Gathering with friends and family to celebrate the impending birth of a beautiful baby can easily be one of the happiest events in a mom-to-be’s life.
Unfortunately, whether you’re the reluctant yet hopeful hostess in charge of seeing to all those last minute little details, or simply a gratefully attending guest eager to celebrate the upcoming big day with a family member or friend, from inappropriate gifts that weren’t on the registry to those awkward questions that make the soon to be mom uncomfortable, there are a few serious social faux pas that threaten to turn even the sweetest event sour.
If you’ve got a baby shower in your near future, don’t panic, we’ve broken it down so that you don’t have a breakdown while planning this major event.
Celebrate in Style: A Modern Guide to Baby Shower Etiquette
Someone who is close to the mama to be takes charge of the planning and hosting
The Host with the Most– The question of who’s in charge of setting up the shower, getting together the guests, and planning everything out can be somewhat tricky depending on your group of friends and family. Typically someone who is close to the mama-to-be takes charge of the planning and hosting, be that a sister, best friend, or even a parent. For larger affairs, duties can be split between several people to make it more manageable and keep costs to a minimum.
Little Tip – Be Aware that while having a little help to plan the big event might sound like fun now, what could be made simple with a few quick trips to your local party supply store and an internet search or two for fun baby shower games, can quickly turn into a gridlock of opinions and group politics that could have otherwise been avoided.
Plan for your party to be well in advance of the expected delivery date.
Time and Time Again– Don’t wait until the last minute and run the risk of witnessing the guest of honor’s water breaking in the middle of brunch, instead, plan for your party to be well in advance of the expected delivery date. The ideal time to host the shower of the hour is when the expecting mother is 28 to 35 weeks pregnant. During which time, the bump will be clearly visible but the mommy of the minute will still be able to keep up with all of the fun and activities.
Only people who are actually close to the family should be in attendance.
Down the List – While baby showers used to be female-only events, in the modern day era it’s super common to have male friends and family at the shower as well. The important thing is that an intimate atmosphere is maintained, and only people who are actually close to the family should be in attendance. Keep it small, calm, and simply decorated, and before you send out those invites, have a talk with the soon to be mommy about whether or not to include children on her big day.
Little Tip – While the gender of the attending guests is not a concern, be mindful of any planned games that would be inappropriate or uncomfortable to play in mixed company.
Make sure that there’s plenty that she can eat safely.
Feed the need – With Pregnancy comes a whole host of suddenly inedible foods and fare. Be sure to be mindful of the mama-to-be, and make sure that there’s plenty that she can eat safely. While not every item on the list needs to be pregnancy friendly, the majority should be new-momma-ready.
Little Tip – If you’re planning a party that will pack a little punch, be sure to label any alcoholic or potentially dangerous foods to prevent any would-be-serious situations before they ever happen.
Keep the conversation light-hearted.
Talk about Timing – Invasive questions, even those that are coming from a good and genuine place, are better left unasked unless the topic is broached by the mother herself. While you might feel that she should have nothing to hide amongst friends, questions that involve very intimate subject matter like breastfeeding, delivery type, family planning, and finances can be a sensitive subject matter for many couples and families. Keep the conversation light-hearted, and instead of mentioning embarrassing things like how big your pregnant pal’s belly is, talk to her about her newly acquired glow.
Little Tip – If you don’t know if what you want to ask is appropriate, chances are it’s not. If your friend wasn’t pregnant, you wouldn’t think it was okay to talk about her most intimate body parts, so don’t use this as an excuse to start now.
Always ask before going in for a grab.
Bump Off – While it’s not uncommon for people to try and reach out and touch the new mom’s bump in the run-up to birth, this is more than likely an act that is at best uncomfortable, and at worst downright scary for the woman who’s with child. Not only are you walking up and putting your hand on someone’s stomach, but you’re also doing it at a time when they have some seriously precious cargo on board, making things even more awkward. As a simple courtesy, the mom-to-be deserves some personal space and consideration, so resist the urge and keep your hands to yourself unless the opportunity is otherwise offered.
Little Tip – If you don’t know if it is okay to touch a woman’s belly, err on the side of no. Even if she is a dear friend, always ask before going in for a grab.
Let her know she is special and valued.
Gift Goals – If you’re a guest at the party where the parents to be have provided a registry, to prevent added stress on the expectant couple, it’s polite to select within your budget from the requested gift list. If, however, there’s no registry to be found and you need to buy a gift now, choose a gender neutral but essential baby basic to gift, such as a soft blanket, unisex clothing, or plush toy. Though ideally, you will find the perfect present that will make the almost mama’s life easier and more enjoyable, above all, your goal should be to let her know she is special and valued.
Little Tip – When in doubt, do a quick check with the Host to see what additional gifts outside of the registry might be needed or appropriate for the soon to be mom. The host will have more insight into what other guests might be bringing, so you don’t end up just bringing a duplicate of something that will have to be returned.