Whether you think they're the perfect way to celebrate someone's fecundity, or you find them about as appealing as a tweed G-string, baby showers are more popular than ever.
And as anyone who's ever attended one will know, games are a key part of the shower shenanigans, usually the grosser, the better. With that in mind, why not forgo the usual gifts of babygrows and blankets and embrace the spirit of the occasion with something rather more amusing (and actually useful). After all, anyone who will soon be squeezing something the size of a melon through something the size of a lemon could really do with a laugh.
Breastmilk alcohol test
After, presumably, nine months of abstinence, who wouldn’t want to get their gills around something a bit more intoxicating than tea? With the Upspring Milkscreen alcohol detector test, breastfeeding mums who've had their snout in the snifter can easily find out if their milk's got the green light or if they'll have to pump and dump.
Upspring Milkscreen, £18.19, Amazon
The bottom line is all that pressure on the ole backdoor during pregnancy and birth can give you piles the size of, well, the size of a baby’s fist. If you decide to give pile cream as a present, chuck in some super-soft toilet paper and a box of laxatives as well to create a charming gift box dedicated to your friend's rectal requirements.
AnuSol Cream 43g, £6, Tesco
Fact: babies’ noses get more packed than a Japanese train during rush hour. Fact: babies can’t blow their noses. Fact: some parents, in desperation, put their mouths to their baby's nostrils and actually suck out the sno... OK, I'll park that one there. Suffice it to say if you buy this for your pregnant pal you might just save her from a mouthful of mucus sometime in the future.
Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator, £6.49, Pharmacy First
Bumper pack of condoms
Yeah, probably best not to give these if you're the mother-in-law of the mum-to-be.
Childbirth can leave your nethers looking like something out of a Stephen King novel. To help take the pressure off, give the gift of a donut ring. For extra Brownie points throw in an ice pack too. Once she's recovered from the birth, she can always use it as a handy wine bottle stabiliser, or even a Polo mint prop for a local production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Mothercare Postpartum Pillow, £20
Why should us grown-ups have all the best wearable witticisms? There are some really rather amusing slogan onesies around, like these ones from Etsy.
"They see me strollin' " bodysuit, £9.70, Loved Onez, Etsy
"Ah good sir bodysuit" bodysuit, £6.99, GW Direct, Etsy
Go the Fuck to Sleep Cross-stitch pattern
First there was the bestselling 'Go the Fuck to Sleep' book; now comes the complementary cross-stitch. This delightfully subversive sewing project is the perfect activity for the interminable sleepless nights ahead (new parents reaching breaking point can also stuff it in their mouths to ensure their silent screams stay silent).
Go the Fuck to Sleep Cross-stitch pattern, £7.91, The Twilight Sewn
The Alternative Baby Keepsake Book
And finally, the funny baby shower gift to end all funny baby shower gifts (Me? Biased?). Forget insipid and schmaltzy regular baby memory books and instead give a gift in which the new mum can record the hilarious, not-so-magical moments that accompany the miracle of new life. I guarantee you that in ten years time nobody will care that the baby's third tooth emerged on 27th March, but everyone will love hearing the story of how mum accidentally kicked the doctor in the nads during a particularly painful contraction.
The Alternative Baby Keepsake Book, just £6.99 from this very site
Esther Onions can produce 1,000 words of decent quality copy (or so she likes to think). But ask her to write a mini biography...