When to Have a Baby Shower – How Far Ahead Should You Plan?

Traditionally, baby showers are held in the third trimester of pregnancy from 28 to 32 weeks. This is because this is a great time to start planning and hosting your event.

Mom-to-be is comfortable and mobile enough to enjoy herself but is still weeks away from labor. She’s also far enough along in the pregnancy to be getting excited about the very real and near prospect of holding her newborn. Sannice1979 shared some truth on thebump.com:

“You want to be able to enjoy it as well as have the energy to deal with everything afterwards.”

Dads are also getting excited at this point — the physical reminder of a baby bump that kicks helps them connect with their unborn child in new ways everyday.

This is a great time for parents to receive and open their gifts from the registry. Little onesies will need to be washed and put away in time for the baby, who may choose to arrive earlier than the due date. And larger items, such as cribs and car seats, will also need to be put together and installed without waiting until the last minute.

Having a shower earlier on in the third trimester allows mom and dad to return duplicate items, as well as pick up things they still need, while they are still able to get around easily. No one really wants to think about those things when the mom-to-be is in labor!

With all that in mind, this is the time that most mothers will love holding a baby shower.

However, there are many reasons that a traditional shower might not be the best route for you. Read on to learn more about all the options available to you — including different types of baby showers and different options for timing.

For example, mom-to-be might really want a shower based around a certain season, like spring or winter. At the end of the day, it’s your shower.

This guide will help you plan it your way.

Below are things to think about when scheduling your baby shower, and on top of that, we’ve got a modern guide to baby shower etiquette to help you navigate expectations.

We will also go over all the considerations you need to make and weigh before you have a baby shower — including setting a date, choosing between typical baby shower traditions or a virtual baby shower, having your shower early or late in the pregnancy, and more.

Or, if you’re reading this and you’re on a super tight deadline, check out our last minute baby shower guide.

When the Traditional Route Is Not the Right Route

There are always cases where traditional guidelines do not apply. If you relate, feel free to bend the guidelines to make the parents-to-be as comfortable as possible — it is their day, afterall!

Family and friends are there for support, and not to judge. If they know your situation, they are probably even expecting some deviation from the norm, like how long the baby shower should last.

virtual baby shower mom to be with mom and sister
Image from: @allymello
  • Twins or Multiples – Moms of multiples often enter into labor and deliver early, either because their medical professional recommends it or because the babies simply run out of womb-room and are ready to see the world.

    Rather than a few weeks into the third trimester, we think that having an earlier baby shower for twins or multiples — such as toward the end of the second trimester — is entirely normal.
  • Pregnancy Complications – If mom has experienced some complications that necessitate bed rest or limited activity, this will impact the baby shower plans. It may mean having an earlier baby shower to accommodate an earlier delivery, or simply limiting the number of guests or activities at the shower.

    Whatever the case, the most important thing is to keep mother and baby safe and in the best health!
  • Family Gatherings If the timing of your baby shower falls close to a holiday gathering or other family event, consider having the shower while guests from out-of-town are together. This can help create a kind of hybrid event — like a mixed virtual and in-person shower, where two groups get together, in-person and virtually, to create a big celebration.

    Guests will be glad to celebrate the new baby earlier or later than traditionally expected if it means that they can all be together.
  • Religious or Cultural Practices – Some religions and cultures wait to celebrate a new baby until after they are born. This may also just be the preference of the parents-to-be. If this is the case for the expectant couple, guests should respect their traditions and beliefs.

    Look at showering the parents and baby with love and gifts from the registry after the delivery. This has the added benefit of having the baby in attendance as the guest of honor, and may also be a reason to have multiple baby showers. For example, two different types of showers to accommodate each parent’s culture.
  • Scheduling Conflicts – Sometimes, when it comes down to it, a mother’s schedule simply doesn’t permit the traditional timing of a baby shower. Whether it be work, something personal, other plans — or really the vast amount of other reasons we might be busy — you simply just might not have enough time to fit your baby shower into that traditional window.

    There’s no shame in this, because it’s your baby shower after all. Every mother deserves a baby shower to celebrate this time in your life, and in the end, it’s all about what works best for you!
  • Guests Conflict – Don’t be ashamed to hold an early or late shower based on your scheduling conflicts. Sometimes there are those special guests and close friends who have very real scheduling conflicts as well. If you have to hold a shower at a non-traditional time because one of your guests really can’t make it, that’s totally fine! After all, a shower is only as good as the people who can make it, and you want to be sure that the VIP guests are there.

When Should You Have an Online Baby Shower?

A virtual shower has the huge added benefit of flexibility; it can be held at roughly the same time in the pregnancy as a traditional shower or weeks earlier if you’d prefer.

virtual baby shower setup with decorations and gifts
Image from: @twigsandsage

Rather than setting one specific date and hoping that guests are free, guests from all over the globe can participate over a few days or even weeks. This allows for maximum participation at the gathering, and even more love showered on the parents-to-be!

Almost 60% of our customers are expecting mothers, so that means 40% are friends, grandmothers, or aunts. And guess what? They tend to start this baby shower planning process much earlier! (Something to do with free time!)

That’s why our base plan is 6 months, and our premium plan is a whole 12 months!

Extra consideration and care for an online shower should be taken when planning any live events, such as video calls or chats. If guests are joining from vastly different time zones, try to choose a time that will be within waking hours for everyone.
If that’s not possible, you can also look at having multiple baby showers — one for each side of the family, one for close friends, one for colleagues, and so on.

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Build Your Shower

A virtual baby shower also has the advantage of being held over a longer period of time. Guests can drop in and leave messages, gifts, or words of encouragement and health in the weeks and months leading up to the live shower.

This allows people much more time to operate on their own schedule. And, as any host knows, if the guests are happy, then everyone is happy.

