Generally, most people try and arrange their baby showers by the latest of six weeks before their due date. This is so the mum to be is a bit more comfortable, not so tired, and to avoid any untimely arrival.
Two weeks is considered to be quite late along the pregnancy to be holding a baby shower. It is better all round to hold it a bit earlier as baby showers can be quite stressful.
Especially if the mother to be is the person who is organizing the baby shower, or hosting it.
Some parents prefer their baby shower or ceremonies after the baby is born for religious reasons, or it may purely be their preference. Or if the child is being adopted.
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What is a baby shower?
A baby shower is a party to celebrate then other to be and the baby coming in to the world. Baby showers have happened for hundreds of years but in different capacities.
Even back to Ancient Greek and Roman times, gifts were given to expectant mothers. It has evolved over the years to the modern, contemporary party we see today.
Other countries, communities and religions have baby showers differently. Some cultures have celebrations after the baby is born rather than before, and some religions have a naming ceremony after the baby is born.
Baby showers typically take place before the baby is born, but not to close to when they baby will be born so the mother to be can also enjoy the celebrations.
Who should be invited to a baby shower?
Usually, the people who are invited to a baby shower are close family or friends, but anyone who the parents see fit can be invited. The parents will sometimes have a baby registry open with a store.
This is when the parents list what items they would like to receive for the baby shower, and people can buy them those desired items. Buying gifts, however, is not obligatory for a baby shower, and sometimes, people stipulate no gifts as they may already have what they need.
Some baby showers are designed more to enjoy the guests company and share stories over games, food and drink, without the added pressure of gifts.
Do I have to use a theme for a baby shower?
There’s no rule that says you should use a theme for your baby shower, but sometimes a theme can help organise events of the day. You can use your theme to decide what games you play or what food you supply.
But if you feel a theme will add extra stress to your day, you don’t need to go with a theme. The mother to be will usually decide the theme, but if someone else is organising the baby shower, it may be wise to check that the mum is happy with the chosen theme first, after all, it is her baby shower.
Some theme ideas are:
- Disney theme
- Baby boy/girl theme
- Harry Potter theme
- Nautical theme
- Your baby’s nursery theme
- Your favourite show
- Your favourite sport
- Dinosaur theme
- Seasonal theme
- Balloon theme
- Cowboy theme
- Bee theme
- Space theme
- Outdoor theme
- Vintage theme
- Rubber duck theme
- Superhero theme
- Lego theme
- Garden theme
- Unicorn theme
- Mermaid theme
- Animal theme
What is the earliest time to hold a baby shower?
It is advised to hold a baby shower later in the pregnancy and when the mother feels sure everything is going well. It is also nice to hold a baby shower later when the mother has a pregnant tummy to show off!
A party can also take the mothers mind off the long months and give something to look forward to. If someone else is organizing the baby shower, make sure the mother is happy with the timing and the date.
She may feel the baby shower is too soon, or too late, where she won’t be feeling very comfortable and may not be physically up to it. It is also acceptable to decide to hold a baby shower after the baby is born.
The key point is to not hold a baby shower to late where the mother can’t enjoy it as she is heavily pregnant.
What if I don’t want a baby shower?
It is OK to not want a baby shower, a party isn’t for everyone. If you feel you don’t want a baby shower, you could ask your friends for donations of baby items to a women’s shelter or homeless shelter.
It’s very rewarding to help other mothers and children who are in need and less fortunate. It’s also a great place to put any unwanted gifts, or baby shower gifts.
You could even make baby kits up ready to give away. These could include diapers, baby grows, socks, baby shoes, baby bath lotions or equipment.
Alternatively, you could decide on having a different celebration instead. Such as a naming ceremony after the baby is born, a party when the baby is born, or just an open house, which is like a gathering including all members of family and friends.
Historically, baby showers have always been very female focused, but it is now becoming more popular to include the dad to be and other males who will be prominent figures in your baby’s life. Baby showers aren’t just for mum and baby!
Who pays for a baby shower?
It is usually the host or hostess who pays for the baby shower. Although responsibility and cost can be shared between family and friends.
