All you need to know about planning a baby shower from chosing themed decorations and invitations to nappy cakes and baby shower gifts.
What are they?
Baby showers are largely known for being an American tradition although they have been practiced in some shape or form throughout the world for centuries and are now becoming increasingly popular in the UK. They are a celebration of new life thrown for an expectant mother to 'shower' her with love, attention and practical gifts before baby arrives.
Baby showers tend to be a mainly female affair arranged by female relatives, friends or coworkers of the mum-to-be as a baby gift, although more and more are now being thrown for couples so that the dad-to-be gets a chance to celebrate too. While a classic baby shower has an afternoon tea party feel, they can be as lavish or as minimal as you like and held anywhere from a living room to a restaurant (although typically not in the home of the expectant parents so that they don't have to clean up!).
When should they be held?
Its customary to throw an expectant mother's baby shower during the last trimester of her pregnancy, although it's best not to hold it too near her due date in case baby decides to come early; generally 4 -8 weeks before tends to be best. Baby shower's tend to be held on the weekend so that more guests can make it, obviously it's best to check with all important parties concerned before setting a date.
Deciding on a theme
Baby showers are typically themed, this not only makes deciding on decorations, games and food a lot simpler but also helps to make the celebration really memorable. If the sex of the baby is known a simple theme of blue or pink can be a nice, subtle choice however other popular themes include anything from baby animals and cartoon characters to nappies and bottles, nursery rhymes and books.
The focus of baby shower gifts tends to be on practical items that parents-to-be will need for their baby. Some women like to create a baby list (a bit like a wedding list) detailing items they need or would like for their newborn, however if this isn't your style gifts like nappies, bottles, baby grows and bathing products are inexpensive and will definitely be appreciated. If more expensive items like car seats or cribs are needed by the parents-to-be groups of friends often club together to make it more affordable.
Playing games is half the fun of baby showers and there are so many traditional shower games to choose from that you're really spoilt for choice. Popular choices include guess the circumference of the mother-to-be's tummy, guess the baby food flavour, bottle races (where the person who can drink juice from a baby bottle in the shortest time wins) and guess the baby picture (you can either do this with photos of your guests or celebrity baby's) guess the celebrity bump is another option. An incredibly common game is to give each guest a piece of ribbon with a nappy pin fastened to it at the start of the party, the aim of the game is to not say the word 'baby', if you hear someone say this word you their safety pin and the guest with the most pins around their neck at the end of the party wins; always an entertaining one.
Traditionally, the centre piece of a baby shower is a nappy cake, this is a 'cake' made out of nappies, bottles and other useful baby items. These are widely available to be bought but can also be made relatively simply. Fresh flowers, scented candles, pictures or the expectant parents as babies and streamers all make for lovely, inexpensive baby shower decorations. Special baby shower decorations are becoming more widely available to. A pretty book for guests to write their sentiments and parenting advice in also makes a really sweet touch that will be cherished by (and useful for!) the parents-to-be. You could also go all creative and get guests to decorate a baby gro, picture for the nursery or something similar.
As most guests bring gifts to a baby shower it's polite to give them a party favour when they leave as a thank you token. This can be something as simple as a scented candle, bottle of bubble bath or miniature box of chocolates and really shows your appreciation.
If your planning on having a baby shower to welcome your little one into the world, remember it's meant to be a treat for the Mum-to-be so sit back, relax and enjoy the uninterrupted company of your friends!
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