The Perfect Baby Shower Etiquette

Baby shower etiquette is not written in stone. Anyone can host a baby shower! There are no specific set of do's and don'ts, but there are a few general rules of thumb.

Your baby shower is going to be a huge success! Just follow these few guidelines below.

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.


Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What timeline does a typical Baby Shower party follow?
This timeline is a suggestion and one possible order of events for a baby shower. Use this as an outline for yours and mix up the order and duration of the events, or add or remove events according to your preferences and needs.

• A baby shower typically lasts about 2 hours.

• Guests arrive.

• Greet them at the door.

• Welcome Everyone there.

• Recognize the guest of honor (the Soon-to-be-Mommy), and let her make any comments that she might like to make (warn her ahead of time).

• Make introductions, or have each guest introduce themselves and how they know the expectant mother, or have the expectant mother introduce each guest, and how she knows each one.

• Serve any snacks or appetizers and beverages you have.

• Play 2-3 baby shower games. This helps the guests get to know each other and gets everyone into a "party" mood.

• Serve any main dishes and/or desserts or baby shower cake.

• Gather everyone around to watch the expectant mother open her gifts.

• Ooh and Aah. :]

• Chat, have fun, eat more, giggle and laugh as needed :] Guests often chat awhile after gifts are opened, and then gradually they will begin to leave.

• As guests begin to leave, pass out your baby shower favors.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Is it OK to have the Baby Shower after the baby is born?
Of course! There are good reasons to hold the baby shower before birth, and there are good reasons to hold it after birth. If you hold the baby shower before the baby is born, it gives the expectant mother gifts that she will need before the baby arrives. It also gives her strength, support, and love that she will need as her due date draws near (it can be an unknown and scary time). If you hold the baby shower after birth, it gives the opportunity to friends and family to meet the baby and congratulate the mom and dad. Plus, guests can know for sure if they should get a girl or boy gift. So, what you should do if you are undecided is talk to the expectant mother and ask her when she would like to have the shower. After all, mommy knows best!

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Is it OK if an expectant mother has more than 1 baby shower?
You bet! Only you shouldn't plan more than 1 of them. It is becoming quite common for an expectant mother to have 2 baby showers or more. Her family will plan one and then she'll have one from her friends. Don't feel obligated to throw a 2nd shower if she is already having a 1st, but don't feel prohibited from throwing a baby shower for her if she is already having another! The most important thing is that the expectant mother feels loved and supported. A 2nd or 3rd baby shower might be just what the doctor ordered to help strengthen her. Many times, if a family is having a baby shower for an expectant mother, her friends feel like they couldn't interact and bond with the mommy-to-be as much as they wished. So friends and family often have separate baby showers. Which is a fun way to do it. If the expectant mother is having another baby shower, you might want to consider making yours a little more intimate baby shower by inviting only her closest friends and/or family. You could do a "scrapbooking" baby shower , or a "pamper mommy" baby shower , or any other cute and personal baby shower theme.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What about a baby shower for an expectant mother who already has one or more children?
Traditionally, a baby shower is given only for the 1st child. Most mothers have most of the essential baby items after the 1st baby (like a crib, stroller, child safety items, baby monitors, etc). But each child is special and unique, and so it is very common for an expectant mother to receive a baby shower for each child. And there is just something about a baby shower that makes having a baby more exciting and the mother feels strengthened and loved. Regardless of how many children a mother may have, pregnancy is hard and scary EACH TIME! A baby shower helps in many unspoken and unseen ways. Because a 2nd time mommy already has the "big" essentials, gifts of diapers, burp cloths, baby lotion, formula etc. are excellent. Also, gifts to pamper the expectant mother are wonderful and fun ideas.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

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. The first few weeks should be time for the new parents to spend some quality time with their new baby. So hold the shower after 4 weeks or so. Here are some helpful hints and ideas for an Adoption Baby Shower ...

