For parents-to-be, the baby shower is a special occasion to honor their upcoming little one and offer useful gifts to support them in their journey ahead!
As a baby shower guest, you may have questions about the “unwritten” baby shower etiquette that you are expected to follow. For example:
Can you bring a baby to a baby shower? It’s always best to ask the hostess before bringing a baby to a baby shower. It’s generally best to leave your baby with a trusted caregiver, but if you must bring your baby along, tend to their needs before arriving, bring something to occupy them, and try to keep the focus on the expecting mom.
In this article, we will discuss the reasons behind this etiquette and what you can do to be considerate of the mom-to-be if you need to bring your baby to her shower.
Why You Should NOT Bring a Baby to a Baby Shower
Let’s look at a few reasons why it’s a good idea to leave your baby at home and attend a baby shower alone.
1. Baby Will Detract From the True Focus of the Shower
The baby shower is one of the most anticipated days of a woman’s pregnancy. It is a time for her friends to gather and spoil her and her little one for a few hours.
Bringing a baby along to a baby shower will likely result in people paying more attention to the baby and focusing less on the mom-to-be.
Babies are just too cute and irresistible! When one is around, people can’t help but swoon over it!
If you can, try to find help the day of the shower so that you can break away from the baby for a few hours and focus on your special mama-to-be friend.
2. Baby Will Demand Attention
Let’s face it — babies are needy! They need to eat, sleep, be changed, be comforted, and be entertained almost constantly.
It can be very hard to focus on anything else when you are caring for a baby because you never know when they are going to need you.
It will be the same, and maybe even worse, at a baby shower when your baby is around unfamiliar faces. She may become overstimulated and demand extra attention.
This will make for an unpleasant experience for you, the baby, other guests, and possibly the mom-to-be.
3. Puts More Pressure and Stress on the Host
Hosting a baby shower is a lot of work! There is a lot of planning, cleaning, and decorating that takes place before the shower and then plenty of running around, leading activities, and meeting the needs of the guests during the shower.
While a host may absolutely adore babies, they could add extra stress and pressure to an already stressful event.
4. You Won’t Have as Much Fun
Something that I have definitely noticed since having my twins is that gatherings and events become way more stressful than fun when my twins tag along. Especially if I am alone!
That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my babies or enjoy being with them because I most certainly do. But having to be mom at a social gathering, like a baby shower, is draining and stressful.
There is extra stress to keep my babies calm and behaved, and I spend so much time meeting their needs that I really cannot be present and in the moment at the function.
Trust me when I say that you will enjoy yourself so much more if you are able to leave your baby at home while you take a few hours to go to the baby shower solo.
It does not make you a bad mom to be away from your baby for a little bit. In fact, it is healthy for you to have a little bit of time away to spend with friends and do things that bring you joy.
5. May Change the Vibe of the Entire Party
A baby shower usually has a very calm, quiet, and light-hearted vibe.
There is a lot of sitting, watching, chit-chatting quietly, and snacking from carefully decorated charcuterie boards in a clean, well-organized, and often picturesque pastel setting.
Bringing a baby or babies along could change this entire “adult” vibe.
What To Do if You Must Bring a Baby to a Baby Shower
As a mother, I know that it is not always possible to get help or childcare the day of an event. This doesn’t mean that you should have to miss out on everything that you want to do!
Let’s discuss a few things you should do if your little one needs to tag along with you to a baby shower.
Get Permission From the Host First
It is polite to ask permission from the host before you assume it is okay to bring your baby along.
Oftentimes, baby showers take place in the host’s home, and it is respectful to inquire beforehand about bringing little ones into their home, especially if your baby is mobile and likely to get into things.
Take Care of Baby’s Needs Before Arriving
Try your best to make sure all of your baby’s needs are met before the baby shower.
Make sure the baby is fed and changed before you arrive so that you are less likely to have to step away to take care of those things during the shower.
Bring Items To Quietly Entertain Baby
It is a good idea to have your diaper bag stocked with quiet toys that you can use to discreetly entertain your baby during the shower.
This will minimize the chances of your baby becoming fussy or wandering to seek entertainment elsewhere in the host’s home.
