The unspoken rule of any baby shower is that you are not really buying gifts for the new baby so much as you are buying gifts for the mother. Even when buying, say, new baby furniture or clothes for the baby, your ultimate goal is to make life easier on the mother.
Raising a new infant, especially for the first time mother, is both expensive and demanding. The National Children Study in the US has conducted a number of studies into the total stress a new mother must deal with, from conception to birth and through the first year of an infant's life. While every mother will experience different stress levels based on factors such as income, marital status, employment and so on, pregnancy and motherhood are almost invariably amongst the most stressful periods in an individual woman's life.
Furthermore, the cost of raising a child from birth to their first birthday, according to a survey conducted by Baby Center, an online resource for new mothers, will average a minimum of ten thousand dollars US, or about seven thousands AU. This is a minimum. For many mothers, it may wind up being several times this number. The average income among Australian households is said to be around fifty thousand dollars a year, but most Australians actually live in states with an average income of under forty thousand a year, and many are lucky to make half the average annual income in a year. In other words, seven thousand dollars as a bare minimum of what you can expect to pay for an infant's first year of life can take quite a toll.
Make no mistake, having a child is also a wonderful experience, but it is just as stressful and expensive as it is joyful. As a friend or family member of a mother-to-be, it should have considered a duty, an honor, and a privilege to help lighten the load placed on the baby shower's guest of honor.
This brings us to our second point: Selecting a gift for a friend or family member is something like solving a puzzle. Sometimes, the recipient will make it easy on you and let you know exactly what they need, but in any event, your goal is simply to select something that will be needed and useful.
While something utilitarian like, say, a vacuum cleaner, may immediately spring to mind, remember that, to put it bluntly, preserving the new mother's sanity should be top priority. Something like a Fisher Price remote control musical monitor is helpful in this regard. The few minutes a mother has to herself in a day are valuable and precious. The musical monitor plays lullabies for the baby while allowing the mother to sit on the living room sofa with a cup of tea and just rest for a moment.
Then there are gifts to simply save the mother some money. Formula alone can cost up to one thousand dollars a year, so simply outfitting the mother with some necessities should be well appreciated. For example, simply providing the mother to be with an INFANTINO baby carrier or a full set of bottles and rubber nipples will save the trouble and money of buying them herself, and ensure that she is prepared for her new child the moment he or she is born.
In short, giving a gift should be seen as a gesture of love and consideration. There is no point in a person's life that they need and deserve more love and consideration than when they're expecting their first child.