Tempting as it is to give onesies on a baby shower (and they are very useful too) chances are that the expectant mother is already inundated with them. So, that's one gift you could skip. The other thing you should resist buying is a baby record book. It's one of those things that are great in theory and make for cute looking gifts, but practically speaking, it's not that great an idea. After the baby is born, the mother will be lucky to get three hours of sleep at night, so the record book will probably sit on the shelf with nappies stacked on top of it.
Now that you know what not to give, here then, is a list of the gifts you can give.
Bathing chair or tub
The prospect of bathing a newborn is scary, even for those with older children.
With a bathing chair your friend won't need to worry about holding the child with one hand and bathing him with the other, she will be able to put the baby in a semi-recline position on the bather and sponge. While a range of such products are available, the best ones are those that have a cushion or a soft fabric that's easily washable and also comfortable for the baby to lie on. It's a gift that will make life easier for both mother and baby.
Baby bouncer or rockers
At about four months or so, a baby starts to sit up a little with support. This is the time when a bouncer chair will come in extremely handy, especially after meals when your friend will not be able to lay the baby down. It makes a great, if pricey, gift for a mother since she will be able to put the baby in the bouncer instead of carrying him around. If it's beyond your budget, you could pool in with another friend and give it together.
These, again, are a bit expensive, but very helpful. From personal experience I can tell you that if a child is strapped in and not jumping about the car, it can make all the difference in the quality of your journey. Travelling with a child on the lap can test a parent's patience, apart from giving them a backache. That apart, it is much safer to belt up a child in the car. Indian parents are much more safety conscious now, which is why one sees more car seats around. Gift your friend one that can be carried off the car and used as a rocker when the journey is over.
Post-pregnancy tummy belts
Apart from the massages, the other thing that is recommended (again, after checking with the doctor) is a tummy belt. Tying the tummy, it is widely believed, helps in flattening it-an outcome that is sure to bring joy to the mother after the birth of her baby.
Books, for both mom and baby
First-time mothers are prone to anxiety, which is understandable. Keeping this in mind, it's probably a good idea to help her know some facts about a baby's first year. What To Expect In The First Year is a great book written by Heidi Murkoff, one of the authors of the hugely successful What To Expect When You're Expecting. You can find many answers to basic questions about the baby in the first year explained in simple terms.
Apart from the mother, you can also get books for newborn babies. It's never too early start reading to a child; studies have shown that the sound of the mother's voice is soothing for the child and is a great way for mother and child to spend some quality time together.
Do you have ideas for useful gifts to add to the list? Do share them with the others by commenting below. To read about baby shower present ideas for when you want to pamper the mother, click here.