What is a baby shower?
When a baby is on the way, the parents are not the only ones that get excited. The grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and other loved ones will be excited to meet and welcome the newest member of the family. A baby shower is one of the most traditional ways in which your loved ones come together to express their joy at your pregnancy and celebrate with you. It’s a time for friends and family to share time with the expectant parents and to literally “shower” them with gifts, love, and good wishes.
So, what is a baby shower? A baby shower is a party which is thrown to celebrate the birth of a new baby. It’s also a way for friends and family to help the new parents get everything they need for the baby. After all, babies have a lot of requirements, and the list can get quite expensive and overwhelming for the new parents.
Although baby showers are mostly held for the first pregnancy, showers for a second or even third child are becoming more common (all babies should be celebrated). These are often referred to as a Baby Sprinkles.
When should you have a baby shower?
Most baby showers are held in the last trimester, about 4 to 6 weeks before the baby is due. This is because by that time, the sex of the baby is already known (unless the parents choose not to find out) and guests can have the baby’s gender in mind when choosing gifts and decorations. It is not advisable to hold the shower later than this because that would mean the mummy-to-be may feel too tired to socialise and in some instances the baby may come earlier than the due date.
In Zambia, the traditional version of baby showers was typically held after the birth of the baby. You may be aware that in some cultures, mummies-to-be may be forbidden to reveal when the baby is due and have to keep the birth of the baby hush-hush for fear of bad luck. But at the age of 3 months, the baby may be officially introduced or revealed to the public and a sort of ceremony may be held to commemorate this. Such ceremonies are called by different names that include Baby Shower, Baby Blessing, Baby Naming or Baby Welcoming ceremonies. Currently, however, it is becoming increasingly common for baby showers as defined above to be held before the baby is born.
Who should throw or host the baby shower?
Traditionally, planning a baby shower isn’t done by the expectant mother herself. Instead, close friends and family members come together to plan the celebration.
Who should be invited to a baby shower?
Traditionally, baby showers were only for women, and many of today’s baby showers still are. However, many baby showers now include the mom’s husband or significant other, and some involve both male and female guests.
Anyone that loves the mummy-to-be and wants to wish her well with the birth of her new baby may be invited. However, we recommend that you keep the numbers small, about 20 to 30 people of close family and friends should do. Be sure to run the list by the mummy-to-be to ensure that you don’t miss out anyone important to her.
What kind of presents should be given at a baby shower?
A number of gifts may be given to the mummy to be during the baby shower. These include;
- Feeding bottles, plates, breast pump, bottle sterilizer.
- Baby clothes; rompers and onesies, socks, head socks, vests etc.
- Baby blankets, bed sheets, towels, shawls etc.
- Baby books and soft toys.
- First aid kit
- Bathroom sets such as baby bathtub or bucket, diaper pale, baby lotion, soap etc.
- Diaper bags, diapers, wipes etc.
- You can also give the mummy-to-be something to pamper herself with, such as scented candles, slippers, nice makeup or even a bottle of wine for after the baby is born.
- Big items like cribs, strollers, walkers etc are best left to sisters or grandparents to purchase.
- Personal items such as nursing bras, maternity pads etc are best left for the mummy-to-be to get for herself.
Where to hold a baby shower
A baby shower can be anywhere you want it to be – at the mummy-to-be’s house, the person organising it, or even at the mummy-to-be’s parents’ place. The important thing to consider is how many people are invited and what kind of activities you want to do. If you’re having a small baby shower, it’s possible to hold it in a home. You may also take it to a hotel or any event venues.
Please keep in mind that if the shower is held at mummy-to-be’s house, someone should stay behind to help with the cleanup.
Make sure to check with the mummy-to-be’s to see if she has a preference of where the event should be held.
What happens at a baby shower?
Baby showers can be playful and fun, or relaxed and elegant. It really depends on what mom wants and what she’s feeling up to so its good to ask for her thoughts on the activities that are being planned. These are some of the most important things to keep in mind while planning a baby shower:
- Games: from guessing how big mom’s belly is to “Guess the Baby Food”, there are plenty of games to keep guests entertained. Google can help you come up with a list of fun baby shower games.
- Food: you can choose to have a buffet or hire a caterer for more specific foods. Don’t forget the baby shower cake!
- Favours: baby shower favours don’t have to be extravagant. Small bags with candies, cookies, or other small items are a lovely way to thank each guest for coming.
- Decorations or theme: if the sex of the child is known, a blue or pink themed décor will do. You can also go for gender neutral colours or even fun themes such as bee’s or teddy bears. Google for ideas and share them with your decorator or get things in line with the theme if you are doing the décor yourself. Be sure to include a photobooth or photo station in your decor to ensure you get cute photos to remember the special day.
- FAQ – when doing décor for the baby shower, whose name should be on the banner, photobooth or backdrop?Answer – If the baby is not yet born, it should be the mummy-to-be’s name. If the baby has already been born, typically, it’s the baby’s name written.
- If the baby shower is not a surprise for the mummy-to-be, be sure to get her input in the planning. This will ensure that the function is to her taste and the timing of the function does not clash with any other activities that she may have planned.
- It’s a good idea to have a list of the required items for the guests to choose from. This avoids duplication and ensures that all the required items are purchased.
- Be sure to make a schedule of activities to guide the activities. You don’t want to tire the mummy-to-be too much by having a long drawn out programme or miss out on some activities because one activity took too long.