As a Mom and a professional who works with folks in the Perinatal time, I am often asked for recommendations for baby products, and to look over baby registries ("Is there anything I missed?"). I did the same thing with my friends when I was pregnant with my first - I was so overwhelmed that the first time I ever walked into a baby store, I hyperventilated and walked right out the door I had just entered. The options are limitless, and everyone has an opinion on what is "best for baby."
Yes, absolutely, as a first time parent, there are certain items that you need - diapers, a place for baby to sleep, something to wrap them in for warmth and comfort... but one thing I don't hear talked about enough is what is best for the PARENTS.
Yes, I am telling you to register for things that make YOUR life easier.
I'd like to encourage you to consider a new way of looking at your baby shower, and its accompanying registry:
The people in your life are there to celebrate YOU, and the life that YOU are bringing into this world. You'll likely hear adages about how the people in your life can't wait to meet baby, and to come visit and help. In my experience (both personally and professionally), I've found that once baby arrives, the percentage of folks who actually follow through on those offers tends to be quite small. People WANT to help, but they are often unsure of how.
Your baby shower is the perfect opportunity to allow the people in your life to help you, ensure you have what you REALLY need, and to set the tone for the kind of postpartum you are hoping to have.
Here are some ideas for things to add to your baby registry, that you may not have considered:
In the hustle and bustle of life with baby, many chores begin to feel like more of a burden than usual - dishes being a big one. This inexpensive gift will likely be snatched up by one of your attendants very quickly, and save you time that you could be napping in those drowsy newborn days.
**For the eco-friendly parents, compostable plates and utensils are wonderful!**
House Cleaning Services
I've had clients look at me before after suggesting this as a registry item with lots of apprehension -
"Really, don't you think that's a bit lush?"
My answer? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
If you are registering for any item that costs over $100, a deep house cleaning can be thrown into the mix, and will ease a LOT of stress in your postpartum time, when you're already juggling so much. It can also be a great item for friends to pool together on.
If someone isn't delivering food to you in the postpartum time, it's likely that you'll be rummaging through your cabinets and eating potato chips or cereal for dinner - not the most nourishing thing when healing from childbirth and feeding a new baby.
One of the easiest ways someone can help you in your postpartum time is to ensure that you are fed in your postpartum time - once, a client of mine had a "Postpartum Pot Luck" in her third trimester, where her loved ones all came to celebrate her and brought a home made meal that could be frozen - I thought this was such a neat idea, and would love to encourage my readers to consider doing something similar for themselves!
We are lucky to live in an age where most restaurants deliver, and there are so many wonderful services that bring food right to your doorstep - DoorDash, Seamless, Postmates, Uber Eats name just a few. A gift card for food delivery is a simple way folks in your life can help you to feel cared for, or even better - a home made meal (be sure to communicate any dietary restrictions)!
Enrollment in a Postpartum Preparation Class
A top of the line stroller isn’t going to make the difference that an adequately supported postpartum will. This begins with education about the postpartum time, and I'm not talking about Infant care.
I'm talking about YOU - what it will be like to recover emotionally and physically from childbirth, what your hormones are doing, how to nourish yourself, what the return to movement looks like, and how to rally your community. Having knowledge and realistic expectations is the best way to ensure your postpartum goes smoothly - and it's the perfect price point for a shower gift!
I offer a 2 hour online webinar, Preparing for a Smooth Postpartum, with many dates coming up throughout the year. Check it out, and consider adding it to your registry!
Dog Walking Services
If you have a furry friend and you have just brought a baby home, they are likely to be hungry for your attention. Walks are likely to be less frequent while you are recovering from childbirth, and it's normal to feel a bit guilty about that. 1-2 weeks of dog walking services can help to alleviate that guilt, and allow you the time you need to adequately recover. This is another gift that would be wonderful for a group of your friends or family to team up on!
Grocery Gift Cards
Three words: Diapers add up.
The expenses that come with a new baby can come as a shock to new parents, and every little bit to alleviate the financial burden is wonderful. One thing that's often forgotten about is groceries - you'll be eating more as your body requires extra nutrients to feed baby, plus formula and diapers are expensive. Even better if your folks can find a grocery store that delivers or does pick up orders!
Postpartum Doula Shifts
A heftier investment, but a worthy one - and another idea for a "group gift." Even one four-hour shift from a postpartum doula can be so helpful to new parents as they navigate sleep deprivation, life with a new baby, processing their birth story, learning how to care for a newborn, and all the things.
It's nice to have someone in the house who is solely focused on caring for the new parents, rather than doting on the baby. I offer gift cards for postpartum shifts, so if you're in the Northern Virginia area and are interested in adding this to your registry, definitely inquire!
Parents need breaks from their kids to continue being good parents. It is essential. Put it out there on your registry that you'd like offers for babysitting, so that you can go on a date, catch a nap, spend time with an older sibling, or whatever you need to feel more like yourself!
If you're in Northern Virginia, Babycito is a wonderful place to make a "Services Registry," which can serve as a wonderful supplement to your 'item' registry. Babylist also gives the option to register for services and funds.
Onesies are cute, but a nourished postpartum is essential - and what better gift for a new baby than parents who feel cared for?