The best way to celebrate the upcoming birth of a baby? By hosting a baby shower, of course! Baby showers are special occasions during which the expectant mother - and the unborn baby - are "showered" with gifts, such as self-care products, diapers and tiny baby clothes.
However, while gift-giving is an incredibly important part of any baby shower, that's not all there is to it. Indeed, baby showers are also a good time for the mom-to-be to ask questions as well as to ask for advice, especially if some of her guests have kids of their own. In addition, no baby shower would be complete without plenty of baby games. And while some of these games seem totally ridiculous, boring, bizarre and even embarrassing, there is no denying that they can make baby showers more fun than they would otherwise be.
Traditionally, baby showers have been considered as all-female celebrations, meaning that the baby daddy and male friends were not invited to participate. This tradition is still kept by some moms-to-be to this day. However, others have a more modern outlook and believe that inviting the baby daddy to the shower - as well as male friends - is a good way to demonstrate that baby raising is all about joint effort.
Pick the location.
Before baby shower planning can truly begin it is necessary to choose the perfect location. More often than not a baby shower is held at the expectant mother’s house. This is due to the fact that it is by far the easiest option in that it does not require the pregnant woman to travel anywhere. Plus, most pregnant women are most comfortable in their own house. But of course, just because that is the most popular option that does not mean that a baby shower can’t be held at a different location, such as at a best friend’s house, at a beach or even at a tea room.
Pick the theme.
While it is not at all necessary to have a theme for a baby shower, most people will without doubt agree that having a theme really helps. After all, a theme will help one make other planning decisions, especially those relating to décor. Plus, a theme will help pull the whole shower together. A quick internet search will make it quite clear that there are countless of baby shower themes to choose from. Some reveal the gender of the baby and others are gender-neutral.
Pick the color scheme.
Some people like to forego a baby shower theme and go for a specific color scheme instead, such as blue and white if the baby is a boy and pink and white if the baby is a girl. On the other hand, others like to choose a baby shower theme as well as a color scheme, to further simplify the planning process. Finally, still others are happy with their baby shower theme and do not think that they need a color scheme too.
E-mail invites or physical invites?
While most expectant mothers will notify their friends and family about the upcoming baby shower via word of mouth, it is also a common practice to send out physical baby shower invites. Physical baby shower invites make the occasion feel more special. Plus, they also make potential guests feel appreciated for it means that the expectant mother went to the effort of sending them an invite. However, while physical invites are certainly a nice touch, some expectant mothers opt for e-mail invites instead. After all, they are much easier to send and plus they save paper.
Have the shower before or after the baby is born?
Most baby showers are held before the baby is born. It is common to have a baby shower in the later months of one’s pregnancy although of course there is no rule against having a baby shower early on in the pregnancy either. On the other hand, some mothers are so busy with their pregnancy – with their changing body and the preparations for the baby – that they simply do not have the time to have a baby shower. As such, they wait until the baby is born.
When will the shower be held?
When it comes to choosing the perfect time of the year to hold a baby shower, the decision more often than not rests with the expectant mother and her personal preference. For example, if the expectant mother loves autumn, she might decide to have a baby shower then, even if it means having it earlier on in the pregnancy (or later on in the pregnancy). However, sometimes the decision is also influenced by the availability of the expectant mother’s family and friends.
Pick the time of day.
There is no universally perfect time of the day to have a baby shower. Once again, it all comes down to the expectant mother and her preference. For example, if the expectant mother feels unwell on most mornings she might choose to host a baby shower in the afternoon or the evening. On the other hand if she feels tired in the evenings she might decide to have a baby shower in the morning. However, the timing will also depend on the availability of friends and family members, and, if the venue is hired, on the time slots available.
How long will the shower last?
