Proper Baby Shower Etiquette

By Anne Clarke

The rules of baby shower etiquette are continually changing, but some timeless principles still apply. If you are considering hosting a baby shower, following are the basic rules of baby shower etiquette:

Who should host the baby shower?

Traditionally, friends or co-workers have held baby showers, but it is becoming more and more common for close family members to, as well. The rule of thumb is, if you want to throw a shower, go for it! This applies to everyone except for the parents to be.

Should fathers and men be invited to the shower?

Traditionally, baby showers have been held for women, but there is no baby shower etiquette rule that states that men cannot come, too. Fathers enjoy opening presents, too! Of course, if you do decide to invite males, try to stay away from games that are too cutesy that they may not like. Try to think of foods and activities that both men and women would enjoy.

Types of Baby Shower Invitations

It is becoming more and more acceptable to invite guest via telephone or e-mail. Of course, the preferred method is still a hand-written invitation sent through the mail. Most people appreciate this method better, and the invitation itself can serve as an extra reminder as to when the special day is.

When should I hold the baby shower?

Baby shower etiquette generally dictates that the shower should be held 1-2 months before the baby is due. This gives the parents enough time to go out and shop for important items that they did not receive at the shower. You do not want to hold the shower too close to the due date, in case the baby comes early.

It is becoming more common to hold a "welcoming" baby shower 1 to 4 weeks after the birth of the baby (just make sure that you give the guests enough notice). You obviously will not be able to plan the date of the shower until the baby is born. This type of shower is great for parents who did not want to know in advance the sex of their baby… guests will know whether to bring gifts for a boy or a girl. It is also good to hold a "welcoming" baby shower so that family and friends who are coming into town for the birth of the baby can attend, as well.

Is it okay to sign up for a baby registry?

Old rules of etiquette would say that it is a definite no-no to tell your guests what to bring (besides assigning a certain theme). But baby gift registries are becoming more popular. Ask the mother how she feels about a baby gift registry. If she gives the green light, go ahead and set one up. You can include a note in the invitation that says where the baby is registered, but it is best to communicate this by word of mouth. Be sure there is a wide range in the cost of the items. You can also propose that guests chip in for one, larger item.

You can also find lots of ideas and products online for baby shower supplies

Thank you notes

The mother/parents of the baby most definitely need to send out thank-you notes for all of the gifts. While the mother is opening the gifts, ask someone at the party to be a scribe and write down everything as she opens it. A host may even choose to print out in advance a list of the addresses of all of the guests; then the gift that each person gave can be written right next to the name, making it easier for the mother to send a thank-you note. A benefit to getting out thank-you notes early (for showers held before the baby is born), is that the mother will very busy once the baby is born. For mothers - a thank you note and even a small gift of thanks should be given to the host of the shower.

Refreshments for baby showers

Part of good baby shower etiquette is making sure that the guests have a good time. After all, they deserve to have a little fun as payment for the great gift that they are giving. What you give the guests does not matter so much as the fact that you should give something. Be sure to have plenty of food and good drinks at the shower. You can send each guest home with an additional party favor as well. You can also have some lovely gifts as prizes for baby shower games.

What about showers for a second baby?

It is perfectly acceptable to host a shower for a second baby. After all, the parents will need a few new items. However, proper etiquette states that only family members and very close friends should be invited to the shower of a second child, although you can invite people who did not attend showers for the first child.

Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on gifts and baby showers, please visit Distinct Gift Baskets

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