9 Essential Points of Baby Shower Etiquette

So you’ve been invited to a baby shower. Lucky you! The mom-to-be obviously thinks that you’re an important part of her life. But maybe it’s the first shower you’ve attended, and you’re not sure what the rules are. Maybe you’re nervous about making a faux pas. Don’t worry; we’ve got the tips you need to be a successful baby shower guest!

Be Sure to RSVP

Whether you get an invitation online or in the mail, it’s vital that you RSVP. The person planning the shower needs to know how many people will be attending so they can plan food and drink, and also so that they can plan party games! If you fail to RSVP and then show up, they may not have enough food and drink and party goods for everyone. If you fail to RSVP and don’t show up, they may not have the right number of people for certain games. So remember, while a “no” may disappoint the mom-to-be, it’s a lot better than the disruption that a failure to RSVP can cause.

Bring Kids Only If The Invitation Says You Can

While it’s more and more common these days for children to be invited to baby showers, don’t assume your kids are invited. There may not be events planned that will be interesting for children. Bored children can be disruptive; it’s not their fault, they just have different interests and different needs than adults! Your host may not have planned ways to keep kids occupied and entertained. 

If The Invitation Says No Gifts, Don’t Bring Gifts

It’s becoming more and more common for baby showers to not involve gifts. This is especially true when multiple showers are planned for different social groups, or when showers are held for second and third children. If the invitation specifies not to bring gifts, bringing one will just make everyone uncomfortable. You’ll be the only one there with a gift, Mom-to-be will be put in the awkward position of having to open a gift in front of a bunch of party guests who did not bring gifts, and your fellow guests may feel embarrassed at not having brought a gift of their own. If the invitation specifies no gifts, and you want to give the mother-to-be a gift anyway, don’t bring it to the shower. Give it to her personally at a different time.

No Horror Stories About Birth or Parenting

Chances are good that the mom-to-be already has a long list of worries about the coming birth and about parenting a child, especially if it’s a first child. She probably already has a birth plan, and she may be having a complicated pregnancy that she doesn’t want to share details about. There’s no reason to add to her stress by telling horror stories. If she wants advice or has questions about birth or parenting, she’ll ask, probably at a different time and venue. Keep the conversation positive at the baby shower.

Keep Conversation Light

There are some things you probably don’t want to bring up during a baby shower, because it might be awkward for the mom-to-be or for your fellow guests. Here are some examples:

  • Don’t talk about how big the mom-to-be is.
  • If the parents haven’t indicated a gender, they may be waiting to find out at the birth, or they may want to raise their child in a gender neutral way. So there’s no need to discuss this unless it’s made public by the parents.
  • If mom is single, asking who the dad is, or whether they’re getting married or not, can be pretty awkward. Plenty of women choose to raise children alone. If that’s her choice, respect it.
  • If the mom-to-be is a member of the LGBTQIA community, asking how the baby was conceived is pretty personal and not appropriate for a baby shower.

If It’s a Potluck, Consider Mom’s Dietary Restrictions

There’s a surprisingly long list of things pregnant people can’t eat! If you’ve been invited to bring a dish or snack, it’s important to not just observe mom’s regular dietary preferences, but to take these foods into account. They include things like alcohol, caffeine, any high-mercury fish (like tuna), any raw fish whatsoever, undercooked or processed meats, raw eggs (no homemade caesar dressing!), and any unwashed produce. This list is not exhaustive; if you aren’t sure about a dish, you can check with the party organizer to make sure.

If Alcohol is Being Served, Hold Back

It’s not uncommon for light alcoholic beverages to be served at a baby shower. After all, often guests at a baby shower may be meeting one another for the first time, and a little alcohol can help people open up. But a baby shower drink is not a reason to over-indulge. You never want to be the only inebriated person at a gathering, and this is what is likely to happen if you have a few too many mimosas. Additionally, there’s a limited amount of these drinks, and if you drink several, there may not be enough for the other guests.

Be Sure to Participate

If you haven’t met your fellow guests before, you might feel a little shy and awkward about joining in on the baby shower games. That’s understandable, but it’s important to join in! The organizer of the shower went to a lot of effort arranging for baby shower games, and some of those games might need a specific number of people to play in order to work. Also, if you’re the only one not joining in, the organizer and the mom-to-be might think that you’re not enjoying the event. You don’t want to give that impression. So be sure to participate in games and activities; you never know, you might make a new friend or two!

Don’t Linger After The Party Has Wound Down

Mom-to-be is going to have a limited amount of energy to spend on the party; after all, being pregnant is strenuous all by itself! If the invitation has an ending time on it, make sure you’re getting ready to leave by around that time. If there’s no end specified, but things seem to start winding down, take this as your cue to pack up and go. The organizer of the shower will need time to clean up, and mom may want some time to rest and relax afterwards. Most showers are held in the afternoon, in between lunch and dinner (there are always exceptions, of course), so you’ll want to respect everyone else’s time and energy levels, and not linger after the party has run its course.

Seems pretty simple, right? Basically it boils down to following what’s on the invitation and being considerate of the fact that the mom-to-be is the guest of honor. With these tips in mind, you’re all set up to be a five-star shower guest! Mom will appreciate it and so will your other attendees.

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