It’s finally happened. The moment you never thought would actually come – your best friend tells you that she’s having a baby.
Obviously you are delighted for her…
But in the back of your mind you’re also a tad gutted about losing your playmate (like.for.ever) and questioning how the hell you’re going to be a pillar of support when you really don’t have a clue about babies, pregnancy, birth or parenting. I know, I’ve been there.
So, in order to make the whole experience a little more palatable, I’ve listed below exactly what’s going to happen over the next year and what you need to do to own your place as the ‘best friend and coolest god parent ever’ over all of those hip new mummy friends she’s going to make…
Your friend is about to turn into the biggest bore
So your friend can’t drink throughout pregnancy? That’s cool, you can still have fun together right? Wrong! Every conversation you have will be about how she’s feeling, how tired she is, how the baby is doing, what she’s bought for the baby so far, what the doctor said about the baby, what she can’t eat because of the baby…And did she mention how tired she is?
Substitute your boozy barbecues for movie nights in (with lots and lots of junk food). If she looks like she’s flagging, tell her to go home! I lost count of the amount of times I sat around friends’ houses watching the clock and just wanting it to get to an acceptable hour where I could make my excuses. Or when all I wanted was a hot brew when everyone else had only just gotten tipsy on their Pimms…
You’ll be expected to throw a baby shower
Baby showers have become something of a right of passage for every pregnant woman. I used to think they were a bit unnecessary until friends threw one for me which I absolutely loved! So even if your friend says she doesn’t want one, you need to throw her one anyway!
You don’t need to go crazy – she’ll appreciate just having all of her friends and family together to celebrate with her. A few decorations to set the theme, some nibbles and fun games are all it takes and if you want to keep costs down you can tell everyone to bring a dish or bake something for the occasion.
…And buy the perfect gift
Not only do you have to plan all of the decorations, the games and sort the invites, but you also want to buy just the right present. If you’re yet to have a baby it can be a pretty daunting task sifting through the baby department trying to finding something that’s cute, yet practical. I remember doing it myself (before child) and I really did make some faux pas – one being a swaddle which I bought for my sister in law. Her baby never swaddled and so I was given it back when I had Taylor! At least we got use out of it, but not much of a gift for her!
So, now that I am a self-proclaimed expert on the subject, here’s some baby shower gift ideas that your friend will most definitely appreciate:
Baby clothing: Baby grows, vests, socks, hats, scratch mittens – avoid items sized newborn or 0-3 months as chances are your friend has already stocked up on these. Go for 3-6 months or 6-9 months if you want to be extra safe – it’s always nice for mum to have a stock of clothes in the cupboard for when baby gets bigger.
Blankets are used every day for newborns and have so many uses, so any that you buy your friend will most definitely get used.
Any new parent soon finds out that you can never have too many muslin cloths to hand. I’m pretty sure I had a stash in every room of our house.
The NHS recommends that sleeping bags are used for newborns for safe sleeping. Although we bought one ourselves in preparation, it was really handy to get a few more as gifts from friends to have to hand. The supermarkets do some lovely designs and TK Max also has a great selection at discount prices.
You don’t need a fancy thermometer but most parents I know own a Gro Egg digital thermometer – probably because they make a great gift! You can also get cute animal character shells for them which are guaranteed to look great in any nursery and will be used for many years to come.
Cuddly toys/ comforters
I never needed to buy Taylor any teddies as she had such a great collection from friends and family. The Jellycat ones are my favourite – and the ones that Taylor got attached to quite early on.
Toiletries (for baby)
You can never have too many toiletries when you’re about to bring home a new addition. One of the most thoughtful presents I got (from a new mum) was a hamper full of things I would need in those first few weeks. From a stash of newborn nappies to baby shampoo and talc, it had everything. I was so grateful as it meant I didn’t have to keep nipping out in my zombie state to stock up.
Teething rings / toys
It will seem like no time before baby is suddenly sprouting teeth and wants to bite on absolutely anything. Your friend will be grateful of these a couple of months down the line.
Gifts for mum
Don’t forget that your bestie deserves a few treats too. Some new makeup, indulgent bath goodies or just some luxury chocolates will help make her feel special. Avoid alcohol if she plans to breastfeed.
For more gift inspiration, see this check list from George at ASDA.
You’ll hear details about labour that you do not need to know
After giving birth all of my friends had to endure every single gory detail about my labour. It was something I was always pretty intrigued by before actually going through it myself and I just naturally assumed that my friends would want to know all about it. Which they did of course…
But in hindsight, there are a few details I really should have left out. They did not need to know for instance that I was being sick in a bedpan at the same time as getting stitched up and being able to feel it all because the anesthetic had worn off. Yes, you need to be prepared for the kind of insightful talk that’s going to put you off having children of your own forever. Very selfish of your friend really, but just listen and gawp throughout – she wants you to feel her pain and she’s hating on your pre-baby body right now.
And have Baby spam on every social media feed imaginable
Yes, I know that she once agreed with you when you said that you didn’t get why parents have their kid’s image as their own profile pic. And again when you moaned that your Facebook news feed was full of kids dressed for their first day of school. But forget about all of that because your best friend is about to become that person.
It will start tentatively at first – a couple welcoming their new bundle into the world with a picture of a baby that looks pretty much like every other newborn you’ve ever seen (don’t ever tell her that), and then it will just get out of control and you’ll forget what your friend actually looks like in front of the camera. You’re going to ‘Like’ every photo she ever puts on and you may as well create a note on your phone of the following that you can copy and paste into her comments on a daily basis:
‘Aw he/she is so cute!’ (heart emojicon)
‘Love this!’ (laughing emojicon)
‘Beautiful!’ (kiss emojicon)
“Need to see you all again soon!” (because it will have been at least a month)
If your’re really really unlucky, your friend may even start a parenting blog and you’ll be expected to have read every post they ever publish. Imagine that?
Do you have a friend who’s pregnant? What advice would you give to other friends? Do you have other baby shower gift ideas that you would add?
Disclosure: Post written in collaboration with George at ASDA