The phenomenon of the ‘lockdown baby’ was one of many unexpected outcomes from the pandemic; many of us seem now to be surrounded by friends and family who are newly expecting.
You might be preparing for a hectic period of new arrivals from December, but there’s a possibility that you’ will receive news of surprise arrivals from now onwards.
Some parents know for whatever reason, that they tend to give birth ahead of term and that their babies are often smaller than average - other babies arrive early and take everyone by surprise.
If you get the notification that one of your friends has had her baby earlier than expected, it's worth taking a bit of time to stop and think before you hit the shops. It can be a little difficult to navigate finding a useful and thoughtful gift for a premature baby, but there are a few things to take into consideration that should hopefully narrow down your options.
There are lots of beautiful clothes made in tiny baby size, but if the baby is in SCBU and a lengthy hospital stay is anticipated then it probably does not need cute outfits just yet.
If the new mother is also still in hospital, then it might be an idea to consider a gift for her in the first instance. All new baby gifts are for the parents to a certain extent but, if the baby is still in hospital, it might not be able to make use of your gift. Furthermore, any time spent in hospital with a baby is often incredibly stressful for new parents, so something intended to ease their stress is always going to be greatly appreciated.
Once mum and baby are safely home, then that is the time to splash the cash on lovely clothes for tiny babies. Many premature babies will still be on the small side when they get home, but check the baby's weight with the mother before you buy.
A simple but still wonderful choice is a layette set. These usually include a bodysuit and some accessories, such as trousers, jumpers, hats, and sometimes bibs or muslin cloths. They come in many colours and patterns and, as they are a set, are usually coordinated to make a cute outfit. Other sets, like multipacks of items, are another great option, as they give the new parents a lot of options.
It can also be really nice to give warm things, such as dressing gowns, fuzzy sleepsuits and blankets. It’s especially important that tiny babies are kept warm, so cute fluffy items will always be appreciated!
Ultimately, the sentiment behind a gift is one of, if not the most, important things. If you’re unsure what to give to new parents, ask them! A surprise is lovely, but so is a gift that is truly needed and appreciated. At a time when they are likely stressed and quite overwhelmed, showing that you care is often enough.