Oh Baby... Showers.
We all love the arrival of a new squishy, is it a pink or blue baby? It's cause to celebrate and a baby shower is the perfect way to do it, but what are the 'do's and don’ts' of a baby shower and how can you keep it 'tasteful' whilst still having fun?
Baby showers are traditionally an opportunity for friends and family to impart their mummy wisdom, love and advice (whether wanted or not) onto the new mum-to-be.
In America the ritual of a highly commercial baby shower has been a well-established rite of passage for every pregnant woman for decades. Although baby showers have been in existence in the UK since the 1800's, we have only more recently embraced this culture to become a main staple of our pregnancy journey.
Many of us have experienced a baby shower as a guest, host or the mum-to-be and may have our own opinions on the custom. As a 34 year old mum of two boys and now expecting a girl, I have seen my fair share of showers. Some have been a veritable feast for the eyes, straight out of a dreamy Pinterest shot, whilst others have been my worst nightmare, pretty distasteful with vagina cakes and poop tasting contests (yes this is a real baby shower game, with chocolate thankfully taking the guise of the poop!)
Showers are normally planned and organised by a close friend and as hostess, you would have the responsibility of planning the surprise and making the experience memorable (for the right reasons). This in my opinion is a huge responsibility for the hostess; there's the guest list to compile, theme to decide, invites to create, cakes to make, games to plan and organise and all this for a budget that will mostly come out of your pocket.
So what are the baby shower trends and traditions? How can you make sure you leave your mum-to-be and guests saying 'Awww' and not 'Ewww'.
This can be related to the baby gender e.g. pink or blue. But be aware that some mums (like me) may have an aversion to all things pink! You may want to plan with the mum-to-be and have the shower also as a 'gender reveal' party, using the cakes or balloons to reveal the sex of the baby. Alternatively the theme may be neutral, yellows and greys being a key trend at the moment.
2. The Guest List.
Traditionally both friends and family must be there and baby showers are a female only zone. Most people stick to this, as discussion topics about late pregnancy may arise (such as perineal massage, google if you don't know!) and so it is thought best to keep dads out. That said, you may want to have a more relaxed affair, perhaps a summer BBQ or just a friendly get together to celebrate. Whatever you do don't forget to invite the Dad’s side of the family (the mother in law would never forgive you).
Now this is where it could all get messy (quite literally). There are thousands of game ideas out there and it is a flood of tacky and cheesy experience that you need to wade through before you can find what is right for your shower. You will know the mum-to-be and guests and should use your judgement as to what will be an acceptable level of ' 'cheese' as it is mostly unavoidable. We all accept that showers have an element of 'tongue in cheek' and so a few games that make us laugh are the norm. But try to balance this out with more personal games with the 'Awww' factor, you could do a quiz about the mum-to-be or use old baby photos from the guests. It is a balance of fun and sentimentality that you are trying to achieve.
As mentioned earlier, the cake you choose is largely dictated by the shower theme. You may want a large cake with a stork or baby on the top but these are normally quite messy to cut up and distribute and also quite expensive. An easier and less messy approach would be cupcakes, either DIY, ordered or shop bought. Your guests can then help themselves. Additional to this you will need the customary cucumber sandwiches and few nibbles. But choose your timing of the shower so that you are not obliged to feed the guests as the focus should be on the mum-to-be and gifts.
5. Enjoy it.
Being the host is a large responsibility so you may be stressed and forget to enjoy the shower yourself. Take the pressure off and ask others to help. You may even pay for someone else to organise it all or ask for donations from friends and family in the form of food or decorations. The aim is for everyone to celebrate the forthcoming birth and the passage from woman to mother. The mum-to-be should feel special and excited when she leaves.
With the above suggestions in mind, you can create a great experience for all to remember.
One to One Pregnancy Advice Centres will soon be opening their doors for you to book your baby showers. For a small cost (non-profit making) you will be able to host your shower in our relaxing environment. We will organise the tasteful decoration, cakes and entertaining games (with the right level of cheesiness).
To launch this fantastic service we are giving our first shower at our Crewe advice centre for free. To enter the competition you need to share this post and tag a pregnant friend via Facebook. You will then need to complete the following information and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Booking form details required: