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When to Have a Baby Shower

Published March 27, 2012        by Sarah

Baby Shower Party

When you are pregnant, it seems like the celebrating begins right away.  You start planning, making lists, and thinking about how to get ready for the bundle of joy that is going to be in your arms just months from now. Your friends and family are almost as excited as you are.  A shower is a great way to share the happiness – and score some excellent baby shower gifts for your child!  When is the best time to have a baby shower?

Timing is Everything

Baby showers are traditionally held one or two months before the mother’s due date.  Why?  There are a few reasons for this:

  • You don’t want to wait too long because mommy may go into labor early.
  • If the mother receives duplicates of gifts or needs to exchange things, she has ample time to do so.
  • People are incredibly generous at baby showers; it takes time to sort through the gifts, set everything up, and wash clothing.  Having a month or two is important so the expectant mother can “nest” without rushing.
  • By eight months, she doesn’t care if she looks ridiculous so you can make her wear one of those hats made of gift wraps and bows.

Now, why not go earlier to give her even more time?  Many women do not announce their pregnancies until after their first trimester.  After the first three months, the chance of miscarriage declines dramatically (it is about 10 percent after that), so expectant parents feel more comfortable sharing their news.  Then they may wait until they know the sex of the baby so they don’t end up with all things yellow and green.  Usually, people wait until at least after the sixth month.

There is certainly something to be said for having it in the 6th or 7th month; many pregnant women feel much more comfortable during this stage of the pregnancy. They may be more open to a good party!

Tradition does not have as strong a hold on today’s expectant mothers as it once did.  Many women are putting off their showers until after the baby is born.  This is like a little “coming out party” for the baby, so friends and family can meet him/her.  Some women opt for “Sip and See” showers because they have no family where they live, while others do so because of their religious beliefs.  Still others hate the idea of having their newborn passed around to multiple (sick, germy, shaky, and/or weak) hands.  It depends entirely on your preference and your comfort level whether you have your shower before or after. Also, there are plenty more fun baby shower themes out there so do your homework beforehand!

If you do choose to have the baby be the guest of honor at the shower, plan on waiting 6 to 8 weeks after the baby is born.  The first weeks really should be about mom, dad, and baby bonding, not Great Aunt Selma pinching your child’s cheeks.  Waiting also helps you determine what gifts would be most useful and appreciated.

Another factor to consider is if the expectant mother is going to be having multiple showers.  Many people do: you have one with close friends, one with coworkers at the office, one with your book club or church club, etc.  Make sure that these are spaced a few weeks apart. If that’s not possible, certainly don’t have more than one in a weekend.  It can easily get overwhelming; so many people, so many gifts, so many questions, so many repetitions of “I’m due on…”

A few more questions:

  • Should there be a shower when the baby is not the first?  Traditionally, showers have been reserved for the first child of a woman or couple. Today, more and more people are having them for their second and third children (and beyond) as well.  Every baby is special, and if people want to give you gifts, enjoy!
  • Should an adopted baby get a baby shower?  Absolutely.  They are every bit as loved as biological children, and every bit in need of cute outfits, onesies, and toys.  If the child is older, a shower could take on the form of a party with gifts appropriate for his/her age.

A baby shower is a wonderful way to celebrate and welcome a child.  The “when” doesn’t matter as much as the people gathered to support the parents.

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