You may find it easier to organize your baby shower if you can delegate it to other guests.
Such as, one person can organize the games and one person can organize the food. It can be quite stressful if you try and organize the whole party by yourself and is a good idea to try and share the load.
Whilst it is usually the host or hostess who pays for the baby shower, a family member or friend may offer to pay for it for you.
If you are on a budget, you could hold the baby shower in your house, instead of hiring a hall. You could also provide the food yourself instead of getting catering.
Baby showers can be an expensive affair, but they don’t have to be. You can still have a great time on a budget.
Baby shower etiquette
Everyone is welcome – everyone is welcome to come to a baby shower, and it is now becoming more accepted for dads to attend too. It is great to be able to include the whole family and not just the female members. Every parent is entitled to a baby shower.
Every baby gets celebrated – it doesn’t matter if this is your first child, or second or third. Every baby should be celebrated as it is a very exciting time.
You may choose to do a slightly different ceremony for your other children to celebrate them arriving. However, which ever way you choose to celebrate their arrival, or when they arrive, is accepted.
Be careful what you say and do – sometimes parents don’t want to talk about subjects that they may find stressful, such as the actual birth itself. People also find it stressful if they are unmarried and being asked if they are going to marry their other half.
It is best to keep the conversation light, and try and read the vibe of the day. Another thing that can be upsetting for the mother to be is if you are invited and do not turn up without saying.
Or if you come but do not get involved in any activities or games. Your friend or family member who is pregnant has invited you to show how much they value your friendship and want you to be a part of their journey, so be sure to tell them if you can’t come, or if you would prefer not to take part in games.
Food and alcohol – it is a good idea to ask the mother to be what food she is happy with being present. This is because pregnant women sometimes can’t eat certain things such as shellfish.
Pregnant women also should avoid alcohol. If you are planning the food and drink, liaise with the mother to be with what food she can eat too, what food she is happy being present, and what drinks she is happy being present.
Pregnant women’s tastes also change over time so their may be a food she does not want around!
Say thank you – it is important for the mother to be to say thank you to her guests for taking the time to come to the party, and also spending their money on gifts. It can upset guests very quickly if they do not feel thanked for their efforts for you.
It is also a nice touch to send a thank you card to each guest after the baby shower.
What gifts shall I buy for a baby shower?
Often, parents will have a baby register they can share with you which will highlight what gifts they want or need. If the parents don’t have a baby register, other things you can buy are:
- Diapers – Diapers are a handy gift but beware if other people are buying them too as parents then get overloaded with diapers. It isn’t advised to buy newborn diapers as babies grow very quickly and sometimes do not fit the newborn diapers when they are born.
- Baby grows and baby clothes – Similar to diapers, lots of people buy baby grows and parents then find themselves swamped in baby grows, when soon they won’t fit. It may be better to buy baby outfits for 6 months plus so parents have clothes for later on.
- Socks – Similar with the baby grows and diapers point. New born socks may not fit for long so you could buy some for newborns and for when the baby is slightly older.
- Milk bottles, formula and steriliser
- Pack and play
- Baby food
- A gift experience for the mother to enjoy such as a spa day. Or a gift experience for the father.
- Amazon gift card
- Cash donation
- A gift card for a baby store
- A gift card for a meal out for the parents
- Baby mobiles
- Baby toys
- Soft toys
- Play mat
- Teething toys
Do I have to buy a gift?
No, you don’t have to buy a gift. Most parents will just be happy that you came as you will have been invited to show how much they value your friendship, or the relationship they have with you.
If you aren’t able to buy a gift now because you are on a budget, you can always buy a gift at a later date. There is no specific rule that you have to bring a gift to a baby shower.
Sometimes people feel pressure to buy gifts, or buy something expensive when you don’t have to. There are plenty of cheaper baby shower gifts you can buy.
You can even get some things second hand providing they are in good condition and not dirty. Cheaper items include clothing, books, pacifiers and teething toys.
If you are not sure on what to buy, you can simply buy a gift card, or something for the parents instead. By buying something for the parents, they feel celebrated too.