This blog post is sponsored by Philips Avent. The opinions expressed are my own.
There are so many things I did NOT know when I had my first child. And that’s okay: you don’t have to know absolutely everything about babies before you have one. It’s important to know that you can trust your own instincts.
But what I wish I’d known most before having my first child was how many experts are out there and available for both pregnant and new moms to help them with some of the trickier parts of new parenthood.
I got a lot of gifts at my baby shower that we never ever even used. As my first child grew, I learned so many things that shocked me about parenting and parenting gear—things I wish I’d known since day one. And that’s one of the reasons why I am so passionate about my blog: making sure the information I didn’t even know to ask for is accessible and visible for new and seasoned parents.
Here are five baby shower ideas that give the parents-to-be in your life the chance to unwrap a present and the gift of knowledge, thanks to a gift certificate to meet—either virtually or in person—with an expert near them:
1- Lactation consultant + Philips Avent All-in-one Gift Set
After seven years up to my neck in parenting, I’ve met a lot of new mothers and learned exactly how lucky I was to not have experienced any breastfeeding difficulties when my son was born. I had never even heard of a tongue or lip tie when I had my first, nor would I have known what to do or who to speak to if something wasn’t going right with breastfeeding. I winged it, and I’m just lucky it worked out.
Parents-to-be can meet a lactation consultant (LC) prenatally to help set them on the path to breastfeeding success even before baby comes. That way, the contact with an LC is already established and parents know exactly where to turn if there are troubles. If parents intend to combination feed with breastmilk and expressed milk in bottles, an LC can help guide them on how to best facilitate the introduction of a bottle.
The Avent All-in-one Gift Set is the perfect complement to a gift certificate for an LC visit! The set includes Avent’s Natural Bottles, which feature a very soft, wide, breast-shaped nipple that makes it easier for baby to combine breast and bottle feeding. The set also includes a microwave sterilizer to easily sterilize bottles, pacifiers and pump parts. (You might want to offer the Avent Comfort Double Electric Pump too, depending on budget.) The bottle warmer makes it easier to prepare a bottle of expressed milk or formula quickly and without any hot spots. The bottle brush is a must for cleaning, and Avent’s orthodontic pacifiers with a symmetrical, flat and collapsible nipple were a favourite of my twins.
2- Babywearing educator + stretchy wrap
I look back and shudder at some of my early attempts at babywearing. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I didn’t know that doing it wrong could also put my baby in danger, especially as a newborn! I used a sling that didn’t fit me or him properly and didn’t protect his airways. I used a carrier that left his legs dangling rather than support his body ergonomically in an “M” position. Because I wasn’t adjusting the straps of my buckle carrier appropriately, I often found babywearing uncomfortable. If I’d had a session with a babywearing educator, I’d have learned how to safely wear a newborn, and also I’d have understood how to better select the right baby carrier for us.
A stretchy wrap is an affordable, one-size-fits-most carrying option that’s perfect for newborns up until about 15–20 lb depending on the material. Not only is it perfect for skin-to-skin at home in those first few weeks, but by pre-tying the wrap before leaving the house, it makes for an easy pop-in and pop-out carrying solution when running errands without lugging the infant seat or stroller.
3- Car seat technician + infant seat cover
As you may know, I’m as passionate about breastfeeding and babywearing as I am about car seat safety. In fact, it’s probably the topic I am most passionate about because it is absolutely universal. Not all parents plan to breastfeed, not all parents want to babywear … but pretty much every parent needs to use a child safety seat.
I cannot even begin to describe how dangerously, painfully wrong we installed and used my son’s first car seat. It’s one of my deepest regrets that we drove home from the hospital with our most fragile, most precious little baby so unsafely positioned and secured in the back seat. I am grateful that we didn’t get into an accident on the way home and grateful that because we didn’t own a car at the time, he made so few trips in a vehicle while we used that first seat.
A prenatal meeting with a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) is a gift that will keep on giving. I recommend that parents at least chat with one even before purchasing their baby’s first car seat or listing one on their baby shower registry.
Along with a gift certificate or the contact information of a CPST in your area (some CPSTs operate as a business and others as volunteers), give the mama-to-be a seasonally appropriate cover for her bucket seat! Remember that bunting-bag-style covers with slots for the seat harness are not safe and are prohibited by car seat manufacturers. Instead, offer a shower-cap style cover that goes over the seat but not under the baby, or a bunting bag style that’s open at the back and doesn’t interfere with the harness. Not sure what to choose? Ask a car seat tech first!
4- Pelvic floor physiotherapist + perineal care pack
I didn’t even know that pelvic floor physiotherapy was a thing until after my second child was born. But in France, pelvic floor physio is a normal part of postpartum care. I always thought that after childbirth, it was normal for moms to pee a bit when they laughed, or sneezed, or jumped (I sought out pelvic floor physio after wetting myself at a trampoline park). Do a mama-to-be a favour, and let her know that seeing a pelvic floor physio is a vital part of postpartum self-care.
To care for the perineum postpartum, you could pair your pelvic floor physio gift certificate with a soothing postpartum soak, a refreshing peri-spray or some cloth or disposable pads with instructions on how to make padsicles!
5- Sleep consultant + baby monitor
I have learned so much from a friend of mine who recently became a certified sleep consultant. I learned so many things I wish I’d known with my first two kids, but that I needed to know with twins. Sleep (and lack thereof) is a huge concern for new parents, and understanding what newborn sleep is supposed to look like and how to foster healthy sleep habits from day one is invaluable. Sleep consultants can work with families in person or virtually.
A baby monitor is key to keeping parents’ minds at ease when putting baby down to sleep. Some parents will prefer audio only, and others will really appreciate one with video capabilities like the Philips Avent Digital Video Monitor I reviewed with both my daughter and the twins.
Gifts that last forever
Will parents-to-be really appreciate meeting an expert? Take it from a mama of four: the novelty onesie is good for a laugh, but these five gifts of knowledge are forever.
What gift of knowledge do you wish you’d received?