift runs the risk of sounding a bit impersonal, but it's something that will lift your friend's spirits instantly. At night, after the baby sleeps, when she'll need some down time and logs on to the web, she will probably see a pair of shoes she knows she won't wear for a while, but she'll want them anyway.
And no, it does not mean that shopping is the only thing that makes a woman happy, but when a mother is tired, sleep-deprived and dealing with some very complex hormones, a bit of indulgence is a welcome change from her daily chores.
Stylish baby bag
Gone are the days when mothers carried any odd bag hurriedly stuffed with baby essentials. Apart from the great ranges of stylish baby bags that most stores have, you could get her a nice big leather bag (those delightfully roomy sort we carried in college, except then it was full of papers, now it'll be diapers) Or, if your friend is the sort and you want to spoil her a bit, buy her a designer one-lots of options nowadays with baby designer bags as well.
Set of handmade albums (buy at least six, if you can, they look nice in sets)
There are now a host of online companies selling some lovely items made from handmade paper. The reason you'd want to give a set instead one or two is because most parents love taking photos of their kids and a couple of albums will fill up in no time. So, order a set. Also, it's a good idea to tell the mother the name of the site/store you bought them from, for she'll definitely want to order more. They look great on a bookshelf, stacked together.
When it comes to baby products, a crib mobile is not an essential, which is exactly the reason for you to consider it as a gift. Since crib mobiles are expensive, parents tend to skip as it as a can-do-without accessory. However, it goes a long way in keeping the infant cheerfully occupied while the mother gets a breather. Also, shapes and colours are said to stimulate a baby's brain from very early on. So while the parents stack up on the must-haves, you could give this as an accessory that is bound to be received well.
Specialist, post-pregnancy massage sessions
While doctors don't freely endorse post-pregnancy massages (especially if you've had a Caesarian) this is one area where the granny-wisdom seems to rule over the doctor's. If your friend is going to go in for massages, arranging it for her is sure to endear you to her for a long time. The challenge with this gift is finding the right person since, if done right, there's nothing better than a massage for a mother who feels exhausted all the time.
Massages release endorphins and oxytocins. Endorphins are chemicals released by the brain that help in pain alleviation; while oxytocins have anti-inflammatory qualities and help in breast-milk production in lactating mothers. It's important, though, to check with the doctor first before starting the massage.
I'm sure there are hundreds of other ways you can think of to make a mommy-to-be feel special on her baby shower. Do share your ideas in the comments below. To read about more the more functional gifts that you can buy for a baby shower, click here.