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July 02, 2020

Baby Shower Etiquette – All You Need To Know

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Baby Shower Etiquette

Planning a baby shower is not hard. If you have a baby shower checklist, you’re pretty much set because you know what you’re supposed to do, when. But while a checklist is great, it doesn’t tell you anything about proper baby shower etiquette.

For example, who plans a baby shower? Can the dad-to-be or his friends attend?  Do you RSVP to the new mom, the host, or both?  How much to spend on a baby shower gift? Should there be baby shower games and wow many are you supposed to play?  How long is a baby shower supposed to last? Who pays for the baby shower, etc.

Fortunately, the rules aren’t as stringent as they used to be. Here is a helpful rundown of baby shower etiquette and expectations.

Can I Throw My Own Baby Shower?

If at all possible, don’t plan your own baby shower, and don’t ask someone to host a baby shower for you. While baby shower etiquette is becoming more relaxed over time, this is still a pretty firm point. A close friend or family member should take on the responsibility of their own accord, and you’ll hear about it once they get a chance to start planning.

Who Is Supposed To Throw A Baby Shower?

Anyone close to mommy-to-be can host the baby shower. These may include besties, sisters, coworkers, aunts, cousins, mothers, and mother-in-law, etc.

Hosting a baby shower is a very generous offer. Even if you are planning a cheap baby shower, there is nonetheless a big investment of time.

Can You Have Multiple Baby Showers For The Same Baby?

Most women have one baby shower, but there’s no baby shower etiquette demanding you have only one.

Some women have a baby shower with their friends, another with their family, and yet another with the husband’s family. Some may even have an informal baby shower at the office with coworkers.

If you hear multiple friends planning a baby shower, encourage the plotters to put their heads together and cohost.

But while it’s okay to have multiple baby showers, it’s always inappropriate to invite the same people to multiple showers. A baby shower invitation is an implicit request for a gift, and by inviting them to multiple baby showers, you are requesting multiple gifts. If you do want certain people to attend multiple showers, make it clear that they shouldn’t feel obligated to give you multiple gifts.

Who Should Pay For A Baby Shower?

The hostess pays for the baby shower. However, baby showers can get very expensive. It is therefore not uncommon for people to co-host a baby shower. When there are co-hosts, each takes up some responsibilities and the associated costs.

Because the host is paying for everything, she gets to make the planning decisions about baby shower games, foods, activities, refreshments, etc. However, she is doing it in honor of the mommy-to-be and therefore needs her input regarding the theme, the guest list, etc.

If paying for the baby shower would be a problem, you could always set up a private online fund for the baby shower. That way, family, and friends could contribute money instead of helping to host.

The mom-to-be is not expected to pay for the baby shower.

Do Fathers Attend Baby Showers

Beer and diaper partyTraditionally, baby showers were for women only. Things have changed a lot though and now co-ed baby showers are very common too.

Dad can even have his own celebration! Traditionally, the mom-to-be would have a baby shower, and dad-to-be would have a diaper party.

Is It Okay To Have A Baby Shower For Second Baby

baby shower sprinkleBaby showers are most commonly thrown for the first child. The baby shower etiquette is unclear on this but some people say that you should not have a “baby shower” for a subsequent child. Some say that the celebration for all subsequent babies is no longer called a “baby shower,” but instead a “Baby Sprinkle.”

But whether you call it a baby shower or a baby sprinkle, it really doesn’t matter. The distinction between the two are:

  • A baby sprinkle implies that this is not the first baby. As such, the parents already have all the baby necessities they need. Baby shower gifts are therefore mostly diapers and wipes.
  • A baby sprinkle comes with its own special baby shower wording. That can be fun and exciting in itself.

Sometimes, mommies can have another child several years after her first child. She may not have all the baby basics and essentials anymore. In this case, she would put all she needs on her baby registry.

Where To Have A Baby Shower?

The new mom’s or hostess’ house is traditionally where you’d have the baby shower. However, this can change depending on the size of the guest list. If you have more than 30 guests coming, or the house you’d most likely have the baby shower in is very small, you might want to consider renting a bigger venue, such as a private party room at a local restaurant or hotel.

When To Have A Baby Shower?

Traditionally, six to eight months into her pregnancy is a good time to have a baby shower. Mommy-to-be is not too exhausted from her pregnancy to enjoy the party and you don’t have to worry about the sudden interruption of her going into labor!

Cultural traditions can also impact the date. In some cultures, it’s bad luck to accept baby gifts before the little one is actually born.  Make sure you check the possible shower dates with the new mom before writing up invitations.

How Long Should A Baby Shower Be?

The length of a baby shower can range. A typical baby shower lasts approximately 2-4 hours. However, the length of time depends on a few factors:

  • Have people come from far and wide to attend the baby shower?
  • Do you have a lot of baby shower games and activities planned?
  • Is the baby shower also a family reunion?

