Baby Shower FAQ

Quick Tips for Planning a Baby Shower

Women at Baby Shower
Photo © Cultura/yellowdog/Getty Images

Who can have a baby shower?

While it was once traditional that only the first baby had a shower, we are now having showers for every baby, after all, each baby is special!

Baby showers are also very popular for the adopted baby.

When to have the shower?

Usually in the later stages of pregnancy, say in the last two months. Sometimes babies come early and are able to attend their own baby showers, while others only want to know the gender before their showers.

Sometimes people wait purposefully for the baby to arrive, either from cultural belief or other reasons. Many times adoptive parents wait until after the baby has arrived in their home or until the adoption is final.

Who throws the shower?

Typically it was a family member from either side, sometimes you'll even see multiples showers from each side of the family, work, friends, etc. You can have anyone throw a shower, they do not have to be related to you. Friends, co-workers, family, etc.

Who comes to a baby shower?

That depends on the planners. If it's a surprise shower you might get someone close to the mom to help make a guest list, even asking a few people. You might invite only co-workers if it is a work place shower, or family members if it is a family shower, or everyone to one big shower. You might also decide on a couples shower (see below).

Something that should be added here is to be mindful when inviting friends or relatives who have experienced recent losses or are suffering infertility problems.

Many will feel left out if not invited, as some well-meaning people tend to do. The best advice is to ask them personally if they would come, and be respectful of their situation.

What about the guys?

Many men are entering the realm of baby showers these days. The Couples shower is an appropriate way to celebrate a new baby.

While this is a new tradition many men are enjoying these get togethers, as are women.

Are themes appropriate?

Yes, although a bit more difficult than planning say a wedding shower. Some typical themes are:

  • The nursery decor
  • An around the clock shower - Give each guest a time of day to purchase an item that might be used for that time of day. Examples: 8 AM - Clothes to get dressed for the day, 2 PM crib bedding for nap time, 2 AM Tylenol or coffee, diapers (all day long!).
  • Mother shower! Shower mom with gifts for her, a neat twist to the usual baby items.

What do you do at a shower?

This can depend on your theme, but doesn't have to. Usual activities include games, presents, food, or special activities.

What do you eat at a baby shower?

If you are having a theme you could try to match food to that particular theme, however, your most important factor will be time of day. If you are having a shower at noon or at dinner time, people usually expect a full meal. Early afternoon or early evening you can do cake and punch, finger foods, nearly whatever you wish to do.

It might be a good idea to make sure that what you are serving can be ingested by the mother-to-be. Alcohol is not a good choice, try sparkling cider instead.

What kind of games can you play? Where can I find them?

Games, ah, the good stuff. Games can be fun, they can also be torture! Take your audience in mind when planning games, your mother-to-be as well.

Don't play a lot of "girly" games if you are inviting guys, play some newer games that the guys can have fun with, like drinking milk out of a bottle race, or a diapering contest.

If you have a mother-to-be who would be offended by weight guessing or waist guessing games you might consider leaving them out.

You can buy prepackaged games, but the best are usually home made!

My family likes to put paper plates on their heads and draw pictures of the pregnant woman. This is often funny, and I've saved all my glorious pictures from these showers for the kids.

I think we've all played some version of taste the baby food.

There is a collection of baby shower games.

What about decorations?

There are a lot of different decorations available. They usually match the theme. Here is a collection of shower decorations.


They can be on a theme, although many couples now register for baby related items.

Thank you notes?

One great present is to state that thanks yous are not necessary, although some find this rude. Another version of this is to have everyone self address an envelope, and then use the stack to draw a name for a door prize. Then the mother-to-be doesn't have to write out the envelopes as well.

Door prizes or prizes for games.

I usually use something pretty generic. A gift certificate for dinner, or candles, a book store gift certificate.

These don't have to be extravagant and should be fun. Again be watchful of whom you've invited.

What do other cultures do for baby showers?

Actually a lot of other cultures have baby showers after the baby is born. Many believe that it is bad luck to have a celebration before the baby is born.

There is also a Blessingway, an alternative to a baby shower.

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