This is something I've been meaning to do for ages after a conversation with my cousin. "What do I buy for a new baby?" is asked a lot online too, so here are my top five presents and my top five don't-you-dares.
This is all just my opinion, it's what I loved and didn't love when I had the twins. I didn't mention Dads because I can't speak for Dads, I just know what I found brilliant and less brilliant.
Five Gifts To Buy For New Mums
5. Green Angel Seaweed & Aloe Eye Gel
This might seem ridiculous, but stay with me. What all new Mums really need is sleep, but you can't get that in the shop, so instead - they need ways to help them stay awake. This eye gel was something I picked up when I needed a new eye cream and my GOD it is magical. MAGICAL. You know when you're so tired that your eyes won't stay open? A bit of this and you're wide awake. I keep it in the fridge and it's soothing, cold, fresh - just gorgeous and I wouldn't be without it. Plus, it's all natural AND it's Irish. Available from dolledup.ie, it costs €20.
4. A Fancy Travel Mug
Hear me out again. Whether you have one baby, or two babies, or ten babies, it's really hard to finish a cup of tea or coffee. I dumped so many half cups down the sink in the first
3. Penneys, Tesco or Next Gift Cards.
Babies grow FAST. Vests and Babygros are boring essentials - but they are essentials, ones that people don't tend to think of when buying clothes for new babies. Some babies have really sensitive skin and aren't able to wear cheaper brands, in which case the Penneys or Tesco vouchers will come in handy for the Mum to get other stuff. Like that Penneys lip liner and the individual lashes and wooden signs telling you how gorgeous you are while you're trying to get your leg into a size 18 pair of jeans while convincing yourself that it's a 12 with the wrong label. NO, honestly, Penneys and Tesco vouchers always come in handy (provided the Mum has access to a Penneys or Tesco, obviously). Next have amazing baby clothes - their babygros were by far the best ones I had for the boys. I had just 12 Next babygros for each clothes size the boys went through and they washed so well, plus they were passed along to another baby afterwards. I can't recommend them enough, and a voucher would go a long way in Next where everything's a little pricier.
2. A Baby Snot Survival Kit
Newborns can be quite mucusy - especially c-section babies. Mine were, anyway. They got their first real snuffly cold when they were about a month old - queue a two-day hunt with two snotted-up newborns in the car doing a chemist tour to see if we could get a vaporizer or a snot-sucker (you will go to great, great lengths to clear a snuffly baby's nose, believe me). A package like this would have been a Godsend - I'm using the Vicks Vaporizer again at the minute. It's available from McCabes, the other bits and pieces are available from most chemists, I've linked Boots for handiness: Nasal Decongester, Saline Spray, Baby Olbas Oil (fine in the vaporizer or on a muslin behind the radiator, not to be used directly on or near babies under 3 months).
Five Gifts To Avoid Buying for New Mums
5. New Baby Picture Frames
4. Lots of Big Person Outfits in Size 0-3 Months.
3. Vouchers for Expensive Childrens Boutiques.
Oh God I really don't want to sound ungrateful here, but I got a voucher for the boys for an expensive children's clothes shop for €40. Which was an incredibly generous, thoughtful, wonderful gift. But when I went into the shop, the little everyday baby tops were €20. And the little baby jeans were €25. And the little baby outfit sets were €35+. So I ended up spending €20 along with the voucher just to get two little jumpers for the boys and some overpriced socks - the thought behind it was so good and so lovely, but it was such a waste for the person who gave it to us, a €20 voucher for Penneys would have gone a lot further. Or Next! Mammies love Next!
2. Johnson & Johnson Baby Products
Absolutely not an attack on the brand, but some people seem to think that it's the best brand you can buy for babies and tend to buy an awful lot of it. I know that other people have a similar opinion to me on the brand and I'm not going to speak for them - I'll just say that I found the products too heavily perfumed for my boys, and they broke out in a rash repeatedly from using the baby bath and lotion. The baby shampoo irritated their eyes and gave them facial rashes. If you want to go down the baby product route, Bepanthen is always a great option - get the nappy cream or the moisturiser. Infacare baby bath will never be snubbed. Moo Goo have fantastic products. Also - I have never once oiled a baby (I'd be terrified they'd slither out of my hands like a bar of soap), yet I had, at one point, about 9 bottles of baby oil in the house. Don't buy baby oil.
1. Visits Without Advance Warning
A lot of new Mums feel fantastic straight away. They feel like warrior women, like they could conquer the world, and they love company and visitors. I was not one of those. We had an unnanounced visitor the day I brought the twins home from the hospital and I ended up locking myself in the bathroom crying because I was all over the place and did not want visitors. I wanted bed. Said visitor also spent a good five minutes shoving a camera in the boys' faces and deciding - out loud - who was cuter. Play the "who does the baby look like" game in your head, to us they are beautiful and precious and gorgeous but babies look like babies. Wrinkled old man babies. They don't look like anyone straight out of the womb. I had people call after 9pm to see them, I had people call before 9am to see them. Exhausted. A text or phone call an hour in advance goes a long, long way - there's nothing as bad as a glam visitor (by glam I mean dressed) when you're sitting in a dressing gown with last week's hun bun still in place. One hour in advance to attempt to look human would make the conversation a lot more fun, I promise. Or an hour to pull all the curtains and lock all the doors and pretend we're not at home. I'M JOKING. Kinda....
This is all based on my own experience, it's not meant to insult or offend or sound ungrateful. I never expected or assumed people would bring gifts, but it happens. I'd love to know what the best/worst baby gifts you've received are, or if you don't have kids, just the best/worst gifts in general that you've received.