What is a Baby Shower?
A baby shower is a party in which parents or expectant parents receive gifts for their newborn or expected baby.
Essentially, a baby shower is intended to help parents get all the various bits and bobs that they need for their baby, such as baby clothes.
Traditions and TrendsIn the past few decades baby showers have become more common, as families have become bigger. Traditionally a baby shower is held only for the mother-to-be, and only women attend. However, in recent times, men are also starting to participate in couples baby showers.
Traditionally, baby showers were given only for the family's first child, but over time, it has become more common to hold them for subsequent or adopted children. Even when a shower is held for only the first child, it is not uncommon for a parent to have more than one baby shower, such as one with friends and another with co-workers.
Who throws the baby shower?Generally, the shower is given for the expected parent(s) by someone else as opposed to the parent(s) hosting it. Because the party centres on gift-giving, the baby shower is usually arranged by a close friend.
When should it be held?Baby Showers are typically held in the last trimester, month seven and eight. But really anytime is fine, even after the baby has been born.
Who should be invited?It was traditionally female only, but now men are often present at baby showers, if you are going to invite men then you may have to review the traditional baby shower games. Make sure you speak to the guest of honour or her parents, if it is a surprise, to ensure you have not left anyone out.
InvitationsGuests need at least a couple of weeks notice, and if appropriate, list where the expectant parents have a register for presents - rather like a Wedding Present list.
Where should I hold the baby shower party?There is no set rule for when or where showers are to be held and the party can thus be held at a variety of places and at various times. They are often held at the home of the hostess. It is common for the host to provide baby-themed games during the shower. In some regions, it is common to give 'party bags' or 'goody bags' (small gifts for the guests).
GiftsA new baby means a lot of shopping, so a baby shower is a perfect way to share the load. Some mothers may have registered at a local store. Common gifts include clothing, toys and nappy bags. The baby shower's main focus is support and advice, so favours and baby gifts do not need to be extravagant
Baby Shower 'favours'These are given out to all attendees as a thank you for attending and supporting the mother during her pregnancy, you will also need little gifts for prizes for the games.
ActivitiesSome classic activities at baby showers include:
Baby shower bingo.
Guess the birth date or guess the sex.
Guess the expectant mother's girth: guests cut pieces of ribbon, yarn, or toilet paper to a length they believe matches the mother-to-be's tummy circumference. Another similar game is tying a string around her abdomen, and if it breaks for one person, it's expected she or he's the next new parent.
Guess the baby food flavor: guests have to taste-test several flavors of baby food and try to identify them.
Other games include a nappy throw game, and the nappies have sweets or chocolate stuff.
Opening the gifts in front of the guests.
Serving cake, though any type of food or beverage might be served.
by Helen Wilkinson