Baby Shower Etiquette

Women at a baby shower
Celebrate at a baby shower with friends and family members. Barry Austin/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Have you decided to host a baby shower for one of your dear friends? If so, you'll want to make sure this is a party to remember, but only in a good way.

Celebrating the New Arrival

There's nothing more precious than a brand new baby, and it's not difficult to come up with cutesy themes for the shower. However, good manners and proper etiquette are still called for during this fun celebration. Whether this is your first, second, sixth, or adopted child, the joy of sharing the time with friends makes it all the more special.

New Moms and Dads

In the past, baby showers were held by female friends for the mother-to-be. However, fathers are now getting into the action, and from what I've seen, they're loving every minute of it. You're just as likely to see a dad coo over a cute little baby blanket as the mom.

The host or hostess of the shower should make the invitation clear—whether it's for women only or a couples' party. If you haven't already thought about it, please consider having the men there since they need to be as involved in the baby's life as the women.

Invitations should include the following information:

  • Name of the expectant parents
  • Name of the host
  • Location of the shower
  • Time of the shower
  • Theme of the shower and what type of gifts to bring
  • When and how to RSVP

First Babies

It's generally easy to have a baby shower for first-time parents. Since this is the first time around, they generally need everything.

Everything will be new to the expectant parents, so try to have someone video record the event. A themed event is fun for brand new parents, and you might want to decorate in some cute items (baby bibs, booties, rattles, etc.) that the parents can take home with them.

New Siblings

Parents who have already had one baby most likely have some things from the first.

The host needs to find out what is needed so guests can bring gifts that are needed to fill in the gaps. You may want to limit the guest list to close friends and family members if this is not the first child.

Adopted Babies

Adoptive parents have just as much of a need for a shower as birth parents so don't leave them out, even if the child is a bit older. The advantage you have when the child is being adopted is you are more likely to know the size and sex, unless the parents are adopting a newborn. In that case, host the shower as you would for any other expectant parents.

Single Parents

In the past, there was a stigma for single moms, so their friends seldom had baby showers for them. This has changed. It's not only a nice thing to do for the new parents, it may even be expected. Limit the guests to family and close friends who want to celebrate. If you know that someone has a difficult time with the situation, discuss it with him or her before you send the invitation. This is a time for celebrating a new life, not for judgment

Find out if the dad will be involved in the child's life and whether or not the expectant parents are still together. If they're not, doubles of some items may be appreciated. Remember that single parents need a little extra support from friends and family members, so sensitivity is essential.

Office Showers

Many expectant mothers work right up to the due date, so coworkers may decide to hold a baby shower during the lunch hour or after work. This is appropriate, but only if everyone is invited. Never leave out one or two coworkers, even if they're not close with the expectant parents, because you might hurt their feelings. It's always a good idea to have both expectant parents there, even if only one works in that office.