What’s All This About Baby Showers?
Seen most often in the USA, the tradition of throwing a baby shower for your best friend, your sister or yourself before baby turns up is something that has been in recent years more widely adopted around the world. The chances are that if you haven’t been to one yourself that you’ve been invited or at least know someone that has been. They are also commonly seen on TV, hilariously portrayed on some shows whereas most baby showers are a little more sedate /don’t involve strippers.
What is a Baby Shower?
A baby shower is basically a hen / stag night for your soon to arrive baby. It’s a last proper get together of special friends and family to toast the Mother, the new arrival to be and to have some fun! There’s no set schedule that dictates how a baby shower should run however they usually involve games (baby related), food (nibbles or something more substantial) and gifts for the baby / Mum. A baby shower is usually arranged for later on in the pregnancy.
Yay or Nay?
Some people love the idea of a baby shower! It’s probably your last proper chance to get together before baby arrives and of course who wouldn’t want to have a baby themed party? There is of course the added benefit of receiving often practical and useful gifts for baby, from cute clothing to nappies / diapers.
There are some people who really don’t like baby showers as they don’t sit right with them. They see the occasion as one put on purely to get baby gifts and dislike this much in the same way others dislike the pressure of a wedding gift list. It really is an “each to their own” thing although here at ParentsNeed we think they can be great fun!
When to Host a Baby Shower
There’s a fine art to organising a baby shower, particularly when it comes to choosing the right date. Most people wait until a pregnancy is well on its way, usually during the third trimester to organise a baby shower but of course you wouldn’t want to leave it too late and have the young Master or Miss arrive before (or during!) their party, would you? You also need to consider who will come and when is the best time to make sure key members of the group can attend. This makes throwing a secret or surprise baby shower a little more difficult!
Some people love surprises, some people hate them. Some people used to like them and then their pregnancy hormones got in the way and now they shudder at the idea of people surprising them. At the end of the day we’d say that given that the guest star of the occasion is the Mum, it might be best that she knows what’s going on. Anyone who is or has been pregnant will remember how feeling and looking “party ready” is something arranged with care, not something that can be pulled together at short notice after your bestie tells you the girls will be over in ten minutes. We’d go with safety in mind and make sure Mum knows what’s what in advance!
Where to Hold a Baby Shower
Some people have baby showers in the back room of a restaurant or pub with food and drinks on tap. Others go for a more intimate setting such as the Mum-to-be’s home or the host’s home. There’s no right or wrong place to host a baby shower, you could even make it a garden affair if the weather is good and you’ve a decent pop-up gazebo or similar.
What we would advise is to consider your budget (someone’s house or garden is free!), the number of people you are planning on inviting and of course the amount of space you will need to do whatever games you have planned (if you do games). Also make sure that wherever you go has easy access to a decent toilet because, well, pregnancy!
A Themed Baby Shower
Yes, traditionally a baby shower is baby themed (for reasons that don’t need to be explained). There’s no reason why you can’t theme the fun / party in the same way that hen nights are often themed though. We’re not saying that a blow up doll and tequila shots should be on the list but what about a pamper party or chocolate party? Get someone in to do skincare and make-up demos (with Mum-to-Be getting a makeover if she wishes) or something similar. This could be great if there has been a load of baby showers recently and you’re looking for something different.
Baby Shower Games
A large part of many baby showers is dedicated to fun games. These aren’t as daunting as they sound (no mini school sports day here!) and can be an absolute hoot!
There are some great templates for this on Pinterest and it’s a fun game that can be played sat down (always appreciated when you’re heavily pregnant). Make the cards as funny or as personal to Mum as you like. Make sure there’s a prize for the winner (a little bag of sweets or something will do).
Make a Baby
It sounds like a game from a whole different kind of party doesn’t it? Make a Baby involves all party goers being given a small lump of playdough and racing against a timer to create a cute baby figure. It’s guaranteed to raise a few giggles as not all of us are great with art and the host or Mum gets to choose a winner.
You have your doll / teddy, you have your nappy. Ready, Set, Go! Who can successfully undress, change and redress their “baby” first (without putting the nappy on back to front or the baby grown inside out?
