Fall is almost here, and with that comes what feels like a parade of baby showers! Confession: I LOVE baby showers. They’re such a fun reason to get together with friends, and are a sweet tradition that I’m hopeful – and pretty sure – isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Baby showers began in this country in the late 1940s as a way of providing post-war women with useful material goods for her new baby and home. Did you know that, traditionally, baby showers were only given for a couple’s first child? And, as we all probably know, only women were invited? Clearly, baby showers of the modern era – a.k.a. how we know them today – have definitely evolved a bit since then. There have been some great changes and some . . . well, not so great additions. So if you are planning or attending a baby shower in the future, here are some of the best and worst of baby showers to help you out with your prep.
The Good and Bad of Baby Showers
Giving Books Instead of Cards
There are some beautiful greeting cards out there, but I think most of us can agree that cards are weirdly expensive, and it’s never quite clear what we should do with them afterward. A newer tradition I’ve seen is to give children’s books instead of cards, and I absolutely love this idea. Books are so much more useful and are something both the parents and baby can (eventually) enjoy.
Late Night Diaper Messages
New parents need a lot of encouragement and support, and what better time to give that than when they’re in the midst of a 2 am diaper change? Set up a station with diapers, some sharpies, and ask guests to write a piece of advice or something funny for the parents to read while they’re changing their little one. This is a super easy, fun activity to implement; plus, you make sure the parents have at least a few diapers to get them started!
There are a ton of ways to do this particular idea, but I love it when guests leave notes for the baby to read later on in life. Set up a pretty box (Etsy always has wonderful options if you’re not into DIY), and have guests write a note for them to open on their 18th birthday – or whichever date you like. It could be wishes for the future, a note about their parents – anything they choose.
I admittedly failed in the department of even considering that my husband comes to the baby shower, but in hindsight, I feel like it would have been nice to have him there to celebrate our baby together, with our friends. So, consider changing it up a little and making it a co-ed party. Honestly, seeing my husband groan at the fifteenth adorable little newborn outfit would have made me laugh just that much more.
Leaving Advice for the Parents-to-Be
If you’re a parent, you know that other parents love to give advice. We’ve all heard those gems from the neighbor you’ve met twice who has to share their opinion on your impending life as a parent. Receiving tons of unsolicited advice can get tiresome. There really is nothing like actually experiencing motherhood, and I’ve received some of the best advice from friends and family who have been there.
One way to give guests an outlet for that advice they’re dying to share – while not forcing the parents to sit in front of them and nod as though they agree – is to create a designated box or guest book for guests to leave advice. This is an easy activity and can be helpful in the end to the parents.
I don’t want to bash baby shower games, because I love a good competition. And there are a few games that are fun and entertaining – naming baby animals or suggesting baby names using mom and dad’s initials are just two that come to mind. Games can also be a great icebreaker when a lot of your guests don’t know each other.
Outside of this, though, I think there is a consensus that a lot of baby shower games are just cringeworthy. So, let’s make a pact: can we all please agree not to do any more games involving smelling chocolate or some other mysterious brown substance in a diaper? I don’t know anyone who gets excited about this game, and I’m not sure any mom-to-be really needs to practice smelling diapers. Agreed?
Sharing TMI War Stories
I know it’s a baby shower, and baby life is on everyone’s mind, but when the TMI, awkward birth or mom stories are all anyone’s talking about, it can really put a damper on the festivities. Please don’t get me wrong, though – you do not have to sugarcoat everything and paint a magazine-worthy picture of motherhood. But please try to stick to constructive, helpful advice (when asked!). Mom will appreciate it so much.
Not Buying Gifts from the Registry
I have received some very thoughtful gifts that were not on my registry, but if everyone is buying random things and the parents receive next to nothing that they registered for, that can be an expensive disappointment. (And as beautiful as that charm for the mobile on baby’s crib is, it’s not really going to help with diaper changes or middle of the night feedings.) So, please consider buying from the registry! Most parents put in a lot of effort and research into choosing what they think they’ll need and will be incredibly grateful.
There you have it! Good luck to everyone navigating baby showers this year, and may you never have to smell chocolate or taste baby food at your parties. 😉