Baby Shower Etiquette & FAQ’s
When should I throw the shower?
Baby showers are usually held during the 8th month of pregnancy. You don’t want to schedule it too early in case problems should arise, and having it too late might result in the baby making an early appearance and mom being at the hospital during party time. It is also acceptable, and encouraged in some practices, to have the baby shower after the child is born.
When should invitations be sent out?
Invitations should be sent out 2-3 weeks before the shower. Give guests time to plan to be free that day and shop, but not so much time that they forget about the party.
Who should throw the shower?
It used to be proper for only a friend of the family to throw the baby shower, but modern times have made it acceptable for relatives and co-workers to throw showers as well.
Can I throw myself a baby shower?
Throwing any type of party for yourself, where guests are asked to bring gifts, is still frowned upon by many people. It all really depends on how understanding your guests would be about the situation. Some people care, some people don’t.
What if I don’t want a baby shower at all?
There are no rules saying a mother-to-be must have a baby shower. Simply let your friends and family know you don’t wish to have one.
Can we still have a baby shower if the baby is already born?
It is perfectly acceptable, and sometimes even preferred, to have a baby shower up to several months after the birth of the child.
Mom-to-be has already had a shower during this pregnancy, can we throw her another?
As long as you do not invite the same guests, it is fine. Sometimes family or friends don’t get along or are from separate parts of the new parents lives (dad’s co-workers as opposed to mom’s family members) and two showers are needed.
Is it acceptable to throw a baby shower for a 2nd, 3rd or subsequent pregnancy?
While it was once only acceptable to have a baby shower for the first pregnancy, it is now widely accepted for each pregnancy to be celebrated with a baby shower.
Is it okay to throw a baby shower for someone who is adopting a child?
Of course! Adopted babies are just as special and deserve every bit as much celebrating!
Who should I invite to the baby shower?
Close friends and family members, the parents-to-be’s friends, co-workers, godparents, and others you feel the parents-to-be would enjoy having at the shower. Try to refrain from inviting people you have not had contact with in a long time simply for more presents though, its considered tacky.
Can I invite men to the baby shower?
Yes! Men are now allowed in the delivery room, why not let them in the baby shower as well?
A close friend of mine recently lost a child or found out she cannot have children, should I invite her to my shower?
As sometimes getting an invitation alone can be quite upsetting to someone in your friends situation, I would contact her personally and talk to her about the situation first. Not being invited at all might be equally as upsetting, especially if the two of you are close, so please don’t discount her altogether. Most of all, respect her decision. If she decides it would be too hard for her to attend, please realize that it doesn’t mean she isn’t happy for you, or that she doesn’t want to celebrate your child, she just needs to sort out her own feelings.
Where should we have the shower ?
The home of the hostess is the most common place for the shower to be held, however the home of any friend or relative who is willing, or places like banquet halls, church gyms, restaurants, picnic/park areas and club meeting halls are becoming common as well.
If we have the shower at a restaurant, who should pay for the meals?
Typically the host(ess) is responsible for all expenses when throwing a party. If you have your heart set on having your shower at a restaurant, but your budget doesn’t allow for pricey meals, try calling ahead to the restaurant and asking if they can make a special menu of lower priced foods for your guests. If you believe your friends and family would be understanding and willing to pay for their own food, you might try including in the invitation that free drinks and dessert will be provided, letting them politely know meals are not free.
Two of my friends are expecting, can we throw a double shower for them both?
This can be tricky, unless all the guests know both moms-to-be equally well. If some guests know one of the mothers and not the other, the issue will arrive as to whether they should buy a present for each, or just the mom they know. Also, some moms-to-be prefer to have this special occasion be centered around themselves, like their wedding and may not appreciate sharing the limelight. However, if you know the two wouldn’t mind sharing the occasion and all guests know both moms, it might be a fun idea.
Two or more of my friends/family want to host my baby shower, can I have more than one host?
If two or more people want to host the shower, and can get along well enough to run it together, co-hosting is a great idea.
The person (co-)hosting my shower is ruining everything! Can I fire them?
When throwing a baby shower for a loved one, you should try your best to get along well for the mom-to-be’s sake, however sometimes this is impossible. If your host or co-host is simply unbearable, try talking to them rationally about what is upsetting you and perhaps work out a solution. If worse comes to worse, you may think about telling them thank you for what they’ve done so far, but you will take it from here. Feelings will probably be hurt and friendships may be damaged, so think first before acting.
The mom-to-be is making it very difficult to plan her shower, can I make her back-off?
If possible, the wishes of the mother-to-be should be accommodated, as it is her shower.
Some of my friends/family members don’t get along, and say they won’t come if the other is invited, what do I do?
I have the same problem in my family. What I do is invite all sides and let them either come or stay home. If this is two separate sides of your family or people from different aspects of your life, a person from each side could throw a separate shower for mom-to-be (on different days of course). Assuming the guest list would not be the same, it may solve the problem of family feuding.
Can I specify NO KIDS at my shower?
Showers including children can be great fun, if the kids are supervised well and allowed to participate in shower activities. However, this is a common dilemma when or a certain friend/family member has particularly unruly children. Two things I can suggest that might go over better than “don’t bring your children” would be to either state in a polite way on the invitation something like “hire a sitter and meet us there at 1pm!”, or if you know children will be coming, hire a person to provide child care in a different area during the shower.
The host(ess) won’t invite my friend/family member to my shower, but I really want him/her there, help!
Try talking to the hostess about how special your friend is to you, and how important it is to you that they be there for this special occasion. This is your special day, and barring any special circumstances where it would be in your best interest not to have said friend attend, the people you want at the shower should be invited.
Do we have to play games at the baby shower?
No, but they sure make a shower fun! One of the nicest showers I’ve attended was a semi-formal affair with a nice dinner served. Everyone mingled and chatted, but no games were played. It really depends on the tastes of your guests, the parents-to-be and yourself.
Can I specify no-smoking at my shower?
For the health of the baby, it is always advisable not to expose mother and unborn child to second hand smoke. Smoking guests should understand if asked to smoke in a designated area outside the home.
How long should a shower last?
Around 2-3 hours is the average, but it is really up to you and your guests how long it lasts.
I was invited to a baby shower I am not attending, do I have to send a gift?
No one is ever obligated to buy a gift, however it would be a polite gesture. If you haven’t had contact with the parents-to-be in awhile, or barely know them, and you feel they are only wanting more gifts, its your prerogative not to purchase one.
How much is an appropriate amount to spend on a gift?
$25 is a nice average amount to spend. This does depend on many factors, however. Wealthy grandparents-to-be might be expected to pay a bit more for a gift than say someone struggling to make ends meet who has only known the parents-to-be a short time. All in all, just whatever you feel you can afford and would like to give the new parents to celebrate the birth of their child.
Can I ask for other things, like donations to charity, in leiu of gifts?
You may specify in the invitations that if the guest WISHES/WANTS they may make a donation to ‘name of charity/organization’ in lieu of a gift.
Can I ask for cash instead of gifts?
While baby showers have come a long way as of late, and old etiquette rules are being broken right and left, this one is still usually thought of as tacky.
Should I include my gift registry in the invitations?
A reasonably sized registry list is usually welcome, as it helps guests know what to shop for. I would not, however, include a 4 page long list with mostly expensive items.