Baby Shower Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts Guide

Baby Shower Etiquette: Do's and Don'ts Guide

Whether you’re the mom-to-be or the host, you might be wondering about baby shower etiquette. Here’s a simple guide to help you navigate the do's and don’ts.

Who Should Throw the Baby Shower?

First things first: who will host this party? Traditionally, baby showers were hosted by close female friends or not-so-immediate female relatives (like aunts or cousins) of the mom-to-be. But times have changed, and now it’s considered acceptable for just about anyone to host this celebration. Many women might even be honored with more than one shower, hosted by friends, family, or even coworkers.

Generally speaking, however, the mom-to-be doesn’t throw a baby shower for herself. The point of these fun events is for the mom-to-be to sit back and allow herself to be celebrated, not to worry about refreshments and invitations. Keep in mind that if no one steps up to host the party (and we doubt this will happen!), it’s fine for the mom-to-be to ask someone close to her to plan a small shower.
Even though the mom-to-be is not the host, she is still involved in some planning, like helping put together the guest list and creating the gift registry.

Who to Invite?

Baby shower invite etiquette is pretty simple. If you’re the host, consult closely with the mom-to-be about which close friends and family members she would like on the guest list. You don’t want to miss someone who is important to her. At the same time, you should be honest with the mom-to-be about the budget and venue limitations. It may be tempting (not to mention easy) to include everyone on the mom-to-be’s Facebook friends list, but you'll probably need to limit the guest list to mom’s nearest and dearest.

What about dads and other male guests? Traditional showers were strictly ladies only, but again, times have changed. Discuss with the mom-to-be and plan the guest list accordingly,

Whether or not you include dads and guys, the key is to agree on the guest list with the mom-to-be well in advance to make sure everyone important to her has a chance to attend.

When and Where to Have a Baby Shower?

Early on in planning the shower, remember that when you hold the celebration is just as important as where to have a baby shower. Usually, showers are held later in pregnancy, often around four to six weeks before the due date, but always check with the expectant family first. It’s best to send invitations about four to six weeks before the shower so guests can save the date, and so out-of-town guests can make travel plans.

Where to host the shower may be dependent on the number of guests, and on what suits both the host and guest of honor. The mom-to-be’s home can be a convenient option, but if this is the chosen site be mindful not to cause extra stress for her with intensive preparations and cleanup.

Baby Registry

The baby registry can raise some baby shower etiquette concerns, but these can be handled with planning and consideration. Typically the mom-to-be creates the gift registry and passes the information on to the host. To make gift shopping easier for guests, the host often sends information about the registry with the invitation.

As a mom-to-be, when preparing a baby registry, keep in mind the budget and time of friends and family. For example, include options with a range of prices, and lots of options that can be purchased in stores that guests have easy access to. The registry typically includes things the baby needs such as clothes, books, or basic supplies like diapers.

If this is not your first baby, then you might have many of the practical items already, so consider listing staples like diapers, wipes, and baby lotion, which you’ll need plenty of. If you’re expecting a girl after having two boys, the shower could be a chance for guests to choose something more gender-specific, such as more girly clothes or toys.

Baby shower gift-giving etiquette aside, if you still have questions about what to include, check out our guide to digital baby shower registries.

As a guest, remember that you’re not obligated to shop only from the registry. Feel free to give something from the heart, something that reflects your special friendship with the mom-to-be, or something creative, like a diaper cake. These cakes are easier to make than you might think, and will certainly be appreciated!

What About Baby Number Two? Or Three?

Although baby showers were traditionally a chance for friends and family to provide the mom-to-be with the essentials she needs for her first baby, she may now already have the basics. However, even if it’s the mom’s second or third baby, a shower can still be held to celebrate the new addition to the family. In this case, as the host, you may want to shift the emphasis from gifts to friendship and fun.

If you’re the host, we’re sure you’ll plan a great shower with the help of our baby shower checklist. Plus, now that you’re familiar with the etiquette for baby showers, you can have a little fun, too: Choose a theme, and plan some fun baby shower games so your shower will go off without a hitch.

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