There are certain events in life where particular behaviours are to be expected. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone wearing bright pink to a funeral, for example, or and it’s unlikely for a couple at a wedding reception to cut in while a bride and groom are in the midst of their first dance.
But what about baby showers? As it turns out, there are a few rules some “experts” say we should follow. Let’s start with the first one:
Who arranges the baby shower
Most people agree that the expectant mum shouldn’t be the one to throw her own baby shower. Not only is she likely to be too tired to go to the effort, but it may come across as her being selfish by asking for gifts.
One or more friends and family members should be the host or hostess of the baby shower. But before arranging anything, it’s important that you consult the expectant mum first to explore themes, where it should be held, and to obtain a guest list.
When to throw a baby shower
This is a “rule” on which most of us can agree. The baby shower should typically be thrown well before the baby is born, but it also shouldn’t be too far from the due date.
Most baby showers are thrown when a mum is between 30 to 36 weeks pregnant, though some may be as early as when she is six months pregnant. This really depends on whether the mum is having multiple babies or if it is a high-risk pregnancy, in which case the baby may come sooner than the usual 37 to 40 weeks.
When to send the invitations
You want to give people enough time to plan to attend the shower and to arrange for any childcare. A month’s notice tends to work best as it allows people to schedule the shower into their busy lives while not leaving it so late that they may forget to save the date.
Whether to drink alcohol or not
Some may feel uncomfortable drinking alcohol in front of the expectant mum simply because she can’t have a sip herself. But if you were to ask most mums about it, they would tell you that they certainly don’t mind you enjoying yourself and having a drink.
If you’re not sure where the mum stands on the whole “to booze or not to booze” issue, make sure that you have at least one or two “mock-tini” or “mock-tail” options for her and the guests. You can also cool some champagne in the fridge (as well as some sparkling apple juice) and offer a glass to each guest when you toast the expectant mum.
Whether men and children are allowed
Traditionally only women (and perhaps their children) attended baby showers. But it’s the 21st century and more men – particularly the father of the baby – are coming along to celebrate.
Ask the mum-to-be about what her stance is on who should attend. To ensure everyone has a good time, you can set up a separate “kid-friendly” room for the children and another room away from the party for anyone who may not feel comfortable in the area where the party is taking place.
Whether to have multiple showers for multiple children
This is easily the most hotly debated topic when it comes to baby showers. When should you stop throwing baby showers? After Baby #1? After Baby #3?
A lot of parents agree on the “one and done” deal: the shower should only be thrown when the parents are expecting their first bundle of joy. The reasoning behind this is that you should have kept all of the wonderful gifts you received during your first shower and you should use those same items with Baby #2, Baby #3 and so on.
Then there are other parents who agree that each baby deserves a party. In these situations, another baby shower may be thrown, or they may decide to throw what is known as a “baby sprinkle” (a smaller scale party with gifts for the mum like some beautiful new breastfeeding clothes!).
But what about parents of older children who are blessed with an unexpected pregnancy and who have given away all of their baby gear? Re-purchasing all of those baby items can be quite the financial burden, and a party is always a great way to connect with friends and family.
The only etiquette that matters is what works for the expectant parents. If someone who is in attendance is offended by something that happens at the baby shower, that’s just too bad. As long as the mum is surrounded by love and is having fun, you have done your job in throwing her an excellent baby shower.