Most baby showers last a couple of hours at most. After all, how long can one spend talking about babies, decorating onesies and bibs and opening gifts, right? Plus, it is worth bearing in mind that the expectant mother might get tired rather quickly and as such it is a good idea to let her rest. Still, some baby showers last half a day or even the whole day, depending on who is invited to it. If it’s just family members and close friends, the expectant mother might feel pretty relaxed and comfortable and will probably not get tired as quickly.
Who will be invited?
It is generally advised that only those who are very close to the expectant mother – think family members and best friends – are invited to the baby shower. Indeed, there is no need to invite friends from college (if the expectant mother is no longer in touch with them that is), general acquaintances and work colleagues to the upcoming baby shower. Inviting people whom the mom-to-be is not super close to will only make it awkward for everyone, the expectant mother and the guests included.
Who will NOT be invited?
We have already mentioned that it is generally advised that only those who are very close to the expectant mother are invited to the baby shower. However, there is no rule against inviting general acquaintances and work colleagues if that is what the expectant mother wants do. Still, more often than not there is at least one person that the mom-to-be does not want attending the party. It might be the baby daddy (since most people consider baby showers to be female-only events) or it might be the mother-in-law.
Pick the budget.
Most people consider baby showers to be truly special occasions and as such more often than not, no expense is spared when it comes to planning one. While from the outside baby showers might not seem all that expensive, things quickly add up. Depending on where one shops, the decorations might end up costing quite a lot and unless the food is cooked at home, catering will also cost quite a bit. Those who hire a venue will end up paying even more.
Will kids be invited?
Baby showers are held in honor of the expectant mother as well as the baby. Indeed, the baby – even though he or she hasn’t even been born yet – is the real star of the party. However, that doesn’t mean that other kids are welcome. Indeed, some expectant mothers might specify that no kids be brought to the shower. On the other hand, some expectant mothers might be thrilled to have little guests at the shower because it will give them a taste of what is to come.
Pick the balloons
No baby shower is complete without plenty of balloons! Indeed, when it comes to baby shower décor, balloons are probably one of the most popular décor items purchased, and it is easy to see why. They are relatively cheap yet they look pretty amazing and instantly give any venue a more festive feel. Best of all, there are countless of balloon options to choose from which means that everyone should be able to find balloons that they like, whether they are confetti-filled balloons or animal shaped balloons.
Pick the table centerpiece.
Another important décor decision that needs to be made when it comes to baby showers is the table centerpiece. While it is of course totally okay to have no table centerpiece (and indeed, quite a few expectant mothers opt to forego them), there is no denying that table centerpieces add to the general festive feeling. The most popular table centerpieces are without doubt flowers and candles but one can also go for more quirky centerpieces too, such as diaper cakes or alphabet blocks.
Will there be a photo booth?
Since baby showers are pretty special occasions, it makes sense that most expectant mothers want to ensure that they remember the special day in the years to come. As such, some moms-to-be decide to hire a professional photographer to capture the special day. However, a professional photographer is usually a stranger which might make things a bit awkward. Thus, most expectant mothers will simply ask their family and friends to snap pictures on the day or else will hire a photo booth. The best thing about photo booths is that they not only provide one with special mementos, they are also incredibly fun and are sure to entertain the guests for hours.
Pick the outfit.
The outfit that the expectant mother wears during the baby shower will more often than not depend on who is attending and on how she is feeling. For example, if the expectant mother is finding her pregnancy very difficult and she knows that her shower will only be attended by those who are very close to her, then she might opt to wear something comfortable such as leggings and a sweatshirt. On the other hand, if the expectant mother is not feeling too bad she might decide to dress up for the occasion.
Pick the finger food.
No party – whether it is a wedding reception or a baby shower – is complete without plenty of food. While finger food is not exactly filling, it is nonetheless very satisfying. What is it about tiny food that is so incredibly gratifying? Perhaps it’s the fact that most finger food is unique and unusual and the fact that we can indulge in it without feeling guilty for eating too much. Some examples of good finger food include loaded baked potato salad bites, cheese truffles, pigs in blankets and goat cheese poppers with honey.
Pick the main meal.