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Should you invite a guest who is having trouble having kids, or had a miscarriage?
There are 2 sides to the issue. On one hand, you don't want to hurt any feelings by being all excited about babies, what to name the baby, and what cute outfits the baby will wear while a girl who can't have children is listening to everything. You don't want that to come across as rubbing salt into a very real and tender wound. But on the other hand, you don't want to hurt any feelings by NOT inviting her and excluding her from the fun. That is almost worse because she might interpret that as everyone perceiving that she has a problem. And by not inviting her, it may seem that you are trying to tippy-toe around her and having fun without her. It is best to be on the safe side and invite her. Then the decision is hers to decide if she would like to come or if it would be too hard for her.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Are you thinking of hosting a surprise baby shower?
If you know for positive that the expectant mother would enjoy a surprise baby shower, then it would be a lot of fun. If you think that she maybe or might like a surprise baby shower or if you aren't sure one way or another, then it is much better (and easier!) to not surprise her and host a normal baby shower. That way, you could include the expectant mother in all your decisions and questions about the baby shower. If you are going to have a surprise baby shower because you know the expectant mother would love it (there are some) then be sure to include someone close to her in your planning - maybe her husband, or mother, or sister. By including someone else, you will have someone that can help you know who all it invite, what she likes for colors, and themes, baby names, etc. Also, in your invitations include that it is a surprise baby shower and not to mention it to the expectant mother. Good Luck!

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

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. Most baby showers have only the women there, but ask the expectant mother what she would enjoy the most.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

How do you begin planning a baby shower?
Click here for excellent directions and suggestions on how to plan a baby shower .

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Who should plan the Baby Shower?
Basically anyone but the expectant mother. Traditionally, a friend (not a family member) plans the baby shower. However, more and more often, family members are planning and hosting baby showers for the expectant mother. Often, several women will co-plan and co-host the baby shower. This really helps share the cost, the work, the stress, and the Fun!

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

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.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

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.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

When should you have the Baby Shower?
Talk to the expectant mother and father about what day would be convenient for them. Usually a baby shower is 6 weeks before the delivery date. Holding the baby shower after the birth is becoming more frequent and is a fun time for the mother to do it as well. Weekends are usually easier for most people. Fathers are usually home to watch the children while the women can go to the shower. However, many people find that weekdays and nights are just as convenient. Most people can plan around the day you and the expectant parents decide on. Keep in mind people who may have to travel. Also, talk with the expectant mother and father about the most convenient time for the shower. Usually, any and all times on the weekends are good. Mid-day is usually preferred when planning a baby shower. Weekdays are also an option if no one works during the day. Week nights usually are a good time if some people work during the day. Husbands are usually home to be able to watch the kids in the evenings. Take into account any potential holidays, school schedules, kids' practices, doctor's appointments, etc.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

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 it is not 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.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Where should you have the Baby Shower?
Most baby showers are held in the home of the hostess. They are more casual, more relaxed, and usually more intimate. However, it depends on what kind of feel you (and the expectant mother) want to have. A restaurant or a reception hall can give an elegant, pampered feel. But that usually costs quite a bit. Consider the number of people you are inviting, how much space you will need, parking, noise level (an apartment party might upset the neighbors). Do you want it outside or inside?

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Should you have a theme for the Baby Shower?
Having a theme is VERY helpful in planning a baby shower, because it helps make it easy to plan your invitations, decorations, favors, food, etc. It is usually best to consult with the soon-to-be mother about the theme. Choosing a theme will really get your creativity going! A great idea for a baby shower theme is to have the same theme as the baby's nursery. Click here to see some of the cutest Baby Shower Themes .

