Baby Shower Etiquette

It can be difficult to navigate the world of etiquette when it comes to having a baby, especially if you are not generally concerned with etiquette throughout the rest of your life. But when you have a baby, suddenly you find yourself surrounded by family and friends who seem to care a lot about it.

One of the biggest events that demand that you follow the rules of etiquette is a baby shower. It's wonderful to receive gifts for the baby and get together with friends and family to celebrate the baby's arrival, but you don't want to come off as selfish, tacky, or unappreciative.
Remember that you can't control the way people perceive your actions. Follow these basic etiquette guidelines and enjoy your baby shower.
If you are unsure of anything, ask your mother, grandmother, or another older woman what etiquette they might have followed when they had a baby; The general rules have only changed slightly over the last few generations.

The Offer

It can be considered tacky to throw a baby shower for yourself. It's more common for a friend, family member, or member of your spouse's family to throw you a baby shower, especially if it's your first baby.

What do you do if you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and nobody has offered? It's not considered polite to ask someone to throw you a baby shower unless they are very close to you, perhaps your mother or best friend. If someone hints around that they would like to do something for you during your pregnancy, you can ask them, too.

If for some reason you don't have a baby shower during your pregnancy, you could opt to throw a “Welcome Baby” party after the baby is born. This gives people a chance to meet the new baby without an obligation to bring gifts, though some will still bring them.

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Second babies

Don't expect a baby shower if this is your second baby (or more), although it's not uncommon. Someone may offer to throw you a smaller shower for your second baby.

Another reason for having another baby shower is if it's been several years since you had your first baby. Still, you shouldn't feel bad if nobody offers to throw you one.

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Invitations should be sent out at least a couple of weeks before the shower and include information about the type of meal provided as well as how formal the party will be. This will help guests to plan what to wear as well as what to eat before or after.

Your invitations can also mention one or two gift registries.

Generally, the host sends the invitations on behalf of the mother, but this is not a set rule.

Thank You

You will be responsible for sending thank you cards to all of those who attended. You can ask your host for the list of names and addresses of those who were invited.

It helps to designate a secretary during your shower to write down all of the gifts and their giver. Try to include a special thanks for any specific gifts that you received in each individual thank you card.

Vanessa Pruitt, PLMHP, MS

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