I found a poor sweet girl wandering the baby section at Big W today, looking forlorn and desperate. She kept flitting between onesies and socks with crippling indecision. Eventually she pulled out her phone to make a call. I eavesdropped, of course. Because nosy.
“Hi hun, that baby shower thing is this weekend and I’m staring at baby stuff and I have no idea what you’re supposed to get. What do I do!?” she whimpered.
I felt a maternal surge. This girl needed help and I was going to give it. I stepped out from between the racks of singlets like an el creapo stalker. “Do you want some help?”
She took in my pram, my eye bags and my mum jeans and shouted “Yes!”
“I found a mum!” she squealed to her friend on the phone, like she’d just found the Lithgow Panther. I mean, you’re in the baby section at Big W sweetie, I’m hardly a rare find.
“This lady is going to help me,” she told her friend and hung up. Jesus Christ, thanks honey, now I feel ancient. Why does the word “lady” really make me feel old?
She was clinging to the most unattractive onesie in the shop.
So this is what I told her about baby shower gifts:
Put down the ugly onesie with the cartoon plane on the front. Many a new mum has been reported missing after wading into a room full of onesies and playsuits and dresses because people love buying the tiny clothes. If you’re buying something for a new mum, please forget the tiny clothes. The baby is going to wear nothing but Bonds wondersuits for the first two months of his/her life. The tiny gorgeous outfits are a complete waste of time and money. They’re hard to put on, they last about five minutes before there’s a poonami or vomit explosion, and they grow out of them in a matter of days, meaning the cost-per-wear is astronomical.
If you must buy clothes, skip the itty bitty 0000 and buy a double zero (00) Just remember that a 00 is usually for a child about 6 months old, so if they’re born in summer, it’s going to be cold by the time they’re wearing a 00.
They’ll have a lot less 00 clothes than the super cute and teeny 0000, so even though they can’t wear it as soon as they’re born, it’ll really be appreciated once they’ve grown out of the teeny stuff (that they wore once).
Don’t buy décor unless you really know the mum’s style and or theme. New mums take the job of decorating their baby’s room as if they’re a contestant on The Block. The rest of the house may be a dump, but the baby’s room will look like a feature spread in Belle magazine. A hormonal pregnant woman on maternity leave is an interior design banshee. Don’t even go near her with those ugly baseball decals you bought from some chain baby store.
Don’t get me wrong – I think artwork for the nursery is a brilliant present idea. But make sure you ask what theme the mum’s going for so you get it right. You don’t want to be buying a pink heart print when the theme is yellow elephants.
If you really want to get something that’s going to be used and appreciated, give the mum-to-be a little basket of essentials. There are some items that EVERY new mother needs. You can be that special someone she thinks of every time she rubs nappy cream on her little treasure’s bum. Nawwwww!
I remember seeing two pregnant women waddling the aisles of Babies R Us one day. One woman picked up a package and scoffed.
“Lighted nail clippers!? What a useless idea!” she said in an I’m-so-down-to-earth-I’m-just-going-to-tear-my-baby’s-nails-off-with-my-teeth kind of way (which isn’t actually a bad idea when they’re just days old. Clipping off the top of your newborn’s finger is really very traumatic. Trust me on that one.)
I really wanted to spin around and say in an I’m-a-mum-so-EXPERT kind of way, “Seriously love, they’re a brilliant idea. You’ll be cutting your baby’s nails every every bloody 24 hours (or so it seems) and you’ll probably be doing it while they feed or while they’re asleep, so having a little light would make it SO much easier.” But of course I didn’t say anything. But I should have. So now I am. Get the ones with the light.
Sudocrem. Approximately 3000 nappies in the first year of life. Nuff said.
Nipple cream. For the first few weeks you’ll need this about 8 times a day. Maybe more if you’ve got a particularly aggressive feeder.
Bath thermometer. Don’t want to boil your newborn. New parents won’t trust what their own fingers/ elbows are telling them. They want scientific proof their child won’t be scarred for life.
Panadol. For all those times the baby is screaming and you don’t know why and you figure a dose of Panadol might help. Not that I endorse drugging your children. But, you know… Go to SLEEP!
Bonjela. Because teething is an interminable march towards madness. When does it end? WHEN!?
Hair brush and comb. Particularly useful in hospital when you want to brush the crusted remains of your womb out of their hair.
Fess. Babies get all sorts of shit up their noses. The satisfaction of sucking a massive snot ball out of your baby’s nose is immense. And if you mine a really impressive nose nugget, you’ll find yourself calling out to your partner so you can both ooh and ahh over the size/colour/texture. Don’t be ashamed. It’s who you are now.
Vicks. Nothing sucks worse than your baby’s first cold. Vicks makes everyone feel better.
So I shared all of my sage, wise advice to this young doe-eyed girl and she was totes thankful. She clasped her hands to her heart like her gratitude might burst right out of her chest and showered me with praise for all of my awesome expert advice.
I felt like Yoda.
Until I saw her skip straight to the check out, still holding that ugly onesie in her hand.