Find the Pelvic Floor
It’s treasure hunt time! If you can get to the venue in advance (easier if it is a home party) set up a fun treasure hunt with clues. The aim being for individuals or teams to solve riddles or similar, follow the trail and find the elusive pelvic floor / prize.
Decorate a Baby Grow or Vest
Set up a creation station for guests to decorate plain white babygrows and vests using fabric paints or pens. The results will be funny, cute, downright outrageous and hopefully there will be at least one awesome enough to go in the baby memory box (more on this later). How fab would it be if Mum and Dad dressed their new baby in these vests or babygrows at a later date for photos. The hilarity never ends!
Don’t Say Baby!
Give everyone 5 safety pins (diaper pins) to wear at the beginning of the party. If you hear someone say “baby” you call them out and get to take one of their pins. This game runs throughout the shower and whomever has the most pins at the end wins.
Open a box of first or second size nappies and give everyone a marker pen. Have everyone write a message on the back of every nappy and then put them away for Mum and Dad to find during those all-so-cute (!) 4am nappy changes. Nothing takes away the frowning caused by a mini nappy explosion in the wee hours than a hilarious nappy message from a best friend. The more silly and funny the messages the better. Mum and Dad will (almost) look forward to bum change times.
These are just a few basic games that may be played during a baby shower. A little internet research and / or a conversation or two with others who have hosted or been to a baby shower will help you decide on the best (most hilarious) yet easiest to put together baby games. Remember though that a baby shower is supposed to be a time of great fun, not an endurance sport and not a time where people share horror stories (unless they are very funny) about birth and beyond.
Baby Shower Gifts
It is traditional to gift Mum, Dad and Baby gifts during a baby shower. How you arrange this however is up to you.
Some hosts run a sort of informal baby gift list, based on covert research into what the parents have bought already (or not). This doesn’t have to be a store-based gift list, although some opt for this for ease. It could simply be a list of things you know baby will need such as a pack of size two diapers / nappies, two packs of baby wipes, five muslin squares, a babygrow (x however many and split up between guests). Obviously you’d need to know the attendees fairly well or be confident enough to talk to them about gift buying.
Often people bring their own gifts or everyone chips in for a baby hamper / gifts / a large item such as a cot or vouchers for a Mother/Father/Baby store. How gifts are organised depends on how the host depends to handle this. On the other hand, some baby showers are gift free zones, with the aim of the party being purely a fun get-together to celebrate the upcoming birth and have a giggle before a treasured friend of family member disappears for while into the world of dirty nappies and spit ups.
Keepsakes and Memories
Anyone with children will tell you how incredibly fast those first days, weeks and months go by. Many of you will have memory or baby boxes tucked away safe with a first curl, their baby ID and more. A baby shower is a great opportunity to help start the memory process and if you’re looking for a gift idea, keepsake gifts are always much appreciated (as long as not everyone buys the same photo album).
During a baby shower make sure there are plenty of photographs taken as this is the end of one era in one way and the beginning or another, especially if this is a first baby. That’s not to say that you’ll never see each other again, it simply means that Mum-to-Be will be a Mum (a different creature altogether) or Mum to another child! Besides, what better opportunity for a photo with your nearest and dearest than at a fun-filled baby shower.
A guest book is a must at a baby shower, or something like it. You could cut out baby shapes and provide pens for people to write a fun, cute, cheeky or heartfelt message for the parents to pull out and read later (and of course pop in the baby box!).
A baby box is something else the baby shower party could provide. Why not have everyone write message directly onto a big keepsake box or decorate it themselves. All these keepsake related efforts will be much appreciated, trust us! A baby shower should be a fabulous milestone-type event, regardless of how low-key it is so make sure you find a way to capture the event and it’s many crazy-fun memories.
A Successful Baby Shower
A baby shower that has gone really well is one where the Mum-to-Be (and at least one or two others) have had to run to the loo because they’ve been laughing so much. It’s supposed be a time where good friends can laugh like hyenas, share stories, and generally have a hoot. We can’t think of a better way to celebrate in advance the birth of a new member of the extended family.