While one can experiment with finger food and give one’s guests the most unusual of options, when it comes to the main meal it is important to choose something that is guaranteed to satisfy all guests. As such, it is a good idea to ask one’s guests whether they have any allergies, whether any of them are vegetarian or vegan and whether any of them are gluten intolerant. In general, good main meal options include foods such as tacos, burgers, pizza and Mac and cheese.
Pick the cake.
Most expectant mothers choose the baby shower cake based on its appearance. For example, the expectant mother might look at a cake that is shaped like a baby bottle and go for it regardless of what other cake options are available. However, it is important to choose a cake based not only on its appearance but also on its flavor. No one will be impressed with a cake that looks amazing but tastes bad. Some good cakes with flavors that everyone seems to like include hummingbird cake, lemon drizzle cake, vanilla cake and Snickers cake.
Pick another dessert.
When it comes to desserts, the cake is usually at the center of attention. However, it is a good idea to give guests other dessert options too. After all, some people might not like the flavor of the cake or they might have some other reasons for not wanting to eat it. Most expectant mothers are well aware of this and as such they ensure that there is a selection of desserts on offer at their baby shower. Some good dessert options include all-time favorites such as cupcakes, doughnuts, cake pops and ice cream.
Pick the drink.
It is not recommended that expectant mothers drink alcohol. As such, most baby showers are alcohol-free. However, that does not necessarily mean that guests will be treated to boring drink options, such as water, soft drinks or tea, during a baby shower. Indeed, nowadays we are lucky in that there are plenty of unique and fun non-alcoholic drink options that we can choose from. For example, good drink options include things such as iced tea, orange slush punch, pineapple ginger sparkler and sparkling summer lemonade.
Pick a shower trend.
Gone are the days when baby showers were glum and boring occasions that consisted of expectant mothers fawning over baby diapers and of guests playing the most ridiculous of baby games. Nowadays most baby showers are much more elegant and sophisticated, not to mention fun. This is partly thanks to recent baby shower trends. For example, some popular baby shower trends from recent years include gender neutral showers, voucher showers (where instead of baby gifts expectant mothers are gifted vouchers to spend as they please), gender reveal showers and eco showers (also known as green showers).
Pick a useless shower trend.
Not all baby shower trends are worthy of attention. Indeed, there are plenty of baby shower trends that are either questionable or downright ridiculous. However, everyone has different taste which means that while some people might find certain baby shower trends genius, others will find them bizarre. Some baby shower trends that might seem questionable to some include the mommy sleepover, jointly host baby shower (where a few expectant mothers host one baby shower), man shower (instead of an all-female baby shower it is an all-male baby shower) and cash registry shower (which is kind of genius but also a bit rude).
Pick a game.
When one thinks of baby showers one without doubt thinks of baby shower games. Indeed, games are a good way to pass the time and to also have fun at the same time. After all, there is only so much time than one can spend opening gifts and talking about babies, right? There are countless of baby shower games out there. This means that expectant mothers will definitely find something to suit their and their guests needs. For example, some of the more popular baby shower games include onesie decorating, don’t drop the baby game, diaper change relay race and baby shower bingo.
Pick a game to avoid.
No one will openly admit it but the fact of the matter is that most baby shower guests greatly dislike baby shower games. And that is perfectly understandable. While a handful of baby shower games out there are truly innovative, unique and fun the majority of them are ridiculous, embarrassing and boring. In short, most baby shower games are totally useless and a total waste of time. For example, some baby shower games that some might find tedious include guess the baby food, bobbing for pacifiers, baby bottle chugging game and sniff the diaper game.
Where is the registry?
Not all expectant mothers will have a gift registry. Still, having a gift registry is highly recommended. Those who don’t have one usually find themselves with a number of useless or thoughtless gifts or with a number of gift duplicates. After all, there are only so many blankets and bibs that a baby might use before he or she outgrows them. Having a gift registry might seem like a lot of hassle but a quick internet search will provide the expectant mother with all the information that she could possibly need, including the best stores to register at.
