While baby showers are a normal part of modern pregnancy, these are a relatively new idea. Baby showers only really began in the 1940s and 50s during the baby boom after WWII. While they're more common than ever, it's still not always clear what to expect from a baby shower.
Whether you're hosting your own baby shower, throwing one for a friend, or attending your first party, how do you manage everything? There are some unspoken guidelines that it's helpful to learn about to ensure the perfect celebration for the mama-to-be.
Who Plans the Baby Shower?
One of the biggest questions about baby showers is who's in charge of the planning? This isn't always consistent, so it's not always clear.
Traditionally, baby showers are hosted by a friend or a distant relative. They're not usually hosted by a close family member, though they certainly can be. Why go to so much fuss to ensure they're hosted by someone not immediately related to the mama? This is usually so it doesn't appear like a gift grab.
However, times are changing. It's not uncommon to throw a baby shower for a sister, daughter, or anyone else you're close to. Let's face it—pregnancy is hard enough with morning sickness and other symptoms! Let's not complicate it with hosting a baby shower too!
When Is the Baby Shower?
Another common question is when to host the baby shower. It's not always possible to guess when labor will start, so you don't want to wait too long. At the same time, you don't want to have a baby shower too early on either.
The sweet spot rests somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks before the baby's due date. This is usually early enough to avoid any issues with early labor. For babies who do make an early arrival, the baby shower is hosted after birth.
Is the Baby Shower Only for the First Child?
The purpose of a baby shower is to help new parents get the supplies and support they need. This may or may not be true for a second or third child.
However, that doesn't mean you shouldn't celebrate a second or third pregnancy. Just think of ways to make sure this occasion is helpful to the parents, whether you have a pot luck to bring lots of food to the parent's home or you offer to babysit.
Who Is Invited to the Baby Shower?
We've all heard of drama happening over who was or wasn't invited to the baby shower. In general, there are no strict rules here. While close friends and family are always at the top of the list, many people also include anyone who wants to take part in the celebration.
Historically, these have been women-only events, but this is changing. "Coed" baby showers are increasingly common, and this means the guest list opens to men and the dad-to-be.
What Types of Gifts Are Expected?
While not required, it's considerate to bring a gift to a baby shower you're invited to. The parents-to-be might have registered for baby products at a store, but you could also think of something personal for them or the baby as well.
Common gift ideas are:
- Baby products (clothes, bottles, washcloths, etc.)
- A postpartum scrub for labor recovery
- Bonding bath for mama and baby
- Gift cards
- Self-care gifts for mama
- Baby furniture
While gifting baby things is always welcome for new parents, don't forget about mama. This time is hard on her too, so a birth box gift set with essentials for her or a self-care gift box will help her feel a bit more normal after giving birth.
Preparing for the Baby Shower
A baby shower is a fun, exciting opportunity to join together with the mama-to-be before the baby comes. There's often food, gifts, and games to make the celebration one to remember.
Now that you know the answers to these common baby shower etiquette questions above, you're ready for anything this day has in store.