The full month celebration (满月) after a birth can be a joyous occasion for young parents in Asia.
Imagine that's your friend or family member.
They've prepared all the food for family and friends to celebrate the birth of a new life. You know that it's a really 'special' day. You know they've prepared what they need - they've booked the condominium function room, prepared all the pomelo leaves, Ang Ku Kuehs, hard boiled eggs dyed red ...
Most importantly, you're invited!
You get ready, preparing to eat good food, see cute babies in new clothes ... And then you realise you're supposed to give a gift for this important occasion.
How now brown cow?!
If this is you (or is going to be you), then fret not! We've compiled a list of items suitable for a one-month celebration so you don't Sabo your friends' or relatives' full month party, all the while not breaking your piggy banks and wallet.
Full Month Celebration
Similar to a full moon celebration, a full month celebration is to celebrate the baby's life.
Why is this worth celebrating? It's because infant mortality was high in the past. This made infants past their first month a big thing.
It's pretty different from a baby shower, which is held before the baby's birth. Asian families also often don't celebrate the shower as it's not part of tradition. Thus, baby shower gifts in Singapore are often given during a full month celebration.
Celebrations are normally held one month after the actual date of birth, and is a celebration of life, good health, good luck and continued happiness.
While a half- or six-month celebration continues to be popular, the full month celebration continues to be important.Thus, choosing the best full month or baby shower gifts is crucial.
If I'm a relative of the Couple
Normally, relatives of couples often give slightly more traditional things to the couple. Older relatives often give gold jewelry, or intricately designed heirlooms or even a properly designed frame with the baby's photo. Important guests do this too.
One of our readers' paternal grandfather even went to customise a gold locket for their baby grandson. How sweet is that!
However, if you don't have that kind of budget, and would still like a traditional gift, you can consider the following:
Unlike western culture, one month in Chinese culture is not one to be taken lightly, with lots of formal steps.
Definitely not one of your stereotypical full month parties that you see on Instagram.
If the couple you're getting a gift for is one that appreciates and is strict about Chinese tradition, consider a symbolic gift.
Symbolic gifts are something that signifies specific well-wishes, like a small pendant or a keepsake. This kind of gift can celebrate gender, the hopes and dreams he or she signifies for their parents, and all of that.
It's definitely not a thing friends would consciously give to each other, but a symbolic gift that means something is definitely good.
According to Chinese customs, red eggs symbolise a new start and is normally presented and eaten when a family does a baby full month celebration. This is more suitable if the couple you're gifting to is part of your immediate family.
Should I get Red Eggs?
Traditionally, these are hard boiled eggs with red dye smeared over them using food colouring or red calligraphy paper. They can also be easily purchased, so don't worry about that.
If you do wish to gift eggs, remember to check the following things:
- If the family already has eggs prepared, or if other relatives are giving eggs
If the baby's a boy or a girl (you need an odd number of eggs for boys, and an even number for girls)
Eggs are not only symbolic for a baby's full month party, but they also signify good health and good luck according to local tradition.
In all, depending on the family, giving eggs at a baby's full month celebration might just be one of the most significant gifts yet. However, do check with the couple first.
If not, you might end up wishing the couple bad luck instead if you get the symbolism wrong!
What Food Should I Get?
Depending on how the couple celebrates, you might want to consider bringing food and contributing party favours to the full month party.
Depending on the nature of the celebration, stuff you can bring can range from traditional food items like Ang Ku Kueh, glutinous rice dishes and Mee Sua (longevity noodles), or something more chic like egg tarts and other kinds of pastry.
If you're getting food like glutinous rice, be sure to make them fresh just before the party. This takes some planning.
You can even get creative - one of our readers even made small cakes that look like red eggs! Other ideas that some of our guests have made would be Ang Ku Kueh-shaped jellies, for example. Respecting tradition and putting a modern twist is something anyone can do to bring life to any full month party.
Just remember to ask the couple who's planning the full month party first.
But what if I want something more... modern?
Here are a couple of solutions specially chosen by our lovely team at Pineapple!
All of us love our chou chous, and babies are no exception.
Regardless of whether the star of the day is a baby boy or baby girl, a soft toy makes a perfect companion. A carefully-selected soft toy also adds a new family member in the baby's play area, to be cherished for a long time to come!
How should I Choose a Soft Toy?
Generally, you should pick toys that:
Are not too large
Have no choking hazards like strings lying around
Made from safe, soft fabric without any harmful dyes
Crocheted toys are an excellent type of toy that meets these criteria.
Usually made from cotton yarn, these gifts not only are child safe, they're also great for adding a personal touch to gifts, as these are handmade. Makes you stand out among all the other guests at the party, too!
If soft toys are out because they're too big or unsuitable, another great choice is to get a baby rattle. Since ancient times, people have used rattles as a baby's amusement toy, and is one of the top toys parents would get for their kids.
Small, easy-to-grip rattles are great presents that not only entertains the new baby with or without guests, but also trains their motor skills as they grow up.
How should I Choose a Rattle?