Who To Invite To The Baby Shower

ALWAYS run the final guest list by the new mom!  It’s her party, after all, so you don’t want to inadvertently leave someone off or include someone she doesn’t want to be there.

If the new mom has a friend or family member who has struggled with infertility or miscarriages, DO invite them to the shower, but make it clear that they don’t have to attend, if the reminder of their own struggles is too much to bear.

Whether to invite the new dad or other male guests is between you and the new mom.  Traditionally, baby showers are a ladies-only event, but co-ed or couple baby showers are becoming more common and accepted.

Whether guests who are parents can bring their children with them is likewise between you and the new mom. Make sure to put that information on the invitations, so there’s no confusion when the date of the shower arrives.  If the baby shower is going to include children, make arrangements to entertain the children. You might also want to hire a babysitter to ensure someone’s keeping an eye on them at all times.

If a friend is hosting the baby shower, it is considered a “friend baby shower” and your closest friends and close relatives will be invited. If a relative is hosting the shower, it is typically considered a “family baby shower” with only family invited.

Do not worry about excluding anyone – you can have more than one baby shower.

How To Choose A Baby Shower Theme

baby shower ideas
Tulamama Showers Instagram Feed

The baby shower theme can be chosen by the host, but do run it be the new mom-to-be. She may have a specific theme in mind.

Other considerations are: do the parents know the baby’s gender and will it be celebrated at the shower; will this be a gender reveal or gender neutral baby shower.

Deciding on a theme will make the planning process a lot easier. Fortunately, you are spoilt for choice.

What Is The Baby Shower Etiquette About Invitations

baby shower brunch invitations
Custom baby shower brunch invitations from Etsy

Standard baby shower etiquette advises sending invitations out four to six weeks before the shower.This gives potential guests enough time to RSVP and shop. This may seem excessive but keep in mind that some of the new mom’s family and friends may be coming from out of town. They will need enough time to make travel arrangements.

Guests should RSVP to the HOST, not the new mom.

When preparing shower invitations, don’t forget to include all the key information:

  • Mom-to-be’s name and host’s names;
  • Where and when the shower is being held (with driving directions, if applicable);
  • RSVP information;
  • What to bring, if anything; (The “Guess The Baby Picture, ” is a very popular baby shower activity but to play it, guests bring a photo of themselves when they were babies. If you are planning this baby shower activity or anything similar, you will want to let the guests know – in your invitations.)
  • Baby registry information to make buying gifts and baby necessities easier.


  •  Will children be allowed to attend? Some people may assume they can bring their kids along. If not, let people know via the invitation or otherwise;
  • Will there be a dress code? If so, let them know on the invitation;

Baby Shower Invitation Inserts

Baby shower invitation inserts are extra information that you want the guests to know. They are typically the size of a business card, and they are included in the envelope along with the invitation.

For baby showers, these are the most popular inserts:

Diaper Raffle Cards: A lot of new moms are specifically requesting that guests bring diapers as gifts. This is because diapers will most likely be the parents’ highest expense. As such, many new parents are having diaper raffles during their baby showers to encourage guests to bring diapers.

Bring A Book Instead Of A Card: In this insert, you are requesting that guests bring a gift and a book, instead of a gift and a card. The theory is that baby shower cards get stored away in boxes, only to be seen now and then. A book, however, can be read over and over again. Books can typically be purchased for the same price as a baby shower card. This is a very popular theme, and there are lots of cute poems that go with it.

Display Shower: A display shower insert asks that guest do not wrap their gifts. The theory is that at a typical baby shower, too much time is spent unwrapping gifts. The gift wrap is then tossed in the recycling. This is a waste that can be avoided if guests do not wrap gifts. Instead, they can add a simple bow and their name. There are lots of cute poems and printables that go with this theme.

Should I Plan A Suprise Baby Shower?

While there’s nothing wrong with a surprise baby shower in theory, in practice it could backfire quite badly if the new mom isn’t a fan of surprises.  Keep the guest of honor’s personality and temperament in mind as you plan, and only spring a surprise party on her if you think she’d truly enjoy it.

Also, keep in mind that thanks to the hormones, pregnant women can be emotional. This can be a ton of fun but tread lightly.

How Many Games Should Be Played At The Baby Shower?

baby shower games for menSince a  typical baby shower lasts 2-3 hours, you cannot have too many games because that would eat up a lot of time.

Once your guests are settled in and enjoying the company and the food, you can begin the games.  3-5 Baby shower games are the norm. Depending on which games you play, your games should last 30-45 minutes in total.

Assuming you started the games 45 minutes after everyone arrived and it takes 45 minutes to play the games, you would already be 1:30 hours into your baby shower. Therefore, 45 minutes for games is plenty of time because gifts still need to be opened, the cake needs to be served and baby shower favors distributed as guests leave. Having said all that – this guideline about timing only applies to a traditional baby shower. If your baby shower is also planned as a family reunion for example, you can make up your own rules about timing.

