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We had an invite to a Christening last weekend, it was held at St Paul’s catholic church in Dover. The service was starting at 10am and the christening was part of the morning service as is usually the way these days. There were three babies being christened that morning and ours was the last. Even though the ceremony is not as big as it was in years gone by, the guests still get dressed for the occasion and bring the baby gifts.
After the service was finished we made our way to a hall that was hired for the day…It was decorated in silver and white, balloons, streamers and table decorations which were all lovely!
It is always hard to decide what to give as a Christening gift, it depends on the type of Christening you are attending. If it is a religious service, gifts such as small bibles, rosaries and gifts with a religious meaning would be a good idea. If it is a non religious ceremony or naming service then these may not be appropriate, silver gifts are always popular such as money boxes, certificate holders or cups. Other more practical ideas could include a cutlery set or dinner ware, these can always be personalised too.
We had a lovely day, the food and drink offered was delicious and it was good to catch up with old friends and in case you are wondering what we took as a gift…We decided on a cream leather photo album to keep special memories in.
Have you ever been frustrated when buying a gift for a newborn? Did you want to buy more items but did not know what the mother and child may need, or did not want to spend too much money? Do you have a hard time balancing the cuteness quotient with an acceptable dollar amount to be spent? If so, consider buying a baby gift basket.
There are times when we try and try to find the perfect gift for a newborn, but it can be so difficult. Even if the market was not flooded with so many adorable gifts, toys and clothes for their first years, we would still have to compete with the parents themselves. Nine months is a long time to shop and stock up on everything cute and adorable the new parents and grandparents see. By the time a baby shower rolls around or the child is born it can be difficult to buy something unique for the little one.
My answer is a gift basket. Gift baskets can be such wonderful gifts. Instead of giving her one new beautiful baby dress or adorable onesie, you can give her a basket full of goodies which she is sure to enjoy.
There are certain childhood icons that every mother and baby can recognize. With that being the case there is no reason why you can not use this to choose a baby gift basket with ease. One of the most popular children’s characters ever is Elmo. Why not buy the mother a baby gift basket for their new little one that features the loveable red guy? Both the parents and the child are sure to love to receive that as a gift.
One popular theme among nurseries for both little boys and girls are animals. Animals are always cute when associated with children. The animals found in a gift basket could be popular standbys such as puppies and little yellow duckies or other animals such as lambs, frogs or monkeys. Many parents are choosing not to find out the sex of the baby and instead decorating in more neutral ways such as zoo animals or jungle animals as a central theme.
We do not always buy just for the baby shower, but sometimes we give our gift after the baby is already here. If this is the case, there may be a special set of circumstances to consider. For instance, if the baby arrived early we may want to consider buying a gift basket made especially for preemies. If the parents had twins we may want to buy a gift basket for twins, instead one just for a single child.
Another thing to consider is not just the cuteness factor, which of course should always be considered because the cuter the happier the new mom may be, but also the functionality of the gift. Baby gift baskets do come in many shapes and sizes and what is inside also varies from basket to basket. Some items in gift baskets could include clothing, bibs, blankets, stuffed animals, baby care items and keepsakes. When deciding which basket to buy, it is a good idea to think about what you want to give. Is this present purely whimsical, toys and keepsakes to enjoy, or do you need more function like blankets and bath items.
When buying a baby gift basket it really does not matter how well you know the recipients. Parents who are family members or close friends will appreciate the gesture as much as simple acquaintances. Another good thing about gift baskets is that they come in so many different themes and price ranges; they are really the perfect gift for any occasion, whether it is the baby shower, a welcome home present or even for the little one’s first birthday party.
With a number of families deciding against traditional christenings in favour of non religious ceremonies, more children are being welcomed into the world in a civil ceremonial called a naming ceremony.
So what exactly is a naming ceremony?
A naming ceremony is similar to a christening in that it is a celebration of a baby’s arrival surrounded by supportive individuals, godparents are chosen although they are called ‘supporters’ and the choice of baby’s outfit can be a baptismal robe if so desired. The differences, however, are greater than just a choice of wardrobe. Humanist ceremonies are strictly ‘non religious’ secular affairs, featuring no hymns, bible readings or church settings. They are very popular with those who have no religious affiliations or those whose inter-faith families could feel alienated by the choice of one faith over another.