What is a baby-registry must have?
The best thing about having a baby registry is the fact that the expectant mother can specify the baby items that she wants the most. Some of these baby items might be more expensive than others but each guest will be able to get the item that is affordable to him or her. Some of the most common baby registry items include things such as infant car seats, strollers, baby monitors and baby first aid kits. Choose the one that is an absolute must-have.
What will NOT go on the baby registry?
We’ve already mentioned that having a gift registry is incredibly useful because the expectant mother can specify the baby items that she would like to receive the most. However, sometimes expectant mothers put down items that are not very useful (and some of which are actually dangerous). Some of these items might include things such as wipe warmers (which are not as useful as they appear to be at a first glance), crib bumpers (which can be rather dangerous), baby blankets, and bottle sterilizers.
Pick the best gag gift.
Expectant mothers will without doubt receive a great number of useful and thoughtful gifts during a baby shower, such as diapers and baby clothes. As such, guests who have a good sense of humor might opt for funny gag gifts instead. These gifts may not be as useful as some of the other gifts, but at least they will put the expectant mother in a good humor (hopefully!) Popular gag gifts include things such as snotsuckers (which are actually not only funny but also useful), funny books, baby ear plugs and funny pacifiers.
Pick the best baby name suggestion.
If the expectant mother has not yet settled on a baby name she might ask her guests to make suggestions. While more often than not name suggestions made by guests prove to be totally useless to the expectant mother that does not mean that this exercise is completely pointless. After all, one never knows – someone might just come up with the most perfect baby name and free the expectant mother from her misery. Some good baby names that are perfect for both baby boys and baby girls include Avery, Riley, Taylor and Charlie.
Pick an unsuitable baby name suggestion.
We’ve already mentioned that sometimes expectant mothers ask their guests to make baby name suggestions during the baby shower. While sometimes this exercise results in some amazing suggestions, more often than not the expectant mother does not like the names that the guests come up with. Picking a baby name is a very serious task and one that should not be taken lightly. After all, the baby will be stuck with the name forever! Which one of the below four names – Lyric, Eden, London and Drew – is the most useless?
Show guests the nursery?
A baby shower is a great time to show one’s friends and family members the baby’s nursery. As such, it comes as no surprise that many moms-to-be do just that. Sometimes showing the baby’s nursery to one’s guests can be a very beneficial exercise in that some guests (especially those who have kids themselves) might suggest a few improvements. On the other hand, some moms-to-be might have no desire to show their guests the baby’s nursery. Still in other cases the nursery might not be fully done yet.
Thoughts on co-ed baby showers?
Co-ed baby showers basically mean coeducation baby showers. Coeducation baby showers are showers that are hosted by both parents – the mother and the father – and which include both female and male guests. Co-ed baby showers are a rather recent baby shower trend and while some people – those who are more traditional in their mindset - frown upon such showers others think that they are the best thing ever because they show that raising a baby is a joint effort and one that involves both the mother and the father.
Pick the favors.
At the end of most parties, guests leave with party favors. Baby showers are no exception. Favors are a nice way to show guests one’s appreciation and to thank one’s guests for coming to the shower. Favors are small gifts and can include just about anything. They are usually not expensive – some are actually handmade by the mom-to-be - but are nonetheless thoughtful. For example, baby shower favors might include things such as baby carriage cookies, mini succulent pots, DIY wildflower gardens and lip balm rattles.
Pick the thank you cards.
A day or two after the baby shower is held the expectant mother usually sends her guests a thank-you card to thank them for coming to the baby shower as well as to thank them for their gifts. Thank-you cards are a nice touch and most guests really appreciate them. When it comes to thank-you cards, there are plenty of options to choose from. For example, the expectant mother can make them herself, buy them from the store, or get them specially made. Sometimes thank-you e-mails are sent instead of physical cards, especially if the mother is very busy or if she is very environmentally-conscious.