Do keep in mind that game times vary. A game like Baby Shower Jeopardy and Baby Shower Bingo will take significantly longer than a diaper raffle draw, for example. Also, a popular game like “don’t say baby” takes hardly any time because the game is played while people mingle. Therefore, the games you choose will depend entirely on the type of atmosphere you are trying to create.

What Can You Do Instead Of Baby Shower Games?

onesie decoratingIt is true. A baby shower without games is possible. Try baby shower activities.

Baby shower activities are fun and they can be a little bit more meaningful for everyone. For example, guests could:

  • Write thoughtful advice cards for mom which she could refer to long after the baby shower;
  • Create a fingerprint tree canvas for the new parents. These can be hung on a wall and be a constant reminder of the loved ones in your life;
  • Create a fun and memorable time capsule for the baby;
  • Decorate bibs or onesies for the new baby. These are easy to set up and the baby will have unique onesies to show off.
  • Create headbands or blocks for the baby.

These are just a few baby shower activities that people tend to enjoy.  Pick a baby shower activity (or two) that you believe the guests would enjoy.

Should I Have Baby Shower Favors?

baby shower etiquette - who hosts

Yes. Baby shower favors are a tradition, and they are expected. Your guests would have taken time out of their lives to celebrate with the mom-to-be, and they would likely also have spent a bit of money on the baby shower gift. As such, it is appropriate to offer a baby shower favor as a token of gratitude.

Baby shower favors need not be expensive. It can be handmade also. More and more, it is a sign of affection and gratitude for them sharing the day with the host and the mom-to-be.

Do You Have To Bring A Gift To A Baby Shower?

Yes. Your acceptance of the baby shower invitation implies you will bring a gift.

Keep in mind that the purpose of any baby shower is twofold.

  1. Celebrate the upcoming birth of a new baby; and
  2. Offer gifts to the new mom and her baby so that she may be prepared for her new adventure.

Gift giving is therefore important. As a guest, it is your responsibility to budget for the gift once you accept the invitation.

How Much To Spend On A Baby Shower Gift?

When giving a baby shower gift, the general rule of thumb is to spend what you are comfortable spending. Also, be mindful of giving gifts that the mom-to-be will use and appreciate.

If mom-to-be has a baby registry, buy from that registry.

Colleagues And Acquaintances: Spending between $25-30 is acceptable.

Friend Of The Mother-To-Be: The closer you are to the mother-to-be, the more you would likely spend on the baby shower gift. The suggested amount here is between $50-60.

You Are Part Of The Family: Spending between $90-100 is acceptable. You could also coordinate with other family members to buy bigger ticket items like a crib, stroller, etc.

Baby Shower Etiquette About Thank You Cards

Gift log in baby shower guest book
Gift log in baby shower guest book

The whole purpose of a baby shower is to honor the new mom and her baby, and to help the family get a head start on baby’s necessities.

However, those baby shower gifts can be expensive.  As a thank-you, it is customary to offer baby shower favors and send thank-you notes.

To keep track of all the gifts received, the host can keep a record on a gift tracker. After the baby shower, mommy-to-be will know exactly who brought what, and she can thank them accordingly.

Another helpful tip is to have guests write their names on (thank you card) envelopes. This will make preparing the thank-you-cards much easier for mommy-to-be. All you would need is a helpful sign to let guests know.please-help-a-busy-mom-to-be-by-making-yourself-the-addressee-free-printable-boho-aztec-theme-girl-boy

The new mom should send her thank-you cards out one to two weeks after the shower, if possible.  If she goes into labor early, she can send thank you cards out once she and the baby are settled. (Guests will understand the delay.)

Do You Open Gifts At A Baby Shower?

That depends.

Traditionally, the mom-to-be will open her gifts while the guests ooh and ahh over the gifts she has received. However, this takes time and some moms don’t like to be the center of attention for that long.

To remedy this, there is always the option of a display shower.

With a display shower, guests are asked not to wrap their gifts. Instead, they can add a simple bow and their name. Gifts are displayed for all to see, and no time needs to be taken to unwrap them. This leaves more time for mom to mingle with everyone.

This is a growing trend, with lots of cute poems that go along with it.

Traditions are changing and showers are too
So here’s an idea we’re hoping you do…
Bring your gift without paper or a bag
Simply use a bow and a pretty gift tag
An unwrapped present is just as sweet
And will save more time to mingle and eat
We’ll display your gifts for all to see,
Then relax and honor the mommy-to-be

Is It Rude To Bring A Child To A Baby Shower?

If you are trying to follow baby shower etiquette, do not assume that children are welcome.  According to Emily Post, (etiquette guru), “It’s okay only if it’s been specified on the invitation or if the host has let you know when you RSVP.”

What Happens At A Baby Shower?

What to do at a baby shower?

A baby shower lasts approximately 2-4 hours. This can vary from shower to shower. However, this is what a baby shower agenda basically looks like:


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