Most naming ceremonies are organised by the British Humanist Association and as Hanne Stinson of BHA explains “Naming ceremonies are a lovely way of marking the birth of a baby and can be tailored to suit the family concerned”. She also describes the variations of a service, “Parents can put together their own service including poetry, music and readings and the venue can be anywhere – in your own home, at a castle or outdoors.”
Humanists believe that life is about human experience and is not God-given. They don’t believe in an after life and instead believe that life should be as fulfilling as it can be, whilst you are alive. Events like naming ceremonies have become remarkably dignified and totally personal affairs for the family and friends involved and lack the sometimes cumbersome traditional aspects of a church blessing or christening.
So what actually happens on the day?
The BHA can be a real help to those wishing to arrange a ceremony or naming day. They can give advice on venues, the choosing of mentors or supporters (the humanist equivalent of godparents), write sample scripts and work out the frame work the service will take.
Once you have chosen your venue, invited your guests and decided on reading or music etc, you’re ready.
Your chosen celebrant (these can be found from the BHA or could be a family friend) leads the proceedings, makes the welcomes and introductions and then either performs or requests that those in attendance take part in a reading. The reasons behind the chosen name of the child are often announced and promises from the parents and supporters for the child’s future happiness make an affectionate addition to a conventionally formal affair.
Gifts are usually exchanged at the ceremonies by way of a keepsake such as a bespoke gift that can incorporate the child’s name and date of the ceremony or a silver charm bracelet, something that can be retained by the parents as a tangible memory of the day and the promises they have made.
Most parents would agree that what ever ceremony they choose, if the event is enjoyable and memorable, religion doesn’t have to play a part. Naming ceremonies have increased in the last decade due to their embrace of diversity and choice; with more parents opting to go the non religious route, I think we will be seeing a lot more naming ceremonies in the future.
Your newborn baby is so small and tender that giving him a bath might be a little scary. However, in spite of all your concerns, you will find that bathing the baby will soon be a fun thing for both him and you.
For the first few days, stick to a sponge bath, only wetting the towel in warm water and giving a baby a thorough sponging with it. Once the umbilical cord stump falls off, baby is ready for his foray into water.
Water, Water everywhere
Make sure that the towel, soap, shampoo and sponge are all at hand before you begin.
Fill baby’s portable bathtub with not more than 3 inches of water. Check if baby’s bath water is just the right temperature (which is a bit warm and not more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit).
Most babies usually cry through their bath for the initial months until they begin to enjoy it.
Immerse your baby slowly into the tub, feet first, and use your left hand to support his neck and head. Let him get a feel of the water and with your free hand, splash the water lightly over his body.
Wet the sponge and use mild baby soap to wash his body. Do not use soap on his face. Wash his scalp with a cloth and clean the corners of his eyes and nose with moistened cotton balls.
There is no need to draw back the foreskin to clean a baby boy’s genitals; wash the penis with soap as you would do for any other part of his body.
Use a mild shampoo, squeezing out a little bit on you palm first.
Lift him up from the tub and wrap him in a towel. Once you’ve dried his hair, work on the rest of his body.
A mild body lotion will make him smell good and feel soft, although it is not necessary to use powder or lotion on babies. Diaper and dress him, and presto! You are done.
If your baby is a bath-hater, it is not necessary to make him go through the ordeal everyday especially in the precrawling stage. Giving him a sponge bath regularly and a bath every other day will keep him clean enough.
Safety comes first
Make sure you follow these safety measures while bathing your baby.
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your baby unattended in the bath for even for a second. If the doorbell is ringing or you must answer the phone, carry him with you, wrapped in a towel. Drowning can occur in less than one inch of water within a minute.
Baby’s bath water should not be too cold or too warm. Always test the water before you begin.
Wet babies are slippery babies. Take extra care while you hold baby in the bath.
Bathing baby immediately after a meal is not a good idea as it might result in his spitting up.
Never run the water with baby in the bath cause a sudden change of temperature can be dangerous.
Bathing baby only takes a little practice (which you will soon get) before you learn to do it just right for your baby.
For a fun-filled shower, why not liven things up a little and play a few party games with a special baby twist?
Divide your guests into teams and get them to pull a nursery rhyme out of a hat. Teams then have to personalise their nursery rhyme for you and your baby and, of course, perform it to the rest of the party.
Fill about five disposable nappies with different flavoured baby food. Guests have to smell or, if they’re brave enough, taste the contents of the nappy to identify the flavours.
Guess the name If your chosen name is still a secret, make a list of 20 boys’ and 20 girls’ names. Whoever guesses the name correctly receives a prize once the baby is born.