Having a baby is a big cause for celebration. Before you become a mother, you may not understand why so many people refer to the birth of their child as a ‘miracle.’ But when you see the little line on that pregnancy test, or when your newborn is placed in your arms after labor, the rush of love you feel really can make it feel like a true miracle. Naturally, other people want to share in this love and excitement too, and your friends and family will want to be involved if they can be. Every mother (new or expectant) needs some time on her own to get used to either being pregnant or being responsible for a newborn. After all, both are huge lifestyle changes, and they can take a while to get used to! But equally, celebrating your new baby with friends and family, and celebrating those first early milestones, can also be an enriching experience. Thankfully, there are plenty of them – and you will probably find yourself throwing you into them in a state of baby-related bliss! Here are a few examples of those causes for celebration, and what you can do to make the most of them.
The baby shower
This classic North American tradition has slowly been seeping into other parts of the world over the past couple of decades. Now, baby showers are a regular part of pregnancy and offer the mother-to-be a chance to gather with her closest friends and female relatives to discuss all things maternal. They are particularly important for first-time mothers, as it is customary for the host to receive gifts as part of the baby shower. No new baby comes with a complete guidebook or equipment list (how useful would it be if that was the case!) so it can often be a big help if your friends and family can gift you some new baby items. This also helps take some of the financial pressure off you a little – no one wants to be worried about money in the run up to birth. Traditionally, the baby shower is organized by friends of the mother and is sometimes held as a surprise – but you can be as involved as you like. Either hold it at your home, at a friend’s place or rent out an event space or cafe (many frequently cater for baby showers these days). If you like, you could also invite your partner and his friends over for the latter part of the day and do the gender reveal (if you’ve chosen to find out, of course). A popular way to do this is by cutting open the cake to reveal either blue or pink sponge inside, and it can be fun keeping all your friends in suspense!
If you are religious, you have probably been thinking about having your child christened. A christening is a great way to welcome your child into the church, especially if you are particularly close to your local religious community. Meet with your local priest or vicar to discuss your options and then, when you are ready, book the date. Your child’s baptism is the first opportunity you have to bring all your loved ones together to celebrate (baby showers are typically women-only events), so get started making your guest list. It can be a nice touch if you design the invitations yourself as well, as they may be something your guests want to keep as a memoir. This doesn’t mean hours spent sat on the floor, cutting and sticking (exactly what you don’t have time for with a newborn in the house!). Companies like Pure Invitation offer personalization services on their website so that you can put your own spin on your invites with relative ease. Once the ceremony is booked, and the invites are sent out, you may want to start considering any optional extras to include in the day. The ceremony itself typically doesn’t take that long, so you may want to host a meal or a reception afterward to continue the celebrations. Your child’s christening is an important milestone, so ensure that you make the most of this special day – after all, it won’t come around again.
Their first birthday
The first year of your child’s life can be a peculiar one. One minute they’re a tiny newborn, swaddled in a blanket as you bring them home from the hospital – the next they are almost a year old, sitting up by themselves and crawling around everywhere they can get to. Although your child won’t remember their first birthday, it can still be worthwhile celebrating it from a sentimental point of view. You can also use the event as a way to look back on your first year of parenthood, and all the obstacles you have overcome. Print out various photos from the past year and display around your home or venue with bunting. Your friends and family will enjoy going around looking at these various moments, and don’t forget to take plenty of photos on the day, too! It is always best to host your child’s birthday party during the afternoon so that you don’t disturb your baby’s sleep pattern. Plus, there might be other children in attendance too, in which case you don’t want any of them getting over-tired and subsequently playing up. When you have a lot of guests in attendance, cooking a sit-down meal can be a bit hectic, and you may find that you don’t get a chance to mill around and speak to everyone. Having a buffet instead is often a much more practical way of doing things, as this way people can just pick at the food they want and the whole event isn’t too formal. The first year of your child’s life may have shot by, so host a party that sees it off in style.