Most importantly, rattles should:
Make a loud, noticeable sound when shaken (if not it's not a rattle)
Be sealed properly and have a flat shape, or rounded shape
Be large enough to not be a choking hazard
Rattles will eventually form an important part of the baby's play routine, even way after the first month. So it's important to pick something of good quality.
Yes, they exist, and they're sort of the ultimate gift for a baby's full month party.
Apart from being made from sturdy, quality wood and cotton, crocheted rattles also can double as companions for the baby in their crib.
But what animal should I get for a Baby Boy or Baby Girl?
The truth? It doesn't matter! Just make sure it doesn't look scary.
If you can find the right animal for the party theme, even better! After all, what's not to love about an interactive toy that not only looks cute, but is functional at the same time!
Since rattles are relatively small, you can also put them together in gift boxes as well. What's more exciting than receiving a box of toys! Speaking of which ...
If you're looking for yet another meaningful gift for a baby full month celebration, fabric books are also a great choice.
Although babies don't exactly know how to read when they hit the one month mark, good fabric books can not only stimulate senses during play time, they can also be a fun activity for both parent and child.
Plus, they're made of fabric! They don't tear, they're relatively baby-proof, can withstand bites and throws, and most importantly, are safe to put in a baby's play area.
Choosing Fabric Books
Choosing a good fabric book to give is entirely different from choosing other books.
For a start, know that the main aim is not to get the baby to read! That means wordy books with long, cheem words are definitely out.
Next, we're looking for books that have some texture to them, or interactive parts that can stimulate the baby's senses and sensory activity. For example, an elephant's trunk they can pull, or a mirror, or even a full moon they can move up and down.
Fabric Books vs Hardcover Books
It's really a matter of choice, but we choose fabric books over hardcover for the full month celebrations.
Because they're still too Young!
Babies at that age learn and absorb information through play rather than speech or text.
More importantly, a baby can play with the book and toss it around without a chance of getting hurt by accident. It's also easier for their family to clean and keep the book when needed, since it's just like a soft toy.
Although it's tempting to get a set of hardcover books for babies at this stage, we'd recommend something more practical. If anything, ask the parents planning the full month party which they'd prefer. That'd best.
Aside from toys, there are also a few functional items that you can get for the baby's full month party.
Baby bibs are one of the most popular gifts and accessories that people buy for new parents and their child.
They're used to prevent food, drool and other nasty stuff from dirtying baby clothes and irritating their skin. You're thinking right - haidilao gives them out, too, and not only when there's a party.
Choosing a Baby Bib
Water Absorbency - There are several important things you need to consider when choosing a baby bib, most important being how well it actually functions as a bib.
This means that bibs definitely must be water absorbent, and withstand anything our dear baby throws at it.
Size and Material - Other secondary considerations you may wish to ask the parents are the size they would like, and the type of materials to look out for or avoid.
For starters, we'd advise against velcro for bib fasteners - velcro tends to irritate the skin more than often.
You might also want to consider if the bib's easy to clean. After all, for a busy mother and father, nothing beats gifts that actually help them out rather than add to the list of things they need to wash by hand.
Getting more Value - Nothing beats bringing the best value to your friends and relatives when buying a gift for their baby.
If so, what about a 2-in-1 bib that doubles as a bandana or fashion accessory when the baby no longer needs it?
Pineapple's bibs are not only attractively coloured, but they also function as scarves, bandanas, or just hankies long after the one month celebration. There're no velcro straps or any potential irritants too - just plain cotton and 2 clips - making it extremely easy to wash and maintain.
And you can get them in a pack of three!
Now that's value.
Any new birth will be in need of some clothes!
But for baby clothes, the choices get a little tougher.
For a new mother and father, there are several important priorities to consider. Clothes have to be safe and allergen-free, alongside being easy-to-wash and wear throughout the baby's life.
If you're particular, remember not to get colours like black that might symbolise bad luck.
As such, we have 3 options for you to consider: mittens, rompers, or pyjamas.
Mittens are adorable!
More than that though, mittens are practical gifts for babies, especially for new mothers whose confinement period has just ended. Mittens can keep babies' hands warm, and prevent themselves from scratching their own delicate skins with their fingernails.
Before getting mittens, just remember to check the material carefully, and that there aren't any potential irritants (like the dreaded velcro!) that can irritate the baby's skin.
Besides mittens, another popular present to give would be rompers, like what Pineapple sells:
Rompers are easy-to-wear, easy-to-clean one-piece clothes that all kids can wear throughout their life as a baby. When out or when the couple have guests over, it's something presentable too.
Not to mention, rompers like the ones Pineapple sells not only are eye-catching, they're also made of simple, non-allergenic materials like cotton, and easy to both wear and remove.
Besides rompers, pyjamas are also a good idea. After all, nice shirts and rompers aren't exactly the best thing to sleep in.
All these depend on how the couple feels and what their wants are, along with the appropriate sizing. So ask them before you do get anything.
Getting a present for a baby might seem hard, but it doesn't have to be.
We hope that this list has given you some ideas for what to give your loved ones and their babies. If you have any other suggestions, we'd love to hear it in the comments below!