Babies come with lots of questions. Questions of baby shower etiquette are usually among the first that you will face. Fortunately for you, the modern parent has lots of options!
There are about a million ways to be a great parent and just as many variations on throwing a great baby shower. And as experts who have hosted thousands of baby showers, you can be sure that our advice is tried and true. This handy guide will help you navigate the new, modern rules to creating a fun baby shower everyone is sure to love.
Baby Shower Etiquette for the Guest of Honor
#1 Who should host the baby shower?
Traditional rules say that a family member or friend host the baby shower. You can certainly follow this rule but a great idea is to think about the reasoning behind it. Ask someone who you feel comfortable with, even if that’s a person who falls outside of the traditional rules. If you have a closer relationship with a parent, neighbor, or even yourself, feel free to ask that person to host.
#2 Can I throw my own baby shower?
This is becoming more and more common, with more than 50% of virtual baby showers using our services being hosted by a parent-to-be. This is an area where the traditional rules are quickly changing in favor of flexibility. A virtual baby shower is a perfect way to allow everyone to participate in welcoming a new baby.
#3 When should the baby shower be held?
Traditional: There are a few things to think about when selecting a date for your baby shower. You want to be far enough along to enjoy the baby-themed treats and games. Many parents wait until they find out the gender of their baby so that they can incorporate it into the theme. But, you also need to consider how comfortable you will feel at the end of pregnancy. Shutterfly recommends having a baby shower sometime between the sixth and eighth month of pregnancy.
Modern: A virtual baby shower is typically ‘held’ over the course of a few weeks and offers incredible flexibility. This allows for maximum participation from guests, as they can sign in to leave a heartfelt message, play games, or share photos throughout the duration of the shower. You can incorporate an online shower with an in-person no problem.
Most showers have a live video chat element that is scheduled and this is both much easier to fit into everyone’s weekend plans and your invitation list just changed completely! BFF just moved to Iceland? No problem.
#4 Baby shower guest list– who should be invited?
Traditional: Start by making a list of people who you want to be a part of your baby’s life. Close family and friends are a great place to start. You may be limited by space at your venue, so consider that when you think about how many people you plan to invite.
Modern: The guest list changes completely. Can’t feed 119 people? No problem. A modern baby shower can even include guests separated from remote locations. Virtual baby showers allow out-of-town guests to participate, either through games, photos, timelines, guest books, or tuning in to a live feed of the shower.
#5 Baby shower registry etiquette
Online registries are a relatively new part of celebrations but are becoming standard. Critics argue that it is akin to asking for gifts. But remember a baby shower is designed to shower mom and dad with love and help them prepare for a baby. The vast majority of guests appreciate being directed to a specific list of what will help the parents-to-be the most.
Registries also make it easy to ship gifts directly to the recipient, something that guests surely appreciate. Parents.com recommends including registry information somewhere other than the invitation and not pressuring guests to only use the registry when selecting a gift.
Registries are also a practical tool for parents-to-be to use. Many have suggested lists that will help parents make sure they are prepared for baby’s arrival. Most offer discounts on items that are left on the list; this can be a huge financial help to parents-to-be who may still need essential baby gear after their shower is complete.
WebBabyShower has the option to add any online gift registry you want to your virtual shower, or remove them completely.
#6 To unwrap or not, that is the question: opening gifts at the party
Baby clothes and gifts are just the cutest! Everyone loves to see the adorable onesies, tiny socks, and little toys. Should you plan on opening the gifts at the party for everyone to fawn over? It depends.
If your shower is a small or even medium-sized affair, go ahead and open presents if that’s how you want to celebrate. For large groups, unwrapping presents at the actual shower may present a logistics challenge. If you are hosting a virtual baby shower, opening presents is still possible and oh-so-much fun. Ask guests who want to send gifts to do so ahead of the event to shower the mother-to-be with love and gifts, with the instructions to wait to open them until the live event. You will love the anticipation that builds!
Etiquette for the Baby Shower Host
#7 RSVP 101
Traditional: Hosting a baby shower? You should expect to get the RSVPs from guests. Make sure to provide your contact info, whether phone, email, or both, to make it easy for guests to let you know if they are able to attend. Virtual baby showers or showers using electronic invitations make it easy for guests to mark if they plan on attending. It also makes it easy to for you as the host to keep track of who to expect. Services like Evite, Minted, or Paperless Post have a variety of adorable electronic invitations!
Modern: Baby Shower RSVP sending is built right into the system, you can send great designs right from your account with our email tracking feature, or use your personal email, it’s super easy and completely up to you.
#8 Baby shower invitations
Traditional: Invitations are the first thing that your guests will see about your shower and offer the perfect chance to set the tone for a fun and festive event. You can choose to send paper invitations, electronic invites, or a hybrid. Sites like postable.com allow you to select and customize your cards online, then do all the work of getting them in the mail for you.
Need some inspiration for just what to write in your invitations? Stay tuned for our guide for the perfect baby shower invitation wording.
Modern: Baby Shower RSVP and invitations are all wrapped into one service. Want to know when guests are participating in games, uploading pics or video? You can get alerts for that as well.
#9 When should I send the baby shower invitations?
Traditional: We recommend sending out your invitations four weeks in advance of the event, Thebump.com does as well. This allows guests enough time to make plans to attend.
