Baby Shower FAQ: How do I throw a Baby Shower?

Who should host a baby shower?

The mother-to-be’s best friend traditionally throws the shower. It is considered improper for relatives to throw the shower, however they can certainly be recruited to help with the planning of the party.

How many people should be invited?

There is no rule around this but typically there are between five and twenty people invited to a shower. There can be more or less guests, however, it is important not to overwhelm the mother with too much attention and allow time for each guest to spend quality time with her.

Who should be invited?

The guest list should include close friends and immediate female family members of both the mother & father-to-be’s families. The expectant mom may also want to invite business associates. It is best to consult with her to get names, addresses and phone numbers.

Should I invite friends who have recently had miscarriages or are having difficulty conceiving?

These friends should definitely be sent an invitation and leave it to her to decide whether she is “up to” attending the event. If she decides not to attend, respect her decision.

When is the ideal time to hold a shower?

Most showers are held one to two months before the baby’s due-date. The shower can also be held after the baby is born if he or she is premature.

Is it acceptable to throw a shower after the baby is born?

In some traditions and cultures it is perfectly acceptable to do this, however as dealing with the birth of a new baby can be hectic for the new parents, it is recommended that you throw the shower before the baby’s due-date.

Is it proper to throw a shower for second and third-borns?

Traditionally, baby showers were only held for first-born children as it was assumed the mother would hand down her gifts from child to child. However, in these modern times, there is more of a general feeling that some kind of celebration should be held to herald the arrival of each new child in this world. Parties for second and third children are often called Baby Sprinkles and guests bring necessities for the child such as formulae, diapers and linen.

Is it appropriate to throw a shower for an adopted baby?

Baby showers for adopted children are especially welcome to adoptive parents who are more than eager to celebrate the new addition to their family. These showers are handled in the same manner as regular showers, except they are often thrown after the arrival of the child into the family. It can be hazardous to throw a shower before the child’s arrival, as some adoption proceedings don’t always unfold as planned.

When should guests RSVP by?

In your invitations to the event, specify that guests should RSVP by a date that marks two weeks before the event.

When should  invitations be mailed?

Invitations should be mailed 4-6 weeks prior to the shower.

What are my responsibilities as a hostess?

Your first responsibility is to greet each guest, tell them where to place their presents and instruct them on where they can put their bags and coats. Early on in the party, guests are usually served drinks and a light appetizer. After all the guests have arrived, you can present them with name-cards and introduce them to each other and the mother-to-be. As hostess you are also expected to organize any games and make sure that party favors and prizes are awarded to the winners. After guests are done noshing, it is also your job to call everyone to the table or to the party area where all can watch the mother open her presents.  At the end of the party, you might take pictures of the guests with the mother and assign rides to guests who may be inebriated. You are also required to pack up mom’s gifts for her and make sure she has appropriate transportation home too

How long should the shower last?

Most showers last about two to three hours. Showers held at the office might only last half an hour to an hour.

Does a shower have to have games?

It depends on the crowd. If the expectant mother is older or quite shy she might find the playing of games to be distasteful. If you are holding a larger party where many of the guests don’t know each other, game-playng is a great way to raise enthusiasm and bond them together.

What food should be served at the shower?

Some showers are sit-down dinners, brunches, buffets and lunches. However typically most showers are held in the afternoon when folks aren’t too hungry.    It is suggested that you at the very least have simple snacks and finger-foods on hand such as chips, pretzels, cup cakes, pie and fruit and vegetables. Coffee, tea and a punch bowl are also common at most showers.

Are shower favors for guests necessary?

These little gifts for the guests are not necessary, and meant simply to be tokens of thanks that the guests can take away with them after the party. If you do have favors, some ideas are potpourri

About Claire Morin

Claire is a blogger and editor for Although she received a degree in psychology, Claire decided to become a full time stay at home mom to her son, Ethan.

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