As for planning the live event, guests will understand if they need to wake up a little early or stay up a little late to make the party, but they may not be so happy about a chat scheduled for 2 AM. The priority consideration should go to the parents-to-be, as they need all the rest they can get before the baby arrives. Mom’s energy may also be starting to wane, so allowing her much-needed rest is super important.

While a virtual shower still takes planning and consideration, it offers you the extra flexibility you need to hold the gathering or event your way.

When to Have a Baby Shower: Before or After?

There is no “right time” to hold your baby shower. The best date and time to plan this joyous event is ultimately a personal decision — when it feels like the right time to celebrate for you!

Possible Reasons to Have a Baby Shower Early

Although many expectant parents opt to have their baby showers early on in the third trimester, there are several reasons why holding a shower even earlier than the “traditional” timeframe may be beneficial for you. For example, in the second trimester, you’re usually past the morning sickness stage and aren’t feeling overly tired.

That means you feel up to socializing with your guests at the gathering! An early baby shower also gives you plenty of time to buy the items you weren’t gifted from the registry at the shower. Plus, you’ll likely still have plenty of energy for shopping.

For many moms, hosting a shower in the early- to mid-third trimester is simply a matter of personal preference. If that really sounds like you, it gives you an opportunity to finish setting up your gift registry before baby’s arrival.

And, as What to Expect suggests, you can make sure the nursery is prepared in advance by checking these to-dos off your list: unpack the shower gifts, set up the crib and nursery, and wash the baby’s new clothes.

A third reason for an early baby shower is if you are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy, you can have your shower well before there may be bed rest restrictions for your health. You’ll also likely avoid the risk of coinciding your shower with an early delivery.

What to Expect After Baby Arrives — Reasons for a Sip & See Baby Shower

Thinking of holding your baby shower later in your pregnancy? There are definitely some pros that come along with waiting until the baby arrives. Once you welcome a baby into the world, celebrating with your family and friends is one way to keep the excitement building all the way through your pregnancy and even weeks after delivery.

Plus, who doesn’t love a Sip & See Shower where the baby can be passed around? Just remember the hand sanitizer!

Since everyone wants to see and meet the baby, having your shower with the baby as the guest of honor enables you to make sure everybody has the opportunity to do so — all at once! That can help reduce surprise visits by guests who want to drop by later to see the baby when you just want some quiet time.

An after-delivery shower also enables you to know more details about your new little one, such as his or her gender, weight, and length. For your shower guests, this totally takes the guesswork out of buying gifts weeks before the delivery date!

A General Shower Timing Guide to Consider

The Spruce advises not holding the baby shower too early, or too late. If you are more than 20 weeks into your pregnancy, congratulations! And if you’re ready to have a Zoom baby shower with family and friends, feel free to begin sending out party invitations.

After you enter the 32-week mark, it’s perfectly acceptable to hold the shower if you are still feeling ready to party and haven’t yet made it to 38 weeks.

How to Know if You’re Baby Shower Ready

Thinking of holding your shower, but not sure if you’re baby shower ready? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • First, select a date and time for your baby shower.
  • If planning an early shower, the new mom-to-be has plenty of time to organize the gifts and send out thank-you notes.
  • For a later shower, mom can still comfortably socialize with guests without feeling overly tired or experiencing any pre-delivery complications.
  • You’ve checked with key family and friends, and their schedules are clear for baby shower day.
  • The venue you’ve selected is available. Or consider hosting an online baby shower — with us!
instagram image mommy using webbabyshower for her virtual baby shower
Image from: @california_belles

Number One Tip: Evaluate Your Circumstances, See What Works Best

You might have noticed a theme running throughout this article, and that theme is that this is your shower. We have outlined many reasons why parents may choose different timing for their baby showers, but at the end of the day, we think that these reasons only matter if they are relevant to you.

If you have your own considerations which dictate the timing of your own shower, then those reasons are the only ones that are going to matter.

So, sit down and think of what would make the best kind of baby shower for yourself. The above considerations can guide you, but only if you put your own considerations at the top. After all, this is a celebration for you!

Conclusion

A baby shower is a joyous occasion filled with fun, laughter, and lots of love for a growing family. Having your baby shower at the right time can help you celebrate without worry or discomfort, yet with plenty of time to get those last-minute details ready for the new baby’s impending arrival.

Virtual options offer even more flexibility. Whatever you decide, you’ll be sure to be welcoming a baby to a home filled with love, laughter, and gifts thanks to your generous family and friends.

Now it’s time to get celebrating!

How long before your due date should you have a baby shower?

Most moms have their baby shower in their third trimester no less than 4 weeks before the due date. Long enough along for the bump to show and early enough to avoid interfering with the baby’s arrival or mom’s energy levels.

Who is supposed to throw a baby shower?

Most baby showers are hosted and planned by a close relative or friend — such as a sister, mother, grandmother, or best girl friend. Always ask the parents-to-be before planning though, as they may want to plan it themselves!

What is a normal time for a baby shower?

Traditionally, lunchtime is when most people have a baby shower. But this is really up to the parents to be, as some baby showers are held earlier so brunch can be served, or held later to accommodate other factors.

Who pays for the baby shower? 

At a traditional baby shower, the host typically pays. However, this doesn’t always settle the issue of who the host is — it can be a wide variety of people, usually a close friend or family member. However, “traditional” rules don’t matter as much in today’s world. It’s your party and you can plan it however you want. Read our complete and modern guide to who pays for baby shower here.

Amy began writing stories at an early age to entertain her classmates. She grew up to earn a nursing degree but later hung up her stethoscope and scrubs to pursue her first true passion—writing. Today, Amy has published over 200 stories, poems, and articles for both children and adults. She is also the author of two book series for children, Band Geeks, and Libby Wimbley.

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