Modern: A web baby shower can be a little bit more flexible, as guests are able to log in over the span of days or weeks to participate. But any event with a live portion, whether in-person or virtual, should include invitations sent out with enough notice for guests.
#10 Food and bevies
Food and drinks are a great place to showcase your baby shower theme. Whether you serve light bites or a full meal, let your creativity shine! Delish.com has great ideas for appetizers that your guests are sure to love while they mingle and enjoy the party. Not sure if you should serve alcohol at a baby shower? If that’s something that your guests will enjoy, go for it! Just make sure to include a tasty mocktail for those not indulging and you are sure to have a great time.
#11 Should I choose a theme?
Traditional: This is entirely up to you and the guest-of-honor; consider what you will have fun putting together. If you’re having fun, so will your guests. Popular choices include jungle themes, safari animals, and, of course, elephants! If you’d like to use a theme but aren’t sure where to start, you can purchase a package that has all of the things you may need–decorations, plates, games.
If you’re not into themes, don’t feel like you have to force it. As long as you have a fun environment full of love, your party is sure to be a hit.
Modern: Themes are alive and well and easy to edit. No standing on ladders required!
#12 Is it okay to throw a baby shower for a second child?
Traditional: New babies are always something to celebrate and a baby shower is a great way to do that. A baby “sprinkle” is becoming a popular choice to celebrate a second or third child. With a smaller event, the focus can be on the guest-of-honor and new baby. Instead of gifts, invite guests to bring meals for the freezer or gift them with babysitting or housekeeping help after the baby arrives.
Modern: Virtual baby showers are another way to keep the focus on family and close friends who are eagerly anticipating baby’s arrival. If you do want to throw a full, traditional baby shower for a second or third child, go right ahead! Any way that celebrates the arrival of the new little one is perfect.
#13 Is a surprise baby shower a good idea?
If the guest-of-honor likes surprise parties, a baby shower is a great opportunity to throw an epic event while letting mom-to-be relax and enjoy her pregnancy. A virtual baby shower can also be a surprise. Have guests send gifts ahead of time to the host, rather than the guest-of-honor. When it’s time for the big surprise, all the host needs to do is bring the gifts over and let the party get started!
#14 What happens during the baby shower?
This is another question that is left entirely to the host and guest-of-honor to decide. Popular activities include playing baby-themed games, enjoying food and drinks, opening gifts, and just enjoying the company of friends and family. The important thing to remember is to have fun. Whatever helps your guests, and most importantly the parents-to-be, have a good time is a great baby shower activity.
#15 Baby shower games
Many guests will expect to play some baby shower games at the party. But don’t feel that you are limited to the “traditional” baby shower games if they don’t seem fun to you. Any party game, such as charades or trivia, can be given a special “baby” spin. Fit Pregnancy has a list of fun baby shower games guaranteed to have your guests laughing.
Make sure you check with the mom-to-be about what types of games she would like to play. Not all pregnant women appreciate guests using string to guess how big their belly has become. Just like with most aspects of a baby shower, the most important rule to follow when it comes to games is to have fun!
WebBaby shower builds options for different games right into the experience and allows games like guess the ‘baby photo game’ to be played over weeks.
Baby Shower Etiquette for Guests: 4 Things Not to Do!
#16 Keep your hands to yourself
One of the most awkward and frustration-inducing scenarios for an expectant mother is the unwanted belly rub. Maybe she’s self-conscious or not feeling well; maybe she’s just plain uncomfortable. No matter the reason, assume that she would rather not be touched unless she invites you. The same goes for comments about the size of her belly, including any that compare her to a large animal, no matter how cute. Trust us on this piece of etiquette advice!
#17 Breastfeeding talk
Planning on nursing? Formula? On demand? Mom-to-be has probably thought through all of these things, but that doesn’t mean she knows the answer. The reality is that it will depend on a lot of factors that she may not know yet, including her delivery, the needs of her baby, and her own needs.
If she wants to share her thoughts on the subject, listen as a friend and supporter. Lauren Conrad’s team knows that if expectant parents want to share, they will. Otherwise, just let their personal choices remain personal.
#18 So, when is the baby getting a sibling?
Many guests may be curious about mom and dad’s plans to expand their already growing family. It’s such a fun thought to imagine little tots running around. But it may be something that the new family doesn’t have planned out yet. Most parents, especially first-time parents, are probably just getting ready to welcome one new bundle into their lives. Let mom and dad take it one baby at a time.
#19 Parenting advice
If your a parent now, remember the feeling you had when you were about to be one? Excitement, fear, general overload? Offering unsolicited parenting advice is a general no-no but is especially unwelcome at a baby shower, it’s a party not a stress-fest. Even WebMD warns guests of giving advice before they are asked. If mom or dad asks for advice, feel free to give it. But be wary of overloading them with all kinds of scenarios and advice that they may not want. Every baby is different and every parent has to make their own decisions regarding their parenting choices. The best thing you can do is shower everyone will love and support.
Was this list helpful in answering your baby shower etiquette questions? Whether you are the guest-of-honor, host or hostess, or a guest, you can be sure that our tips will help you feel comfortable and confident at your party. After all, we’ve hosted all kinds of baby showers! Ready for your modern, virtual baby shower? Sign up to get started planning the party of your baby-filled dreams!