Baby showers are a bit like school proms – they’ve exploded in prominence over the last 15 years. However, they exist in so many forms that organising one can feel daunting at best. One thing is for sure, a baby shower is a wonderful excuse to get together with all your nearest and dearest to celebrate your impending arrival before parenthood gets real!
Expectant mothers have been given gifts throughout history. But it was the Victorians who introduced the social element to what became ‘stork parties’. The post-war baby booms led to a surge in popularity in the US especially. This was mainly driven by loved ones seeking to support younger family members suffering financial hardship.
When it comes to the modern baby shower, gifts are central. After all, the expectant mother is supposed to be being “showered” with gifts, right? This may be true, but selecting a gift can feel like a bit of a minefield.
Which gifts are appropriate?
The best approach is to be clear and direct without becoming a prima donna. A gift list is a fantastic way to avoid duplications and to receive items that you are more likely to find useful. However, if Auntie Jean specifically wants to gift you a cardi that she’s spent weeks knitting, understand the heartfelt intention behind this gift. Even if you already have a box full of cardi’s.
What to ask for
You’re constructing a list… What should you put on it? Let’s be honest, there are very few people except perhaps your own parents who are likely to gift a state of the art buggy system. So, much as you would with a wedding list, make sure that the items on your list range in value and include vouchers. Discuss it with your partner or support network, as they may have ideas you hadn’t thought of. Be wary of faddish hacks and gadgets. These things rarely live up to the hype. Think outside the box; perhaps a subscription, babysitting, or hot meals after the baby has arrived are things that would REALLY help you in the early weeks and months. Lastly, don’t forget about you. You’ll be inundated with cute things for your baby, so why not include a little something for you on your list?!
Etiquette and Tips
This is such a personal event that there are no hard and fast rules. A baby shower can be anything from a casual collection of friends in your kitchen to a fully themed event in a hired hall with speeches, hospitality and favours!
Who to invite
Short answer: whoever you like! The main decision is whether your party will be ladies only or mixed. Is it an event solely for you, or for you and your partner. You may want to keep it to friends or gather family around you. Work out what you feel most comfortable with and stick to it.
When to plan
Some prefer to wait until near to their due date before committing to a baby shower. This is down to the fact that that the risk of miscarriage decreases with every week of your pregnancy. Some may prefer not to organise it at all, and instead ask their partner or a friend to help out.
The tone of your party will in some way be dictated by the guest list. A gaggle of mates will be more girls-night-out than if your grandparents are coming along. For a girly baby shower, think about some games to include. Guess the baby food flavour is a fun, but messy one!
A baby shower is not to be confused with a gender reveal party. This is a topic that REALLY polarises viewpoints. Some people want to have both celebrations, some neither. Some choose to discover the gender of their baby, others prefer to wait until the birth. It’s possible to combine the events, just don’t expect gender specific gifts if you do go down this path!
A baby shower is really a great opportunity to practice following your instinct and going for what feels right. This is a skill that you’ll need as a mother so, sure, have a browse of Etsy and Insta to see what other people have done. Then ignore it and do whatever brings you joy!