How to Be a Good Baby Shower Guest

Mom hugging a guest at baby shower.
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Baby showers are a great time to celebrate a mother-to-be, prepare to welcome a new baby, catch up with friends and relatives that maybe you haven’t seen in awhile, and just have a great time. That said, there have been some stories I have heard recently about guests at baby showers who are causing more of a scene than anything. This lead someone to ask: Doesn’t anyone know how to be a good baby shower guest?

This made me think – who teaches us how to be a good guest? I have some vague sense that I learned what to do and what to say from my mother, but it wasn’t around baby showers. In fact, the first baby shower I attended was my own. So it is quite possible that no one has ever heard of what goes on and/or an appropriate response. So, forgive me if this seems basic, but here is how to be a good guest at a baby shower:

RSVP

Whether you can go or not, you should also send in your response on time. If you have a job or obligation that leaves you in the maybe category – talk to the people hosting the baby shower and inform them of your situation and why you are not a firm yes or no. Explain when you will know for certain, even if it is the day of the party. Failure to respond makes party planning difficult. If a hostess sends out 30 invitations and gets back five yes responses, two nos, and nothing else – how many does she plan for when it comes to food?

Be a good guest – RSVP.

Dress Appropriately

If the party calls for more formal attire, usually written on the invitation or assumed because of a venue, adhere to it as best as you can. Don’t wear jeans to a swanky restaurant. This can put a damper on the mood for other guests and the mother-to-be. If you don’t want to dress up – that’s fine, don’t go.

There is a reason that venue or attire request was selected.

Don’t Monopolize the Guest of Honor

So you scored a seat next to the mother-to-be – sweet! Certainly engage her in conversation, but realize that as the guest of honor, others will be flocking to her to ask her questions, share stories, and generally be interested in her. Be mindful of this in your conversations and allow her the freedom to engage with others as well. This is difficult if you’re really wanting to talk to her. It’s also fair game if she asks you to help her avoid certain people – that might be your job.

Be Mindful of What You Say

Some people think of baby showers as a time to give a long-winded account of every birth horror story they have ever experienced or watched on YouTube. Remember that the purpose of a baby shower is not to frighten anyone. It is also not meant to be a place for you to use the other guests as stand-in therapists as you talk about your own birth experiences. My advice is to usually only give advice that focuses on the positive.

So rather than say: Birth is the most painful thing I’ve ever done. Consider: The birth ball and shower were really helpful for me at relieving the pain of labor.  One is more helpful than the other when it comes to giving advice.

Don’t Be a Know-It-All

In the same vein, don’t be a know-it-all when it comes to babies and kids. This is true, even if you’re a rock star of a parent. Be humble and simple in your advice, be truthful but realize that other people have opinions and experiences to share. If you really want to say more, invite the mother-to-be out for lunch privately one day to share more.

Don’t Win All the Games

If you wind up going to enough baby showers, the games repeat themselves over and over. There are only so many baby-related word scrambles available. You eventually will amass a sizeable knowledge of baby shower game trivia. If you win a game, either sit out the next round or don’t raise your hand when they ask who has the most correct answers. You can also choose to donate your gift to the mother-to-be or acknowledge that you won, but let the gift go to the second place person.

Watch the Alcohol

I’m attending more and more baby showers where alcohol is served. This is a risky move – alcohol, and a bunch of long lost relatives – sounds like a powder keg waiting to explode. You can only control your intake, so know your limits and be watchful for others who are close to you.

Give Appropriate Gifts

Baby shower gifts are usually opened in front of others. It’s fun to ooo and ahhh over gifts. Be mindful of this when choosing a gift. It’s certainly fine to give more practical gifts. I’m the first one to give washable breast pads and infant medications, but this is not the time to give a giant tube of lubricant and a knowing wink when she opens the gift in front of everyone.

In short, be the guest you would want at your baby shower. Be kind and courteous. Be fun and even a bit silly, without being out of control. This is what makes a great guest and one that will certainly be invited to other baby showers for the family. It also helps you ensure that others are respectful at your shower in return some day in the future.

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