15 Aug

Etiquette :: Baby Shower

For my household, among wedding season, it is also baby season. Bellies are swelling and chubby little babes are entering our lives left and right. Before the late night feedings and lack of sleep, the women go through a time old ritual. Baby showers. Does it bring a chill down your spin? For some, it is an unpleasant experience that always insures a headache. Here are simple etiquette answers to avoid the smallest of frustrations when planning a shower.

Who should throw the baby shower?
Anyone except the expectant couple — however, Miss Manners might disagree. Formal etiquette anyone can host, as long it the hosts are a relative, to avoid having it look as though the family is being grabby with presents.

When should you have the Baby Shower?
Talk to the expectant mother and father about what day would be convenient for them. Holding the baby shower after the birth is becoming (Sip & See –an upcoming post topic) more frequent and is a fun time for the both parents. As everyone gets to see the baby and celebrate the new (yet, exhausted parents). Consider potential holidays, religious events etc.

Can an expectant mother host a baby shower for her 2nd  (3rd, 4th…) baby?
It is perfectly fine to throw a baby shower for a mother’s second or third baby, as long as the guest list is limited to close relatives and very close friends and/or guests who did not attend a shower for the first child. It is a nice gesture for the mother-to-be if several years have passed since the last baby was born, since the parents will have fewer hand-me-downs for the new arrival. Also, location can also play a part. When the growing family has moved to another town, it makes sense for their new friends to throw a shower, regardless of how many children the parents have.

When to send out thank you notes?
If possible, the mom should try to send all your thank-you notes before the baby is born. If the notes are sent afterward, it would be reasonable to expect thank-you notes to be sent up to two months after the baby’s arrival.  However, this is only a guideline and each situation is unique. The concept of time is kinda lost once the baby comes. So don’t worry. The mother is truly thankful, your thank you is coming.
Should you have a baby shower for a mother who is adopting?
Definitely! Adoption is a miracle for the expectant parents and they need to be honored, loved, and supported just as much as others. A baby shower is the perfect way to celebrate an adoption. Take care to be sensitive about the baby shower though, no references to pregnancy, 9 months, or other related issues, unless the expectant mother doesn’t mind or brings it up herself. Also, be sure to host the baby shower only after the adoption is complete. Sometimes adoptions don’t work out and it would be even more disappointing to have already held the baby shower. Be sure to ask the new parents when is a good time for them, as they are making special bonds with the baby in the first few weeks.

Should you invite only women, or should you invite the men too?
It depends on the expectant mother. The baby shower is traditionally for her. But couples baby showers are fun too. So ask the mother-to-be what she prefers. Some may not feel as comfortable with other men there. OR she may like having her own husband there (who might enjoy the shower) and would enjoy having other couples there also. The expectant parents might be close friends with a several other couples, so a couples shower would be a lot of fun. Have a neutral theme (ie. BBQ) with no games.

Who should pay for the Baby Shower
Usually, the hostess pays for the baby shower. This is a great reason to co-host the baby shower with another friend or family member of the expectant mother.

Who should you invite to the Baby Shower?
It really depends on the group of people that you invite. If it is a close group of friends, you may only have 4-8 guests. Other groups of friends or family might have 15-20 guests. So it all depends. Just ask the expectant mother who she wants to invite. Some cultures, invite everyone. I’ve heard of showers with 60 guests.

How long should a Baby Shower last?
Plan on the baby shower lasting about 2 hours. It’s long enough to feel like you’ve gotten to know people and that you’ve bonded with the expectant mother. But don’t make it too long, so that guests are all “partied” out. And usually the expectant mother is pretty tired after 2 hours of fun! Some guests might want to stay a little longer to talk, so plan on ending the baby shower at 2 hours and then let everyone leave as they want to.

Note: Baby shower etiquette is slightly dependent upon the culture and region where you live. Most of the baby shower concerns addressed below are appropriate for and apply to most cultures. However, if you are in doubt about a certain issue in your culture, ask friends or family for their recommendation. I had a friend who had 60 women at her shower. Don’t worry, it was only 7 hours long.

Hopefully, this was a not a painful process. However, going to Baby’s R Us will give you an immediate headache upon entering the store. Beware.

(Silver Teether; Tiffany & Co)

See you Monday!


Nice article. Very informative and well written. I can see your passion.

August 16, 2009

Thanks BB! I hope to see you around again.

August 24, 2009

Leave a reply