Bring a Babysitter
The baby shower will be more fun and enjoyable for you if you have extra hands to help with the little one — perhaps an older sibling or a friend who doesn’t know the mom-to-be.
Having a babysitter along with you will allow you to enjoy the shower and relax knowing that your baby is being cared for.
It’s possible that the host will even allow the babysitter and the baby to use a different room than the other guests during the shower.
Bring an Extra Gift
While this isn’t necessary, bringing along a little something extra is certainly a nice gesture.
It lets the mom-to-be know that you are considerate of her and want to give her the attention she deserves, even though your little one may need your attention during the shower.
Basic Baby Shower Etiquette for Guests
Baby showers should be enjoyable for everyone involved, including you. Save yourself from embarrassment by being up to date on current baby shower etiquette.
What Should You Do When You Receive an Invitation?
When you receive an invitation to a baby shower, the first thing you should do is check who is invited and if there is an RSVP.
While a baby shower may be baby or kid friendly and some are even co-ed, do not assume that you can bring your kids or husband along.
Check if the invitation specifies who is invited, and if it doesn’t, always check with the host.
If there is an RSVP date, be a considerate guest, and let the host or hostess know in a timely manner whether or not you will be able to attend.
What if You Cannot Attend?
If you can’t attend the baby shower, let the host or hostess know as soon as possible.
While gifts are always welcome, do not feel obligated to send one to the shower. Save your gift for when you see the mom-to-be or new baby in person.
Can You Go Without a Gift?
Never show up at a baby shower empty-handed! Always bring a gift, even if it is something small or something not from the registry.
If you are going to wander from the registry, however, try to get a practical gift that is cute and useful.
Avoid The Belly Rub
Not every mom-to-be enjoys people touching her belly, especially at a party where there are several people who want to touch it.
It can be like a chain reaction — once one person touches her belly, then more people start to do it, which she may not prefer. At the baby shower, respect mom’s boundaries, and save belly rubbing for another time!
Don’t Discuss Breastfeeding
Not every mom chooses or wants to breastfeed, and that is okay! Breastfeeding can be a sensitive and controversial topic, so it is best to avoid bringing it up at the baby shower. Keep the conversations light hearted and encouraging!
Save the Advice For Later
Try holding off on the baby and parenting advice until the mom-to-be asks for it. While advice is appreciated by some mothers, it can become overwhelming or unwanted by others.
The baby shower may not be the time to offer random advice on birthing, parenting, or whatever else. Keep the discussions at the baby shower light hearted. If the mom-to-be asks for advice, then, by all means, share it!
Can You Bring a Newborn to a Party?
I think that the decision whether or not to bring your newborn to a party depends on personal preferences and can be different depending on circumstances.
First, I think it depends on the type of party. Some parties or social gatherings may be more “family friendly” than others. Consider this, and always ask the host before assuming you can bring your baby.
Fortunately, newborns do a lot of sleeping, and it is easy to wear them in a wrap or carry them in an infant carrier.
This makes it much easier to bring them to social events, and they are less likely to require as much attention as a baby that is a few months older.
A lot of parents are not comfortable bringing their newborn to public places or social events because of germs and the risk of potential illness. Parents are also not usually comfortable with a lot of people holding their newborn baby.
In these circumstances, it might not be the best idea to bring your little one to a party. If you do, you may decide to baby-wear or keep your sleeping baby in a covered infant carrier.
Can You Bring Older Children to a Baby Shower?
When it comes to bringing children to a baby shower, your best bet is to ask the host’s permission first. Many baby showers are kid friendly, and the hosts welcome kids! Others may be more formal and may be an event you should attend yourself.
If older children are welcome at a shower, they may be bored out of their minds! Plan ahead, and have them bring something to do that will keep them occupied during the shower.
Who knew there was so much etiquette surrounding a baby shower? It is a special event just like a birthday or holiday party, and you want to make sure you are considerate of others. When in doubt, always ask the host!
Charlynn is an educator and mom to fraternal boy/girl twins. She loves learning through the experiences she has with her littles and using her knowledge to help other moms as they embark on the journey of motherhood.