Physical distancing is imperative to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases like the flu. This is especially true for pregnant people who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may be at an increased risk for severe illness or other adverse outcomes. New parents need support from their friends and family, but it’s important to keep these new families healthy. It’s time to get creative.
Virtual Baby Showers
Virtual baby showers are a great way to celebrate the expecting parents without needing a large number of people to gather in the same space. Virtual baby showers allow friends and family, who may be vulnerable, live far away or who are unable to travel, join the celebration from their own homes. Here are some ideas to get you started.
The host of the baby shower can surprise the parents with a care package of decorations or party snacks. A local bakery or flower shop may be open for deliveries in their area. Hosts can coordinate the invitations with a decorative background on the video call to enhance the party feel. To have the guests feel as included as the expecting-parents, share a recipe for a celebratory mocktail that everyone can enjoy together during the party.
Virtual baby showers can include most of the usual games and gift openings, as well as a tour of the nursery. For party games, you can play the classic Guess the Bump Size or embrace the new format and design your own jeopardy game with baby-themed trivia. If you want prizes to go with the games, small electronic gift cards are a popular option that can be awarded instantly to the winners.
The downside of virtual baby showers is the lack of opportunities to take pictures together, though screen shots can capture the excitement in their own unique way. The benefit to a virtual baby shower is they can be recorded with a single push of a button. By recording the party, the new parents will have a video of their celebration they can re-watch (which can also help with writing thank you cards).
Baby Shower Gifts
Not sure what to gift at the virtual baby shower? While shopping off the registry is always a good idea, here are some gifts we recommend to give and to avoid.
Recommended Baby Gifts
- Make meal time easy. Gift cards to local restaurants that deliver or other meal delivery services can ensure exhausted parents have the opportunity to eat without worrying about finding the time to shop and cook.
- Wearable blankets and sleep sacks can keep a sleeping baby warm through a Northeast winter without the risks that come from loose bedding like quilts, comforters or blankets.
- Travel mugs with a spill proof top can be a great gift for new parents who are coffee and tea drinkers. Hot liquids can cause serious burns on young children so a container that prevents splashes and spills is incredibly useful. Plus, travel mugs keep liquid warm throughout all those interrupted coffee breaks!
Baby Gifts to Avoid
- Crib Bumpers, inclined sleepers, or sleep positioners are not recommendations for infant safe sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that crib bumpers are associated with a risk of suffocation entrapment and strangulation. Inclined sleepers and positioners are unregulated and potentially dangerous and deadly. When it comes to safe sleep, it is best for baby to sleep in a bed with a fitted sheet and nothing else. Learn more about safe sleep here.
- Baby Walkers are related to injuries from falling down stairs, serious burns, drowning and even poisoning. The American Association of Pediatrics has even called for a ban on them in the US.
- Second hand (or family heirloom) cribs, car seats and strollers may seem thoughtful, but between recalls, changes in safety standards and expiration dates, it’s often safer to opt for new for these three items.
Pregnancy is an exciting time to show your support for a loved one welcoming a new baby. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to think differently and creatively about the ways we celebrate milestones. Even though we have to celebrate in different ways than before, keeping new families safe during this time is the best way to share your love.