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What should you know about Baby Shower invitations?
Get them done early! Nothing is more stressful than mailing out the invitations late. Click here for excellent tips and examples of cute baby shower invitations . Consider the baby shower theme and incorporate it into the baby shower invitations. This is the first impression that your guests will have with the baby shower. So make it fun from the get-go with your invitations! Be sure to include the date, time, location, and directions to the Baby Shower party. Also include when and where to RSVP. You will want guests to respond no later than 2 weeks before the baby shower. Indicate how to contact you with their RSVP (i.e. by telephone, email, or mail). Also, include any instructions for participation in any of the baby shower games.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

How should you invite the guests?
You can invite the guests to the baby shower in any number of ways. Your options are: (from least expensive to more expensive)

• Email
• Phone Call

Free printable baby shower invitations
• Make your own invitations
• Printed invitations with blanks that you fill in with the baby shower party details
• Printed, personalized invitations that have all the baby shower details printed on them

Traditional baby shower etiquette is to send an invitation by mail, but that is not a requirement.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What is a "Grandmother Baby Shower"?
A Grandmother Baby Shower is a New Baby Shower trend, and a lot of fun for the expectant grandmother. It is basically like a normal baby shower, but it is held by friends of the expectant grandmother who want to celebrate the arrival of the 1st grandchild. Gifts may be items that a grandmother would need at her house to care for and entertain a new grandbaby. Grandmother Baby Showers are usually not as big a party as a normal baby shower, but they are a lot of fun for a brand new grandmother.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What is a Baby Registry?
A baby registry is a list of necessary and helpful items that an expectant mother (and expectant father) makes at a baby store. An expectant mother should register at a baby registry about 2-3 months before her delivery date. This helps friends and family know what an expectant mother needs for her new baby. A baby registry is kept on-file at the store, and has all of the items that the expectant parents will need for their new arrival. If someone else has already purchased an item on the store's list, the baby registry will indicate that as well.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What Baby Shower decorations should you use?
Click here for some great baby shower decoration ideas and tips. The theme you have chosen will decide what type of decorations you will have. If you have not chosen a theme and just want to do a general "baby" theme that is easy too! Think about how you want to decorate and decide what decorations you will need. Do you want a few simple and tasteful decorations? Or do you want to go all out and decorate with everything? Above all, remember that this is a party and the decorations create a fun atmosphere for the entire party.

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What Baby Shower Games should you play?
Here is an excellent selection of all types of baby shower games ...

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

How many Baby Shower Games should you have?
There is no "required" number of baby shower games that need to be played. Some baby showers don't have any baby shower games at all. Others have 3 or 4. Any more than 4 baby shower games and most guests are "gamed out." At most baby showers, there are 2 to 3 games. Ask the expectant mother for her preference. Consider the guests who are coming. Would most of them prefer to chat the whole time? Or would it help enliven the baby shower by playing some fun baby shower games to get everyone involved?

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

What Baby Shower food should you serve?
There is no baby shower etiquette rule that specifies what you should and should not serve. Consider the number of guests, time of day, the baby shower theme, your budget, any health considerations the guests may have (diabetes, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, etc) and whether you want to serve a complete meal or just appetizers, snacks, and beverages. Remember to always have more food than you think you will need. It's best to have too much than to run out halfway into the shower. Read all about planning a baby shower menu and food here...

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Do you need to have baby shower favors for the guests?
I have been to Baby Showers where there HAVE been baby shower favors and to others where there were NOT baby shower favors. Guests come to a baby shower to celebrate an expectant mother's new baby, not to receive a baby shower favor. SO, baby shower favors are certainly not a requirement, and in most cultures not expected. But they are a fun idea and they make guests feel appreciated that they came to the baby shower. If you are not sure as to whether or not to have baby shower favors, it is better to have them than to not have them. Shower favors can be something small and inexpensive. To be on the safe side, you could have something simple and sweet and inexpensive to give the guests before they leave to thank them for coming. Click here for excellent and creative baby shower favor ideas .

Baby Shower Etiquette
_______________________________________

Baby Shower etiquette is ever changing. What was once improper baby shower etiquette 15 years ago is now acceptable and even the norm sometimes. If you can't follow or don't want to follow some of the baby shower etiquette above, you will be just fine. Again, these aren't written rules. They are more of a guideline of what the "norm" is for baby showers.

Baby Shower Etiquette
____________________________________________

Click here for more baby shower etiquette & planning ideas