Baby Shower Etiquette

Baby Shower Etiquette

By Tina Hayes & Indigo Silva

Following World War II, our nation was hit with a boom, a baby boom. The baby boom made baby showers a common activity for expecting couples. When throwing a shower, keep in mind that baby shower etiquette is slightly dependent upon the culture and region of where you live. Most of the baby shower concerns addressed below apply to most cultures. However, if you are in doubt about a certain issue within your culture, ask friends or family for their recommendations.

Pre-Planning Tips

  • When deciding which date you want to set for the celebration, typically it should fall between four and six weeks of the baby’s due date. You can also have the shower before or after the baby is born. A shower before the baby’s birth gives the mother and expecting couple physical and emotional support during the pregnancy. A “baby welcoming” following the birth allows guests to meet the baby and offer their support. Consult with the expecting couple to decide a good time to have the shower.
  • Typically, the baby shower should be planned by a close friend or relative. Often, several individuals (usually a mix of both family and friends) co-host the party. This alleviates the stress of one person having to do it all. Furthermore, this minimizes one’s financial obligations, work efforts and allows for more creative planning which often results in a more enjoyable event for all. It is improper for the expectant mom to host the shower for herself.
  • Baby showers are often viewed as “female-only” events. Ask the mom-to-be what she would prefer. Even ask if she wants her husband to attend and try to consider his feelings when planning the event. If you decide to throw a surprise shower, consider the expectant mother’s personality. Would she really want a surprise shower or have some involvement on who should be invited, the theme and food selection?
  • When setting up a baby gift registry, the expectant parents are to keep in mind that their selections are just recommendations … their “wish list.” Guests are not obligated to purchase items from the registry. When registering gifts, consider your circle of friends and family and include items in every price range. Registries are useful tools to assist gift givers. Those who want to buy something that is not on the list should not be criticized for their decision. Sometimes some people simply cannot afford the gifts that are on the registry or feel strongly opposed to the whole concept of a gift registry and choose to buy something based on their own preferences.  It is becoming more common for gift registry notifications to be included with the baby shower invitation. If this is the case, do not print the registry information on the invitation, the information should be on a separate slip.
  • Adopted children should be given a “baby welcoming” as well. They should be welcomed and celebrated the same way a biological child would. In regards to subsequent babies, personal circumstances dictate whether or not another shower should be given (the timing between the babies, the gender, family structure, culture, etc.). Often in these cases, the mothers have most of the baby essentials, like a crib, stroller, swing and high chair; therefore, pampers and smaller items would be more practical gifts.

The Shower – Host Duties

On the day of the event, the hostess should prepare to greet all the guests, allow the guests to get to know each other, have food and or desserts prepared, entertain the guests with games, and most importantly, set aside a time for all guests to recognize and congratulate the expecting mother. Setting aside time to open gifts during the shower is recommended if the shower is not too large, however, it is a matter of choice. Often, guests enjoy seeing the endowments the expectant mother receives.

Guests should always remember to RSVP in a timely manner, congratulate the mother-to-be personally and participate in the games and other activities at the shower.

Having a baby is an occasion that deserves to be shared with those close to you. When planned accordingly, you will have a successful celebration filled with decorum and joy.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers!

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.