Baby Showers: What you need, what you don't and basic etiquette.
Baby showers are getting more and more ridiculous as the years go on. When I had a baby shower my first time around in 2011, it was co-ed but other than that it was a standard baby shower. I invited my close friends and family over to my house, my aunt made me a diaper cake, my mom also made a diaper cake and helped with the light refreshments, my cousin brought over a cute stork balloon that she had from a recent baby shower. We played a couple games and opened up presents, handed out favors and then they left and I cried at the love I had around me.
These days, it's such a big ordeal. You have "gender reveals" now mixed in with a baby shower. They invite literally everyone they know. (Not sure if that's to get more gifts?) These baby showers are like 100 people. As an attendee, I'll explain a few things that I recommend toning down. After all, they're doing you a favor, not the other way around. So don't prance around like you're doing them a service by allowing them to be in you presence. Appreciate that they are coming to "shower" you, because they love you and are excited for your new life ahead and the bundle of joy the world awaits.
1. Limit the things you ask your guests to bring.
If you are going to do a diaper raffle, then don't also request guests bring a baby book in place of a card. It's a cute idea but as a guest I'm thinking "okay so that's a gift from the registry, a pack of diapers, and a baby book?!". It honestly makes me feel like an ATM and not a welcomed guest. Diapers are expensive, baby books are more expensive than a greeting card, and the registry items....well that's number 2! I know it's not an obligation to bring everything, but of course if you're asking, people are going to feel an obligation to meet your request for you baby shower. Just be mindful and don't over do it.
2. The items on you registry are expensive!
These days when I look on a registry I eagerly browse the list that these parents to be put together, but soon after scrolling through a few, my excitement turns to fright and wonder. Parents ask for yearly amazon prime memberships and strollers that cost hundreds of dollars and then of course just a lot of items that are more bells and whistles than they are useful. I know you want the best for your kids, especially with your first born, but as a seasoned mother of 3 let me tell you that what you really should ask for are these items:
Clothes-Lots of onesies and stretchy pants and socks and hats- They spit up a lot and you can expect a blow out here and there, be prepared. They DO NOT NEED SHOES. They're expensive and your baby doesn't need shoes until they start to walk. I recommend when they do start walking, THEN you can invest in a pair of special beginner walking shoes that are softer than a regular pair so they can still feel their feet, Stride Rite had some that worked for my son. But don't ask for frufru things. Buy that on your own. You'll also have people gift those things on their own especially after baby is born and for every special occasion your baby will have.
Swaddles and burp clothes- They spit up alot and you can expect a blow out here and there, be prepared.
Breast pump/nursing items- If you plan to nurse of course. Start with an electric single pump and some baby bottles. You'll also need tons of nursing pads.
Boppy- These things are great for nursing/feeding comfortably and then as a lounger for your baby as they grow. Loved my boppy!
Bassinet- Because you're going to want your baby close to your bed for the first month.
Car Seat- A reputable one, but not the most expensive one....That's important people.
Stroller- May be cheaper to get a travel system that comes with infant car seat as well. But stroller will get dirty, have blowouts in it, become more of a wagon for STUFF after about a year.
Diaper Bag-Not an expensive one-things will spill in it and eventually become a crumby snack sack.
Play Pen-You can get one that has the bassinet attachment and then you don't need to buy both separately. I loved my playpens to set them down when they started standing and crawling so I knew they were safe while I ran to the bathroom or did some cleaning. It's also easy to take when you have an outing or are traveling away from home.
First Aid Kit- One with a thermometer, snot bulb, nail clippers, comb, etc.
Bibs- For when they start teething and eating
Wrap/baby carrier- It'll become your best friend-trust me!
My suggestion is to keep your registry basic and then ask for gift cards as another option. After baby is born, you'll see what you REALLY need as the need for them arise and then you'll have some gift cards to get it at that point.
3. Make it relaxing and fun
The last thing you want your guests to feel is stressed out or on edge. Make sure you walk around and engage with your guests. Thank them for coming and hang out with your friends and family. I once went to a baby shower and the mother to be just sat at her table the whole time and didn't engage with any of her family! It's okay to be nervous or not like the spotlight, but if that's the case then don't request a big baby shower. It's not polite to ignore the people that are giving their time and money and support for your special time.
In this day and age, baby sowers happen all the time, and for someone to attend yours is not something to be overlooked. I personally see them more of a hassle than a party but that may be my introvert speaking. Point is, be a good guest of honor/host.
4. Game participation is optional
Not everyone is a party person, which means being involved in group games can be really uncomfortable for some. Provide games but make them optional-don't worry cuz' you'll still end up with volunteers and the rest of the guests become the spectators with a good show. Especially if you have funny games! Respect others' comfort levels. Don't force anything on anyone.
5. Open presents last
When most of the guests have left and you have the last lingering friends and family left, that's a good time to open gifts. Some people really like to watch you open gifts, especially the one they're gifting you. So be polite and open the gifts for them. Not everyone will want to sit and watch you open up gift after gift after gift which is why you should give them a chance to leave before you begin. The benefit is being able to have someone help dispose of the trash from the wrapping paper. This also gives a chance to put someone in charge of writing a list of names and what they gifted for thank you cards.
The point is-keep it fun, keep it relaxed, and enjoy yourself. There's no need to treat it like a wedding. This is the time to enjoy your last moments as a free adult before you become MOMMY. Before you have a child attached to your boob for at least the next 6 months. One of your last chances of getting dolled up uninterrupted and in its entirety. So enjoy it! And make sure you show your appreciation for those that show up to your special get together. And remember not to ask for TOO MUCH. Congratulations on becoming "Mom" and welcome to motherhood.